Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

January 22, 2006


Why fly to Africa when we can help people here in Alabama?


          Seven years ago seven African Christians became part of our family. Our son Matt introduced us to his friends Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo and their five children. Like Matt, Alfred was in seminary seeking a degree in theology. The two became instant friends.

          We invited the Kalembos to our home for the Christmas holidays and found them to be charming people. Their spirits meshed with ours. Within days we made the unanimous decision to “adopt” each other spiritually. They were like family to us, and we to them. Since then my wife and I have been Mom and Dad to our son Alfred and our daughter Muumbe. Their children are our grandchildren.

          We knew almost nothing about their homeland, Zambia, a small nation in Africa. Our appreciation for it grew the more we learned from Alfred and Muumbe, and from our son’s report of his visit there five years ago. The possibility of our walking on Zambian soil as our age seemed quite remote.

          After Matt and Alfred finished seminary, the Kalembos returned to their home in N’Dola, Zambia, where Alfred would begin teaching young pastors in a Christian college. In recent months an unusual opportunity opened up for Alfred.

          This month he began work on the staff of International Leadership Institute. His assignment is to train and equip native Christians in ten southern African nations including Zambia. ILI is enlisting gifted leaders across the world for the sole purpose of training Christians who can equip hundreds of other Christians in their own country with the skills of evangelization.

          His new work makes it necessary for Alfred to move his family to Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia. He has secured a house there that needs a lot of work to make it livable. There Muumbe plans to set up another school for small children, similar to the one she has been operating in N’Dola. In addition, the government has given Alfred 40 acres of land provided he develops it and makes it productive.

          The bottom line is that Alfred needs some help with this new house, the new school, and the land. So his need for assistance has felt like a call to come over to Africa and help. Right now I am trying to put together a team of ten to twelve people who will pay their way to Lusaka and help this family make the transition. By doing this we can free this gifted man to spend his time and energy equipping, encouraging, and enlisting native Christians in southern Africa to teach hundreds of their fellow citizens the good news of Christianity.

          By July when hopefully our team flies to Zambia, my wife and I will be well into our 75th year. As we contemplate this mission, there is an old man inside me who is waving red flags and telling me why we are foolish. This old man tells me that there are plenty of people in Alabama who need help and we are too old to fly half way across the world.

          This old man is wise and he has a rather convincing argument. Frankly I am often tempted to follow his advice. But as of this moment I have chosen to listen to someone else – the young man inside me.

          The young man keeps telling me about Islamic terrorists who are willing to kill themselves to fulfill their insane mission. He tells me the world needs people who will show these terrorists that there are other people who will make a sacrifice for a much greater cause.

          I like the way this young man inside me talks. So I have decided to fly to Zambia and do what I can to help the Kalembos fulfill their mission to reach ten nations for God.

          Have you ever thought about spending two weeks in Zambia doing some work for God? Like the Marines, I am looking for a few good men – or women – who will accept the challenge. If you feel the itch, scratch it by calling me. Otherwise, just throw up a prayer that our mission will succeed. + + + +