Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

July 15, 2007


Team leaves tomorrow for another mission trip to Zambia


          Tomorrow morning ten of my friends and I are flying out of Atlanta on our way back to African nation of Zambia. It is a very long flight. We will spend Tuesday night in Ethiopia and arrive at Lusaka, the capitol of Zambia, on Wednesday.

          In church terminology our group is a “mission work team.” Our hosts will be Alfred and Muumbe Kalembo, whose ministry is headquartered in Lusaka. Both of them were born in poor villages in Zambia. How God raised them up from poverty to an extraordinary ministry to many nations is an exciting story of God’s grace.

          Through the generosity of Christian friends in America, Alfred and Muumbe live in a large home on the outskirts of Lusaka. They have five children – three sons and twin daughters. After completing his seminary education at Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, Alfred was asked (with his wife) to serve as a regional director of ILI, the International Leadership Institute. ILI is having a global impact by training Christian leaders across the world. Alfred and Muumbe have responsibility for 10 countries in southern Africa.

          In addition to their ILI training work, Alfred and Muumbe operate several other ministries. They have started two schools for small children. They are arranging for orphans to be placed in Christian homes with families that are willing to take them in. Support for the care and housing of an orphan costs $333 a year. Already they have found a home for more than 40 orphan children. Our church, Saint James UMC, is providing for the care of 22 children who became orphans when their parents died of AIDS.

          Malaria continues to kill thousands in Africa. A child dies of Malaria in Africa every 30 seconds. This need has caught the attention of many Americans who have contributed money to buy thousands of nets that protect people from the deadly mosquito that bites only at night. Countless lives can be saved through the use of these nets that cost only ten dollars apiece.

          My friends Scott Kaak and Larry Hanna will work with me in a conference for pastors in Lusaka. These 40 to 50 pastors serve in several different denominations in a culture than pays little attention to denominationalism. Their common love for Christ brings them together in beautiful unity.

          Our focus in the conference will be the Gospel of Mark. We will explore with the pastors how to preach the gospel effectively using the scriptures of this shortest of the four gospels. We will provide each pastor with a nice Study Bible that they can use in ministry for many years. Each Bible is a gift from a person or couple in our church.

          Our team will assist in the construction of at least two soccer fields located near schools. In Zambia the teaching of the gospel is welcomed in public schools. School and church leaders see the value of reaching young people for Christ with a soccer ball.

          Once again we will take our team to visit Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most beautiful sights. There we will pause beside a statue of David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary who with his wife did such extraordinary work in sharing the gospel with the people of Africa. We will offer prayers of thanksgiving that in small ways we can continue the amazing work he began on the African continent 160 years ago.  

          My adopted son Alfred taught me a lesson last year that I will not soon forget. He said, “What you do here is not nearly as important as your presence. Just being here with us is what makes us realize how much God loves us.” That thought and the beautiful faces of African Christians are impossible to forget.

          By the grace of God we will return home two weeks later, with haunting memories of terrible poverty and a greater resolve to use our little share of America’s great affluence to make life better for some of the least of our brothers and sisters. + + +