Missions in Lundazi, Zambia

Melissa Johnson, a mission co-worker whom WPC supports, has lived with her husband Charles in Lundazi, Zambia since 2016. Subscribe to her newsletter here.

Summer 2023
What Does Love Require of Us?

Dear Friends,

Charles and I were both very nervous the first Sunday we were in Lundazi back in April of 2016.  Our call was becoming real as we would now be alone in a community where we knew no one. But we were soon entirely overwhelmed by the love and welcome each and every person showed us. We were shown God’s love because everything begins with God’s love. If we ever forget this basic, essential fact of our faith, 1 John 4:7-21 makes it crystal clear.

These verses have been on my heart for the last couple of weeks – or really, it has been the topic within those verses – love – and what that means and what it looks like in our lives.

God has kept showing me his love, and this morning He showed me another devotion about love and what that means in our lives. This devotion connected 1 John and Micah 6:8, another of my favorite verses. Amazingly, Micah 6:8 has also been on my heart, and I’ve been trying to understand the connection, but this morning’s devotion made it clear. God is love – so if we understand that, then the words of Micah can be understood as “What does Love require of you?”

This morning’s devotion brought this question into focus with these words: “It means taking action.… Love is contagious. It’s how we preach with our lives. In our modern world, much of our Christian faith has been driven by fear instead of love. The invitation from scripture is this — what would our lives look like if we were driven by love?”

Once Charles and I settled into our life in Lundazi, Zambia, that initial anxiety and fear diminished as we learned about how the members of the David McConarghy Congregation, Bomba Prayer House, put their love into action. We constantly saw people who had so little be generous and provide food to those who had even less. The Christian Women’s Guild puts on their uniforms every Tuesday and visits those sick at home or in the hospital. These women always bring food to the sick, even though they may not have enough for themselves.

The congregation is divided into small community groups, and one Sunday, our community group came to visit and overwhelmed us with their love by bringing us gifts of food. We felt a little guilty knowing that we had more than our visitors, but we were told that their generosity was a way they could show their love – God’s love.

My partner church in Zambia, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), has a holistic ministry focused on the message in Matthew 25, and they believe that God’s love calls them to share that love with their neighbors. They know that loving your neighbor requires action through support of the poorest of the poor, feeding the hungry, and visiting the sick.

While many of the CCAP’s departments and programs can be called “development,” they are genuinely the church taking action and showing God’s love to their communities. For example, the agricultural programs through the Chasefu Theological College and the Relief and Development Department teach people to be better farmers so they have better, more nutritious food to eat, share and use as a source of income generation. The Education Department provides people with the knowledge and skills to find better jobs to support their families and communities. The Protected Water Department brings water to rural communities with no safe, clean water source. The Relief and Development Department has a Village Savings and Loan project that helps community groups learn that saving tiny amounts of money can allow them to create new businesses to support their families. The Community Health and Evangelism programs help communities realize they all have resources to improve their own lives and those of their neighbors. These programs are perfect examples of the church taking action and showing God’s love.

The CCAP Health Department has shown God’s love by providing a safe place for pregnant women to deliver their babies and upgrading the infrastructure of their existing rural health centers. They are almost finished constructing a new rural health center in Phalaza that will provide healthcare in a community that had to travel long distances to receive care. In addition, they have grown their Days for Girls enterprise to provide women’s feminine health and hygiene program by using God’s love to take action to help keep girls in school, helping to break the cycle of poverty. The Health Department has also used God’s love to provide health education to help eliminate malaria, COVID, cervical cancer and cholera.

The CCAP and all their programs and departments are harnessing the power of God’s love and responding to the call in Micah to be just, to love mercy and to walk humbly with their God. I am grateful for each of you who have also put God’s love into action in your own communities and around the world, and I am incredibly thankful for your partnership with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Zambia.

I pray that each of us will continue to shape our world through love.

What does Love require of us?
To act justly, and to love with mercy, and walk humbly with our God.


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