Travelogue Tony & Lisa Cooke
Zambia & England • March 11-26, 2007

This was my second trip to Lusaka, Zambia, and my third to Manchester, England.  It was Lisa’s first trip to Lusaka and her second to Manchester.

In Zambia, we were hosted by Walker and Haley Schurz (www.africaoutreach.net) who have been missionaries in Africa for several years.  In Manchester, we were with Matt and Julie Beemer (www.goyewhbc.com), also seasoned missionaries

Both couples pastor dynamic churches and are great visionaries.  They are kingdom-builders who are committed to the Great Commission and do an outstanding job of developing and equipping other leaders.

Segment One – Lusaka, Zambia

Lisa and I flew out of Denver on Sunday evening, March 11.  We flew overnight, connecting through Chicago and London en route to Lusaka, Zambia.  While boarding in Chicago, we were pleased to see Ron and Teri Martin, representatives for Joyce Meyer Ministries in South Africa.  We had a nice visit with them in London before they boarded their flight for Capetown.  After a six-hour layover in London, we flew overnight to Lusaka.

Pastors’ Conference

Our primary purpose in the Zambia portion of the trip was to teach at the pastors’ conference sponsored by Miracle Life Family Church.  I had ministered at this same conference in 2005, and was very impressed with the hunger of the pastors and their eagerness to receive teaching on biblical leadership.

It was a privilege to be a part of the team who taught at this conference.  Also speaking were Walker Schurz, our host; Christopher Alam, a powerful evangelist; and John Nuzzo, who pastors in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, along with his youth minister, Larry Bettencourt.  We also appreciated other team members who assist in Zambia, such as Stephen and Jennifer McMichaels.

At Pastor Walker’s request, I spoke primarily about pastor-staff relationships during the conference.  Zambia has seen quite a few problems involving staff members rising up and splitting churches.  Pastors have also shown reluctance and concern when young men indicate a call to ministry.  Instead of pastors taking these young men under their wings to mentor, train, and release them, some pastors tend to simply remove them from their churches to avoid a potential church split.  Much of what I taught, then, was geared toward the mutual responsibilities and benefits involved in healthy relationships between senior leaders and supportive ministers.  I also did one session specifically on spiritual fathers.

Evangelistic Crusade

Lisa and I were able to attend two evening services of Christopher Alam’s evangelistic meetings (www.pentecostalfire.com) in the outlying community of Chawamba.  Christopher is a dynamic evangelist (born in Pakistan and raised as a Muslim) with a great passion for the lost and the sick, and it is wonderful to see multitudes of people come to Jesus and receive miracles en masse at his meetings.

Ministry to Children’s Workers and Children

On Thursday night, Lisa spoke for ninety minutes on the subject of leading children into the presence of God through worship to the children’s workers at Miracle Life Family Church.  On Friday, Lisa took part in the afternoon children’s crusades in Chawamba as hundreds of little ones stood in the hot afternoon sun to hear about Jesus (Click here to read a detailed account of Lisa’s observations and reflections about her time on this trip.)

Gospel Training Institute

On Thursday evening, I taught two class sessions at the Gospel Training Institute, a Bible School run by Steve and Cindy Shoop.  Just like the pastors, these African students exhibit tremendous hunger for the Word.  Steve requested that I teach on ethics and integrity regarding finances (he specifically requested I teach along the lines of what Brother Hagin taught in his book, “The Midas Touch.”)

“In Search of Timothy” Seminar

On Saturday, I conducted an “In Search of Timothy” seminar for leaders and workers from multiple Zambian churches.  The four hours of teaching were very well received.

Equipping Zambian Pastors

On Saturday afternoon, I was also able to share with the pastors who attended the conference that each of them would be receiving a complimentary copy of our book, “Life After Death – Rediscovering Life After the Loss of a Loved One.”  Pastor Walker had shared with me that life expectancy is relatively low in Zambia (it’s improved a bit in the past few years, and is now close to 40) and that pastors have to deal with death on a regular basis.  He felt that this material would be extremely helpful in equipping the pastors to better minister to their members and communities in bereavement situations.  Because of the kindness and generosity of our friends and partners, we were able to ship over 1,200 copies of this book for free distribution to pastors in Africa.

Local Church Ministry

On Sunday, I spoke at the Gilgal Pentecostal Assembly of God Church.  This is a vibrant church and the people very graciously received the Word of God.  Ten people responded to the altar call at this service.

After lunch, Lisa and I headed to the airport in Lusaka.  There was no air conditioning in the airport, and we guessed it was around 90 degrees, so we were glad to get on the plane to head to Johannesburg, South Africa.  From there, we took an overnight flight to London.

Segment Two – Manchester, England

After rushing through Heathrow airport on Monday morning, we made our connecting flight to Manchester.  Upon arrival, we were able to spend the day resting and relaxing.

World Harvest Bible Training Center

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I taught three hours each day in the Beemer’s multi-national Bible School.  I did nine sessions on a topic I love: “The Letters to the Seven Churches” (from Revelation 1-3).

Mid-Week Service and Persian New Year Celebration

On Tuesday evening, I spoke at the church’s mid-week service, and on Thursday evening, we went with the Beemers to the Persian New Year Celebration hosted by the church.  The Persian New Year occurs on the Spring Equinox, and this festive event is well attended by Iranian members of the church congregation, as well as by Iranians in the community

Visiting Smith Wigglesworth Sites

On Friday, Matt drove us to Bradford (approximately a 90 minute drive from Manchester).  We saw the building that had housed the mission started by Smith and Polly Wigglesworth, as well as the house they lived in when Smith was a plumber.  We also visited the cemetery and saw the gravesite where Smith and some of his family members were buried.

Local Church Ministry

On Sunday, I spoke in three services of World Harvest Bible Church.  One of these was their service in the Farsi language for their Iranian congregation.  I had done the “In Search of Timothy” seminar on my previous visit to Manchester, and Pastor Matt asked that I follow-up the basic Timothy material with similar, reinforcing type of teaching in the Sunday services.  This fit in very well as the church was concluding a month of focusing on and celebrating the ministry of helps in their congregation.

Summary

On Monday morning, March 26, Lisa and I got on the plane in Manchester to return to the States.  We left with a renewed appreciation for the grace of God, not only upon our hosts, but upon all the missionaries who labor in other lands, building the kingdom and carrying out the Great Commission.