Pastor Current’s life in the Zambian bush country might seem like a mere subsistence to many Westerners. He lives over sixty miles from the nearest town of Choma among the mud brick huts baked under the heat of the Zambian sun. Along with his wife and five children, he tends a small vegetable farm and raises some chickens and pigs. The chickens and pigs fertilize the garden. The garden feeds the chickens and pigs. His family lives off the surplus. Round and round, he ekes out a living as he ministers the Word in a region of villages where many of the thatched roof church buildings don’t yet have walls.
His simple lifestyle is a reflection of his character. Our regional director for Africa, Jeff Gage, recalls Current’s demeanor, “He’s one of those pastors who is just very plain, straightforward, nothing fancy, nothing flowery.” But under the plain surface is a man whose vision and drive are fueled by the Word of God.
About four years ago, Pastor Current graduated from the WordPartners training in Choma, which is situated between the major cities of Lusaka and Livingstone. Some of the trainers started to notice his leadership ability during the workshops. They began equipping Current to train leaders. He caught the vision for training more pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. That vision, combined with his love for the Word, led him to look for ways to train pastors in his region.
Back in his village, Pastor Current faced an immediate obstacle: language. Out where he lives, people speak Tonga, and as Jeff explained, “very few people out there speak English.” Since WordPartners training materials have not been translated into Tonga, Current faced a choice. He could either give up, wait, or handle the translation work himself. He chose the latter, translating material as he trained the pastors.
Sometimes Pastor Current travels to other churches. Other times, the local pastors travel to his village. Jeff Gage detailed the process:
“He moves around the villages out in that area and trains pastors. . . . The pastors will come for a couple days, and they’ll each bring a handful or a little sack full of corn meal or whatever they have, and they cook their food for themselves. During those couple of two or three days they’re there, they’ll sleep on the floor, probably a dirt, maybe concrete, floor. They’ll sleep on the floor of the church where they’re doing the training. . . .”
Whether traveling or at home, all he needs is a Bible and “some type of chalkboard or something. . . . He gets some pieces of chalk and that’s how he does the training out there with those pastors.”
Pastor Current’s decision to take WordPartners training out to the villages is an answer to our prayers on several levels. Our trainers would face the significant obstacles of sickness and sleeping on dirt or concrete floors in rural Zambia. But Jesus has raised up a pastor who is already adapted to the rural environment and culture. Our trainers would need the aid of translators and would lack the translated material. But the Spirit has given Current the skill and vision to overcome the language obstacle. As Pastor Current carries on the work begun years ago, God is using him to multiply his Word in one of the hard-to-reach places of the world.
Meager as his existence may be, God is blessing Pastor Current’s life and ministry with bountiful fruit under the hot Zambian sun. As he carries on this work, we invite you to pray for him, his family, and the many churches impacted by his trainings.
We also invite you to prayerfully consider supporting WordPartners training in Africa as we continue to equip more men like Pastor Current to train pastors throughout the region.
Stock image above of a farm in Zambia