Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Visits to Mulimba and Mulendema (ELCZa)

We are settling in to our new home in Lusaka, Zambia, and getting to know the leadership and members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Zambia. The weather has warmed up, as winter in the Southern Hemisphere draws to a close, and the beautiful purple flowers of the jacaranda trees are everywhere.

In the past few weeks, we have been privileged to visit two rural congregations. Mulimba, a village about 50 miles west of Lusaka, is pastored by Rev. Doreen Mwanza. Deborah preached and Pastor Doreen translated into the local Tonga language. There was a lot of special music from the youth choir. Although the congregation is small, they were enthusiastic and friendly. As you can see in the photo, some time ago the wind destroyed the roof of the church building, and the parishioners are forced to worship out in the open, rain or shine. At least the walls provide a bit of shade!

Rev. Deborah preaching at the Mulimba Congregation. Her sermon is being translated into Tonga by Rev. Doreen Mwanza. 
Afterwards, Pastor Doreen invited us for lunch in her home next to the church. We had fried chicken, fresh greens from her garden, and the traditional nshima (made from corn meal—similar to grits or polenta). We were also treated to a traditional (non-alcoholic) beverage called munkoyo, made from the roots of the munkoyo tree (Rhynchosia venulosa, for those gardeners who are interested).

This past Sunday we made a trip to the village of Mulendema, also west of Lusaka. We were called to worship by the ringing of a gong, hanging from a tree outside the church. Evangelist Darius Munduwe led the service, and again, Deborah preached. Rev. Matildah Banda, General Secretary of the ELCZa, translated the sermon into Nyanja, another local language. All in all, there are five or six languages used by congregations of the ELCZa, depending on which language group makes up the majority of the congregation.

Rev. Deborah preaching at the Mulendema Congregation. Her sermon is being translated into Nyanja by Rev. Matilda Banda, the General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa).
Afterwards, we were again served a delicious lunch. As we were about to leave, a member of the congregation presented us with a live chicken! (We appreciated the gift but gave it to Rev. Banda to take home with her.) We arrived home late in the afternoon, tired, hot, and dusty, but happy that we had made some new friends.

ELCA Global Mission Support and Contact Information

In all of this, we thank God for you—for your prayers and for your financial support. We couldn’t do it without you! If you wish to support us, you can give through your local congregation or through our new ELCA Missionary Sponsorship Page.

For more information on the ELCA’s Campaign to construct new churches in Zambia, go to and click on Zambia at the bottom of the page. You can contact us at and
Joe and Deborah are ELCA missionaries living in Lusaka, Zambia, where they are serving with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZa). Their daughter, Christa, is a junior at the University of Southern California, where she is studying French and Film & Television Production.