Do you ever need to be encouraged? We do! This life is full of discouraging conversations or situations. And, in ministry, it can be easy to get discouraged, because we often do not immediately see the fruit that God is bearing in people’s lives as a result of our labor and prayers.
Recently, in the C.R.O.S.S. Project (Churches Ready to Overcome Silence and Stigma), the HIV arm of ACTION Zambia, we decided to look for some encouragement. One of the churches had just completed our 16-week teaching program and was preparing a “graduation ceremony,” where we would award each participant with a certificate and Bible.
The day of their graduation arrived. Zambians tend to love pomp and circumstance, so these graduations are a big deal. The choreographed dances and songs had been rehearsed. The choir robes (being used as graduation robes) were donned. And joy was in the air. With shouts and clapping and cheers, each participant proudly received his or her certificate and Bible.
Then, we spontaneously asked if anyone had a testimony to share about God’s work in them through C.R.O.S.S. Several people immediately came forward and encouraged us in ways we had not expected.
The lesson on abuse showed me that abuse is wrong. I have been using the verses you showed us to encourage my husband to stop abusing me. And I have also encouraged my brothers to not be abusive.
I saw that I have stigmatized people. Seeing that everyone is made in the image of God has helped me to not stigmatize and to reach out to others.
God has given us a plan in the Bible for marriage. We, as Zambians, need to confront the traditions that are against the Bible.
I need to have the Word of God living in my heart, so I can have fruit in my life.
Praise God! “I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth” 3 John 1:3, ESV. Yes, and we have been encouraged. Would you please pray for God to continue doing this work in people’s lives for His glory and our encouragement in Zambia?