Most of the time, when it’s time to start a new CROSS Project Term, getting churches going can take weeks or even months…Which is why it’s always a good idea to start really early. Usually, John and I need to make contact with the pastor multiple times by telephone, meet in person one or two times, and then go to the site where we will actually be teaching. And then usually we still need to make some more calls and send some reminder text messages. This all happens for a variety of reasons that deal with culture and primarily working with some of the poorest of the poor here in Zambia. And in Zambia, everything just takes time anyways, from walking to driving to buying groceries, getting work permits and driver’s licenses, and a host of other things. Most of this all has to do with how we view time in the West (monochronic – time as a limited and valuable resource) and how the majority world views time (polychronic – time as a somewhat unlimited resource).
But every once in a while, a situation will really knock my socks off and proceed with lighting-speed efficiency. This past Monday, we were teaching at one of our new CROSS Project churches, and Kristin and Eta were teaching through Lesson 2, “HIV/AIDS – A Broad Overview.” John was doing a lot of translation work, and I was watching Charlie.
During the middle of the lesson, three gentlemen plus the pastor of this church walked in and sat down. The pastor came over to me and said that these three men wanted to talk with me and John. So, John and I went outside with the three, and Kristin and Eta continued teaching the lesson. The men informed us that they were from the Reformed Church of Zambia and were really interested in going through the CROSS Project with their church. So, we exchanged information and set up an appointment where John and I would meet with them in two days to talk. I was encouraged that people were coming to us to get information about CROSS, but my expectations were still pretty low, because things like this happen all the time. People seem really interested at first, but when they find out we don’t give out money, that the course takes 16 weeks to go through, that we are not an HIV healing ministry, or that the course is actually about a biblical worldview of HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse and will challenge a lot of cultural assumptions, their interest fades in a hurry.
John and I did met with them two days later. I was thinking that we would get them all signed up for January 2014 when the first term of the new year starts. But after going through a lengthy discussion about CROSS, what we teach, that we don’t give out money, the challenges of starting a couple weeks late in this term, the October heat, the November rains, that we would be going into December (which is pretty much a holiday month in Zambia), even still, they we set on starting the CROSS Project with their church this upcoming Thursday!
John and I both left pretty shocked and very encouraged by the enthusiasm that God has given them for HIV ministry! Please pray for this new group as we start the CROSS Project and that they would be helped and encouraged to reach out with the hope of Christ to those in their family, church, and community that are suffering from HIV and in domestic abuse situations.