Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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HomeAll The NewsSPOTLIGHT ON MISSIONS: Mickeal & Sharon Quillman • Zambia

SPOTLIGHT ON MISSIONS: Mickeal & Sharon Quillman • Zambia

As of Aug. 6, Sharon and I have been living and serving in Southern Zambia for one year! In many ways, it feels like we have been here much longer because of the things that God has done this past year; while at other times, it feels like we have just arrived.

When we began this journey, we didn’t really know what to expect. We have been serving in full-time ministry since 2000, but this was something new. In every move we have ever made, my entire family went with us. This was the first time we would be leaving our children, and now our grandchildren behind. That was, and still is, the hardest part of our ministry, but we know that God has sent us. Many days, I have had to remind myself of Mark 10:29-31 and Matt. 19:29 as a comfort. We are both thankful for the technology that allows us to see and speak with our children and grandchildren, but we still miss holding those grandbabies as they are growing up so fast. Even with these struggles, Sharon and I both have an unexplainable peace, knowing we are doing what God has called us to and have seen His hand at work. So let me move on to what God has done in this last year.

In September of 2022, Sharon and I needed to begin our language acquisition classes. The struggle was knowing which language to learn first. Zambia has 72 different dialects, and 5 of those languages are spoken here in the southern province — ChiNyanja, ChiTonga, ChiLozi, ChiBemba and ChiTokaleya. We settled on ChiNyanja, since most people here can at least understand it, if they are not fluent in it.

Not knowing exactly where to begin, we posted an ad on Facebook messenger looking for a schoolteacher willing to work with us. We received many responses, but God put us in contact with a young lady who had just graduated from college as an elementary teacher who was not employed at a school yet. As we began our classes with her, we also got to know more about her and her family. I have been accused of “talking to everyone,” and if you knew my dad, then you know where I got it from. Our teacher invited us to go and meet her uncle who was the headman of a small village about two hours from our home.

As we met with her uncle and his family, we walked around his village and got to meet many of those living in the area. We realized there was no church, Bible study or understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I asked the headman if he would mind if we came out on Thursdays to lead a Bible study with the people in his village and he said that he had no problem with it. The next week, we began a Bible study under a tree beside his hut with about seven people, including the headman, and I shared the gospel. This was the first time he had heard about sin, his separation from the One True God and the penalty for this sin. The headman, Raymond, gave his life to Christ.

The next week at Bible study, we had about 30 people from Raymond’s village, Chibinga, as well as 2 other neighboring villages, Kawewa and Mulungula. Raymond had gone around that whole week inviting people to “come and see” what God had done for him. Raymond had struggled with alcoholism for many years and many people had lost respect for him as a headman; but this week, he was sober and there was something different about him. This made many people curious to see what had changed his life so drastically. His wife came that week and accepted Christ as well, along with Raymond’s 76-year-old father.

Raymond’s wife, Mainza confided in Sharon that she couldn’t believe what God had done. He was a completely different man than she had known for many years. He was even reading the Bible I had given him almost non-stop. During the next week, Raymond called me and asked if I could bring a tarp to make a covering for a building if he constructed the poles. When I arrived, he had built a structure and set up logs for seats. We stretched the tarp over the top to block the heat from the sun and continued with our Bible studies.

During one study, as we were taking prayer requests, it was mentioned that a borehole (water well) was needed in the community as they were walking over an hour one way to get water. I told them that we would begin praying and see how God worked. One week later, as Sharon and I were driving into the village, we were met by an out of breath Raymond who was trying his best to let us know something. I couldn’t make out what he was saying due to his excitement and was afraid something had happened to his son, Andreas, who suffers from epilepsy. As we drove into the village, I saw what his excitement was about. There was a boring machine putting in a well! The government had come with no notice and was drilling, at no cost to anyone in the village. We had a praise service that day, thanking God for what He had done.

In December of 2022, we decided to have an outreach service for Christmas and expected to have about 150-200 people come. We planned a meal and prepared gifts (water bottles, crayons and coloring sheets) for the children. We arrived early to begin preparing for the day and was amazed to see that there was already about 200 people there, and many more walking along the road. By the time the service began, we had just over 600 people! Within my mind I was overwhelmed but did my best not to show it outwardly. I could only imagine how the disciples felt when Jesus said, in Matt. 14:16, “You feed them.”

Sharon and I, along with the headman and a few of our faithful just began to pray and then proceeded with the service. That day our message began in Genesis with the perfection of God’s creation, the fall of man, the penalty for disobedience and then moved into God’s plan to save us from this punishment, the real reason we celebrate Christmas, and then Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. At the end of the service, I spoke and prayed with people wanting to receive salvation for almost three hours. God was once again doing something miraculous! While I was praying with people for salvation, Sharon and the ladies were cooking and beginning to serve food to feed all who had come. We began cooking that morning around 10 a.m. and finished cooking at 8 p.m. Everyone received something to eat, but the best was all of those who received the spiritual food Jesus spoke about to the woman at the well in John 4:32.

God is still working in ways I cannot explain. In fact, Sharon and I often talk about how we can’t believe God is allowing us to be part of His work here. In January, we began meeting on Sunday mornings for church services and on Thursday for Bible studies. We have baptized many people in a small cattle pond. It was a first for me to run the cattle and pigs out of the water, check for snakes, consider whether crocodiles might have made their way from the river and then step into the water to baptize.

In June of this year, a team led by Andy Neal (pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Jonesboro) and Clinton Morris (an Arkansas church planter) began to build a more permanent structure for our church, Chabantu Missionary Baptist Church. We are now making cement blocks, another first for me, so we can construct water troughs to use for baptism closer to the church. The cattle pond I mentioned before is about a 90-minute walk from our building. Walking distance here is just a bit different than for most Americans. We will also use these troughs to water the animals when they are not being used for baptisms. Once the troughs are constructed, we will continue to make cement blocks to build walls for the church building as God provides the funds. We are also praying for God to help us make benches to sit on instead of just logs, but God is still saving people sitting on logs, the sand and even leaning on nearby trees.

We have had the headmen from four other villages receive Christ and begin attending services and Bible studies. We also have people from 7 of those 11 villages who are also attending. Even the senior headman, who oversees 25 villages, has started attending and has shown interest in having Bible studies in all 25 of the villages he serves. We are praying for God to raise up more leaders from within the local villages that can help teach. We currently have four men we are training to do just that and, hopefully, become church planters one day (II Tim. 2:2).

There are so many more stories I could share about what God is doing here, and we are excited to see what God will do in this next year. We would love to hear from you and share more stories. (pastorquill@gmail.com)