17th October 2010
The Waterfront offers a free shuttle bus into town at 10am every day, with return at 2pm. We decided to go, even though we were told that shops were generally closed and the lady at reception was unsure about church services (especially when we explained that we were not Catholics).
So I was on the lookout for open churches as we drove into town. Our curiosity was aroused by one called David Livingstone Memorial Presbyterian church.
The service officially started at 9.30am, but no one raised an eyebrow when we walked in after 10am. The door remained open for stragglers throughout the service.
Because the congregation was Presbyterian, I expected the service to be formal. Instead, we were greeted by a party atmosphere. Soon AH and I were invited to join a conga down the aisles.
The music was so loud and the singing so enthusiastic that it took me a while to figure out that most of the singing was in English... The only words I understood were 'Jesus' and 'Halleluja'.
I studied the banners and mission statement. Their priorities were stewardship, evangelism and HIV/Aids, the latter a reminder that Aids remains a big problem in Africa. (The problem is also addressed on many posters.)
The preacher's voice carried to the back of the church, even without a microphone. First, he asked why most Zambian worship songs were in Bembo: „Can the other tribes not come up with songs of praise?“
He also said that there was no room for long faces in church. After all, we all knew One who could sort our problems if we just let Him.
We then shook hands with those around us, reminding each other that we were in the right place.
The key message was that our weaknesses keep us dependent on God and help us not to take things for granted. („Note that it talks here about weakness and not wickedness.“)
He said that some of us need our problems to help us focus on God. (As Mrs Self-sufficient personified, I am guilty as charged...)
The key to change is to stop focussing on our thorns and focus on the One who can either pull out the thorn or may leave it intact if this serves a better purpose...
When we leave the service at noon, we expect to shake hands with the preacher, but instead we are awaited by half the congregation. We shake hands with everyone and then joy the line of greeters. What a friendly way to say good bye.
David Livingstone Museum
We had our own personal guide for half the tour, so could bombard him with questions. I learned that the name Zambia comes from Zambezi river that plays such a key role in the country and that the colours of the national flag stand for nature (green), blood shed in freedom fight (red), black majority (black) and metals found in Zambia (gold).
I was moved when I heard that 2 ex-slaves carried Livingstone's body for 9 months across Africa to Zanzibar so that he could eventually be buried in England. (His body was identified by a bone that carried the scars of a lion attack.)
Livingstone's heart and internal organs are buried in Zanzibar for practical reasons (better corpse preservation) than romatic reasons (he had lost his heart to Africa)...
I also found it interesting to learn about the Zambian culture. A lot of the wildlife was preserved in former times because of mystical reasons.
People would generally not eat elephants because they believed that the elephant contained the meat of different animals like mice and snakes, and no-one wanted to eat the wrong meat...
The museum had also rebuilt a traditional village and tried to demonstrate the clash between traditional and modern lifestyles.