Back to Africa

Highfields' Associate Pastor Phil Jenkins reflects on this summer's trip to Namibia, the country where he used to work.

Phil Jenkins | 19:35, 22 August, 2012 

Road to KatimaThey say Katima is not the end of the world but you can definitely see it from there!  It's 730 kilometres from Namibia's capital Windhoek to Rundu and then a further 500 kilometres east along the Caprivi Strip to Katima. When you arrive, you are very glad you've come to the end of your journey! 

They say Katima is not the end of the world but you can definitely see it from there!

Katima was the location for the first church leaders' conference at which I had been asked to speak. I was there, by invitation of SIM, to give four addresses on the subject of the gospel and social justice. The other sessions of the two day gathering were presentations of the ten key books that were given to more than 120 church leaders at the conference as part of the SIM Pastors' Book Set project.

The SIM PBS project has been in existence for more than ten years but is relatively new to Namibia. The conference in Katima was only the second in the country and it was followed by a third gathering in Rundu at the end of the week where the sessions were repeated for another 100 church leaders.

Namibian Pastors BooksetThe PBS project is greatly appreciated by church leaders in Africa. Many of them have to work with precious few bible study resources. For a registration fee of N$200 (about £20) each pastor receives the set of ten books. The only requirement is that the recipient is sufficiently proficient in English to benefit from the books. Plus, they have to promise not to sell them on.

It was an encouraging reminder to me of the grace of the gospel as I delivered my messages in a very different context from the one in which I had prepared them in Cardiff!

In northern Namibia the gospel really is good news for the poor.

In northern Namibia the gospel really is good news for the poor.  It is a wonderful privilege to remind Christian brothers and sisters of a God who introduces himself on many occasions in the Scriptures as the one who "upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry, who watches over the refugee and sustains the fatherless and the widow."  Seeing the delight and anticipation on the church leaders' faces as they received their bible resources was worth every mile travelled. 

Jenkins Family at Victoria FallsAnd after speaking nine times in less than a week, it was also worth travelling another 200 kilometres through Botswana and Zimbabwe to spend three days as a family at the appropriately named Victoria Falls Rest Camp.  You can hear the continuous roar of the Falls from up to three kilometres away. At night, especially when all is quiet, you hear the estimated 700,000 cubic meters per minute of the Zambezi crashing 93 metres into the gorge below.  Wherever you are, the sound of this mighty river forms the background to life. It’s a marvellous picture of God’s river of grace which infinitely outstrips even the mighty Zambezi.


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