February 8, 2013
The lessons of Jesus Christ often begin in humble places. For Dayla Rowland, an OBU student ministry associate of evangelism and mobilization, that humble place was a man’s house in the village of Nabukowa, Zambia. What started as a simple Bible study in a home has budded into a regular church service for the people of Nabukowa.
In May 2012, Rowland and seven OBU students traveled to the African country of Zambia to spread the Gospel and serve in New Day Orphanage. Rowland and a few members of her group, accompanied by New Day Orphanage staff member Blu Tidwell, visited the local village of Nabukowa.
“There is such a weight of responsibility to the Great Commission when I think of villages like Nabukowa – a place where we literally went to the ends of the earth to share the Good News,” said Rowland. “The call to spread the Gospel of Christ is always heavy on my heart.”
The “Great Commission” refers to the mandate of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (HCSB).
Prior to Rowland’s visit, personnel from New Day Orphanage experienced little success in spreading the Gospel in the village community. This time, however, a chain-reaction of events snowballed into a structured Bible study led by Rowland.
“After walking through the village past several empty houses, we finally came across a woman, who was probably in her 70s, and her grandchildren,” said Rowland. “They were harvesting maize in a field, but stopped to hear me share the story of the prodigal son. After that encounter, we came across another woman who shared that she and her brother would be open to hearing more about God’s Word. The next day, we were able to meet with the brother and establish a time to have a Bible study at his house.”
With some encouragement from Tidwell, Rowland led the first Bible study in the village of Nabukowa. Rowland said the Bible study lasted for an hour and a half, in which she and New Day Orphanage staff member Wes Wilcox took turns answering the villagers’ questions. About a dozen adults and six children came and listened at the house.
At the end of the study, a man approached Wilcox asking if another study could be held for the village the following week. According to Rowland, these studies take place each week, and in mid-January, Tidwell led the first church service in the village. About 20 villagers gathered in the same home where the first Bible study in Nabukowa took place.
“When I returned to Shawnee after my time in Zambia, I felt burdened to do more to serve and share my faith,” Rowland said. “I was reminded that, just as much as the people of Nabukowa village need to hear the Gospel, the people in our community need to hear His truth as well.
“I look forward to returning to Zambia to share the Gospel in other areas this summer, but I am so glad that I do not have to wait until then to live out the Gospel here.”