The Flying Buffalo
by Charles Banji
My name is Charles Banji and I’m from Zambia, a country located in Southern Africa. I'm a preacher and evangelist. I also build schools, clinics, and churches around Zambia. A few years ago, I travelled to South Africa to buy equipment for a crusade to be conducted in a town called Maamba. On our way to South Africa, our vehicle developed an engine problem. We managed to arrive at our destination, but our return trip was very slow because we were pulling a small trailer and we were concerned about the vehicle’s engine.
After 20 hours of driving, we arrived at the Botswana border. After we crossed the border, we drove into Zimbabwe following the Victoria Falls route. It includes hilly roads and a game park. As we were climbing up a large hill, I remembered we would be descending on the other side at a crossing point for buffalos and many other animals. I forced the vehicle to speed up so that we could manage to climb the hill. As we were descending on the other side, I saw a large group of buffalo crossing the road in a single file line about 100 meters in front of us.
Meanwhile, our vehicle was gaining momentum. We were sure that we would be involved in a deadly accident. We thought that once we hit a buffalo, the vehicle would go off the road or it would be undriveable and the rest of the animals in the game park would come around and kill us.
When I applied the brakes, the tires squeaked and caused the vehicle to skid toward the bushes. I managed to regain control and get the car back on the road. The buffalo were right in front of the vehicle. I decided I would aim to hit a small buffalo and I shouted for the Lord to help us. My eyes blinked and I saw a buffalo lifted up and fly towards the right side of the road, leaving only a gap wide enough for our vehicle to pass through. My passenger and I were in awe. The Lord had delivered us and allowed us to escape death, even at the last second. We managed the rest of our journey in safety, thanking God the entire way.
We thank God because He moves to save His people in their time of need.
The Potential of Music in Ministry
by Daniel Soochkoff-Cerna
ith such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!” (Education p. 271)
This quote has inspired me for a few years now, and as a young person myself, I have a strong desire to make it come true in my lifetime. I am a musician. I started learning violin at the age of eight and lived a typical Seventh-day Adventist life until about the age of 13. Then, something started to change. My casual interest in music ignited into a passion and eventually a dream that has now become a youth ministry. From ages 13-16, God blessed me with numerous musical opportunities and experiences from co-directing music camps to writing an oratorio about Daniel the prophet. I was able to take composition classes, participate in a professional youth orchestra, and write and perform music for various ensembles. God sent many people into my life to inspire and help me in ways that I could not have pursued on my own. I realized how blessed I was with opportunities that many of my peers did not have. As I associated with my peers, I also noticed something very concerning to me. I saw that there was a lack of guidance for young people in the field of music and a lot of them either ended up not giving it the attention it deserved or ended up pursuing the wrong kinds of music. I thought that there must be a better way. I couldn't understand why there were no options for young people seeking to pursue uplifting music, so I decided to do something about it.
Through some painful but providential circumstances, God brought me to live with a musical, ministry-minded family. Day after day, I watched this family incorporate their faith into their lives and into a beautiful music ministry. They took me to my first GYC session in 2017, and it changed my life. As my faith began to grow stronger in Jesus Christ, He put a calling on my life to start a music ministry for young people. I decided to call it the Institute of Young Musicians for Christ (IYMC). My heart was burdened with the lack of attention to music ministry that I saw, even in my own church. I saw many opportunities for youth ministry training in the areas of health and literature evangelism, but where was music ministry training? How could I prevent my friends from turning to the world for their music instruction when I saw few other options for them or even myself?
I could not rest with these questions unanswered. I could not keep the blessings and opportunities that God had given me to myself, so in 2017, I talked with a few people and started my ministry team. IYMC was off the ground. We created a website and started offering youth-led music worship services such as hymn vespers or song-and-prayer concerts. We visited nursing homes with music programs and ran a music camp in northern California. As we continued to talk, pray and dream, we started creating bigger plans. What about giving young people an opportunity to receive compositional training from professional Seventh-day Adventist composers and then performing the best pieces live and recording them? And what about a high-quality youth orchestra that could learn both classical and sacred repertoire and offer community-outreach concerts, handing out GLOW tracts in the foyer afterward? These ideas started taking shape, and we made plans for 2019 and 2020.
Then, the Lord gave me another life-changing opportunity. I went on my first music-focused mission trip to Bali, Indonesia. While there, we visited an orphanage, and I taught the young people to play a simple song on recorders that we had brought for them. Another idea came into my mind. Why don’t we train orphans in private music lessons and eventually music pedagogy so that they can leave the orphanage with a trade and a ministry? As I talked with one of my friends on the trip, my vision for overseas music ministry continued to grow. Why not set up permanent music schools and start youth orchestras and choirs in various countries around the world?
My heart was nearly bursting as I came home. I could hardly wait to start making bigger plans and to pray for God to bless this ministry. I am about to begin college, but my prayer is for God to bless IYMC with consecrated workers and funding to help spread the 3 Angels’ Messages through professional, ministry-minded music training. Our goal is to have camps in every state in the US and music schools in as many countries as have an interest. This may sound impossible, but God promises that “All things are possible to him that believes” (Mark 9:23).
– When Everything Is Missions
La Vida Mission
by Steve Gillham (Director/President)
ummer began at La Vida Mission in a most unusual way. Even though classes ended May 23, 13 of our students (including some high school graduates) and eight staff gave a week of their summer vacation to travel to Texas in our big donated coach for our first ever mission trip. Twenty-one staff and students helped a small congregation in Tulia, Texas do some maintenance on their church. Students painted, installed sheetrock, taped, and did a variety of other small maintenance projects. The small, growing congregation in Tulia actively serves the community with a food bank and other needed outreach services, including ongoing year-round interactive evangelistic meetings led by retired pastor, Charles Mesnard and current pastor, Bobby Harris.
Our trip was fairly eventful as on Memorial Day, the starter for the coach broke. We were in Tulia finishing up work for the day. Stan (our driver/mechanic) removed the almost 50-pound starter and discovered disintegrated brushes and a bad armature. As we were in a small town and since it was Memorial Day, there were no parts stores open. We puzzled how to get everyone back to their quarters in Wayside (almost 30 miles away), when Pat, an attendee at the Tulia church, offered his stock trailer to use as a lift. After giving it some thought, we took Pat up on his offer. Everyone piled into the stock trailer and rode slowly back to their quarters on a little traveled farm-market road and then back to Tulia the next morning.
Stan called the Tulia Pastor in Amarillo (60+ miles away) and he graciously found the needed parts Tuesday morning and brought them to Tulia. Pat and Stan put the starter back together and tested it mid-afternoon only to find it still didn’t work. The solenoid (that tells the starter to engage the gear to turn the engine) was bad, which had caused the armature and brushes to go. Stan borrowed a car, drove the hour back to Amarillo, got a new solenoid and reinstalled the starter. Shortly after supper, the coach fired to life and everyone cheered and rode back to their quarters following a short worship. If the problem with the starter had occurred somewhere out on the road, we would have been totally stranded, but Praise the Lord, it happened in Tulia and we were able to keep working on the church while waiting for parts and repair! The cost was about $200 for parts. It could have easily cost $400-600 for a new starter that we would have needed to order, but Praise the Lord it was repaired quickly and inexpensively!
La Vida Mission has been blessed by many mission groups over the years. We want the blessing of serving and we want to bless others by our service. Although we made several visits to churches to share our talents over the years and we have helped people in the community with projects, this is the first time we have traveled to help another mission.
For more stories about the mission fields in your backyard, visit https://lavidamission.org and click on Newsletters.