It was a long road, but at least there was road, and not only a road but a bridge. We were on our way to an audience with the Nkoya King at his palace. There are approximately 70,000 Nkoya living in western Zambia, making their home in and around Kaoma District.
The Nkoya are one of the people groups with whom Mike and Amy Smith are sharing the gospel. Mike, Amy, and their children, Tyler and Evie left family and friends several years ago so that they could teach the Bible, spreading the love of Christ.
Charlene Hahn, IMB trustee and I were invited to join Mike on his trip to greet the king. The Smith family had just returned from the states and it is customary to greet your friends upon your return. When we arrived at the palace, we first went into the local court, where a cattle dispute was being settled. From there, Charlene and I were led through the woman's door into the palace, while the men went another way. When we met again, in front of his palace, we squatted down and began a series of rhythmic clapping to announce our arrival and desire for an audience. You do not rush into the presence of a king.
We sat on the floor while we waited for the king to arrive. Notice the men stretching their legs out, they are "relaxing" until the king comes in, when they will have to sit with their legs folded underneath, in a respectful pose. At the appropriate time the king will invite us to sit in the chairs.
Mike is looking through the newly published Nkoya New Testament. Praise God for this answer to prayer. The Smiths and their home church in Virginia, Deerfield Baptist, have been praying for the Bible translation project for many years. Pray that the Old Testament would be completed in a timely manner so that the Nkoya would have the complete Word of God in their language.
What a pleasure and delight it was to meet Mwene Mutondo, the Nkoya King. Several years ago Mike was instrumental in leading him to the Lord. The love Mwene Mutondo has for his people is obvious. Pray that he will lead the Nkoya people with God's wisdom and truth.
I was able to present a gift of white sugar to the king. Like most households, sugar will not last long. Pray that the Nkoya people will know the gift of salvation brought by Jesus Christ, a gift that is eternal.
This structure, named "kala", is located outside the king's palace. The prime minister explained its traditional purpose. If a person killed someone and the victim's family was in pursuit, they were able to run to the palace and grab hold of "kala", they then would receive instant mercy. No trial or further discussion was needed, mercy was granted and the victim's family was obligated to stop any sort of revenge permanently. Pray that the Nkoya people would run into the arms of the Almighty Lord, grabbing hold of His mercy, that is never ending and never failing.
These children are in the doorway of a nearly completed rural health clinic. Pray that construction would be completed so that the families in this area would have a place to come to in times of medical need.
Pray for the Smiths and all the national believers in the Kaoma District, that they would stand firm on God's truths, shining His light to their families and friends. Pray that many Nkoya would understand that sin separates each of us from God, for He is holy. Pray that they would comprehend the truth that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, He is the bridge, uniting us with our Lord.