Bicycle Built for Hope
Zambia Pastors Using Bikes to Spread My Hope Message
October 14, 2011 - In a country where few have automobiles and many people walk to work, coordinators are using bicycles to reach area pastors and churches with My Hope Zambia training.
This is bringing souls to know Jesus Christ, at least that’s my prayer and hope.
— Pastor John Tembo
By Trevor Freeze
How long would you pedal to share the Gospel?
The question begs an answer after hearing about pastors in Zambia who ride their bicycles around town, and sometimes further, to spread the love of Jesus Christ.
Pastor John Tembo has long used a bicycle to navigate the roads of Petauke in the Eastern Province city where he pastors Petauke Central Baptist Church.
But it hasn’t always been easy.
“Sometimes because of bad roads, the chain comes off or the tires go flat,” said Pastor Tembo, whose church is about 60 miles north of the Mozambique border.
But that doesn’t stop him. Pastor Tembo hops right back on after messing with the chain or pumping up a tire. He commonly rides 20 kilometers a day sharing Christ and visiting members of his congregation.
“It gives me a lot of energy,” he said, “and makes my body strong.”
But the 53-year-old bicycle pastor recognizes his limits. He has been using a two-wheeler to minister since 1988, and a 50-kilometer day was not uncommon when he was younger. But now Pastor Tembo admits he “can’t cover some of the areas. I am 53, and my energy has gone down.”
But he still has plenty of energy to tell people about the My Hope Zambia World Evangelism Through Television program, which airs nationwide on Dec. 1-3. During this weekend, Matthew hosts will invite their friends, family and neighbors over for a 30-minute broadcast featuring music videos, testimonies and a classic message by Billy Graham or a sermon by Franklin Graham, then they'll share their own stories and give an invitation to receive Christ.
Pastor Tembo has been faithfully spreading the My Hope Zambia word through his 150-member congregation as well as through the Fellowship of Pastors, which includes more than 30 area ministers.
“This is bringing souls to know Jesus Christ, at least that’s my prayer and hope,” he said. “People are excited. They want to know more.”
Pastor Tembo is one of 43 regional coordinators, all of whom are key to spreading the My Hope message all over this country the size of Texas.
“Even nonbelievers know me,” he said.
More Biking for Jesus
In a country where traveling from city to city, or even around town, can be a huge challenge with many lacking automobiles, another district coordinator has found help in the form of two wheels.
Rev. Evaristo Kabwe, the mobilization coordinator, recognized that one particular coordinator lacked transportation and was severely limited in his My Hope effectiveness.
“We saw his potential and wanted to encourage him to go all out,” said Joe Mott, the deputy country director for My Hope Zambia. “The bike will extend his range in the area he’s training to 50 kilometers out from his hometown of Mumbwa (western Zambia).”
The coordinator had trained 71 churches with My Hope materials before getting the bike, and that number has already increased to 108.
“We believe he will exceed the 115 church goal,” Mott said.