Special Report: International Rhema
Zambia Is Home to one of the world’s largest waterfalls, incredible natural beauty, and exotic wildlife. It’s also where Walker and Haley Schurz and their children, Timothy and Jessica, call home. The Schurzes moved to this breathtakingly beautiful southern African country in January of 2004. “We get to live where people go for vacation,” says Walker. He and his wife, both 1991 Rhema USA graduates, pastor Miracle Life Family Church in Lusaka, the nation’s capital. That’s also where they’ve opened Rhema Zambia.
Walker and Haley knew they were called to missions. They just weren’t sure where they were supposed to go. One day the Lord dropped into both their hearts, “Go help a Rhema missionary who needs help.” Through a series of events, the Schurzes met Ed and Laurie Elliott, missionaries to Africa. The Elliotts were expanding their ministry and needed a lot of help. In 1994, with 2-month-old Timothy in tow, Walker and Haley moved to South Africa, where they served under the Elliotts in the ministry of helps for six years.
In 2000 when Ed and Laurie moved back to the United States, the Schurzes remained in South Africa. The Lord eventually led them to hold pastors conferences in some of the nations located in Africa’s southern quadrant. In 2004 Walker and Haley moved to Zambia to begin pastoring Miracle Life Family Church.
“Zambia is a very strategic country in that it borders eight different nations,” says Walker. “It’s never had
a war. It’s very stable. We believe that strategically in the plan of God, it’s a place where people will be sent from. And we’re already beginning to see that. Different missionaries have been sent from Miracle Life Family Church and they’re going all around the world.”
Missionaries from Miracle Life are now serving in Kosovo, the United Kingdom, Asian nations, and other countries. One missionary, a Zambian named Rueben, moved to neighboring Tanzania, which has over 100 dialects. He is currently the national director of a Bible translating ministry. Under his leadership the Bible has been translated into 15 dialects, and he is working on getting it into another six!
One time, Rueben’s ministry office was burglarized. He later found out that the burglars were so hungry to read the Bible in their native tongue that they didn’t want to wait until copies were distributed. They broke into the office and took the Bibles!
After the Schurzes took over Miracle Life Family Church, the congregation continued to grow. Today, over 3,000 people regularly attend. In 2007 the church purchased 20 acres and built a new sanctuary—one of the largest and nicest church buildings in the country. Less than 5 percent of the money for it came from overseas—a miracle in itself. In 2010 Kenneth and Lynette Hagin presided over the dedication service for the new 2,200-seat facility.
Since the building’s completion, Miracle Life Family Church has held conferences for ministers and children’s workers. Two years ago, around 500 children’s workers from 65 churches attended one conference. When the meetings ended, the host church was able to put a children’s curriculum into the hands of each person who attended.
Miracle Life Family Church has held Vacation Bible School for the past nine years. Although VBS is common in the United States, it was almost unheard of in Zambia. It’s become so popular, though, that in 2011 the church had to limit attendance to 600 children. That week, 200 kids gave their hearts to the Lord. After VBS, many of the youngsters started dragging their moms to church. Ministers from surrounding churches saw the program’s impact. Before long, churches up to four hours away began sending workers to Miracle Life to learn how to hold Vacation Bible Schools.
The Apostle John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John v. 4). Walker and Haley bear witness to the truth of this verse. Over time, they’ve seen the lives of church members radically change.
One young man who had been living on the streets began attending Miracle Life through its street kids program. Today he has a job and drives a car. Another man was a junior lawyer in a law firm. Today he owns his own law firm. People are growing and developing. One woman told Walker, “Pastor, I tithed for the first time.”
Rhema Bible Training Center Zambia has its local roots in Africa Outreach, a ministry Walker and Haley founded in 2000 to teach pastors and church leaders who had never been to Bible school. Much of Zambia is very rural and it’s impossible for many ministers to leave their churches to go to school. The Lord laid it upon Walker’s heart to take Bible school to them. Since Africa Outreach began, more than 4,200 pastors and leaders have attended what they called Bush Bible Schools.
In 2010, Rhema Zambia opened its doors. Eager students ranging in age from 18 through 65 enrolled in the two-year school. Their lives were transformed as they began applying God’s Word.
About halfway through a term during which faith was being taught, Loveness, a widow with three children, found herself with no money and no food. She decided she would put into practice what she was learning. Loveness prayed and said, “I believe I receive food.” Then she told her kids to set the table. They did, then sat down. Loveness said, “OK, let’s thank God for the food.”
“What food?” her children asked with puzzled looks.
“Food is on the way,” she told them. “God is our provider.”
About two minutes later, someone knocked on her door with enough food for a month!
“No one will ever have to teach those children faith,” says Walker. “They won’t have to learn it in a class. They saw it with their own eyes, and they know God provides.”
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 9 that there weren’t many laborers going into the harvest fields, and He told us to pray for more laborers. That prayer was answered on December 1, 2012, as 79 Rhema Zambia charter graduates proudly walked across the stage to receive their diplomas! They’re ready and eager to share the truths they’ve learned with their countrymen and others around the globe.
“A whole new generation of laborers is being raised up and sent out,” says Walker. “We believe that this is really only the beginning. And the result for the years to come will be a fire that sweeps across Zambia and transforms it.”
» Timothy and Jessica Schurz have loved growing up in Africa. Timothy recently graduated from high school and is currently attending Stanford University.
» Jessica, currently a high school junior, is passionate about volleyball, music, graphics, and photography. She also teaches a Bible study at her high school.
» The Schurzes’ radio program, Growing Leaders, is broadcast weekly throughout Zambia.
» The plan of God for Africa Outreach
» Title Transfer of donated land
» That Rhema Zambia Graduates know clearly where God is sending them after graduation.
>>To Learn More go to www.AfricaOutreach.net