Missionary Ed Miller and Pastor Patrick Chanda are men that became lifelong friends, beginning 3 days after Ed arrived in Zambia with his family as new missionaries in 1978. These are ordinary men that God has used in extraordinary ways and I look forward to telling their story through the next few posts.
A brief history of Zambia and the work there will be useful as we unfold the ministries of these servants of God.
The country of Zambia, formerly Northern Rhodesia, was born out of necessity as tribes from other countries fled from warring factions. More than 70 different languages among 73 tribal groups reside in this country the size of Texas and Arkansas. The 1990 census reported a population of over 8 million. Today there are more than 14 million living in Zambia.
Zambia became an independent nation in 1964 and at that time English was chosen to be the language of commerce and government. Any missionary to Zambia would have great challenges to overcome, and this was certainly true with Ed and wife Linda as they began their new ministry.
Ed Miller’s ministry would be in the Copperbelt area of Zambia. This is an urban area that quickly developed as the copper industry began to flourish. The Copperbelt consists of 5 major cities that range in population from 117,000 in Luanshya to 504,000 in Kitwe. The Copperbelt is a virtual melting pot of culture and languages, and the oldest area of Baptist work in the country. Southern Baptists historically have been rural people. But as the country of Zambia was being considered as a place to build churches, they saw the migration to the Copperbelt and knew this was where God wanted them – big cities where the people were.
Missionary Ed Miller and Pastor Patrick Chanda met for the first time when Ed went to visit the Baptist Seminary to see the work that was being done to train pastors. Patrick was from Kitwe and was grateful that Ed was there to help in that region. Patrick graduated in 1980 and became the Pastor of a church in the Copperbelt in the city of Mufulira.
Over the next few years Ed and Patrick’s friendship grew as they ministered together in youth work and church planting. Ed still travels back to Zambia on occasion to work with Patrick and the Zambian people he loves so much.
Patrick is the Pastor of the first Baptist church that was established in Zambia, the Chamboli Baptist Church. The Baptist Mission of Zambia has grown from 2 churches started in 1960 by the first Southern Baptist Missionaries, Tom and Mary Small and Zeb and Evelyn Moss, to over 1500 today. Later we will see how Pastor Patrick started an orphanage in a container storage unit with 32 children. Over the past 4 years he has been instrumental in starting 40 new churches in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
When Ed arrived in Zambia in 1978 he was working with 20 churches. When he left in 2008, there were over 270 churches in the area where he served, as he was blessed to work with the dedicated team of Zambians that had the vision to plant churches.
As you can see, Ed Miller and Patrick Chanda are men of God’s choosing, directing their portion of the ongoing mission work in Zambia. It has been an exciting life of ministry for them and I look forward to giving more details in the next posts.