ZAMBIA PROJECT HISTORY
In 1963, Brother John Bond, the then National Leader of AOG in South Africa, and others went to Mongu to gain permission from the Lozi king to bring the Gospel into the Western Province. Unfortunately political reasons prevented their return.
Worldwide Missions, the missions-arm of the AOG in South Africa at the time, established a missions base near Livingstone in the Southern Province of Zambia in 1998. Paul van Coller, the then Youth Pastor at View Church in Cape Town, led a team of young people to this base. It was on that trip that he was made aware of the desperate need of the Lozi people in the Western Province who are mostly unreached. The following year Paul and his good friend Dave Weber, followed their hearts and visited Mongu, the main centre of the Western Province of Zambia. Dave, a final year medical student at the time, and Paul were visiting a local doctor at his house when they, through supernatural intervention, met the pastor of Mongu Pentecostal Assembly of God (PAOG). He informed them of his church’s vision to reach the Lozi people and as a result, a strategic partnership was formed between Mongu Assembly of God and View Church in Cape Town. Following this the Zambia Project was born.
At the end of another short-term outreach near Livingstone in 2000, Paul and four other dedicated members of View Church in Cape Town drove another 550 km north-west towards Mongu. There they met with leaders from the PAOG and assured them of View Church’s commitment to serve alongside them. They traveled further north to Kalabo, a town across the Zambezi River, to meet with the pastor there to encourage him in his work for the Lord. He was ecstatic to see them and said that he had been crying out to God to send people to come and stand with him.
It was on the road back from Kalabo that Paul had an experience with a man that changed him forever. They were driving late at night and in the middle of nowhere had to stop to ask for directions. It was there that a man in his mid forties, with a desperate look on his face, addressed Paul as “God”. He took out a small picture of the Pope and said: “God, I’ve been praying for money so that I can go to Rome and be forgiven for my sins”. Paul assured him that he wasn’t God and led him in a sinner’s prayer. Afterwards Paul discovered that the man thought he was God, because he had heard somewhere that ‘God is Light’, and he had never seen lights before seeing the headlights on their vehicles! The thought that there are many more people like this man in the Western Province, who have never heard the name Jesus, broke Paul’s heart.
View Church continued to send teams to the Southern and Western Provinces of Zambia but it was during AOG SA’s Group Conference in March 2002 that the situation changed. When Paul was serving as Lazarus Chacqwera’s (National Leader of the AOG in Malawi) driver, the burden for the Western Province grew so much that he had to act upon it. At that point, View Church’s involvement in the Western Province had grown to such an extent that a full time couple were needed to be based up there in order for the project to continue growing.
Paul and Marinette decided to pursue a long term missionary assignment in the Western Province of Zambia. After getting Graham and Jenny Evans (Senior Pastors at View Church) and Donovan Coetzee’s (National Leader AOG South Africa) approval they began preparations for the goal of moving to Mongu within a year.
It was exactly 40 years after Brother Bond had been to Mongu to speak with the Lozi king that Paul and Marinette van Coller moved up to Mongu! Since then the Project has grown exponentially and God has provided every step of the way. More churches from different countries have become strategically involved. When the Project had grown to the maximum amount of work that Paul and Marinette were capable of doing on their own, God raised up additional support and more people began joining them as missionaries in Western Zambia!
During 2008 we started to realize that we could only achieve our vision of having a church within walking distance of every person in Western Zambia if we started raising up an army of local leaders. With this in mind, we then started Hope Church in Mongu during December 2008.
The response has been incredible and Hope Church is growing from strength to strength. Our desire is that everything we do will eventually be channelled through this church.