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Spring Meadows Church Member Serves in Zambia

posted on November 03, 2015, under Member by

by Angela Baerg

Jeffrey Brownlow, left, a member of Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, served with friends Kristopher Thompson and Moses Maier in Zambia last school year. This fall, all three returned to Southern Adventist University to continue their studies. (Photo: Danielle Schafer, MUR Photos)

Jeffrey Brownlow, left, a member of Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, served with friends Kristopher Thompson and Moses Maier in Zambia last school year. This fall, all three returned to Southern Adventist University to continue their studies. (Photo: Danielle Schafer, MUR Photos)

Jeffrey Brownlow, a member of Spring Meadows Church in Sanford, felt convicted to go overseas as a student missionary during his junior year at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. One night, he prayed before going to bed and asked God to show him where he was most needed. He awoke the next morning to see a simple text message from his friend, Moses Maier. He hadn’t told Moses he was considering mission work. The text said, “Hey man, come with me to Africa.”

Jeffrey and Moses began to research mission opportunities and were particularly intrigued by a construction placement where they would build one-day churches and schools with Riverside Farm in Zambia, Africa. The first time Jeffrey and Moses visited a one-day church construction site, they mainly watched, trying to absorb the whole process and stay out of the way.

“I was used to watching construction with bulldozers and cement trucks,” Jeffrey says. “In Zambia, you are the bulldozer. You are the cement truck. It was amazing how quickly the structure was assembled using sheer manpower.”

Before long, they could keep pace as they worked alongside their Zambian brothers. Jeffrey looked forward to visiting new villages where they were eagerly welcomed by people who were excited about their new steel church. It would often be the nicest building in the village, replacing a mud structure in severe disrepair.

The steel pieces, roofing caps, and roofing sheets felt like a giant puzzle which they had only one day to solve. This time crunch was particularly challenging in the construction of the church in Mansa. Jeffrey and his friends needed to finish it that night in order to return to Riverside Farm early the next morning.

It was late in the evening when a raging storm ambushed the group as they were finishing the roof. The slanted, treacherously slick surface proved too detrimental for Moses. Jeffrey, who was on the opposite side of the roof, heard a commotion and was alarmed to discover that Moses had fallen to the ground. Miraculously, he was unharmed. Moses climbed back up, and they finished the job.

Jeffrey, Kristopher, and Moses helped build this one-day church in Chipata, Zambia. (Photo: Jeffrey Brownlow)

Jeffrey, Kristopher, and Moses helped build this one-day church in Chipata, Zambia. (Photo: Jeffrey Brownlow)

A few weeks later, in the village of Chipata, another storm rolled in while they were on the roof. Thoughts of their last run-in with rain flooded their minds, and they began to pray. The storm raced closer and closer, then suddenly veered around them, disappearing into the horizon.

“We praised God for keeping us safe as we completed that project,” Jeffrey remembers. “We were so excited to give those people a beautiful, sturdy place where they could worship.”

As Jeffrey returned to Southern to continue his business accounting studies this fall, he brought strengthened convictions and a new perspective. He joined the Student Missions Club and encourages others to go overseas and serve. At the same time, he sees more clearly than ever that the United States is a vital mission field, too.

“I am going to be a lot more focused on what is truly important,” Jeffrey says. “I want to share Christ and his gift of salvation in my relationships with others.”


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