I took some students this morning to Kola Baptist Church, in one of the townships near Ndola. I was preaching and the students were also involved with the service. We hadn’t realised beforehand that the church was also using this morning to hold a memorial for a previous German missionary.
Gunhild Rott came to Zambia in 1988 with Liebenzell mission and served the Zambian Baptist Association. Incidentally, the principal of Fiwale Bible College is also a Liebenzell missionary, as are some of my friends in Ndola. Gunhild visited Kola Baptist Church to share with the women there but as she was leaving she was shot and killed by men who stole her vehicle. This morning we heard a number of stories about her service and tireless work among the Lamba people, but perhaps most significant was what happened after her death.
Some of the thieves were caught and sentenced to prison, where they were saved and became disciples of Christ. They were later pardoned by the President and released, and began to plant churches, which are now in many countries all over sub-Saharan Africa!
As we stood around the grave, which is unmarked as they can’t afford a stone, it shed new light on the verse:
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)
I know it’s unlikely that you will ever have heard of Gunhild, but the story is worth sharing!