Walters Jumps on Bandwagon
Ron Walters is amazed God could use him in missions. “If He can use me, that’s proof He can use anyone,” said Walters. Walters, a member of Moore, First and owner of his own construction company, said he saw God working in Africa, and “when you see God working, you should jump on the bandwagon.”
That’s what Walters did, and he has become the unofficial head of a “loose” group of people supporting, among other things, a banana plantation in Zambia.
It all started four years ago when one of his three sons, Ryan, then an Oklahoma Baptist University student, went on a mission trip to Zambia. Southern Baptist missionaries there hooked Ryan up with Charles Simoonga, a preacher who was serving several churches in the capital city of Lusaka and also traveling to the Gwembe Valley to minister there.
A year later, a man in Tennessee, whose son was also on the mission trip, paid Simoonga’s way for a visit to the U.S. While in the States, he visited Walters in Oklahoma City.
Walters took Simoonga to a Promise Keepers prayer group meeting, where he explained the need for pastors in Zambia, saying the seminary there had graduated only three pastors the year before.
After Simoonga left, Walters got a call from one of the men at the prayer meeting. He said his controller told him God awakened him in the middle of the night and told him their business needed to give to an African mission. From that point, Walters said, money for the Zambian pastor started coming in.
Walters explained that the chief in the Gwembe Valley saw potential in Simoonga and gave him 23 hectares (45-plus acres) of land with a 900-foot river frontage on the Zimbabwe border. Simoonga had been a foreman running “white man’s” farms before that.
“The concept we have come up with is to bring men to work on the farm, disciple them and send then out to be pastors of churches,” said Walters. “We hope to create a self-supporting farm.”
Presently there is a 5-hectare banana plantation, an orchard and a vegetable garden. The farm also raises pigs and chickens.
“We are trying now to send $2,000 a month support, but the bananas should eventually produce $5,000 a month,” Walters said. “It has the ability to support itself.”
Called the Mufutuli Vineyard Ministries Project, the land is situated along the Kafue River about 13 kilometers from the confluence of the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers.
Walters said they hope to provide courses for training in appropriate fields such as farming and business/commerce so men and women will be equipped with know-how or skills and become productive and self-reliant.
“The objective is to alleviate poverty, which is also a catalyst to such vices as ignorance, destitution, malnutrition, women’s issues, broken homes and HIV/AIDS,” he said.
Walters said, while the project is coming along, there is a need for utility vehicles to transport crops, facilitation of electrical power and irrigation and construction of an initial ministry building for general purposes.
Long-range goals include construction of a basic campsite for ministry-youth programs, facilitation of marine ministries for outreach and discipleship of river bank and lake shore communities, construction of an education and skill training center and construction of a health center.
Walters said the situation with Simoonga in Africa is one of three things that rocked his world in the last few years.
“My involvement with Christian Business Men’s Fellowship has been a huge thing for me,” he said. “I meet with seven men who are all self-employed business owners. They are like my personal board of directors.”
The third thing is something Marshall Howard, retired business administrator at Moore, First, and the person Walters goes to for spiritual problems, said to him.
“Marshall said maybe it’s not about me, but what happens to me can affect people down the line,” Walters recalled.
These things, Walters said, have given him a perspective of how God is in control.
“I’ve seen miracles happen,” he said. “Money for this project comes out of the blue. Because of that, I know God can take care of my small problems.”
Walters said people have asked him why he is doing this in Africa when there are a lot of churches and projects he could be helping between here and there.
“I could just as easy be doing something here,” he reasoned, “but time and distance has no effect on God.”
Walters said he still wonders how he could be a part of this.
“I can’t explain it,” he said. “But I know God will use anyone if they will stop and listen.”