Namwianga Mission was established as an outreach of the Church of Christ in 1932. Early missionaries who worked at Namwianga included Mr. and Mrs. Dow Merritt, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Lawyer, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Shewmaker, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hobby, and Myrtle Rowe. These missionaries opened a primary school to promote Christianity and to teach the African people to read the Bible. Through the years, graduates of this school went on to become leaders in the Zambian government, businesses, and churches.
When Zambia gained its independence from Great Britain in 1964, the Church of Christ operated 26 primary schools. At that time, the new government of Zambia decided to nationalize all primary schools but asked Namwianga to build a secondary school on the Mission’s 6,000 acres. Funds were raised and Namwianga Christian Secondary School opened as a boarding school for grades 8 - 12. Graduates of the secondary school have become leaders in all facets of Zambian life. Graduates also planted churches in Zambia. By 1980 there were 211 congregations of the Church of Christ. Most of these were in the Southern Province of Zambia where Namwianga Mission is located.
From 1964 to 1982, Namwianga Christian Secondary School was staffed and directed almost entirely by American missionaries. In 1982 Zambians began taking over teaching and directing the school. Currently all administrators, full-time teachers, and staff members are Zambians.
1982 also marked the beginning of facilities and outreach expansion at Namwianga. The Mission opened Kabanga Christian High School and took over the supervision of several other Basic Schools serving grades 1 – 9. These schools are located within a 100 - mile radius of Namwianga. Each school teaches Bible and offers training in evangelism.
In the early 1990s, George Benson Christian College opened at Namwianga as a teacher training institution. Graduates of GBCC are certified to teach at the secondary level. In addition to core academic courses, students take Bible courses and have training in ministry and outreach with the expectation that they will become self-supporting church planters and evangelists. GBCC graduates are now serving all over Zambia and have established over 200 churches since 1990.
Namwianga opened a small clinic in the 1980s, mainly to serve the needs of students. Zambia Medical Mission began in 1994 as a way to serve the medical needs of Zambians who lived in remote rural areas. In 2000, Dr. John Estes, a member of the original medical mission team, initiated an effort to build a hospital at Namwianga, and in 2002 a new facility began to serve outpatients. Today Namwianga Zonal Health Center offers a wide range of health care services to the surrounding community.
Orphan care at Namwianga began 30 years ago when Kathy Kumalo (now Merritt) began taking care of babies whose mothers had died. The initiative to care for orphans expanded when The Haven was built in 2002 to care for orphan babies and toddlers. Since then Haven 2 was built for older toddlers and Haven 3 was built to care for babies and children whose health is compromised. Eric’s House opened in 1996 as a ministry to street boys from Livingstone.
Namwianga continues to serve as a center for evangelism and benevolence in Zambia. Food relief efforts, the radio station, bicycle evangelists, and water well drilling are all part of the ongoing effort to reveal Jesus through humanitarian service, education, and Christian leadership.