Newsletter (June 19, 2008)

Hope you all are well.  We can imagine Dunedin is quite cold by now.  It is the same in Zambia, we are now in the cool season and the mornings are quite cold.  Timothy said the library is freezing in the morning.  However, once you step out in the sun, it becomes very warm from late morning onwards.

Since Zara’s employment permit has not been issued (there is a time lag of several weeks between the permit being approved and it being issued), we went to Immigration to have our visas extended.  We went there two Thursdays ago (5/6/08) in the morning and the officer asked us to come back in the afternoon to collect our passports back.  Then when we went back Zara’s passport was missing and the other officer was adamant that he had seen only one passport.  The officer who collected our passports had already left so they told us to go back on Friday to sort things out with him.  We were quite uncomfortable that the passport might have been lost which we thought could happen quite easily here.  Word spread in the TCCA community and they prayed for us during chapel time.  On Friday we went back and the officer was nowhere to be seen.  After several hours he still had not come back but then, amazingly, God provided us with a senior officer who was extremely helpful and kind.  He more or less single-handedly located the “lost” passport and then, in the afternoon, made sure that we got everything approved.  With his help we finally secured an extension to our visas for a month and we got our passport back at 16:45 hours.  (Zambia uses the 24-hour clock.  They won’t say 3pm or 8:30 pm.  They will say fifteen hours and twenty-thirty hours.)  Our previous visas expired the very next day.  God is indeed listening to our prayers!

We mentioned chapel time just now.  Every Tuesday and Friday TCCA has chapel from 9:30 to 10:10 am for staff, students and their spouses.  On Tuesday a faculty member will preach, most likely saying something to challenge or encourage us.  Then on Friday the students will respond to the message.  We found the messages on Tuesday very good and we were encouraged and helped by them.  One particularly relevant one was from the principal.  He preached from Exodus 3 and 4 and his theme was “God will be with us”.  When God calls us to serve him, we better go and don’t give excuses.  God won’t buy our excuses and there is no point arguing with him.  Yet most comfortingly, God said, “I will be with you.”

On Saturday (7/6/08), we went to a camp near Chingola (a town two hours’ drive north of Ndola) to have a gathering of mainly SIM missionaries and their families.  Some other missionaries went as well.  This is a monthly meeting and is rotated between Ndola, Kitwe and Chingola.  This particular meeting was a bit special as there was a team of university students from Wisconsin ministering in Chingola.  They came and had sharing and fellowship with us.  They also prayed for us as a group and individually and we found the meeting really good and we were comforted and encouraged.  This is certainly something we needed and God did his work through the students.  Zara also met someone who has experience in giving tuition to secondary students in Ndola.  She knows the principal of the secondary school very close to our house and said she could go with Zara to talk to the principal about volunteering as a tutor for the students at the school.  She said this is far better than teaching in class, as tutoring can relate and reach out to students far easier than in a formal class setting.

Last week there was a big occasion in TCCA.  From Wednesday to Friday we had the Graduates’ Enrichment Seminar, a series of meetings for all graduates, students and staff of TCCA.  There was a big turnout this year, with about 70 graduates turning up from all over the country. (TCCA has about 234 graduates from 1984 to 2007, with 17 passed away.)  The theme of the seminar was “Ministering to the ministers”.  It is organised annually by the Alumni Association and the aim is to provide a chance for the graduates to meet together and support each other.  The library was closed in the morning for the three days so that everyone could attend the talks.  Although we are not ministers, the talks were very helpful to us and the speakers were very gifted.  We were invited to all the meals and this is the first time that we had a chance to try the traditional Zambian meals.  More about that next time but last week was certainly one of the highlights of our stay in Zambia so far.

Some prayer points:

  • Thank God for speaking to us and encouraging us through different means.
  • Thank God for letting us know some very good Christians.
  • Continue to pray for our parcels and Zara’s work permit, which has been approved but not yet issued.
  • Continue to pray for our service here, and that we may know what God wants us to do.
  • Thank you for continuing to pray for us.  We could tell many friends are praying for us as we indeed are experiencing God’s care in our life here.  Warmest regards.

    Back to Tim and Zara’s home page