Newsletter (January 1, 2009)

Dear all,  Happy New Year and may our Lord bless you all in 2009.

The SIM nurse in Mukinge Hospital who was also from Hong Kong and visited us in August came two weeks ago and stayed for a week.  This time she came with another nurse from the UK who is the longest serving SIM missionary in Zambia.  She has been here since 1968 and is still going strong.  We asked her what has changed most since that time.  Among others things she mentioned like better roads, more schools, etc., she commented that in the early days, there were many more missionaries in the country than now.  All the professionals in the mission hospitals and mission schools were missionaries, and there were many more of them involved with church work.

She also commented that in the early days most missionaries came here for life, but now there are many more short termers.  They made this trip to Ndola to get supplies for the hospital and it is amazing to see how many things they bought—pillows (piled nearly up to the ceiling in our house) and yards and yards of curtains for the wards, microwave, food items, white board and many other items.

People here are very good to us and we got invitations to have meals with different families on the eves of Christmas and New Year.  Other families also invited us to visit their homes on Christmas day.  The SIM missionaries in the Copperbelt plus one or two families also had a Christmas gathering just before Christmas and we had a good time together with the usual exchange of gifts.  We took turns choosing a gift from the Christmas tree but had a crazy system of allowing people to ‘steal’ (i.e. take) a gift from other people instead.  So a gift that was very popular would change hands several times in a round and sometimes it ended up in total chaos.  Until the last round was played no one was sure who was getting what.

Not all churches here have a Christmas Day service.  Some have Christmas Eve service/prayers instead and some think the origin of Christmas is not very Biblical.  Our church did not have a service and we did not know the reason, but we assume it would be the latter.  We did, however, meet at church and had some social activities, hymn singing and a short devotion.

At the end of the year we spent some time together and counted the blessings from God that we experienced in 2008.  We thanked and praised our Lord that there were many blessings that we could count.  For 2009, perhaps you could remember these items in your prayers:

  • Pray that we will have close fellowship with our Lord, that we will continue to grow in Him.  We will seek His guidance on our service for Him and rely on Him for wisdom and strength for whatever task He asks us to do.
  • Pray for Timothy’s work in the library, especially the selection of a new library system.  We have just heard that this project has been selected by SIM Canada for promotion in March 2009.  While this is excellent news and we are very encouraged by the support of SIM, that means a lot of paperback needs to be completed before the end of January.  Timothy also needs to shortlist several systems for selection by TCCA and the whole process is quite time-consuming.  Pray that he will find time to do all this, in addition to his normal duties in the library.
  • Pray for Zara as she is exploring different tasks that she may be able to be involved with, apart from orphanage and rest-home visits.  She is contemplating of making contact with the new principal of a secondary school nearby to see if there is opportunity for her to be a tutor.  Pray that God will open the door if this is His will.  Recently, the Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA) headquarters has moved to TCCA from South Africa as our principal and business administrator are the Director and Deputy Director respectively.  Zara has been asked to see if she could help in some initial administrative data input.  Pray that she will have the wisdom and strength to carry out this work.
  • Pray for the opportunity to build up true friendships with the people we meet.  A Cameroon student (he has been here nearly five years) recently commented that it is not easy to build true friendship with Zambians.  It is very interesting to hear him (a fellow African) say this.  So for non-Africans like us, it will be even more difficult.  Also, genuine friendship is difficult to build as sometimes people approach us with ulterior purposes in mind (asking us for financial help, etc.).  So, please pray for wisdom as we encounter all these requests for help, how to deal with them firmly yet sympathetically, and still have the opportunities to build genuine and true friendship with some of the people we know.
  • Continue to pray for our contacts with the Chinese nationals working and living in Ndola.  Pray that God will move their hearts and they will be receptive to the gospel.
  • Continue to pray for our health and security.

In Christ.

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