Newsletter (January 29, 2009)

Dear all, The new academic year at TCCA has been going for about three weeks.  Unfortunately student numbers have dropped to 30, the lowest since the early 1980s.  The main reason is finance.  Several first year and two second year students did not come because they could not find money to pay the tuition and accommodation.  Many students that have returned are struggling.  As the College mostly operates with students’ tuition and flat rental, this very low student number means the budget for this year is seriously affected.  Please pray that God will provide and care for TCCA community.

As mentioned in our earlier newsletter, one piece of good news for TCCA is that SIM Canada has decided to promote the library’s system upgrade project.  In March Dr John Chizelu, a lecturer of TCCA, has been invited as guest speaker at the spring banquets in Canada.  These banquets are typically held in four locations in Ontario.  There would likely be more than 1000 attending.  The people that attend are friends and supporters of the work of SIM.  An offering is collected for a specific project which will be the TCCA library’s system upgrade this year.  Timothy has been rushing to complete some project proposals and draw up a budget by the end of January.  The amount that will be needed is about US$22,500 which is not a small sum.  TCCA is indeed grateful of the support given by SIM Canada, as otherwise we would not have money to fund the project.  The timing of the support is just right and we thank God for His provision.  Pray that God will move the hearts of the people attending the banquet and that they will generously support this project.

Dr Fan has been coming more or less every week for followup.  Normally he comes on Saturday afternoon and he checks the email and browses the internet for a while.  Recently he loves playing Rummikub with us (one of the very few games that we brought to Zambia).  Timothy will then have Bible study with him and normally he will stay for tea.  It is encouraging to see that he is still interested to grow in his new faith and please pray that he will really grow to love the Lord and commit to Him as his Lord and Saviour.

Monday (26th January) was Chinese New Year’s Day this year.  (The Chinese calendar follows the moon, so New Year’s Day is different every year, but usually falls between late January and mid February).  With the opening of the Chinese Garden, we are sure Dunedin would have a bigger celebration than previous years.  Chinese New Year’s Eve is a time of family union and traditionally people will return to their home town to celebrate with the family.  Dr Fan invited us to have a meal of dumpling in his quarters and, according to him, that is what the family in his province (Henan Province) would have, which is very different from what we would have in southern China.  Other than that we have had a very quiet New Year and life carries on as usual.  In previous years, a big Chinese gathering would be held in a restaurant in Kitwe and some months ago Dr Fan said that we would meet many Chinese there.  Unfortunately with the economic downturn, the restaurant could not find enough sponsors and the event was cancelled.

As more people are unemployed, we were warned to be more vigilant as there may be an increase in thefts and breakins.  Please pray for our safety and security and we thank God that He has protected us from such things ever since we arrived and we trust that He will still be protecting us.  In Christ.

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