Newsletter (April 23, 2009)

Dear all, We were away last week to attend the SIM annual Spiritual Life Conference.  It was held in Chengelo School, a Christian boarding school in the middle of the bush.  The campus is extremely big and beautiful and facilities are excellent.  It is one of the top schools in Zambia but it is also very expensive and a student has to pay slightly more than NZ$10,000 p.a. to study there.  This is an astronomical figure for ordinary Zambians, perhaps to New Zealanders as well, so only rich people can afford to send their children there.  In a way this is very unfair as many Zambians just can not afford to send their children to schools, even government schools.  Timothy was just talking to a watchman several days ago and he has five children and the eldest is 21 and just completed grade 12.  Timothy asked him what his son would do next.  He said he has no money to send him to college or vocational institutes.  So he is just staying at home with no work.

At the conference we managed to recognise a few more SIM missionaries as we already know most of them.  However, those from the Mukinge Hospital couldn’t come except one, so we still have not met everyone yet.  The conference is good and we have had very good messages from the speaker who came from South Africa.  He preached six messages on Elijah and they were very uplifting and encouraging.  Missionaries in Zambia get along well with each other and there is harmony and unity among us.  Everyone is really good to us.

Timothy’s colleague in the library was married on Easter Saturday.  This is the first time that we attended an African wedding.  There was a church service at 12 noon.  We and a TCCA colleague arrived shortly after 12 and we were more or less the first ones to arrive.  People gradually came and the bride finally arrived at close to 13:00 hours.  This is very typical and people told us sometimes the service would start two hours late.  In the evening we attended a reception in a private home which has a big yard.  Many people were invited and after several speeches we were served very good food.  On the whole it is very westernised and Africans danced a lot, which we could also see during the TCCA graduation ceremony, this wedding ceremony and the reception.  We keep on thinking that having a wedding in Zambia is a very expensive business and the couple has to spend a large sum of money for the ceremony and the reception.  We don’t know how or where they get the money from but we would think it could be financially crippling for a newlywed couple, but they have to do it.

We thank the Lord that Timothy’s medication arrived safely.  It seems recently lots of mail was held up in Lusaka by Customs.  They must have had a spring clean recently and Timothy this week collected several small packets from the post office.  One of them was sent from the US on 18 September 2008 and another was sent on 16 December 2008.  The rest were sent in February 2009.  He thought the September one was long lost and has applied for and got a refund from the bookseller already.  The good news is that, with the turning up of this September packet, we have got everything that we were supposed to get and nothing has been lost since we came.  This is quite amazing as nothing here is computerised and each postal item is datestamped in Lusaka, Ndola and Kansenshi (our local post office).  Zambia Post is really quite reliable.  Things may come very late but they will turn up eventually.  We notice that the bigger the packet, the more attention it will attract and the longer for it to come.  Ordinary letters have no problem and will arrive very quickly.

The weather is very pleasant at the moment, especially towards the evening and early morning.  Rain has totally stopped and we won’t have any rain from now until maybe mid or late October.  With Christian love.

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