Newsletter (December 10, 2009)

Dear all, We were extremely busy for the past two weeks, culminating in the graduation ceremony held last Saturday.

We have had lots of power and Internet connection problems recently.  The Internet was seriously affected by thunder and lightning and we lost our connection a number of times.  When there is connection, we might lose power because power lines are damaged by fallen trees.  This year we have had very strong winds during thunderstorms and our area must have lots of trees.  When some of them fell, inevitably some power poles and lines were crushed.  Last Wednesday we lost power at round 18:00 hours and it was not resumed until 14:00 hours the next day.

That day was very crucial to TCCA as we were having our graduation dinner in the evening.  Thank God that power came back just in time for people to cook in preparation for the dinner.  Today, we just had (30 minutes ago at 18:00 hours) a very strong gust which we have never seen in Zambia, coupling with very heavy thunderstorms.  We lost power as a result, as some trees must have fallen down somewhere.  We don’t know when power will come back and we hope we need not wait for long.  From time to time we also had load shedding, so for the past two weeks, we were not too productive especially in the evening.

The fund raising for TCCA went well on Saturday 27 November.  Lots of people came and we received K4 million (~NZ$1,200) on that day.  Since then we had a stall set up during the graduation and we managed to sell some books and cards.  People are still coming to TCCA to get things from us and we received another K1.8 million so far.  The results are very encouraging and we thank you for your prayers.  This is the first time that we have done this sort of thing and we observed that:

  1. Bibles are by far the most popular, and many people want to buy anything that is available; whether they are study Bibles, reference Bibles, text Bibles, children’s Bibles; they all have demands.  Next would be commentaries, children’s books and Christian games but we do not have many of those this time.  Cards are also very popular as they are much better and cheaper than those in the shops.
  2. People are appreciative of the quality of books that we sell.  There is a great shortage of good Christian books in Zambia and when people see good books around, they just snap them up, and they know our price is very low compared with what they could get from the bookshops.  One person saw one commentary that he would love to have but he did not bring enough money with him.  So he specially made a trip from Kitwe on Monday to come to Ndola just to buy that book!
  3. Most people won’t be able to afford materials that cost more than K120,000 (~NZ$36), although we did manage to sell some more expensive books and Bibles.  Even professionals which we thought might have some spare cash do not have money to buy.  So next time if we had such a book sale again, we would aim at things that are not too expensive, so that more people will be able to buy.

This year the graduation has a strong Anglican flavour.  As usual it was held at the Anglican cathedral.  In addition the wives of both the Bishops of Lusaka and Ndola were graduating and naturally we invited the Bishop of Lusaka to be the guest of honour.  His sermon was very good and challenging.  Probably because of the presence of the two bishops, there were quite a lot of Anglicans attending the ceremony.  The whole cathedral was packed full of people, many more than last year.  This was indeed good for TCCA as more people were made aware of our presence in this country.

Zara is now the acting registrar, so she also had to wear the academic gown and join us in the procession.  She also had to pass the certificates and transcripts to the guest of honour for giving out to the graduating students.  As usual the students danced in, and this year the dance was quite different from last year’s and the tempo was much faster.

Zara managed to get all the certificates and transcripts ready for the graduation, but she was exhausted and very tired.  She also had another bout of malaria last week.  She is still very tired so please pray for her.  We need to find out if we need to change for another type of antimalarial medication as this one does not seem very effective for us.  We are a bit concerned about our health here; please pray that we remain healthy and without any illness.

Please continue to pray for Zara’s work at the registry as there are still many things to be learnt.  Please also pray for Timothy’s work in the library project and pray that we both will have wisdom and grace to do our work well.  Please continue to pray for new students for TCCA.  Recently we have quite a number of applications, and although the timing is very tight now, we hope some of them might be able to come to study.  With Christian love.

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