Newsletter (December 24, 2009)

Dear all, Sorry for the late arrival of the last newsletter.  Just as we tried to send it out, the inverter ran out of power as well.  Again, several trees have fallen because of the strong wind and with that we lost power for 42 hours, a record for us since we came.  As our water comes from the TCCA borehole, once there was no power, the pump wouldn’t work and we would have no water when it was used up from the tank.  Some food items in the fridge were rotten, but those in the freezer seemed to be OK.  Then on Sunday we lost power for about nine hours due to a serious fault at one of the transformers.  So this year the power supply is very erratic and very disruptive to our work.

The library project got another 6,000 (pounds) so we have very good funding now for the work to start, praise the Lord!  Timothy has selected software for the library system.  The next job is to get someone to install a computer network for TCCA and get some new computers for the library.  Timothy is not very familiar with these technical matters, so please pray that we will be able to find a trustworthy person who can do this job well.  After that the new system will be installed.

The young man (John) working for us did not turn up for work last week and we were very worried about him.  He has no phone so we did not know what had happened.  We have gone to his home once with our good friend (another John, whom we called Ba John) but we could not remember how to go back as roads in the township are very difficult to recognise.  Ba John has gone to Zimbabwe, so he could not help either.  We suspected he must be sick as he is a very hardworking person.

Then on Monday (21st) someone knocked on our gates and told us young John was very sick and wanted to know if we had some money to give him so that John could go to the hospital.  Timothy then went with the person to John’s house and discovered he was really sick and in great pain.  Timothy brought him to the hospital and the doctor admitted him and said he was very sick.  After some tests and x-rays, it was found that he had very bad tuberculosis and probably he had to stay in hospital for many days.  As a precaution we also had chest x-rays taken and the doctor said we did not have any problems right now.  We might need to recheck after several weeks again.

This morning (Wednesday 23rd) someone knocked at our gates again and told us John passed away yesterday.  We were very shocked and felt very sad.  John was only about 30 and he was a very good worker.  He was hardworking and honest and, despite his poor upbringing, was very intelligent.  We don’t think we could find such a good worker again, at least in the short term.

Death is very real in this part of the world.  One day a person is alive, another day he is gone.  People die young, rich or poor, educated or uneducated, men or women; a huge waste of precious life.  Zambia has one of the highest incidence rates of TB per capita in the world.  The TB–HIV/AIDS coinfection rate is high in the country, and HIV is a major contributor to increasing numbers of TB cases, because HIV will weaken a patient’s immune system.  Please pray for Timothy’s health as he spent quite a long time with John at his house and in the hospital, and that he will not be infected with TB.

Time flies and we will have been in Zambia for two years next May.  We will return to New Zealand for about 10 weeks from 7 May to 19 July 2010.  Zara’s Dad is turning 80 at the end of July next year and we would like to go back to celebrate with him.  So we are going to Hong Kong for 10 days before returning to Zambia on 31 July for another two years.  We feel that God is leading us to stay longer so that we may complete what we have started this term.

Looking back we can truly say that God is with us and He is faithful and He looks after us, and we are comforted and encouraged by His words.  We could see His guiding hand in many instances and experience that He listens to our and your prayers.  Thanks again for praying for us faithfully.  We are continuing to be encouraged to know that we have so many supporters back home.

We wish all of you a very wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Year.  At this time of the year you all are in our thoughts and prayers and we hope all of you are well.  Lord willing, we will see you in a few months’ time.  With Christian love.

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