Newsletter (July 16, 2015)

Dear all, Zara’s mum had a fall at home and fractured her hip at the end of June. She had an operation the next day and it was successful. It so happened the first two weeks for us were not so busy so we took the opportunity to go back to Hong Kong and visit Zara’s parents and Timothy’s mum. Zara’s mum is recovering in hospital and she should be discharged very soon. Timothy’s mum is very happy to see us, although she feels very tired most of the time.

We find Hong Kong very humid and hot and we are no longer used to going in and out of very cold air-conditioning indoors and very hot outdoors. After a few days Timothy had contracted flu and spent several days staying in the hotel room. He feels better today and we went to visit his mum again, before we return to Zambia on Friday.

Timothy has to deal with a number of medical evacuation cases for our missionaries in May and June. We do need to evacuate our missionaries on medical grounds to South Africa from time to time but somehow whenever this happened we were not around, so this is the first time that Timothy needs to deal with such cases.

Arranging medical evacuation is quite complicated as we need to liaise with the insurance company in the missionary’s home country, the hospital and doctor (mostly Mukinge Hospital) in Zambia recommending a medical evacuation, our SIM health coordinator in South Africa to find a hospital to take the patient, arrange a medical evacuation flight if the missionary is too serious to take a commercial plane, and then liaise with South Africa’s Port Health to allow the plane and patient to enter South Africa, etc. If the missionary needs a visa to enter South Africa then it will be even more time consuming and complicated. Anyway our experience so far has been that though things are complicated and sometimes the outlook seems hopeless, somehow God takes care of everything and eventually everything works out fine, sometimes right at the last minute!

We are experiencing massive nationwide load shedding (power cuts) since the latter half of June. For our office and at home we lose power 14:00–22:00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday; and 06:00–14:00 Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This creates lots of hardship and inconvenience to most people. This is due to the low water level at the hydro lakes because of inadequate rainfall last rainy season. This will continue until the next rainy season which won’t come until November! And it will take another month or two before the water level goes up!

The power company has to cut the supply to the mines by 30 per cent (the mines always have priority in power supply), stop exporting power to neighbouring countries, and import some power from Mozambique. Hopefully this may provide some relief to households. It seems the situation has improved a bit and now we are having five-to-six-hour power cuts, maybe later down to four hours every day. Perhaps it is time to investigate the installation of solar panels in the office as the cost of running a generator for several hours a day is very high, and the price of fuel has just been increased.

Thanks for continuing to pray for us. With Christian love.

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