Newsletter (August 17, 2017)

Dear all, Greetings from Lusaka and trust you all are well. We would like to update you with our time in Zambia from end of April till August. Much has happened during this time.

We attended our annual spiritual life conference (SLC) at the end of April. The speaker was Rev Joe Simfukwe, our former principal at TCCA (which is now the Evangelical University). He talked about disciples of Jesus, the fake ones and the real ones. As usual his talks were excellent and all of us attending were challenged and encouraged. We also managed to catch up with nearly all of our missionaries in Zambia, some of them we have not met for quite a while.

After the SLC we went to Petauke to visit Covenant College, a small Bible college in the Eastern Province. This is our first time driving to that area. The road is much more beautiful than the one going to the Copperbelt (where Ndola is) and has much less traffic. The condition of the road has also much improved than in the past. The highway winds through mountains, with scenery that somewhat reminds us of New Zealand. The college is about 400km from Lusaka and is not in Petauke town itself, but a few kilometres off in a very large plot of land in a rural area, with villages scattered around it. We know the principal, Pastor Sakala, and his wife from our Ndola days as he was the pastor in a Baptist church in Mufulira and he came to Ndola for his pastoral training.

Covenant College has about 30 students. At the moment, the college offers two programmes, the two-year certificate and three-year diploma. Most of the students are pastors in Eastern Province, some came as far as Malawi. Many of the students return to their churches on Saturday and Sunday and return on Monday. So classes are held from Tuesday to Friday. Most pastors are not salaried, so they have to engage in other work to make a living. Most of them engage in farming, so the term times also reflect that and there are term breaks in planting and harvest seasons.

One required course in the curriculum throughout their studies is “Farming God’s Way”. If you are interested to know what that is, you can check the website According to the website, “Farming God’s Way is not just a technology, but a well-balanced biblical, management and technological solution for the agricultural domain, to come out of poverty with what God has put in their hands, and to reveal the fullness of His promised abundant life.” The college has a farm using this principle and the proceeds are used to sustain the college.

The college also has a Christian Education Department and we met the Dutch missionary who used to lead that programme. Basically, it runs a pre-school programme in community schools in the surrounding villages, teaching the children how to read in their vernacular languages, through Bible stories and memory verses. It is a very successful programme and at the moment they have more than 50 schools. The missionary has trained up the teachers and trained the trainers and the programme has now been handed over to Zambians to manage and run it. The programmer leader thought she could retire back to Holland but God calls her to extend this programme to other parts of Zambia. We get along very well with her and have met her since then several times as she passed through Lusaka on the way to the Copperbelt and back.

Timothy also looked at the library and gave the principal some suggestions on how to improve it.

Timothy is also continuing preaching once a month at the Chinese church. In June and July, he preached twice a month as some people were away. He also led several Bible studies when their leaders were away in May and July. We also helped the Chinese Church to translate its constitution into Chinese and we just finished translating it. Zara also helps in the English class organised by the church, and teaches occasionally in the Sunday School.

Our good friends, a couple who are very mission minded, came to visit us in June from Hong Kong. They wanted to know what ministries we are involved in and wished to encourage us. We brought them to different areas and the highlight of their visit was probably at Covenant College. We were very pleased to be back again and this time we had the opportunities to visit one of the pre-schools and see how the programme was run first-hand. It was very moving to see the young children sing Bible verses and pray together. We also went with our friends to see the Victoria Falls from both the Zambian side and Zimbabwean side. There was still plenty of water and we all got wet. We also went to Botswana and spent a night there in Chobe National Park. We have never been there, though most of our missionaries, including the short-term associates, have all visited Chobe. We enjoyed the trip very much, especially the river cruise. In the morning game drive, we saw several lions but missed a leopard.

Last week we went back to Covenant College again, this time from Tuesday to Friday. The principal asked Timothy to teach a short course on reading and library use. Their library is small and many books are old but, as they had just received some donations, Timothy will help them to order more books.

Timothy also bought some new books for our church and the books have arrived and he has been introducing them to the congregation. People have started borrowing them which is surely a good sign. We pray that more people will start reading again.

Please pray for Zara’s mum as she has suffered several major setbacks in her health. She suffers lots of depression and anxiety. Please pray that our Lord will encourage her and give her peace. Please also pray for her sister who is taking care of Mum.

We have requested to become SIM Zambia field associates from 2018. SIM New Zealand is happy for us to be transferred to SIM Zambia, so SIM Zambia will become our sending and field offices. The main reason for us to do this is because we hope to spend some time each year in Hong Kong to spend time with Zara’s family. As field associates our time will be more flexible.

We have read about the flooding in many parts of the South Island, including Dunedin. We hope there was not much damage done to your homes. We read the bulletin sent to us every week. Thanks for sending it to us so that we know the happenings back home and what to pray for the church and you all. Blessings.

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