Zambia Update #047

Posted on 21/05/2019

It is high time to update this blog, especially since I was out at Chit from late October to early January and wrote not even a word during that time. My excuse is that the medical missionary team at the hospital was very small and Alison Brundage and I were working a 1 in 2 on call.  We did benefit from a visiting surgeon from Bangor, N Wales who spent his paternity leave operating on numerous abdomens at Chit.  His wife is an experienced midwife, so we were doubly blessed, and grandparents also came to provide child care for the eldest child as well as helping with the twin babies.  We had some very sick patients but the Lord brought us through and we can truly say ‘ He faileth not’  Zeph 3 v 5.

I spent both Christmas and New Year at Chit.  We were quite traditional in our celebrations apart from the weather – warm sunshine so that, for the record, I swam in the open air pool on Christmas day. Of course, there was gift exchange and Christmas dinner, as well as letting in the New Year on 31 January

I have had four brief weeks at home catching up with friends and family, including a trip to my roots in the North West to attend the excellent British Paediatric Neurology Association annual meeting in Liverpool. As I drove through the different areas of the city, I had many memories of my father – we would accompany him frequently when he went to preach the Gospel.  I also attended the missionary conference in one of the Northampton assemblies and was encouraged in listening to reports from Brian Howden (Angola and Carl Knott (Spain).  There is much to pray for in these days as the Gospel goes out to the unsaved and the believers are taught from the Scriptures.

I headed back to Zambia in early February and have been back at Chit for almost one month.  It was an eventful flight.  We were very late leaving London as the plane had had to divert to Vienna on its inbound journey because of a medical emergency. For me that meant a very short connection time in Dubai and while I made it to the plane, my bags did not. They were supposed to be delivered to me the following day, but for a number of reasons I had to go and collect them instead.  I was reflecting on the experience at Dubai during the second flight to Lusaka.  I didn’t know whether I would just make the next flight or whether I was being re-booked (conflicting information depending whom one spoke to), and was about to start dashing to the gate when I bumped into a ground stewardess who ‘happened’ to be looking for passengers for the Lusaka flight.  Thereafter she was my guide and I could trust all to her until I arrived at my destination gate safely.  So it is for us with our Lord Jesus Christ, our faithful Shepherd, who is always with us and guides us throughout life till we reach a far more certain destination than an airport departure gate – His Father’s house. How good it is to know such a wonderful Lord and Saviour personally and to walk life’s journey with Him.  ‘He is faithful…’ Hebrews 13 v 5,6

I spent the first weekend in Lusaka. Saturday was spent with Jason and Anna Speichinger shopping for Chit – stock up on the supplies – and time together in the evening.  On the Lord’s day I enjoyed warm fellowship at Gt East Road assembly on the Lord’s Day, before I headed up to Chit on the Monday morning. It was nice to have the company of Hannah Heikoop (US) during the weekend and also for the journey to Chit; she was heading on to Dipalata where she has been busy helping Jeff and June Speichinger.  I started at hospital again on Tuesday morning, bright and early and have been taking my share of the on calls – 1 in 4 is definitely not so intense as 1 in 2!

Hospital has been as busy as usual with lots of surgery and a number of sick patients.  The rains have been poor this year – it is MUCH drier than usual – in fact the weather is more like the hot season in October. By the afternoon it is very warm – 30+ deg C and the melt factor is high.  The dry weather has probably reduced the incidence of malaria; we have not had nearly the same number of severe paediatric malaria cases this year.  

I continue with regular weekly Bile studies with Christine, the girl who works in my house.  We are looking at basic Bible doctrines.  Last week we took up the Holy Spirit. It is just a brief overview of the main basic points but I hope this stimulates her to read further in the Scriptures and to study for herself (2 Timothy 2 – study to shew thyself approved unto God – the degree of AUG). I was able to give her a set of Jack Hay’s Focus booklets (published by Ritchie) earlier today and I am praying that she finds these helpful. She is a thoughtful girl who seems genuinely interested in the things of God.

Edi has moved from Chit to Kitwe.  There was the possibility that he would go to Mambilima school but at the last minute that fell through because they felt unable to meet his care needs in their school environment. However, the Wukwashi wa nZambi group in Kitwe very kindly offered him a place there where he can learn some basic skills in activities of daily living and receive physiotherapy and grade 1 school. He is currently on 6 months trial until July. He seems very happy – I have spoken to him on the telephone and he was so grateful for his new placement.  DV I will see the Wukwashi people in a couple of weeks when both they and myself go to Kabompo for a joint clinic. Doubtless I will receive an update then.  It feels rather strange not walking down to the village each Saturday to visit with him. I did walk down once and talked with his brother who is naturally missing him.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the local primary school to donate boxes of school uniform sent out by a school in Oxford.  I had enough to give one article of school uniform to the children in the first three grades and they were thrilled. I have attached some photos below.  It was quite chaotic at first until we got them all into their classrooms and then the distribution was managed without difficulty.  Since then I have recognised a number of articles of clothing on different children as I have walked down the road or been in the villages!  We really appreciate all the articles we receive in parcels from home; all are soon put to good use out here where folks have so little.  

This is typically the season for visitors when folk from the northern hemisphere think about avoiding the winter weather and enjoying some African sunshine.  We have had electricians and well-diggers from Canada, all of whom are regular visitors, so it is good to renew fellowship with them.  Tim and Mary McDougall are out again from Ontario Canada. I particularly appreciate Mary’s help with the feeding programme for malnourished children which she oversees and progresses with each of her visits.  Our current set of children are responding well and it is so gratifying to see them go home in much better health having benefitted from the improved nutrition and gained weight.  Of course, they also hear the Gospel during their stay and it is our prayer that they will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

Just a few photos to finish off my posting.  The first was taken in Lusaka with Hannah Heikoop and a young brother from the assembly there, while the second shows me with Mary McDougall at  pool party (Canadian visitors in the background).  The final two photos were taken when the school uniform was distributed and show happy children with their new clothes

Zambia Update 47

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