Wallingford Christian Assembly

Home. Contact. How to find us. What's on. About Us. Links. Zambia News.

Zambia News - Ros Jeffersons's Blog 24  : Back in Zambia (28/12/2015)

It is now just over 3 weeks since I left UK to return to Zambia and I really should have written a blog posting  before now.  I am afraid that Christmas emails took priority.  Oh well, better late than never!  I am likely to post two shorter updates in quick succession to bring you all up to date with news and to make several requests for your prayers.

I left UK on the evening of 3 December on the Emirates flight to Dubai (and thence to Lusaka).  Somehow the preparations seemed more organised than usual – perhaps I am getting more skilled?? Many thanks to Graeme Smith who took me to the airport – an uneventful journey and check-in followed by a good flight.  Poor Graeme did not fare so well on the way home as he had a puncture.

It is the rainy season so the weather is mixed. It was very hot in Lusaka, unseasonably so, and they had had virtually no rain. Up country it is a little cooler and we have had some spectacular rain storms with accompanying thunder and lightning.  Last Tuesday night I despaired of getting to the Bible study as the rain was lashing and there were flashes of lightning all over the sky.  I had resigned myself to making the teabreak muffins rather than getting washed away when Dr McAdam came to collect me in his car instead.  

I spent the first week in Lusaka where I stayed with my good friend, Phoebe Musonda.  I enjoyed the warm fellowship in the Great East Road assembly  once again.  My cultural experience while  in town was to attend an assembly funeral – the service, including burial, lasted more than 4 hours – split into two approximately equal parts.   In the hall everyone files past the open coffin, family members last.  I was thankful for the shady trees when we arrived at the cemetery!  The family were seated under several awnings. The rest of us stood for the whole service.  We began with singing, followed by various tributes, then came the interment.  The cemetery workers fill in the grave during the service in full view of everyone – in some places it is the brethren who undertake this task. I was amazed to see wheelbarrow loads of concrete being poured on top of the half-filled grave.  Apparently this is done to prevent thieves stealing the dead person’s clothes and/or coffin!  Finally everybody who might remotely know the deceased comes up to the grave in order and lays a flower or two on it.  

The time in Lusaka gave me the opportunity to catch up on business matters, as well as to do a major food shop for up country (where there are no supermarkets round the corner and you can’t nip out for whatever you forgot!).  I had my temporary driving licence extended till the end of February, and sorted a friend’s medical registration for 2016.  I was also hoping to collect my work permit which I submitted for renewal in July, but that was not to be.  It seems that it is lost somewhere in immigration and, at least for the present, cannot be found.   I did find a very helpful official who said he has taken the case on personally, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the permit will be found quickly.  I am reminded of those missing NHS notes at home!!   It is more of an inconvenience than anything else as it means that I must report to the local immigration officer every so often to be able to stay in the country.  Please pray that the permit will be found and the matter will be sorted soon.   

I was also able to review medically the son of believers in the assembly who has developmental problems.  Since I last saw him, he has started at a privately run special school.  I was able to visit him in school and was very impressed with the facility – it is of the same standard as back home in UK.

I flew up to Chit 2 weeks ago, on 12 December in the little 6 seater plane. It was a nice flight.  The paeds ward was out in full force to greet me and seemed to think I would be doing a ward round immediately!   I am back in the Annex this time (my old home!).  It has not changed very much – Thomas is still the majordomo and keeps everything spic and span.  My friend, Carol, came round the same evening I arrived and helped me unpack.  It is good to hear of her going on for the Lord – she was baptised back in October, though is not yet in fellowship in the local assembly.  I hope to be able to start some studies with her looking at basic truths using David Newell and DC Hinton’s book, ’Going on for God’ along with the relevant Scriptures.  I am also very pleased as she has agreed to help me with my therapy sessions for the cerebral palsy children.  It will be good for her and give her the opportunity to learn – she has just finished school and is hopeful that her grades will be good enough to study nursing.  It will also be good for me as I will have a consistent helper, one who knows the local languages well and is able to translate for me.

The hospital has been busy.  The children’s ward is relatively full; as usual the bulk of the patients have only minor problems, while one or two are really quite sick.  We also have a number of small premature babies who are feeding and growing.  We have finally managed to institute kangaroo care for all of them – much better than incubator, wrapping etc  for keeping them warm and also for promoting bonding between the infant and the mother.  The babies are essentially skin-to-skin with mother, held in a little pouch over Mum’s chest (hence the term kangaroo care).  There is the usual group of little characters.  I have two cerebral palsy children on the ward both of whom need considerable input.  They each have completely different patterns of involvement.  Both need seats made and both need regular stretching exercises.  It has been fun to introduce them to some developmental toys and see their pleasure and enjoyment as they succeed.  The little chap on the right in the photo is such a happy little boy with a real sense of humour. He always wants to be involved in everything that is going on.  The little girl is quieter; she has a lovely smile.

I have also visited with my friend Eddie in the village.  He has continued to come to the Lord’s Day meetings in my absence, so hears the Gospel each week.  He was so pleased to see me again.  I brought a deckchair canvas (very conveniently in the Zambian national colours) from home where it has been in the cupboard for years (just goes to show that you should never throw such things out as they do come in useful!).  Hopefully we can use that to refurbish his seat which is worn down to its last threads.  He is hopeful that I am going to give him a mobile phone –I have an old one which should work well enough for him (providing I can find a new battery for it) and SIM cards are very cheap.

I am afraid that Ken Wilkins’ bicycle has been superseded (at least temporarily) by a much more up market machine – a quad bike!!  There are several here and folk use them for getting around the mission station quickly and easily.  I had never learnt to ride them until last week when I agreed to cover an on-call at night and there is really no other quick and safe way of getting to the hospital in the dark.  Jonathan McAdam was my tutor on my first short run and I am now whizzing round everywhere!!  Please note the puddles in the photo – proof that we too have had some rain.

As a group of missionaries we were saddened recently to hear that one of our friends and colleagues, Elva Brooks from Kabompo, had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.  She had hot felt well for a while before she and her husband, Don, left for a furlough in Canada. Her symptoms increased and subsequent investigations confirmed the underlying diagnosis.  Please remember her and Don in your prayers. Many local people will miss her greatly – she is a real mother in Israel with a heart for anyone in difficulty, showing Christian compassion and in every way adorning the Gospel.  We will miss her too.  While humanly speaking the prognosis is gloomy, the future is certain – 2 Corinthians 5 v 1.  How good it is to have a hope beyond the grave, centred on Christ, His finished work at the cross and His present acceptance at the right hand of God!  Hebrews 6 v 17-19.