Wallingford Christian Assembly

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Zambia News - Victoria Falls (25/01/2016)

Time for another update of my blog; in fact it’s a bit overdue. I had meant to get it off last week, but evenings were taken up with other things – Bible study, visitors, visit to the ladies wards and to the girls hostel.  The village Gospel meeting was rained off today so that I find myself with  time to relax.

Last weekend was very special  – I visited the Victoria Falls for the first time.  Jennelle Speichinger (Dipalata) was going down with her fiancé, Mark Heikoop (also a first-timer at the Falls) and they invited me to join them, along with Chris, the Chit pilot, who provided the transport in the Chit plane.  There was great anticipation of our trip, but when Friday dawned there were storms all round so that it was not realistic to fly.  Trip abandoned and normal day’s work begun.  However, by lunchtime the weather was looking better and by 14.30 we were in the air heading from Dipalata to Livingstone.  A real thrill was Chris flying us over the falls on our way in – we had spectacular first views from the air.  

There was much debate about what we should do on Saturday and we almost risked trying to cram too much in.  In the end we settled for spending most of the day at the Falls themselves with a late afternoon sunset cruise on the Zambezi river.  The Falls are awesome – the pictures in no way do them justice.  The torrents of water falling over the rocks into the gorge below, with the spray rising as high as the Falls themselves, and rainbows glistening in the spray down in the gorge.  It made me think of something I read in one of Mr Ironside’s excellent commentaries. He and his wife had visited the Niagara Falls (small in comparison to Victoria) and had stood on a ledge at the top watching the water cascading down.  He was reminded of God’s  abundant grace and blessings poured down from heaven upon us in Christ – vast, indeed limitless.  From the heart of the believer there ascends a response in worship, an appreciation of the Saviour, which, though feeble in comparison with what receive, still reaches heaven- and delights the Father’s heart.

We walked down into the gorge, past baboons nimbly running along branches or sitting on logs.  We sat in little waterfalls which made natural jacuzzis, looking out over the beautiful scenery.  It rained just before we climbed back up, but no worries – we were already wet!!

Then there was the evening boat cruise.  The clouds obscured any sunset and I began to wonder if I would see any animals.  Tthe way out was quiet, but on the way back we saw a lot more – mainly hippos.  Mother and baby came climbing out of the water, while another adult beast came charging down the riverbank and bellyflopped into the river – no grace at all!! Two were having a fight – perhaps it was over who could open his mouth the wider??!!

On the Lord’s Day morning we enjoyed fellowship with the saints at Livingstone for the Breaking of Bread.  The meeting was in English – so no language problems for once, and I appreciated the worship offered by the brethren.

We had to head back on Lord’s Day afternoon in order to be ready for the week’s work which began with clinic at Dipalata on Monday.  Dr David was in surgery most of the day while I ploughed through the outpatients. We enjoyed a lovely lunch with the Speichinger family and their current visitors who are involved in well-drilling to provide water to the villages. This gives a good opening for the Gospel – one can speak about the water of life.  I was also able to see the new male ward built last summer by teams from N Ireland.  The facilities are first-class.

We have had a visit from an ophthalmologist from Cincinnati, US a believer in fellowship in one of the assemblies there.  He came with his wife and daughter, both of whom are nurses, so they were quite a team.  The visit began with a trip to the villages with Dorothy Woodside to round up possible patients for further assessment and surgery.  During his 10 day visit Dr Mike performed numerous cataract surgeries with lens implantation, as well as seeing long lines of out-patients with more minor eye problems.  He has been a great help and we all enjoyed his visit with the warm fellowship it afforded..  The patients are particularly grateful – they come to hospital almost blind and depart with vision restored.  I saw one old lady who had had bilateral cataract surgery whose smile extended from ear to ear as she expressed her joy at seeing again.  Dr Mike and his family headed back to US on Saturday with promises to return next year DV.

Just before Dr Mike’s visit I was able to go to Chavuma for the day to do the outpatient clinic while Dr David was in theatre doing surgery.  There were some interesting patients – not least one of my old friends from the paediatric ward at Chit during my last visit, Joana.  She had gained weight and was overall a much happier child than when I last saw her.  The reunion was rapturous! My helper in clinic was Nora Draper who was previously out here – and also in Angola- working full time. She and a colleague were taken by the rebels during the civil war and had to march for several days, wondering what the end would be. The Lord graciously protected them from harm and brought them safely through, a testimony to His preserving care.  Nora is visiting Chavuma along with Alice White who was at Chavuma for many years but is now back home in US. Alice very kindly gave me a lot of material which she has used in the past to teach Luvale to new missionaries. It is excellent with lots of exercises to reinforce learning and I must spend more time on it.  It transpires that Alice, Nora and I are all on the same flight to Dubai on 16 February, so we will travel down to Lusaka together on  the little plane. It will be nice to have company on at least part of the journey home.

There is still no news of my missing work permit – I keep phoning the immigration official in Lusaka who ensures me that he is looking for it.  Please pray that it will be found speedily. I would love to be able to collect it in Lusaka in February.

Also continue to pray for the missionaries mentioned  in my previous blogs who are very unwell – Daisy Hanna at Loloma and Elva Brooks in Canada.  Little Emily Cole (daughter of Philip and Deborah Cole from Chingola) is undergoing chemotherapy in N Ireland; doctors are pleased with her response to date.  Much prayer is needed for Philip and Deborah and family as they pass through this difficult time.  

‘The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much’,   James 5 v 16