Wallingford Christian Assembly

Zambia News - The last few weeks, and home again (December 2016)

The weeks are flying by far too quickly and in many ways I do not feel ready to return to UK on 16 November, especially in the face of the great need over here and the many opportunities to speak of the Saviour.  

Already the weather is beginning to change as we move towards the rainy season.  It is still hot and also humid, so the ‘melt factor’ is high especially in the afternoon.  We have had a number of spectacular storms which send us hurriedly to disconnect the internet in case of lightning strikes.  The rain brings delightful coolness and refreshment, however.

In my last posting I mentioned that my visitor, Elizabeth Whitmore, had arrived.  She is now more than half way through her stay out in the bush. She has had a number of opportunities to see Chitokoloki life – a day out visiting patients in the villages with Dorothy Woodside (US), helping at hospital, and attending the Lords day afternoon Gospel meetings in various villages to name but a few. I have appreciated her help especially with the dorm girls as she agreed to do the Friday evening Bible studies during her visit.  She has yet to experience one of the beautiful Chitokokoloki sunsets over the Zambezi river. The picture below shows Elizabeth with Owen Speichinger, the baby boy Joey and Kait Speichinger (US) are fostering.

At the end of October we were at Dipalata Rural Health Centre for the regular monthly clinic. We went by road with Dr McAdam at the wheel.  The journey was interesting to say the least with a couple of fallen trees to be negotiated on the road, not to mention the numerous potholes which made for a bumpy ride. However, we received a warm welcome from Betty Magennis and Jeff and June Speichinger who serve the Lord there. David was able to perform a number of minor operations.  Quite a number of children with disability came along – old friends from previous stays at the hospital at Chit.  It is good to be able to follow them up.  You can see the tree-moving team in the picture – Elizabeth, Christina Gagnon (Canada) and a visiting doctor from Congo.  

My last week brought more visitors – a surgeon from the US (Dr Paul Myers) and 4 girls from Northern Ireland, 3 nurses/aspiring nurses and one occupational therapist, Christine Davidson. It was particularly good to work with her over the short time we were together. I was able to introduce her to Eddie and I  hope that she will be able to visit him for a few weeks while I am at home in UK.

The early paragraphs of this posting were written before I left Chitokoloki on 16 November.  As I write the final paragraphs I am back in UK and looking forward to my next visit which will commence in January DV – and  regarding which I would greatly value your prayers.

The Lord graciously provided funds from the UK for me to provide some basic foodstuffs for the elderly believers in the assembly, a number of whom have very little in terms of this world’s goods and are not always able to manage a regular daily meal.  They greatly appreciate any help they get.  Boston Mbilikita, a brother in the assembly who is also involved in social work at the hospital, did the necessary organisation – purchasing meal, getting it ground to flour etc, and finally he and Elizabeth went out to distribute the food one afternoon.  We were able to give each recipient a portion of meal to last up to one month, as well as a few kwacha to purchase the ‘relish’ to accompany the nshima (cooked meal served in lumps, looking not unlike a very thick porridge).  I also plan to help Shawn and Rhonda Markle with their distribution of supplies nearer Christmas. The photos below show Boston (wearing dark green) distributing supplies at one little house and Elizabeth with some of the older sisters from the assembly.  It was very touching to receive a gift of mangoes from one of the elderly ladies a few days later.

Just before I left Chit a container arrived from Musenga, the centre near Chingola which handles all the goods from overseas.  The truck had broken down en route up to Chit and Joey Speichinger and his father had had to go out on a rescue mission.  I was thrilled to find that it contained the Blade Plus children’s wheelchair, donated by a family back in UK – I had mentioned it to Gordon Hanna only the day before, in case it should surface during my absence.  It is just the right size for Eddie and has all the support he needs to maintain a good sitting position. Not only did the Lord provide the chair before I left, but also, in His perfect timing, there was the Occupational Therapist (Christine) at Chit to sort any minor adjustments that were necessary.  Elizabeth, myself and the 4 NI girls took it out to the village the same day it arrived –Eddie was thrilled as it is the best seat he has ever had.  My cardboard papier mache seat was only ever intended to be temporary – and turned out to be even more temporary than I had dared to hope. The picture below shows Eddie in his new chair with Christine Davidson and myself standing alongside.  I hope to source some wider and solid tyres for the chair while I am at home as they are better adapted to rolling through the soft sand in the village.

Elizabeth and I left Chit on the morning of 16 November – a large group of children and mothers from the ward congregated at the gate to see us off in the little plane. We had an afternoon in Lusaka – she was able to visit the Cultural Village to buy local crafts etc – and then headed off to the airport and ultimately to Dubai where our paths diverged, she to Glasgow and me to London.  Since leaving Chit I have been saddened to hear of an accident which cost the life of one of the hospital employees.  It emphasises the uncertainty of life – we none of us know what a day may bring forth. As believers we should seek to live each minute for the Lord Who died for us on the cross of Calvary (2 Corinthians 5 v 10). Those who do not know the Lord Jesus as Saviour need to grasp the present opportunity God has given to come to Him in faith, confessing their sin, to find salvation in Christ and to enter into peace with God.

‘Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation’ 2 Corinthians 6 v 2’

‘If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ Romans 10 v 9.