Wallingford Christian Assembly

Back At Chit (July 2017)

‘All to unlearn, this task before me set,

Unlearn all else but Thee.’


It is several months since I last wrote a posting, so that I owe an apology to those who take time to read my news and to pray for the work here.  Despite being in the UK for 3 months I never did manage to send my posting from March 2017.  The most notable event from that period was the baptism of 4 girls from the hostel and their subsequent reception into the fellowship of the assembly here.  I was exercised to start a Bible study with them looking at basic Scriptural teaching regarding the assembly – reception, fellowship, the Breaking of Bread etc, subjects that perhaps aren’t covered too often in the regular ministry meetings but which are vitally important for young believers to understand.  During late March I was able to visit Loloma briefly for clinics (after a marathon of a journey -  2 hours from leaving Chit to reaching the tarred road) and then fly on to Kalene where I spent a few days with my dear friends, Samuel and Elizabeth Simonyi-Gindele and family who serve the Lord in Biula, Angola.  Thanks are due to Jonathan and Joanna Lake who kindly provided hospitality during that visit.

I have now been back at Chit for 2 weeks and the time has flown.  I left UK on the evening of 3 July and arrived in Lusaka the following day.  I spent a couple of nights with Jason and Anna Speichinger, (Jason’s parents are at Dipalata and his brother and sister-in-law are at Chit)  which gave the opportunity to meet up with some of the believers from the Gt East Road assembly after their July conference.  I flew up to Chit on 6 July along with Tommy and Margaret Craig (NI)  who were heading out to Dipalata (where Betty Magennis serves the Lord) and enjoyed their fellowship both on the little plane and also a few days later when we were at Dipalata for a clinic.

It is a great joy to be back and to have the opportunity to serve the Lord in the hospital and in the assembly work here.   I received a rapturous welcome from the nursing staff as well as from some of the long-term patients.  There has been quite an exodus of the core team this summer with the McAdams and Hannas both away, and others leaving imminently to attend the wedding of the pilot, Chris Brundage in N Ireland in August.  Also, in these months (our cold season) there are traditionally fewer visitors to swell the numbers.  The McAdams absence has meant that we have been dependent on visiting surgeons.  One of these, David Galloway from Scotland, left last Saturday, and since then I have been the only doctor on site.  There has been no surgery, therefore,  and any surgical emergencies have been transferred out.  We have had a quiet week, after a very bust few days leading up to Dr Galloway’s departure.  DV Dr Andre Truter and family arrive next Monday and we will be back to full business again.

At Sampasa village after Gospel meeting, looking at new house for headman and his wife – his previous house collapsed

Activities such as the Lords Day afternoon  village Gospel meetings with Shawn and Rhonda Markle, and the Thursday night visits to the female wards with Rhonda have resumed, as also have the visits to the girls’ hostel on a Friday night along with Keith and Gayle Bailey.  I would value prayer about restarting the girl’s Bible study I mentioned earlier in the posting.   I would love to do it, but feel that there has to be some move from the girls to indicate their interest and desire to learn from the Scriptures.

Elderly sisters walking to the meeting

I have been able to visit Eddie in the village on the past two Saturdays.  He is always happy to see me and asks where I have been reading, which is the opening for me to give him a short Gospel message.  It is not easy for him in the village where there is little support for his disability, though his relatives are well-meaning and do the best they can with limited resources.  He has not been able to come to the meetings for some time, mainly because of his lack of a ‘driver’ as he calls the person who pushes his wheelchair.

The new vehicle

Just last week Christina Gagnon and I took delivery of our shared vehicle – an Isuzu 4 wheel drive truck.  It had been in Lusaka for some time awaiting someone to drive it up country. I would have brought it up myself, except that it was not wise to make such a long journey alone on roads which were not familiar.  Jeff and June Speichinger were returning to Dipalata last weekend, so Jeff drove it up for us.  I am looking forward to taking it to Loloma next week DV when I go over for clinics and also to visit with Stephen and Carole Baker and Graham and Paula Barton (Liverpool and Warrington) who are visiting at Loloma at the moment. Both Christina and I want to use the vehicle in the Lord’s work over here

Last Saturday I was pleased to welcome my visitor, Sarah Didcott from Hill St assembly Coventry. She is in her final year of a nursing degree and has come out to Chit for her 5 week nursing elective.  We hope that she will get lots of experience. This week has maybe been a little quiet, but it has given her time to adapt and has also provided the opportunity to go out with Dorothy Woodside to her village clinics in the outlying community.  Next week I expect she will be busy in theatre!  It is nice to have her company in the home and to be able to show her around a little.  She will come to Loloma with me next week DV.

We had an interesting experience this past week when we had to have a new pit dug for our household rubbish. No SODC collections here!  The digging of a rubbish pit is more than a skill and one certainly wouldn’t want to be claustrophobic.  One man digs (and disappears ever further into the deep red earth) while the other assists by frequently emptying his bucket of earth.  The pits reach a depth of 40 feet – and then the digger has to get out himself without the thing collapsing.  The pictures below show the size of the hole and the above-ground assistant: note the torch which is rigged to provide light (how much?) for the man working at the bottom of the pit.


Digging the pit – note the size of the hole

Just a couple of days ago we received the news of Ruth Hadley’s home call, sad for her family in UK and for the Angolan believers  whose love and respect she had earned, yet for her there are the joys of heaven, seeing the Saviour, and receiving His commendation, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord’.  Of her we can say indeed, ’whose faith follow.’   The Lord looks for unquestioning obedience and staunch faithfulness in His servants.  He does not guarantee success in the eyes of the world,  but He does promise His unfailing presence and help, His guidance on the journey and His peace in whatever the circumstances.  Like the Hebrew servant of old whose ear was pierced as a sign of his commitment, we serve our Heavenly Master because we love Him, the One who died on the cross of Calvary for our sins.  When He fills the heart and life, then service is joy indeed.

Prayer points

The hostel girls and the resumption of the Bible study

Blessing on the preaching of the Gospel

Safety in travel

Wisdom in the medical management of  patients and other hospital issues

That in all aspects of my life others might see something of my Saviour and that I might commend Him in my conduct