Wallingford Christian Assembly

Zambia News - 'Our sufficiency is of God' (September 2017)

3 September.

‘…Who is sufficient for these things?....Our sufficiency is of God’ – 2 Corinthians 2 v 16, 3 v 5

The verses above remind us of our total dependence on the Lord in our life and service for Him. Without Him we are nothing and, if done in our own strength, our service is without value.  How much we need to know His leading and to walk in the paths He ordains.

Another two weeks have past here at Chit and it is time to update you on news.  

Shortly after I last wrote I headed off to Loloma for a couple of days. I was taking my colleague and friend, Christina Gagnon, on the first stage of her journey back to Canada for a break  – and, as usual over here, we had a car full of patients as well. All were requiring a ride home after stays in hospital.  I stayed with Marian Ronald once again and we both enjoyed each other’s company, especially as several of their group are away.   Rebekah Flynn has headed home to Canada for a furlough.  Tim and Joy Beer had headed up to Chit for a few days as Tim was speaking at the college camp.  He has revised the ‘Two Ways’ chart for use in Zambia, producing it in Lunda and Luvale as well as English. This formed the basis of his camp messages, I understand.   Marian is also good for Luvale language lessons – she has spoken Luvale for years and is involved in the ongoing revision of the Luvale New Testament.  Once again I attended the YP Bible class (and saw one young man whom I know from the hospital here where he was a carer for his brother). I also attended the children’s meeting at Chilumba, a nearby village, with Julie Frank, Canada.

Chilumba Childrens meeting

While I was at Loloma  4 visitors from NI arrived at Chit. One is a student midwife while another has just qualified as a nurse. The third and fourth are a speech and language therapy student and a health technology student.  Hats off to her as she has managed to resurrect our ECG machine, so that we have 12 lead printouts once again.   Their arrival was the beginning of a very busy period at hospital – I’m not sure what they have done, but the week has been manic.  We have been up at night for C-sections and have had a number of very sick patients, not all of whom have made it, sadly.  Last Saturday I took the girls over to Dipalata in the vehicle.  It was a good test of my driving on Zambian roads.  When we stopped to ensure that the road we were taking was indeed the one to Dipalata, all we got from the man was ‘bad road’!  I am not sure if he thought we 5 girls wouldn’t make it, but the Lord brought us safely through.  It was a lovely day and I appreciated the fellowship with the Speichingers and Betty Magennis.   The girls stayed at Dipalata till the Monday afternoon, whereas I returned the same day  as our team was so small.   I left laden with bananas and vegetables which are greatly appreciated.  The Lord provided travelling companions for the return journey.   The wife and daughter of one of Betty Magennis’s workers wanted to go to Chit.  Our communication was somewhat limited: they were Lunda speakers whereas I am learning Luvale – and am definitely not fluent as yet. Anyway we were able to make ourselves understood and I appreciated the company – always good to travel with someone in case of breakdown, and if up country then even better to have a local.  We set off happily till we saw an ox-cart in front.  There were two ladies following it.  They waved at us vigorously.  It seemed that they were friends of Mrs Fred’s and were wanting a ride to Zambezi.  So in best African fashion we stopped, they climbed into the back and off we set again, 3 having become 5 plus baby. We soon reached the tarred road and after a brief stop in Zambezi headed for Chit where we arrived just at nightfall, thankful for the Lord’s protection.

Below left: Two of Irish contingent in OT with Dr McAdam and me, with newly born twins

Below right: Lunch at Dipalata Left-right: Betty Magennis, June & Jeff Speichinger, Tim, Dave and Ken Wagler (visitors from Canada), Emma, Hannah, Lauren and Jenny.


10 September

We have had no internet access all week, so several blog postings are likely to get rolled into one long one which will be posted whenever we are back on line. Apart from personal inconvenience (which I think I can live with – especially after re-reading T Ernest Wilson’s book, ‘ Angola Beloved,’ about the early days of pioneering with the Gospel in that land. Mail was very infrequent, almost a rarety for these servants of the Lord. We have no grounds for grumbling), there is the inconvenience at the hospital – no X-ray reports from Dr Rodney in Australia,  and no pathology reports, some of which we need urgently to guide our patient management.

This week has been interesting, even if the hospital has been busy.  On Tuesday we took Moses, a 10 year old boy who holds the record for the longest paediatric admission, on a home visit.  The senior paediatric nurse, Thandiwe, came with me, as did our four Irish visitors. They, plus Moses, his mother and younger sister, plus  his pedal wheelchair, plus the last minute addition of a young man (and his luggage) who wanted a lift to Zambezi en route to school,  all crammed into the back of my vehicle.  Thandiwe sat with me in the front.  Moses’s mother thought they were going home for good (despite being told otherwise) and had packed up all her goods, cooking pots etc;  we had to send these back to the ward.  It was rather like a trip into the unknown; we had almost no idea where we were going, other than that we had to head to Zambezi and then head out on the Chavuma road.  We began to wonder if we might arrive at Chavuma before we found his village.  Just after the narrow bridge over the Makonde river there was a loud knocking from behind to indicate we had arrived.  The little village is alongside the main road with the river running behind, a small cluster for village houses under the orange and mango trees.  Moses received a rapturous welcome, everyone was greeting him and saying how well he looked.  I got to see his little home – the roof needs some re-thatching before the rains start – but it is otherwise satisfactory.  Thandiwe and I felt awful at having to take him back to hospital, but it is important to get his pressure sores healed before his is finally discharged.  We left his pedal wheelchair there as a kind of token that he was really returning home soon.

Below: Moses sitting on pedal wheelchair, with his mother and sister outside their village home.



Several of our colleagues who have been away returned this week so that our numbers are increasing again.  Markles, Baileys and McAdams all came up from Lusaka on Friday (though David has been back since early August, Lorraine only returned this week, and he went down to Lusaka to meet her).  Just Speichingers, Hannas and the newly weds (pilot plus wife) to return now.  The first and last of these are due very soon, but the Hannas still have a little while in Canada.  The four girls from N Ireland have left us to spend a couple of days in Livingstone and Victoria Falls – we will miss them and their banter.  We have a visiting doctor from Edinburgh, Dr Klaus, who is here for a month.  He is getting more familiar with Chit after one week here and is already a good help in clinic and with minor surgery.


Farewell to Irish girls (L-R, Emma, Hannah, Jenny, Lauren, Lorraine McAdam, Jon Lake from Kalene, Julie-Rachel Elwood and me)

We have had some very sick patients this week.  Some are patients we would love to investigate further but we do not have the facilities to do so. These will need to go to Lusaka, but the others we will continue to manage here.  One is a family whom I know well, via a daughter with sickle cell disease who is admitted periodically. The family have scrimped and saved to put the oldest son ( a really nice boy) through teacher training college, and I have been able to help him from time to time. Chipango has worked hard and done well throughout his course.  He has just one term left to complete before qualifying. His mother is unwell currently.  Everyone, including his mother, has encouraged him to continue with his studies for the long-term good of the family.  It will not be easy for him this term, and he is someone you might pray for.  He would attend the SDAs over here ( a popular church group in Zambia) and I do not know if he is saved or not; he is certainly open to the Gospel, and his mother will have heard the message during her hospital admission.

Other matters for prayer:

Help with Luvale language study.  It is not always easy to set aside the necessary time each day, especially if hospital has been busy, but it is essential if one is to communicate.The people really appreciate any attempt to communicate in their language and I feel that it is bringing me closer to them.  Every day I learn a number of new words which I try to use. I am also intending to purchase a Luvale Bible from the bookroom locally.

For Eddie, the young man with cerebral palsy who lives in the village and whom I visit regularly. There are important issues surrounding his daily care which need to be sorted. Pray for wisdom and guidance for me as I seek to take this forward, and that a solution which really benefits Eddie is found.

For the regular preaching of the Gospel on the wards

For wisdom to discern those who are really needy and need  help with food etc

For visitors and others travelling

For the last few weeks of this visit and my journey to UK at the end of September.