Wallingford Christian Assembly

Zambia News - 'Goats and cats' (February 2018)


ILeft hand image: 2 goats about to fight in the village

Right hand image: I am glad that the subject of this picture was already dead!!

It is exactly 3 weeks tonight since I left London Heathrow bound for Zambia once again.  Hardly surprisingly, the time has passed quickly. I am using a few minutes while Lords Day lunch cooks to at least start this new posting.  

I am thankful to the Lord for safe travel on yet another trip out here.  I spent a few days in Lusaka where I stayed with my good friends, Jason and Anna Speichinger and their two children.  The initial plan had been to have no more than 24 hours in Lusaka for essential business and shopping, but the Lord overruled and the flight up to Chit was delayed by a couple of days.  Sorting the road tax on my vehicle took longer than anticipated – something about ‘integrating the new and old systems’ and my vehicle was still on the old system – so that without the extra time it would not have been completed.  I was a little concerned as I had told patients that I would be at Chit to review them on 25 January – they day we flew up country – but again I could thank the Lord that none of them turned up. Not good for their health and medication, but convenient for me!!

I was back in harness virtually straight away, fitting in unpacking around the various other commitments in the Lord’s work here and the hospital routine.  I headed up to support Rhonda Markle in the Gospel work on the ladies’ wards on my first evening and was back at the girls’ dorm the following evening. It now feels like I have never been away!!

It is the rainy season currently ( = malaria season too as the mosquitoes like the dampness). Apparently January was drier than usual so there were worries about the locals’ crops which would suffer.  The same cannot be said for February!!  We had almost 3 days of solid sheeting rain last week – and I mean sheeting. It was so wet that for my on-call on Wednesday, I even gave up on the quad bike and put the vehicle into action.  After all, why have a vehicle and allow yourself to get drenched?!

Carol, the local girl who visited me regularly has moved down to Lusaka to start her nursing course.  It will be a huge change for her to move from the village where she has been brought up to the big city with all its attractions and dangers.  She is sharing accommodation with another local girl who is a year ahead of her in the nursing course, but who is not a believer. Carol has made contact with the believers at the Gt East Road assembly and attended the meetings there on her first Lord’s day.  The assembly is quite far from where she lives, so there is some expense incurred in getting to and from the meetings.  I was talking with her on the phone about ‘which church she should attend’. Rather than tell her what to do, I tried to give her the principles from the Scriptures as to what makes the local assembly unique and why we gather as we do.  I am praying that she will apply these to her situation.  

Edi is still in the village and appreciates every visit I make.  It seems that his place at Mambilima school is secure, but there is a considerable amount of logistics involved before he can take it up.  One issue is getting him there – though we would only have to get him to the Copper Belt (Kitwe) from where there is special dedicated transport up to the school each term.  I was concerned what would happen to him during the school holidays – it would not be feasible to bring him back to Chit twice a year - but his sister in Lusaka would be willing to take him there which is so much easier.  He enjoyed my visit yesterday when I took our newly arrived medical student with me – Edi always likes to meet new people.

The girls hostel work resumed in late January – all the Zambian schools were closed longer than usual over Christmas because of the cholera outbreak around Lusaka (this affected Carol’s nursing school as well).  There are three new girls this term and all appear to be settling well.  I have been given the role of Maths teacher – quite a few of them don’t understand the Maths lessons and so get low marks.  After the first session I realised that I had to go right back to basics, so that last week I gave them simple rules to follow – hopefully they will learn to apply them.  They find it far easier to learn by rote than to apply knowledge.  Sadly, this same fact influences the assembly and individual spiritual growth too.

Tiffany Poidevin (daughter of Murray & Grace Poidevin, Canada, who serve the Lord in the Lukulu area) has joined us for a year to polish her nursing skills for the Lord’s service in Africa.  She was brought up in Zambia and is a native Luvale speaker. Even though she says her Luvale is rusty, she is very fluent.  She, Rhonda Markle and I hold a children’s meeting on the ward on a Friday afternoon and she easily gains the attention of mothers and children as she retells a story from the Bible. I appreciate her fellowship, especially as our views are quite similar.

Jonny Dalton from Coventry arrives here in one week’s time for his medical elective.  I am looking forward to having him here and trust that his time will be profitable, both in the hospital and in the assembly.  We are also expecting a brief visit from David McKillen (N Ireland) who is currently visiting a number of assemblies in Botswana and Zambia.  It is several years since I last saw him, so it will be nice to meet up again.

Those of you who know how much I love cats will be amused to hear that I have a feline creature who is trying very hard to adopt me!! Little does he know!  He belonged to Christina Gagnon who returned to Canada last August and we are not sure when she is coming back.  He began to hang around my house as soon as I returned, wanting both food and attention.  On a temporary basis I am providing the former.  He has a new home pending, but it is proving difficult to catch him to take him there – and even if he did go, I have a funny feeling that  I’ve not seen the last of him.

Since I returned I have been enjoying downloaded ministry.  I have been following a series on Zechariah and his visions by Craig Munro, and am looking forward to listening to Elton Fairfield’s recent series at Bicester on the Tabernacle.  Such listening is important for one’s own spiritual growth and refreshment, especially when there is so much ‘giving out’ to be done at other times.

Prayer matters

Carol in Lusaka – for her spiritual protection/preservation

Edi and his school placement, that in the will of the Lord, all the relevant issues will be sorted and he will be able to enrol for the second term.

The assembly here for godly attitudes and spiritual growth

The many Gospel outreaches that go on each week, that souls will be genuinely saved and go on to prove the reality of their salvation.

For me, for strength from the Lord for each day and for a deep concern for the many around who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

1 Thessalonians 3 v 1:  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified…..