Wallingford Christian Assembly

Zambia News - News from a wet Chitokoloki (March 2018)

18 March 2018

It is several weeks since I last wrote and life at Chit has been busy – happily so, I might say.  I have enough spare minutes to start a new posting, though I can hardly hear myself think as the rain lashes down outside and the thunder roars intermittently.  The village Gospel meeting has been rained off, and I wonder how many will venture out for the English Gospel meeting at 17.00 unless the rain stops

We had an encouraging time in late February with a visit from brethren David McKillen (N Ireland) and Dan Nguluka, a Zambian brother commended to the Lord’s work in Botswana.  David has not visited Africa for several years and had travelled up through Botswana ministering the Word of God, then up into Zambia, to Lusaka and the Copper Belt.  He and Dan had a week of meetings in Solwezi and then moved on to Loloma from where they made a short visit to Chit.  It was all too short, lasting no more than 24 hours, but it was so refreshing and such an encouragement.  David had a chart on Prophecy and spoke on ‘End Times’. In between his two sessions, brother Dan gave his testimony and an account of his call to the Lord’s work.  I have never seen the hall at Chit so full: it was overflowing (photo above).  At the back folks were climbing over each other to get to the last few seats and there was an overflow outside.  We reckoned that altogether attendance was probably around 550.  Everybody who was anybody or not was there.  Some village assemblies joined us. Some came from the denominations around.  Some present were unsaved and came out of curiosity – but they heard the Gospel of the glory of God presented very clearly.  Many said they would have enjoyed a longer visit.  The two brethren stayed overnight – it was good to share some fellowship with them in the evening and to learn more about the history of assembly testimony in Zambia from Dan.  The following morning, Dan preached the Gospel twice at the hospital, at staff ‘devotions’ and also to patients over the PA system before they headed back to Loloma and more meetings there.


Since the middle of February we have been enjoying Jonny Dalton’s (Coventry/Cardiff) visit to Chit for his medical elective.  He has been busy at the hospital – I am not quite sure about his influence on the work level as he had hardly arrived before we were receiving a constant stream of patients requiring major surgery which kept us all very busy.  Jonny has also been a good help in the assembly work and Gospel outreach.  He preached the Gospel clearly and faithfully in the English Gospel meeting the other week, and, despite no more than a moment’s notice, gave a very acceptable word of ministry on 1 Timothy 1 when the scheduled speaker failed to show up the following  Wednesday afternoon.  Last Lord’s day he was out at a village assembly with Shawn and Rhonda Markle and today he was responsible for the main ministry after the Breaking of Bread.  He gave a good word from Luke 2 about the Lord Jesus and His perfect development in this world, challenging us about our own spiritual growth.  How we need to keep our eyes fixed on Christ and follow Him faithfully, learning daily from His Word! Hebrews 12 v 1-3.  Jonny is due to leave Chit at the end of March.  When he goes, Oli Penfold from Bicester arrives for his elective; he will stay till early May DV.  We also have Esther McNeill (N Ireland and Edinburgh) here for her elective; she is staying in the other ‘semi’ of my house, so it is good to have her company.

Medical students at work with Andrew McAdam

(L-R: Jonny, Michael, Andrew)

Other visitors of note have been Michael Price, a medical student from the US (see above) and the electricians from Canada and N Ireland.  Their visits were particularly welcome as they were able to sort a number of electrical issues on the mission station – not least the solar power system in my house which had not been performing well.  It is so good to have a reliable power supply again.  They also worked hard on the house Julie-Rachel Elwood is building which is nearing completion.

This past week it was a joy to meet Mutondu and Florence Masaha, a Zambian couple commended in 2004 from the assembly at Chavuma to the Lord’s work in Angola (photo below).  They faithfully serve the Lord at a place called Chilombo which, I understand, is in a very remote area.  Mr Masaha’s exercise is in the Gospel, both preaching the message and teaching others to preach it also.  They are very good friends of Samuel and Elizabeth Simonyi-Gindele and I had therefore heard a lot about them without ever having met them.  They had been visiting with relatives at Chavuma and came across to Chit to consult regarding a few medical issues.  It was a joy to offer them hospitality and have them stay in the home for a couple of days.  It was all very impromptu, but they arrived on the very day that my worker had changed the beds, so I did a very quick decant into the spare bedroom, leaving the double bed for them.   They returned to Chavuma on Friday and we were able to send them with a small supply of basic medicines to help in their work at Chilombo


Meanwhile the regular Gospel outreaches continue at hospital and in the villages.  Rhonda Markle, Tiffany Poidevin and I operate a 3 weekly cycle in the children’s ward on a Friday afternoon. It is a work close to my heart as I do rounds on that ward day by day so that the families know me and I them, and it is an important part of the testimony.  One little chap began to do the actions to his favourite chorus as soon as he saw Rhonda Markle walk onto the ward the other week!  Last Friday I spoke about Creation and plan to follow on from this next time with the entrance of sin into the world.  A lady expressed interest in the Gospel during a visit to female ward – It seems that she is caring for her husband who is a patient on male ward.  Shawn & Rhonda Markle will visit with them. Please pray. There is so much empty profession over here, so very different from a real work of God in the soul.

The work with Keith at Gayle Bailey at the girls’ dorm continues on Friday evenings.  Yesterday I dosed them all with their annual praziquantel as protection against schistosomiasis which is so prevalent and so serious over here.  I have also been helping them with some basic Maths (memories of a former life for me!).  On Friday evenings we have just finished studies in John’s Gospel with them and are considering what to do next.  I would like to do a series on women of the Bible and draw some practical lessons for the Christian life from this.  You might remember to pray for these girls; they come from different family backgrounds and are staying in a Christian hostel where God’s word is read and they hear the Gospel.  Not all are saved. Pray that the Spirit of God will work in their lives and convict them of their sin and need of Christ as Saviour.

Edi, my friend from the village with cerebral palsy, has a place at the school for physically handicapped young people at Mambilima in Northern province (many miles from Chitokoloki).  We have yet to finalise some of the logistics of transport there and provision for the school holidays (twice a year), but it would appear that the way is opening up for him to move over there in the very near future.   We would plan to take him as far as Ndola in the Copper Belt where the folk from Wukwashi waNzambi (a charity set up for children with disability in Zambia and the representatives for Mambilima school for North Western Province) would meet him and organise the rest of his journey.   He is excited about this new development in his life, although it will mean a big change.  His sister in Lusaka has agreed to take him in the holidays which would be helpful as it would save a lot of transportation.  I would value prayer as I look into the arrangements and send Edi off over the next few weeks.

It was sad to learn that my young friend Moses who spent so long on the ward and had the special PET chair had passed away in his home village. You may remember that we took him on a home visit in my vehicle in August 2017.  He and his family went home in October, and I learnt the sad news from the Chavuma driver on Friday.  I hope to be able to visit his mother in the village before too long, so will perhaps get more details then.

I had  been praying about a weekend of conference and camping with Murray and Grace Poidevin (Tiffany’s parents) later in March, but it is looking like the trip will need to be postponed till April (when the rains should be much less anyway – it could be a bit miserable on a wet day like today, I would imagine).  Jonny Dalton is hoping to go next weekend, but David McAdam and I are at Dipalata on the Monday and to return to Chit on Lord’s day afternoon makes it hardly worth all the trouble of getting there.  We hope that Oli Penfold will get out to a different conference with me in April DV.

It has been a joy to spend a weekly lunchtime session in the Scriptures with my house-worker, one of the girls from the hostel Bible study group last year. I had been praying about what I should do – and Christine expressed her own interest to spend time studying God’s Word.  We are looking at some of the great Bible doctrines – terms such as justification, reconciliation etc etc week by week.  Please pray for Christine that she will grow in the things of the Lord.

I have been appreciating internet access to good ministry over the past few weeks.  I have followed Craig Munro’s series on Zechariah and am now listening to Elton Fairfield’s meetings on the Tabernacle from mid February in Bicester.  So much that speaks of Christ in these Types of the Old Testament, and so much for our learning and appreciation!  

Almost time to head out to English Gospel meeting now, so will finish my posting.  The rain continues steadily; I think Esther and I will go in the vehicle to keep ourselves dry….

DV I head back to UK on 23 April, arriving on British soil the following day in time for the Wallingford conference at the beginning of May.  The remaining weeks will pass quickly.  I value your prayers for myself and for the work here, that the Lord Jesus might be glorified in all our service.  

‘That is all things HE might have pre-eminence’ Colossians 1 v 18

A final picture – 3 little  cuties outside hospital.