31 August 2005

Great news and Great provision

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last week's College and Career class was spectacular. The young people discussed Daniel 8-World Powers In Conflict. God gave Daniel the unique opportunity of looking into the future. That future became very personal. The first seven chapters stressed the destinies of the Gentile world powers. Chapters 8-12 emphasizes the destiny of Israel. The view of the Ram and the Goat were eye openers to the young people in retrospect to chapter 7 and chapter 2. As we prepare for chapter 9 (the 70 seven's) we look forward to much more enthusiasm in discussion. Pray for the group study.

Sunday morning my young protégé, John, spoke again. Sherry and I are so proud of his development as a gifted preacher and his spiritual growth as a whole. His topic was "Your Dream Home". He described our mansion in heaven in comparison to our greatest expectation of a mansion here on earth. The congregation was enthralled as he presented the Word of God and encouraged those of us that are believers to remember that we are but pilgrims in this world awaiting our journey "home". He also presented a challenge to those who do not know Christ. They ought to prepare their souls to meet the Saviour as time is too short to procrastinate.

We have concluded the school holiday movie festival at the Christian Resource Centre. The children who participated enjoyed the presentations and very often came into the library to read books or ask about the correspondence lessons. Colin, also, enjoyed spending time with children and serving as a guide to the Christian Resource Centre. If all works out well, perhaps we will see some of these children at the Vacation Bible School program in December.

Several months ago I (Patrick) bit my tongue while eating breakfast. This is not ordinarily a dangerous exercise, but the wound became irritated. Three weeks ago I noticed a white bump (for lack of an appropriate medical term) on my tongue and went to see our local doctor. He said I needed to see a maxilo facial surgeon, but there are none in Zambia. Therefore I had to go to South Africa. I made the appointment and left within days to see the surgeon in Johannesburg. His comment was that the lesion did "not seem sinister" but needed to be removed and a biopsy should be done. He did this in the hospital there.

The biopsy showed a carcinoma - bad news. He said it was very rare in non-smokers, but he said the initial wound had reacted with an older filling in my mouth. He also mentioned "acid reflux" in my stomach (evidenced by "heart burn") that probably added to the condition. He has sent me to yet another surgeon who did a CT scan of my mouth and neck. There did not appear to be a further problem with the tongue, but to make sure that all of the cancer cells are completely removed from my tongue a substantial amount of tissue was to be removed. Also, a few lymph nodes in my neck were enlarged so they were to be removed as well and a biopsy performed. This was done on Friday, 26th August. The second surgeon said everything "looked fine" and the swelling of the lymph nodes was probably due to the irritation caused by the first surgery. Still, the second biopsy results are not in yet. I'll know more on Thursday.

The four-inch scar on my neck looks pretty gruesome at the moment, but the surgeon said it would not be "too bad" after the swelling went down. If the laboratory finds "something" in the tissue from my neck, then I will be in South Africa for six weeks receiving radiation therapy. This is not likely (according to the surgeon), but possible. Please pray about this situation. We know who is in control and our ministry continues regardless of the outcome.

God has blessed and God allows the challenges in our lives sometimes to reach other people and sometimes to build our own character. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf.

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

24 August 2005

Blessings working with young people!

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Saturday Sherry had a very special experience. She was the guest speaker at a "kitchen party" (bridal shower) for one of the young women in the church. This event is different from our conventional shower in that it is often more widely attended than even the actual wedding ceremony. The young lady is "showered" with gifts but she is also given instruction on how to take care of her husband and home. Sherry's admonition was on marriage as a committed partnership and a cooperative effort between equal partners. The idea of equal partners in a marriage is a foreign concept in a society where men have the idea that it is okay to beat their wives into submission. All too often the wives will agree with that concept. Claude and Petronella have been sitting with us in premarital counseling and fully understand the biblical concept of loving and caring for each other. As Sherry spoke at the function, many of the older women had a hard time accepting what she was sharing from the Word of God. It was good to know that Petronella and her mother both agreed with Sherry. Pray for this young couple as they continue in their counseling in preparation for their wedding day.

The newest member of our family, Courtney from Canada, (our youth exchange student) has begun to fit in quite nicely into our home. Colin commented that it was nice to have someone his own age around the house. She has joined right in with the chores and is even learning to try out some of our local cuisine. She went with one of the young ladies to visit her school and is excited about the year ahead. Please pray for Courtney as this will be a life changing experience for her. Last Sunday she attended church with us and appeared to be comfortable in her surroundings.

Two of the students from the Men's Bible Institute turned in their answers to questions concerning their latest lessons. They have learned to give succinct, well-documented responses to the questions instead of talking in circles and trying to fill a page. The difference between their first assignment and this last one is truly amazing. As we move into the Poetic books, Job is going challenging in itself. Many issues that are often theoretical are going to be examined from a very practical manner. Pray for the students as they continue in their studies.

The College and Career class has grown substantially. Young people have begun to realize that they can actually obtain practical answers to everyday questions. The study on Daniel has brought them face to face with the concept of being faithful to the Lord even when it is not popular with their friends and colleagues. Please continue to pray for our young people. They face a myriad of obstacles. Next week they examine Daniel 8, which broaches the subject of World Powers In Conflict particularly in relation to the destiny of Israel.

We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. These weekly updates give you a brief glimpse at our lives and those affected by your concerted prayers.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry


21 August 2005

Blessings of the week!

Greetings from Luanshya!

Good news on the home front. Our son, Colin, went for his surgical review over the weekend and the surgeon found that his leg has been healing nicely. An x-ray was taken and it shows that scar tissue has grown along the desired regions as well as new bone growth around the break in his femur. If the healing process continues to progress as it has, the surgeon is willing to remove the steel plates next April which is six months earlier than expected. Pray for Colin as he continues to recuperate and for us as we warily watch our son become involved in more school activities. Please remember Colin as he takes his final exams over the next two months and prepares for his next step in advanced studies prior to attending college. His school year concludes this time in mid-November.

On the ministry side of things...

Patrick's' protégé, John Bwalya, returned to Luanshya over the weekend in order to lead the church service on Sunday. He presented a challenging message to the believers about the need to examine our motives as to why we do what we do and the need to worship the Lord on a daily basis. He challenged those who do not have a personal relationship with the Lord to consider their eternal state seriously and how to respond to the call of salvation. Pray for John as he continues to bring fresh insight and challenge.

College and Career met on Friday to discuss Daniel 6. Word has gotten around town about this dynamic group and as of last week three times as many young people were in attendance. The discussion of Daniel 6 led to
issues such as obedience to local government, limitations, faithfulness to God in light of today's challenges, how our testimony affects those in authority over us and much more. Daniel in the lions' den is a story that we never get tired of hearing. Daniel was not thrown into the lion's den for being bad. He was thrown in for being godly! That is an important point to keep in mind. We usually expect that when we do wrong we ought to be punished, and when we do right we ought to be praised. That is certainly the ideal, but it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes those who do wrong are rewarded, and those who do right are persecuted. This chapter demonstrates that godliness can be costly. How do we stand up in similar circumstances?

Progress has been made out at the church plot. The foundation is going up and should be completed any day now. Already those living in the vicinity of the new church site have been asking questions about when we
see the project as being complete so they can attend. In the meantime, we are guiding these same inquisitors to our current venue so that they are exposed to the Word now and make the shift with us as the Lord leads. Pray for the ongoing work at the plot and our testimony in the community at large. This evening Sherry will be driving out to the Ndola Airport to pick up our Youth Exchange student whom we will be hosting and counselling over the next eleven months. Her name is Courtney and she is sixteen years old. She hails from Canada and will be attending grade twelve here in the Luanshya Girls High School as part of a cultural exchange program. Colin is thrilled to have someone "his age" living in the house and who will be around for him to associate with when he is home on school breaks. Pray that his testimony before his
soon to be friend is strong and that both gain from this opportunity and experience.

Sherry will be participating in a bridal program on Saturday. One of the young girls from the church is getting married in October/November and has requested Sherry to present not only a message on marriage but also one on Christ as the centre of the believer's home. Courtney will attend the function with her so this will be her first opportunity to get a glimpse of Zambian life and practice in the marriage sphere as well as hear a clear gospel message. Please pray for this meeting and the many who will be attending.

As always, we appreciate your concerted prayers on our behalf. Not a day goes by when we do not thank the Lord for your support and partnership in His work. May you know His continued blessing in your life.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

10 August 2005

Yes, God answers prayer - but not always the way we expect!

Greetings from Luanshya!
Last Sunday morning at the “Caddie Chapel” there was another golf
tournament. When I arrived there at 8:00 am several of the caddies were
already out on the course with their golfers. The nine men who were
there and waiting were eager to listen so we went forward. One man even
brought his three young children because “they need to be in church.” At
the end of the brief message I asked them if they had any questions. The
man who brought his children asked a very poignant question – and one
that has been asked often and regularly by people since Adam and Eve
first lost their son: “When I ask God to help me why doesn’t He answer?”
He went on to ask me why God allowed bad things to happen. I spent
nearly 30 minutes talking about Joseph. He experienced incredibly bad
situations, but God knew the final outcome of his life. As I spoke the
man soaked in what he was hearing about God’s sovereignty (even thought
that word was not used). After I finished he thanked me and said nobody
ever explained it to him, but he now was beginning to understand. Please
pray for this small group of men – and their families – as I continue to
reach out to them.
School holidays are here and the Christian Resource Centre is full every
day. Colin has been sitting in the library to help because of the
increase in traffic. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we are showing children’s
films so the youngsters have a safe place to come during the break.
Colin works the projector which allows Sherry and me to continue our
routine. Colin enjoys having a part in this particular task. During the
holiday the children of the Lighthouse home are also receiving a bit of
additional tutoring in their mathematics studies. John and Sara Bwalya
are in from their rural post and are lending a hand with this. We are so
proud of this great couple! Please continue to remember them in prayer.
We need for them to be transferred back to Luanshya.
This afternoon Sherry and I began to intensive counselling of a young
couple who are planning to be married in November. I have known both of
these young people for over 10 years and have watched them mature
physically, emotionally and spiritually. He is completing his studies in
electronics and she is a school teacher. They want to serve the Lord in
their local church and want their marriage to be founded on the
principles of the Word of God. He lives in Lusaka now and they will me
moving there after the wedding so another member of the church is
leaving, but we always see this as an expansion of our ministry. Please
pray for Claude and Petronella as they prepare to share their lives and
ministries with each other.
On Friday I will be making a trip to Lusaka (four hours away) for Colin
to have a medical review of his leg and to have the minivan from the
Lighthouse Home serviced. Please pray for us as we travel. There is a
diesel shortage in Zambia so I have to carry all my fuel for the round
trip with me. We will be back in time for the service on Sunday. John
Bwalya is preaching and I want to hear my protégé speak.
Thank you for the part you have in this ministry. We are here because
you are there!
In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

03 August 2005

Celebration Week!

Greetings from Luanshya!


It has been a week of celebration around our house. On Monday we celebrated our 8th year of marriage. It was a national holiday in Zambia so there wasn't even a restaurant open for us to celebrate. Still, it has been a great eight years and we are looking forward to the next eighty.

Monday was also my 20th anniversary of first stepping foot on African soil. It has been a very eventful two decades. There have been wonderful victories and incredible challenges. Through the ups and downs of life in ministry since 1985, God has blessed and our team of faithful prayer and financial partners has stood with us at every turn. Thank you for being a part of our lives. Now...

Last Friday I travelled to Mkushi to collect Colin from school. His leg is healing nicely and academically he is doing very well. He finds English a challenge because, quite frankly, he doesn't like to write. He will have to get over this, of course, because university courses require that students are able to express themselves through the written word. He loves math and science but he has to be able to communicate mathematical and scientific formulae so that the novice is capable of understanding his theorems. Please pray for Colin as he spends the next four weeks in "mom and dad's special English course for the literary challenged".

The Source of Light Bible Correspondence School continued to grow during the month of July. Thirty-four new students were enrolled, 285 lessons were distributed, 229 lessons were corrected and 17 certificates of completion were awarded. We received some new curriculum to enlarge the children's section of the school. There was also a new series ordered for the adult curriculum entitled "Light From The Old Testament." The new courses have already been put into play.

On Sunday I was out in the rural village of Buntungwa. They have completed 2,700 bricks of the 4,000 needed for the construction of their new building. After completing the moulding of the bricks, they will build a kiln, load it with firewood and burn it (the firewood) for five days. The mud bricks will harden with the heat and these will become permanent. Four men in the church are doing the work and the ladies are taking turns providing meals for them five days a week. They have taken real ownership of this project and are excited about the fact that they are doing it all themselves. The oldest man on the construction team is brother Mwape who is a retired tailor from one of the clothing manufacturers in town that went out of business. Pressing bricks isn't anything like pressing suits-especially when you're nearly sixty years old. I had lunch in his home following the Sunday service. We talked about life in rural Zambia. It was a blessing to share some time with this dedicated servant of the Lord. Please continue praying for this church as they go forward in their building program.

Last week we mentioned the teacher's strike in our part of Zambia. The union told all the teachers to go back to work, this is the last week of school for this term so it didn't really do much good to have the teachers report for classes when many of the students had already decided that they weren't coming and had unofficially begun their holiday. Our hope and prayer is that teachers and the government will come to some agreement prior to the beginning of next term (first week of September) so the exam schedule will not be jeopardised. Please continue praying for this situation.

Finally, pray for the College and Career class. A man named Various (yes, that's his real name) came in today asking if he could bring several friends with him on Friday. Of course we encouraged him to do so. We look forward to several visitors this coming Friday.

We appreciate your prayers on our behalf.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry