26 October 2005

"You mean we can really do this?"

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Thursday two of the young men from chapel came to see me. They were specifically burdened about visiting in the homes of people who had come to visit in our services. They said, "Brother Coleman, we just don't know how to do it. Is there some training you can give us?" I gave each of them a copy of "The Purpose Driven Life" and set up an appointment to meet with them several times a week to discuss how to lead people to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their first "session" was today and they soaked up the information. One of the young men said, "You mean we can really do this?" I assured him that not only could he lead someone to Christ but also it was the duty of every believer to faithfully share the gospel with the whole world (Mark 16:15). Please pray for these two young men and that others will follow their example.

Claude and Petronella are continuing with the pre-marital counseling. Last Saturday they had the first rehearsal in the chapel. There is just something about an African wedding that lifts your spirits. A few months ago Sherry and I had the privilege of attending my nephews wedding. It was a nice, calm service. At an African wedding the attendants do not simply walk down the aisle. They dance! It takes nearly 10 minutes for them to get into the church and a full 20 for them to exit. The attendees get into the spirit of things and the whole church will be joining in the celebration with their undulating cries and praises to the Lord. Please pray for Claude and Pet as they prepare for their lives together.

This coming Sunday, the children in the Sunday School will be completing their latest series of lessons with the "Memory Verse Competition". The little ones are very serious about this and work at saying all 13 verses word perfect. Our prayer is that it will be more than just words from their lips but a message hidden deep in their hearts and keep them from sin.

Last Sunday I was in a rural church in Kambilombilo. I spoke on the subject that "We Can Know That We Have Eternal Life" from the book of 1 John 5. After I finished the message one man immediately stood up and announced that he had accepted Christ "on the spot". It was refreshing to see that kind of enthusiasm. Obviously God had the fruit ready to be harvested. Please pray for t his rural church. They have a number of new believers preparing for baptism. That is also an exciting event in the life of a community. Kambilombilo is a refugee resettlement area near us where many former Congolese residents now live.

John Bwalya and his wife, Sarah, came all the way in from Masaiti District to be the Lord's messenger at the chapel on Sunday. John spoke on liberty and independence, as Monday was Zambia's 41st birthday. He spoke about the difference between physical independence and spiritual independence. He referred to scriptures ranging from Genesis 46 through the book of Exodus. This was a reminder that the children of Israel, though initially invited to live in Egypt, were eventually enslaved. One of the highlights of the message was Jacob's admonition to his sons that their home was not where they currently lived, but was elsewhere. As believers, we have the same admonition to accept the liberty offered through Jesus Christ and look forward to our heavenly home as we sojourn here on earth.

God has been good. We thank you for your faithfulness in prayer.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

19 October 2005

Dive Deep!

Greetings from Luanshya!

The College and Career Class have completed their studies in the book of Daniel. The class will resume in the new year since many of the students are going into year-end exams and returning to their home villages. This is a very stressful time for students both in high school and university level. Please pray specifically for the Christians as they study and prepare for these very important examinations.

We are considering holding a Bible Club program for ages 7-15 during the school break in December. This will be along the line of Vacation Bible School, but it would be weekly instead of daily. The series the children will work through is entitled "Dive Deep!" The usual singing, games, crafts, Bible lessons with an added facet of puppetry will enliven the day. We will keep you updated as plans for this event are solidified.

One of the students in the Bible Institute has just completed a module on Job. This is always an interesting book to work through. He learned a tremendous amount in not only examining Job's reaction to trials but also in examining Job's friends' reaction to Job's reaction. Very often people assume that suffering believers are suffering because of sin.

Job, Daniel, Joseph and the apostle Paul demonstrate to us that this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes God allows suffering to make us stronger. Sometimes God allows suffering for us to be an example and comfort to other believers. Sometimes God allows suffering just to show Satan that God's children are faithful to the Lord. Whatever the reason for our suffering, we know that God is in control and will never allow us to endure more than we are able to endure. There is a tremendous
comfort in that fact!

The last couple of weeks I have been visiting rural churches. This coming Sunday I will be back at Mwaiseni. This is a church I helped to start several years ago. Their average attendance is around 300 on Sunday morning. They have invited me to come back as their guest speaker. It is very exciting to see a church grow with local leadership at the helm. Another local church has requested me to visit in November
to teach specifically about the Lord's Supper. I am looking forward to that occasion. Like the apostle Paul I sometimes find conflicts in the local churches and I am able to counsel without interfering in the autonomy of the local church. Please pray for our Zambian leaders as they seek to do the will of God.

Last Saturday evening I took Colin, Courtney (our Youth exchange student) and a Peace Corp Volunteer to watch a Hindu ceremony in Ndola so they might get an idea of yet another culture resident in Zambia. They were amazed to find people worshipping man made gods of stone, copper and gold. One of the leaders explained that one of the goddesses had a child whose head was cut off by a rival god so they grabbed the
nearest thing they could find to put on the child's shoulders to keep it alive. They found the head of an elephant. The young people didn't say anything initially until they were alone with me and then the amazement of such a story was shocking to say the least. As the celebration continued, hundreds of Hindus walked in circles around what looked like a maypole in the middle of a courtyard. The whole scene reminded me of Elijah's experience with the 400 prophets of Baal. Drums were beaten, singers were crying out and the dancers were spinning back and forth trying to appease the "mother goddess". It magnified the need to share the gospel of Christ with the whole world. Many of these Hindu friends really believe that the dancing, the drums and the wailing will get them closer to some kind of paradise. I spoke to one man who was raised in that culture, who completely rejected the idea. Please pray for M. as we
continue to dialogue about the truth as opposed to error.

Thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

05 October 2005


Greetings from Luanshya!

September was a good month for the Source of Light Bible Correspondence School. We enrolled 18 new students, distributed 239 lessons, corrected 225 lessons and awarded 26 certificates of completion. Several of our older students have actually come to the end of the course material. We still see them coming into the library to read and study the books that are on the shelves. Mr. Mubanga, who is 64 years old, is the first to start the new series "Light From The Old Testament." Mr. Mubanga lives two hours away by foot in an area known as Mpongwe. He makes the trip twice a week to deliver his course and pick up his new one. He uses the lessons as source material for the messages he preaches in his rural church. Please continue to pray for brother Mubanga and over 3,500 other students registered with the SOL ministry.

The College and Career class will conclude the study of Daniel this coming Friday with chapter 12. They will be looking at the Great Tribulation and the Deliverance of Israel. The group will be taking a break after the conclusion of this series until January as many will be going to their family farms to prepare the ground for planting season while others return to their homes for the holidays. During the time
slot where we ordinarily have this class, we will be showing a series of films on the Return of Christ.

One of the local churches here in Luanshya has asked me to consider coming to teach on "The Lord's Supper". There is often confusion and sometimes conflict over exactly what the Lord's Supper represents and how it is to be conducted. The Apostle Paul had the same situation in Corinth and he spent almost an entire chapter admonishing the believers on the proper attitude, mode and procedure for remembering the last
supper that Christ had with His apostles. I look forward to the opportunity to teach about this command that the Lord left for His people.

The hot season is upon us. Temperatures during the daytime hours have climbed as high as 120 degrees. There have been a number of reported deaths in our town due to heat stroke. This is also the time when many people take their own lives because of weather conditions and young people have taken their lives from the pressure of school exams. October is known as "suicide month". It is for that reason that we spend so much time with our young people letting them know that there is someplace
that they can come for refuge. Please pray for our community at this time.

Last week I had an opportunity to meet a pastor from a church in South Africa. He was talking with a group of church members and he asked the question, "Can We Be 100% Sure That We Have Eternal Life?" I smiled because I knew the answer. Sadly, he did not. He said, "While we have the assurance that the Lord loves us, we cannot have 100% assurance that we have eternal life." What hope can this church leader possibly give to his flock? After his talk, I spoke to a few of the members of the congregation and explained that I did have 100% assurance and shared with them John 10:27-28 and 1 John 5:13, along with many others. Some people have asked me if we are working with "unreached people" here in Africa. We do not know what the classification is for "unreached" may be, but we are reaching people who have been reached with the wrong message. Thank you for making this possible by your prayers and financial support.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry