30 November 2005

Thanksgiving, Rewards, and Consequences

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Thursday we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with an actual turkey. I went to the local grocer, the only one in town, several weeks ago and asked him to order a turkey. I really didn't expect him to be successful but he called me on Wednesday to say that the bird had arrived. In years past turkey has been anywhere from 6 to 7 pounds which is more like a medium sized chicken in the States. This year the turkey was a full 11 pounds. This may not seem like a big turkey in North America but it was practically a monster in Zambia. We were able to enjoy our celebration with a Peace Corp Volunteer who came in from a village an hour away from us. We are thankful that we have the privilege of serving the Lord in the place where He called us.

There were also bittersweet moments this past week. One of the senior leaders of a rural church passed away. He was 71 years of age and had suffered from cancer for the last five years. I received word last Wednesday afternoon of his death and went out to the village to take his widow home and make sure there were people around to help her. I did not get home until 10 p.m. Saturday we had the funeral. There were well over 200 people packed into the small chapel. We celebrated his life and I preached in Swahili with the message being translated into Bemba. I declared that my friend had made it known that he was a child of God and that he had a concrete assurance that he would stand before the Lord when he died. He knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was preparing a place especially for him. I then challenged the mourners who were from several different church backgrounds that they too could have that same assurance as promised in 1 John 5:13. It is always sad to lose a friend but we celebrate the fact that our final greeting here on earth is not goodbye but "tutaonana"...we will see each other again.

We would ask you to pray for one of the children at the Lighthouse Children's Home. This particular child has been caught stealing, lying, and going to places that are strictly off limit. When she has been caught in these activities in the past, she produces crocodile tears and begs forgiveness. The other children have let it be known that this was all a game to her. She had declared that she could do anything she wanted and get away with it. The other children are afraid to say anything because they had believed this particular child, but the straw that broke the camels back was when she started blaming other children for her misdeeds. This evening the children witnessed the result of continual disobedience. School holidays begin but she will be doing extra chores every single day for the next five weeks. The other
children need to understand that there is nobody above the rules of the house - even with big crocodile tears. One of the excuses given by the youngster is that she did not know any better because she is "only an orphan". That boat don't float! She has been a part of the Lighthouse Family for five years and she should have known better than to use that excuse. Please pray for our young wards as they learn the reality that disobedience has consequences. "Be sure your sin will find you out."

Finally, please pray for Colin as he makes a second attempt at the college entrance exams (SAT's). His last score was 1500 but this new exam encompasses essays and will be the one required for him when entering university in two years time.

We appreciate your faithfulness and prayers on our behalf. The victories we experience in Zambia are shared by you.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

23 November 2005

Yet another full week of activity and reflection.

Yet another full week of activity and reflection. This update, intended for 16th November 2005, is late, but the information is still valid!

Sherry has been occupied with preparing a team of workers for the upcoming Children's Bible Club on Friday afternoons once schools close for the holidays. The program is entitled "SCUBA" and stands for "Super Cool Undersea Bible Adventure." Our youth exchange student from Canada will be participating in the work team by teaching arts and crafts while Colin will run the music programs and I present the wrap-up "Finale" at the close of each day. Our "adopted" son John Bwalya and his wife have come forward to teach the Bible lessons and a few other young people have volunteered to assist in the puppetry. Pray for everyone involved. Pray for the preparation necessary to make this a successful program. Pray for the boys and girls who will be attending the sessions.

I have been meeting with one of the young men at the chapel for discipleship over the last few weeks. Joe has been keen to learn his role in the family of God as well as in the work of the local church. The transformation in his life has been made evident since accepting Christ as His Saviour. We are pleased with his progress and his willingness to learn.

Once or twice a week I have been meeting with two young men from the church training them in evangelism. We look forward to the day when these young people begin to bring new faces into the church and play a leading role in the outreach programs. Please pray for those going through these lessons.

We conclude our "End Time" movie series this Friday evening with "Left Behind II". Last week was a record number of attendees. Sherry made some correspondence lessons available to those interested in learning more about their "end times" and the decision that must be made now before it is too late. Pray for those who have been coming out and pray especially for this Friday's presentation.

The children in Sunday School have just had a session on "Angels". Sherry mentioned that the children had so many questions, preconceived ideas, false impressions that they were astonished when various scriptures were presented to them for research. They now know that there are varying ranks of angels, that some angels have no wings, others have six and yet others have four. Angels have certain roles to play in God's plan. They learned that sometimes angels take the form of humans and this is always in the appearance of a male. This had been one of the most participative lessons yet, according to Sherry's account. Pray for the boys and girls as they learn more about God and His kingdom. This coming Sunday the children will be learning about Satan and his demons.

Colin came home from school this Monday. His final exams have been completed and he feels rather satisfied with his performance. We now await the results and will discuss his options. We have signed Colin up for Form 6 part I which should bring him in equal standing to grade 12 in the American High School setting. He is convinced that this was his final year of school since so many of his friends have left and do not plan on completing the Form 6 years. Some of these will be heading
towards college or temporary employment. Our decision is based upon Colin's maturity, age and a few other factors. We believe with the next two years under his belt in the Form 6 program, he will make a well adjusted college student in the future. Please pray for him and us as we look to the future.

Thank you for your continued prayers on our behalf. We love and appreciate you.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

02 November 2005

Learning and Growing

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Sunday morning was great! The children in the Sunday School recited their memory verses for the last 13 weeks. Most of the children had been very involved in studying for their end of year school exams, but still managed to be able to do very well on their recitation. Nancy, one of the girls from the Lighthouse Home, quoted every scripture without mistakes. We are very proud of her progress. As a result of one of the Sunday School lessons, she comes to the library almost every day to read a few pages of "Dropping Your Guard" by Chuck Swindoll. When we look back at her situation five years ago, she was a completely different individual from today and we are grateful to those who had a part in that particular ministry involving her transformation. Please continue to pray for Nancy and the other children at the Lighthouse.

Speaking of the library...

Most classes in the government schools have closed so the grade 9 and 12 students can be taking their final exams in silence. Students have been coming to the library every day. As we type this letter there are seven young people in the library reading. Every few minutes there are students coming in to retrieve a lesson that they had completed some time back and are only now finding time to pick up. With temperatures soaring well above 100 degrees, the library tends to heat up quickly
especially with people moving around. Still, it is a comfortable place for young people to come and read and seek answers to questions that the average young person has. One question this morning from a young man concerned how does worship bring pleasure to God. I explained that any time we worship and praise the Lord it brings pleasure to the Father just as when our own children communicate with us. He seemed surprised that God would actually "feel" pleasure from His children until I
assured him that God created us in His own image and thus the emotions we experience He can also experience apart from sin.

Last month in the Source of Light Bible Correspondence School we enrolled seven new students. We distributed 192 lessons, corrected 190 lessons and awarded 25 certificates of completion. We have begun to be very careful about the younger students coming in wanting to enrol. They see big brother and sister taking the courses. They come in hoping to come in and "join" Mailbox Club. Unfortunately, many the students here that are in grade 5 and 6 cannot read even the most simple of the
booklets that are written for grade 1 students in the United States and Canada. Some of them have even memorized the first paragraph of the first book in an attempt to appear as if they could actually read the book. It is a shame that we cannot simply teach them all to read, but there are simply not enough hours in the day and we do not feel that it is feasible for us to close down one or two other ministries in order to start a reading program.

This coming Saturday is the big day for Claude and Petronella. Today is their final pre-marital counselling session. They will meet with us and discuss "Communication" and "Finances". They have already learned a lot of each other that they had not known prior to our sessions together. In the last session Claude spoke about why he loved Petronella and that he respected her as a person. She had never heard him verbalize these thoughts. As they left our office hand in hand, it was wonderful to note that we are having a part in their future. Pray for them as they enter this wonderful state of matrimony.

Thank you for allowing us to represent you and have a part in the livesof so many people in Zambia.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry