28 December 2005

Last of the Weekly Updates for 2005

Greetings from Luanshya! This will be the last of the weekly updates for 2005 and it seems like just last week we were just starting this year. Time flies when you're having fun!

People all over town are asking "How was your Christmas?" Usually in Africa that means: "Did you have enough food?" Our Christmas was, indeed, wonderful, but it was not just about the food on the table.

Our weekend began with S.C.U.B.A. - the Friday afternoon Bible Club for the children. Every week the group grows. We have two more weeks to go until school resumes on 9th January. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to teach the children the Bible truths they are learning on Friday afternoons.

On Saturday, Christmas Eve, Colin and I visited the six veterans of World War Two that live in Luanshya. Most of these men are pretty feeble now. They fought in the "Northern Rhodesian" section of the British armed forces. One of them travelled as far away as Japan and Burma. We took food "hampers" supplied by eight different businesses here in Luanshya. These men were so touched by the fact that someone had remembered them that one of them actually hugged us - not common among
men of this culture.

On Christmas Sunday morning I went to the golf course for my "Caddy Chapel". There were not many men there because of the rain, but we had a brief time of prayer and I shared a portion of Scripture. Some of these men have started coming to the Wednesday Bible study and the Friday film presentations.

After the service we went to the Lighthouse Children's Home and passed out goodies to the children including toys, clothes and books. The older children each received a small bottle of perfume/cologne. The whole house was filled with a "sweet aroma" for a few days. We remember the first Christmas there five years ago. We only had three children at that time and they were petrified with fear. On that first Christmas the house was filled with the odour of medicine because all three children were being treated for cuts and abrasions from the physical abuse they had been enduring in the village. What a difference love makes!

Our Christmas blessing did not end on Sunday. One of our visitors asked me to come by and visit him at work on Tuesday. He is a teacher at Luanshya Boys High School. I took one of our young men with who is studying the "Evangelism Explosion" lessons me. We talked to Mr Kafuli for about 45 minutes and he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour.

Yes, we had a marvellous Christmas! God continues to bless. Our year has been filled with challenges and victories. We are looking forward to the coming year and deeply appreciate your prayer and support for this ministry.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

15 December 2005

The Creator and His creation

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Friday was the first day of SCUBA, our Super Cool Undersea Bible Adventure for children. Forty-five minutes before the program was to begin the skies opened and we had two inches of rainfall in an hour. Sometimes you have to kind of wonder about why things happen the way they do. Then again, the program is called SCUBA. Three fourths of the children who eventually made it to the meeting were drenched. It looked like they had virtually swam to church. The attendance wasn't fantastic but the children had a great time and are looking forward to this Friday afternoon's program. Hopefully we will have a break in the weather. Please pray for this ongoing program for the next four weeks.

On Sunday the children discussed the "Beginning of Sin." The little ones had some rather interesting questions concerning the first sin. Did God know Adam and Eve were going to sin? Why did he make them if He knew they were going to blow it? These are the same questions that little ones have around the world. Most big people have the same questions. Sherry explained that God gave man the ability to choose. Those who choose to obey and come to Christ choose an eternity with the Father in heaven. Those who choose their own way choose death and eternal separation from God. Please pray for our children that they will make the right choices as they are being taught what the Bible says.

As mentioned earlier, the rains are here in full force. This brings a number of problems for the population. The roads are nasty and when people are walking to church they must decide if they are going to take a chance on getting drenched or simply staying home and remaining out of the weather. Houses in township areas are washed away every year and are being rebuilt with the same mud brick that washed away in the first place. Last week we were informed that there are several cases of cholera in our little town. One maternity clinic has been converted over completely into a cholera centre. People have been told not to shake hands (a complete breakdown of African culture) and not to attend funeral gatherings until further notice. A few years ago churches were forbidden from meeting because the outbreak was so severe. We have been informing people in the community and in the rural churches to be careful about their personal hygiene. The confirmation that cholera has, in fact, been discovered in our town is a very serious situation. Please pray for the people here as they come to terms with this life-threatening disease that has no cure. All the people can do is take the appropriate precautions and if they feel ill, rush immediately to the specific clinic for rehydration fluids and medical oversight.

This evening I will continue with the small group Bible study on Creation to Christ. Last week we discussed the creation of spirit beings (angels, demons etc.). I explained that God is the creator of all these beings and is therefore more powerful than they are. Most people here are petrified of the witch doctor and the threat of demon possession. When I explained that I had personally faced off a witch doctor in 1986 and was not afraid of these filthy people, members of the small group laughed nervously because they would not do that. Superstition and fear is taught from their earliest memory. Even church leaders get caught up in this foolishness. Pray for this Wednesday night group as we continue talking about the Creator and His creation.

Thank you for remembering us in your prayers as we remain...

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

07 December 2005

Challenges and Victories

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last week we spoke about the man out at Kafubu Block and the celebration of his life after his home call. Last Thursday there was another death in the community. What a contrast in lives between the Christian and the non-Christian. The woman who died last week had treated her parents, her husband and her children with disdain. She took money that the husband brought home for food and spent it on alcohol. She had a succession of "boyfriends" and had contracted AIDS through her various dalliances. When she fell ill, her parents wanted nothing to do with her. Her sisters chased her from their homes. Her children ignored her. Her husband, in spite of the fact that she had been unfaithful for a number of years, still loved her enough to take her to the hospital. Unfortunately, there was nothing the doctors to do and she died alone. The funeral was held last Saturday and there was absolutely no hope in the eyes of the mourners. This is a woman who had been given every opportunity to know the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour, but she blatantly refused His call. Please pray for the family as they go through this period of grief.

Exam time in local schools is over. The students are relaxing a bit and coming into the Christian Resource Centre. Last month we enrolled only enrolled 3 new students into the correspondence program. 115 courses were distributed, 101 were corrected and 4 certificates of completion were awarded. Pray for those taking lessons and those who will put them on the shelves for a bit as they relax during the school holidays.

This coming Friday we begin SCUBA, the children's afternoon Bible Club. The puppet stage has been moved into the main chapel hall, music has been rehearsed, our helpers have been alerted and we are as ready as we are going to be. We never know how many children will be involved in these programs. In the past we have had anywhere from 70 to 150 children. Please pray for this program and pray for both the children and the helpers (Crew).

We mentioned one of the girls from the Lighthouse Home was having some rather serious behavioural issues. This is an ongoing situation which does not seem to be getting any better. She is consistently lying, using foul language, and trying to cause conflict between the adults who are, in fact, in charge of her. What she has not figured out is that the adults are talking to each other. The other children have realized that this little girl is a divisive element in the family. Fortunately, for this little girl, we are not giving up on her. Please pray for us and for her. Pray for patience, wisdom and understanding on our part and for a transformation in the heart of our little girl.

Challenges are a part of life. God never said there would be no challenges. What He said was there would be victories. Thank you for sharing with us in both challenges and victories as we continue...

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry