19 July 2006

transportation and communication

Greetings from Luanshya!

Several years ago I was asked what are the two most frustrating aspects about living in a 3rd world country. My answer was two-fold, transportation and communication. God has blessed us with reliable vehicles that allow us to travel on the less than perfect rural paths with only minor problems like a muffler falling off or a tire being torn to shreds by the sharp edges of a pothole. We have learned to take these things in stride and simply prepare for the repairs.

Communication is another issue altogether. The situation is greatly improved since 21 years ago when I first set foot on the African continent. Back in those days it was not unusual for a First Class Airmail letter to take six to eight weeks to arrive at its final destination. Answers were also six to eight weeks in arriving. Telephone calls in and out of Zaire were incredibly expensive (US$10 per minute) when the phones worked. Back in those days, we often traveled the four hours into Zambia to make a phone call for "only US$6 per minute". We have slowly become more accustomed to faster mail service, working telephones and more recently e-mail. It is probably a sign of the times that we are now frustrated when an e-mail letter takes two hours to upload but we are happy to announce that Zamnet has worked with us
to improve service. For the first time in six months Sherry is actually typing this letter on her own computer since she can now send it via e-mail from the office. We're catching up!

The work continues.

We are very pleased that we have been able to have an outreach to the youth. Not only are they attending the youth meeting on Friday, but they are coming into the Resource Centre to read and
study the things of the Lord. Their questions are often very pointed as they live situations that would frighten the average American teen. Please remember to pray for the various ministries that include our younger members of society in Zambia.

We have begun the next phase of the building of the sanctuary for the English speaking work. Sand, stone and cement has been delivered. Workers will begin the forming of the concrete slab next week. At the Kafubu Block chapel, the pillars are being reinforced to support the new metal roof which will be completed, Lord willing, by the end of August. We will take pictures of the two projects and they will be posted on our website for viewing. We will keep you updated on the building progress.

God has been good to us and has blessed us in many ways. This includes, of course, the many friends and partners that we have who join us in prayer over this ministry.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

12 July 2006


Greetings from Luanshya!

For some time we have been working with the Kafubu Block believers. A few years ago this local gathering faded almost into oblivion. Brother Katandula began encouraging them and I was invited to spend some time teaching the church leadership. Today they have an active Sunday School program, ladies ministry and outreach into the rural farming community. They built a permanent structure with burnt brick as opposed to the mud brick structure in which they had been meeting for some time. The roof project has started. This includes making sure that the pillars line up and that there is a strong enough ring band around the structure to support a steel roof. Members of the congregation have been bringing sand and stone for the last month, one bucket at a time to the work site. They had a special offering and managed to purchase cement. Every Wednesday there is a church-wide workday. The men are making more bricks and the women come and fix lunch and do whatever they can do to help out. It is exciting to watch this small group of believers take the initiative to build their own building. It will be even more exciting as we help them put the metal roof on the building in the next few weeks. Please pray as they continue in their labors as a testimony in their community.

The small group study on "Equal Yet Different-gender issues from a biblical perspective" continues. This evening we talked about the responsibility of husbands and wives as taught by Peter and Paul in the New Testament. The whole concept of submission has a negative connotation in today's society. Yet when it is explained, biblically, it makes such perfect sense. The Bible commands a man to understand his wife and give himself for her as Christ gave Himself for the Church. The woman is told to submit and be the helper that God created Eve to be to Adam. So very often, in society here, men feel that they have the right to beat their wives into submission. This, of course, is ludicrous and the Bible in no terms condones this kind of activity. Part of the problem that we have is the extremism... if a little is good; a lot is better... so I will make my wife obey. Countermanding generations of tradition with biblical principles is not always an easy task, but we are seeing a break through in the lives of some.

Over the last year we have had a Canadian Youth Exchange student in Luanshya. She has stayed with several families in our community. Sherry and I have been her counsellors while during her stay. For the last six weeks she has lived in our home and lived as our "daughter". Colin has actually enjoyed having a sister around for the last week. Yesterday morning we took her to the airport and said goodbye. She put the Bible we gave her 11 months ago into her back pack and said she would be reading it during the long voyage home. Please pray that our lives and the lives of our young people has had a positive impact on Courtney's life.

The youth meeting on Friday afternoons continues to be exciting. The children are showing up early and staying through the Bible study at the end. They are asking questions and responding to the lessons. Some of them are coming into the Christian Resource Centre through and reading various materials for themselves. We are thrilled to see the interest and to make ourselves available to answer their questions. The Youth Centre is getting good use as the teens invite their friends to participate in the various activities prior to each week's Bible lesson. Interesting enough, we have more boys coming to the meeting than girls. Please pray as this ministry continues to grow.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry