11 October 2006

The Most Pressured Time of the Year

"When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

The order in which we pick up items on our grocery list really doesn't matter. But the order is important when it comes to our Christian faith. Our obedience will never save us, nor will it enable us to trust. Instead, our vain attempts at obedience will only bring frustration. But when trust comes first, obedience follows out of love.

Early this week one of the young people from the Friday afternoon youth meeting came in to the library with a look of concern. She had a question for Sherry about one of the lessons recently taught on "Facts About Christians." This young lady has been faithfully attending church, youth meetings and is a member of Scripture Union at school and yet something wasn't quite right. She was frustrated with her life. When questioned further, Sherry learned that though she has been active in Christian
programs much of her life, she had not put her trust in Christ and Him alone. She was desperately trying to fill her life but there was no vessel (herself) to fill. Obedience to the Word was empty because trust was missing. Knowing about God and His expectations of those who call Him Lord was insufficient because she realized that she did not belong to Him. She had the head knowledge but lacked the heart commitment. By the conclusion of the session, this young lady made a commitment for Christ and can now go forward in her life with trust leading the way, obedience following and good works providing the active ingredient to faithful Christian living. Pray that many more lives will be affected through this vital youth ministry.

One of the greatest joys I have is talking to church leaders in and around Luanshya. It is not that these men have no problems that is so encouraging, but that they are willing to bring their problems to me so we can pray together. One of these men is brother Katandula. In the last three months he has been in hospital twice and has buried one of his daughters. When asked, "How are you doing?" he responds, "God is blessing." The church in which he is involved is slowly building a permanent structure. In spite of his grief and health situation, he continues to go out and do what he can to be a part of this building project. Brother Katandula is 72 years old. He is an example, to those of us who are younger, that life does not end at
retirement. Please pray for brother Katandula and the Buntungwa church building project.

We have moved into the most pressured time of the year. Temperatures are soaring to well over 100 F every day and almost none of the homes have anything remotely resembling air conditioning. In fact, most of them have tin roofs which makes the inside of the house more like a solar oven. Add to that the fact that children in grade 7, 9 and 12 are preparing for end of the year exams which will determine whether they progress in their education or not. October is referred to as "suicide month" because of the high increase in self-inflicted deaths in our area. Please pray for our young people - including Colin - as they prepare for their final exams. Colin will be taking 13 hour long exams covering four subjects beginning next Monday and continuing through the end of November.

We appreciate, deeply, the fact that you are part of this ministry through your prayer and financial support.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

04 October 2006

a clean bill of health

Greetings from Luanshya!

"If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." 1 John 1:10

Confession is the first step toward defeating sin. It is often true that the hardest part of dealing with a problem is admitting that you have one. Beginning with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:11-13), people have denied responsibility for their sins, and our generation is no exception. To acknowledge that one is a sinner, guilty of breaking God's holy law, is not popular. People call sin by a myriad of other names, futilely hoping to define it out of existence. They do so, motivated by their innate awareness that there is a moral law and that there are consequences for violating it (Rom. 1:32). But God's people have always recognized the necessity of confession.

This past week, before, the Sunday communion service, a young man came into the church with a letter for the leadership. In it he had written his confession for sins committed against us and the need for forgiveness by not only the two of us but also by the local church. He knew that his penitent heart was understood and accepted by the Lord but he also knew that it was necessary to confront those whom he had wronged and he did so, humbly and tearfully just before the fellowship took part in the communion service. It was a time of healing for this young man as well as a time of renewal for others as they contemplate their standing before God and man. May we be mindful of the need to maintain a clean heart.

Today we celebrate the 11th birthday of one of the children at the Lighthouse Children's Home. Andrew has now been with us for more than half his life! He does not recall much of what happened before, but he does know where he is today and where he is headed tomorrow. While chatting with Sherry in the library this afternoon, he happened to mention some of the things he is learning at school on computers. Andrew is a gifted artist and now that he has access to a computer, it will be interesting to see how he develops this talent in another medium. This is a bright and talented little boy and we thank God for the privilege of bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We your help and prayers he has a future. Thank you for remembering our children.

In other areas, the library has been relatively busy over the last week. More and more adults have been taking advantage of the computers that have been donated. We have numerous Bible study helps on each unit making it possible for people to do in-depth Bible study without spreading books all along the tables. Having various resources available at their finger tips has been a real joy and created new excitement in their study habits. Thank you to those who have been so kind as to donate their old pc's to this task.

Zambian elections have come and gone. President Levi Mwanawasa has retained his post as leader of the country. There was some unrest in the capitol and larger towns but overall, the political stability of the nation was maintained. Not only were citizens voting for their President, but also for Members of Parliament and local town councillors. Please continue to pray for the stability of Zambia as she continues to go through the growing stages of democracy.

On a personal note, I made a quick trip to South Africa for a medical check-up regarding my cancer surgery last year. The doctor gave me a "clean bill of health" and does not want to see me again until next March. He said that after the first 18 months the possibility of a recurrence "drops significantly." That is good news indeed! We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. Without your support we would not be able to remain...

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry