24 December 2007

Christmas Greetings

From View message header detail Patrick Coleman
Sent Monday, December 24, 2007 5:08 am
To 'Patrick G Coleman'
Cc "'Sherry I. Coleman'"
Subject News from Zambia - 24th December 2007

24th December 2007
Greetings from Luanshya!

This is for those of you who – like me – slip into your office (or wherever your computer is) and check email even on Christmas Eve! I am writing this note "by faith" because the Internet connection has been down for three days and ZAMNET (our ISP) is arguing with ZESCO (the government-owned electric company) about who is at fault. I really don’t care who is to blame as long as somebody can fix it... Sigh!

This is our first Christmas with a completely empty nest. Our eldest son and his family are in Kansas City experiencing their "white Christmas" – something about which I never dream. Our daughter and her husband are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area dealing with the "winter wonderland" of ice and snow. Our youngest son is with his grandparents in Bellflower, CA, on leave from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Sherry and I are in soggy Luanshya where it has rained every day for over two weeks and we already have warnings that this may be the wettest rainy season for a decade or two. This year we have no children, Peace Corps volunteers, Youth Exchange Students or other house guests. It is just Sherry, me, the cat and the dogs. There are nine packages under the tree and from the looks of things it will be an academic Christmas – all of the packages look like books. We know each other’s taste in reading material.

We did have an incredible blessing yesterday (Sunday) when John and Sarah Bwalya were able to be with us in our morning service. For those who do not know (or cannot remember) John is one of the young boys we helped when he was abandoned by his mother. We put him through high school and teachers training college where he met and ultimately married Sarah. They have been away teaching in a rural village, but are now in Luanshya for two weeks taking a course at the local teachers college. When I knew they were coming I asked John to preach for us. He did a remarkable job explaining the Christmas story from the book of Isaiah with references from Matthew and Luke. Since they will be here next Sunday I have asked John to preach again. He said it was difficult to preach with me in the room because I am his teacher. I explained that I was his teacher in class, but in the church I do not critic his presentation. I am looking for what God has given him to give to me. Watching and listening to John present a clear and concise message of the Gospel was one of the best Christmas gifts we could had received. We are proud of these young adults. Please pray that God will allow them to move back to Luanshya!

On the building front, the church walls are all the way up to the peak of the roof and the roof has been completely covered. In Wednesday the door and window frames will be installed and the Mobile Mission Maintenance team will begin the plastering of the walls. This should take 10-14 days. The men will sleep in the building in order to guard against the door and window frames from being stolen… Really! The burglar bars will be installed, but the concrete has to dry before we can leave the building unprotected. It is an amazing fact of life that we have to protect a building dedicated to worshiping God from thieves who would steal the doors, but these are the times in which we live.

Still, God has been marvelous and we want to wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration wherever you are around the globe.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

12 December 2007

He Is Interested

Greetings from Luanshya!

My brother Tim just turned 50 a few weeks ago. My brother, Steve, and I teased Tim constantly when we were young because Tim is blond in a family full of brunettes. What's more, Tim has blue eyes whereas Steve and I have brown eyes. We told him that he was adopted and if he did not do what we told him to do we could always take him back. Kids can be cruel.

In spite of our incessant teasing Tim taught me a tremendous lesson about prayer. I saw him in the back yard one day when we were kids, praying and asking God to help him find his dime. He had dropped it in the tall grass and had been looking for it for several minutes and decided he needed divine intervention. Being the older brother and full of the wisdom that comes with being an older brother, I rolled my eyes and stated laughing. I said Tim, don't waste God's time for ten cents. Tim wasn't discouraged. He kept on praying. He kept on looking and he found his dime. He said to me, "God is interested in my ten cents." I never forgot that lesson.

Roofing BeginsLast week the carpenters came to put the metal sheets on the roof of the chapel. This is, of course, the rainy season and it rains every single day. I prayed that God would allow us to have no rain during daylight hours for a whole week. We needed the time to get the roofing sheets on and this work cannot be done with the storms that are common during December. The carpenters came and God held the rain back. Handling Roofing SheetsThe roofing sheets are all on the roof. On Saturday morning I was in the garden and it began to sprinkle. It wasn't much so I went to the Lighthouse Children's Home to work with the boys there in the garden when suddenly the sky opened up and it poured. The rain was constant for the next twelve hours. I was reminded, again, that God had answered my prayer for five days.

We often think that God doesn't really care and that our prayers are simply an exercise to keep us humble. Nevertheless, God cares about roofing sheets and He cares about dimes. I appreciate my brother's lesson and we appreciate your faithfulness to pray for us as we serve our Lord in Zambia.

By the way, Tim, as a 50th birthday greeting… you weren't really adopted. We now claim you as part of the family. Thanks again for your faithfulness and in teaching your older brother a little bit about God's faithfulness.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

05 December 2007

Progress and Purpose

The first truss goes upGreetings from Luanshya!

Progress is steady at the building site for Fellowship Chapel. The trusses are in place and the metal roofing will start going up tomorrow. The team from MMM says that this is a two-day job so by the weekend, the building should be covered. This morning I spoke with the manager of the company that will make the window and door frames. He has offered to transport the materials without cost, saving us nearly $400 on this particular part of the project. Teamwork The man overseeing the project is a member of the Baptist Church in Luanshya and is very excited about helping with this particular portion of the project. The best part of the work this week, so far, is that the rains have waited until evening so the work can continue throughout the day.

Please pray that this project will continue steadily despite the holiday season.
Nine trusses in place
Andala is a young man who came into the Resource Centre and asked Sherry, "What is the purpose of life?" She spoke with him for a few minutes and then he began reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Sherry phoned me and I came and spoke with the young man for a few minutes. He is new to Luanshya and is looking for a place to call his spiritual home. Please pray for him and for us as we continue to visit.

Andrew, the youngest child from the Lighthouse Children's Home, has been working faithfully on his piano practice. Last week he specifically asked Sherry if there were any Christmas songs he could learn. We searched through our resources and found a few simple carols (melody only) that Andrew can learn. Every afternoon he is dedicated to learning to play at least a few songs in the book. We are excited that not only did he initiate the prospect of learning to play the piano but that he wants to learn Christian music. Please pray for Andrew and his progress.

Both Andrew and John, from the Lighthouse, have successfully completed grade 6 and will begin grade 7 in January. In the meantime, we await the grade 7 exam results, due on the 23rd of December, for the other three children under our care. Pray that their scores are passing and high enough for each to be accepted in a good school.

We have begun thinking about the Christmas season this month, singing carols at church and listening to Christmas music at home and office. We know that the Lord Jesus was probably not born on December 25th, but this is the season when we commemorate His birth, whenever it was. Because of His birth, we have the opportunity to have eternal life and to share that story-His story-with the world. Your prayerful support helps to make that possible.

Thank you for allowing us to be your representatives in Zambia.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry