30 April 2008

Movement Begins

Greetings from Luanshya!

The big news of the week is that the church that meets at Fellowship Chapel will officially moving to its own facility on Sunday. The movement of furniture and fixtures begins Thursday and should be completed by late afternoon.

There are a few finishing touches. The glass for the louver windows has not yet been cut though it was promised "faithfully" by mid-day today. I have been able to put the glass in one of the twenty windows but glass or no glass, we're moving. Another seemingly significant issue is the fact that the restrooms are not quite complete. This is, interestingly enough, one more promise is several days late. Everything that the plumbers need to complete the task is on site. All we really need is for the plumbers to show up on time ready to work. Hope reigns forever.

With the new facility, we have had a number of people in the community ask about attending services. One young child had a friend who came up to me yesterday and asked, "Dr. Coleman, is it okay if I come this coming Sunday?" I assured her that it was not only okay but I would be very pleased for her to come. Bring her friends and her parents. She was very pleased and we look forward to seeing several new faces. One of the fascinating aspects about the new building is that people are more inclined to come to a church that looks like a church rather than one that looks like a down town shop. Yes, we say that the church is not the building. However, we are dealing with generations of teaching that is not all biblical. Pray for us as we make his move.

Last week Patrick and Caroline Wood (Zambians), came into the Christian Resource Centre to see what we were all about. They were thrilled to learn that there was a reading room, sermon tapes to listen, and counseling available. All for FREE! They were even more astonished to learn that they could take correspondence Bible courses...for FREE! They eagerly enrolled and brought their first lessons home to the farm. Back home to the farm is over an hour away from Luanshya town centre. Yesterday, Patrick and Caroline visited with Sherry and turned in their first examinations. Behind them was their 9 year old son, Nathanael. He wanted to do Bible courses too. He went through the reading exercise to determine whether he was literate and passed with flying colors. You should have seen his face light up when he learned that he was going to school with mom and dad. Pray for the Woods as they sit as a family and study the Word of God.

For some months Sherry has employed a young lady to help her clean for a couple hours at the Christian Resource Centre. She is an orphan being cared for by her brother-in-law who is a Pastor in a local church in Luanshya.

This was more a situation of helping the orphan than having a decent cleaner but it allowed both the young lady and her guardian to feel like she was contributing to her own upkeep. Sadly, last week Sherry caught her stealing money from the office which was supposed to go toward groceries at the Lighthouse Children's Home. Initially, the young lady not only denied that she had stolen the money but swore on her "living God" that she had not touched the money. There was no one else in the building who could have done it. After giving her every opportunity to confess and return the funds, we were compelled to call the police who came and searched her. They money was found. We did not press charges but we did discharge her from her duties and informed her guardian. It is sad when those we help act irresponsibly. But, we have not turned our back on others who are in need and will continue to serve as God gives opportunity.

On a family note... Colin has been suffering form some serious headaches. It may be a combination of stress from learning Mandarin and not getting to eat his mother's great cooking, but the doctors have run several tests and have not found anything to have caused the headaches. Please keep him in you prayers as the doctors continue to probe and prod.

We appreciate your prayers in this ever challenging ministry.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

16 April 2008

A Lot on Our Plates

Greetings from Luanshya!

Brother Paul Muke (MOO-kay) is a frequent visitor to the Christian Resource Centre. Not only is he one of Sherry's Bible Correspondence School students, but he is also utilizing the many books that we have made available for practical Bible study and sermon preparation. He pastors a local Bible believing church and is utilizing material from the courses as seeds for sermons on Sunday morning. Paul just finished a course on "Faith" in the Basic Bible Doctrine series and specifically commented on how vital the lesson was and thought provoking. Being able to provide this kind of material for church leaders was our initial dream for the Christian Resource Centre 10 years ago last month. As we enter the 11th year of this particular ministry, we are excited about the potential for growth and the influence it will have on our community for years to come.

The Sunday School program at Fellowship Chapel is about to begin a series of lessons on: A Life of Service, Prayer and Following Jesus. Nancy Chanda, our associate Sunday School teacher, has grown tremendously through her teaching experiences and looks forward to expanding the children's work once the church family shifts from the current site to the new church facility a mile away. The first lesson in this series is called: "Dare To Care" and covers Christ's ministry to the demoniac. Pray for Nancy and others who assist in the program as they reach young hearts for Christ.

Speaking of the new church facility, the painting has been completed, the sign on the front and back of the building are being completed as we type, the restroom facilities will be completed by the end of next week and the congregation moves into our new home on May 4th-three years to the month from when we first acquired the property. It has been a long process and we look forward to this transition to a new community. Pray the people who live in the neighborhood who may not have a church home. Pray that they may be attracted to the Word of God and His promises for their lives.

Next week we will be presenting a film on Christ In The Passover. This is a unique opportunity for the believers and non-believers to observe that last night the Lord had with His disciples as he broke the bread and passed the cup of wine. Each symbolizing the work He would accomplish on behalf of mankind in the days to follow that last supper. As we consider the Passover of old, we anticipate the Marriage Supper of the Lamb when all believers will gather together regardless of race, color, nationality or denominational separation. May His name be praised!

It has been a hectic week with a lot on our plates, but we are excited about what God is doing and the fact that He has chosen us to accomplish His great plan for Zambia.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

09 April 2008

Great Enthusiasm

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last we I took my semi-annual trip to South Africa to visit the oncologist for a review of my cancer surgery of two and a half years ago. Because of the kind of cancer I had, he also wants periodic chest and spine x-rays. After probing my throat and mouth and reviewing the x-ray, the doctor has given me a "clean bill of health". He said that the possibility of there being a recurrence is less than 5%, but he still wants to see me regularly because 5% is more than 0%. Still, we are thankful for the good news from the doctor.

We have two current discipleship students. Each is continuing in their studies with great enthusiasm. Rachael is halfway through the lessons on practical Christian living which deal with conversing with God. Today was a lively discussion on making our prayer time with the Lord practical and real. He is interested in our concerns and our joys. Gordon has started the last book of the series which is a verse by verse study of the 1 Thessalonians. This is much more intense than the first six books where questions were asked and the answered obtained straight from the Word of God. In this final book, the student must come up with the observations and cross references themselves followed by practical application. When he is finished with this book, it will be his commentary on 1 Thessalonians. This same model can be used on all the books of the Bible so that ultimately he will have his own Bible commentary if so desired. Please pray for these two students as they continue to learn more about the Word of God.

Our Associate Sunday School teacher, Nancy Chanda, who studied under Sherry, has completed her first series of lessons with a class. This Sunday she will conduct a Memory Verse Competition among the students. This quarterly event is always something the children anticipate. They work hard to memorize the thirteen verses given to them over the course. Thank you for praying for Nancy and the children. We also appreciate receiving Sunday School material through our friend Greg Kuras in New Jersey, which makes all of this possible.

While I was gone last week, Sherry had an unexpected and very unwelcome visitor. At about 8:30 one evening the dogs began to make an unusually loud racket. Sherry was sitting at her computer in the house and looked out the window to see someone walking around. He has apparently come over the front gate and was just wandering around looking to see what he could take. What he didn't expect was to see Sherry (a.k.a. Annie Oakley) come charging out of the house with her 9mm friend, cocked and loaded. He immediately put his hands up over his head and Sherry escorted him back to the gate and off the property. Being a couple thousand miles away when this took place, didn't allow either of us much sleep for the next few days. I have already begun looking for someone who can add a bit more security to the top of our gates.

We have avoided using spikes and glass, but we cannot be at risk in these difficult days.

We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. We thank the Lord for good reports and for protection in times of challenge.

In His Service,

Patrick & Sherry