29 October 2008

Election Fever

Greetings from Luanshya!

We were very pleasantly surprised yesterday when a truck pulled up at the house with several boxes of books and "goodies" from Northern Ireland and Canada. There are hundreds of books for our Christian Resource Centre library including Bible studies, biographies, devotionals and a set of World Book Encyclopaedia. Some of these books will be put into small libraries for young preachers who live and minister in rural areas while many of them will be put to immediate use in the library. It was a very exciting day!

In addition to the books were the other items of interest. Knitted sweaters and jumpers for babies and girls were also included as well as baby "sleeping bags" and blanket & towel sets for new mothers. We will distribute many of these over the next few weeks in the Lighthouse Children's Home and churches where we minister. The baby sleeping bags will of special interest since nobody here has ever seen them (including us). For several years we have presented gifts to new mothers in the hospital at Christmas. There were also many, many baseball caps included in the packages. While 99% of the Zambian boys have never seen a baseball, they ALL love to wear ball caps. Sherry is planning to distribute these to the young people at her Youth Meeting on Friday. This will add to the excitement.

"Election Fever" is alive and well! Not only are the Americans up to their neck in political advertising and news, but the Zambian special election for President is hot and heavy… and only hours away. The polls here open at 6 am on Thursday 30th October and all four candidates (and their supporters) are working country-wide to garner support of the electorate. There is hardly a vertical space in our town without a poster proclaiming that a particular candidate is "the right man for the job." This is truly democracy in action. Enthusiasm is exciting and contagious. We see this as campaigners wave signs, make distinctive hand gestures (each party has their own unique hand gesture) and shout out the name of their candidate of choice. Wouldn’t it be interesting if Christians were as excited about their Lord and King, Jesus Christ?

Funny you should mention that! Last Friday was Zambia's Independence Day so Sherry assumed that her youth meeting would be cancelled. She asked the young people what they wanted and they unanimously "voted" to have class… on a HOLIDAY! She said not only were her "regulars" there, but they brought visitors. As we mentioned earlier, the election is tomorrow and it has been declared a national holiday. Often the Friday after a Thursday holiday is also considered a de facto holiday, but Sherry assumed nothing and again asked her class what they wanted. She was not surprised this time when they again unanimously "voted" to have class. The young people are enthusiastic about their Bible study and excited enough to bring visitors even on holidays. We are thrilled with their enthusiasm and excitement. Please pray for them as they study "How to Survive the School Jungle" this Friday.

I have been told by more than a few people on my FACEBOOK page that they are praying for us. It is always good news to know that we are being remembered to the Throne of Grace. Our work is shared by all who support us in both prayer and contributions We appreciate your partnership in this ministry.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

16 October 2008

Washing Hands

Greetings from Luanshya!

The electricity was turned off in the section of Luanshya where the ISP antennae is located at 4:15 pm on Wednesday so while this was queued to go out at that time it will not go until ZESCO (Zambia Electrical Supply Company) turns the lights back on.

Here is something you probably didn’t know: Today, 15th October 2008, is the first annual "Global Handwashing Day." Just when you thought all the special events in life were covered someone comes up with something new. Actually, for much of the world an act as simple as washing hands with soap is not automatic. People all over the world wash their hands with water. The belief that washing with water alone to remove visible dirt is sufficient to make hands clean is commonplace in most countries, but washing hands with water alone is significantly less effective than washing hands with soap in terms of removing germs, and handwashing with soap is seldom practiced.

Just as many people believe that water will wash away dirt, many also believe that going to church will wash away their sins. I asked a pastor from a one of the many churches in town recently if he knew he was going to Heaven when he died. His answer was predictable (considering his denomination) and sad. "I certainly hope so. I spend most of my time in the church so that must count for something." His whole eternity is based on "salvation by location" and that is a poor substitute for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last Sunday Kelly Jere was baptised. We had visitors so I explained that the water of the baptism does not wash away Kelly's sins. I briefly told how Kelly came to know Christ as his Personal Saviour and that baptism was his public testimony of that fact. After the service, a young police officer (one of the visitors) came up to me and asked if he could visit our office on Thursday afternoon. Please pray for us as we talk about what really washes away sins.

We had visits from two government offices in the past two weeks. One was from the Registrar of Societies explaining that all orphanages were being asked to re-register so they could update their records. We will also receive a new registration certificate. They explained that there were so many new churches, preschools and orphanages "popping up" all over Zambia that the Registrar of Societies wants to confirm and verify which organisations are really doing what they say they are doing. The team of inspectors was very pleased with what they saw. There is an additional cost for this service.

The other visit was from the Ministry of Social Welfare. They also had new forms to be completed with much of the same information. The ladies from this office have been at LCH before and we have known them for several years, but the visit was mandated by the head office in Lusaka so we were happy to spend time with them showing them around the home. They did remark that the children were growing up and all looked healthy. They asked about "fundraising" projects for the home and we explained that this was a faith mission and God provided as the needs were presented. Other organisations have raffles or fund-raising dinner dances to support their work. (My mother never let me dance so that would not be a pretty sight.) Before they left they asked for our mission statement. I gave them this: "To raise children to be viable, productive, responsible citizens of Zambia and to see them grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

We do this together with you as our partners. Thank you for being a part of our "team."

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

PS: We both voted this past week. It was both an honour and a duty.

08 October 2008


Greetings from Luanshya.

On our side of the equator this is the third week of Spring. Calendar-wise, this would equate to early April in North America. Most people "there" would be welcoming warm breezes and gentle rains. The third week of Spring here is hot, dry, dusty and hot… in that order. Today it was ninety degrees (F). Next month we will wish for anything under 100. Very few people have access to air conditioning so shade trees become "meeting rooms." We have a large tree in front of our house and we often have people sitting under the tree trying to stay cool. This morning a businessman was meeting with a client under the tree because the office downtown was "just too hot." I was reminded of the small group of ladies who met by the river near Philippi to pray. I always picture trees by a river and I can imagine them sitting under a tree to stay out of the sun. After meeting with Paul and Silas these ladies became believers. Amazing things happen under trees.

With that thought in mind, we met with the members of the church last Saturday and planted 10 trees on the church property. We had previously planted another 15. Before we purchased the property it was an "unofficial" dump for the community. There were no trees on our part of the property except those growing from the top of the 25 foot tall ant hills. The men of the church decided we needed to "decorate" the property, so we have been planting trees. He said, "Ultimately these will provide shade for small-group Bible studies so we can stay cool on these hot October and November days." The church building has no electricity so no fans or air conditioning. The men are thinking ahead!

Brother Siwale completed his Discipleship Course in June. In August he began working with Sylvester – a new believer – in the same course. Last Sunday he was talking to Sylvester about his lessons and Kelly asked him what it was all about. Kelly will be baptised this coming Sunday and is eagerly soaking up any and all teaching he can about God’s Word. This afternoon Brother Siwale began working with his second student. This is 2 Timothy 2:2 in reality. We are thrilled to see this interaction, enthusiasm and spiritual growth. Please remember to pray for these young men as they equip themselves for service.

The world economic situation is affecting us here. Prices continue to rise both due to regular inflation and the fluctuating dollar. Costs at the Lighthouse Children’s Home have gone from $1,000 per month to over $1,600. The price of rice has more than doubled and electrical rates have gone up four times this year. We received notice yesterday that water rates were going up again next month. We deeply appreciate your prayers and support of this ministry. We cannot do it without you!

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

01 October 2008


Greetings from Luanshya!

It is incredibly bad form to start a letter with an apology. Therefore, we are not apologizing for our weekly updates being more sporadic than consistent. We are simply announcing that the internet service in Zambia is intermittent at best. Hopefully, it will stay up long enough for this note to go out to you.

We have had very interesting discussions during our teaching periods with the various small groups with whom we work. Last week the youth discussed Onesiphorus during their lesson on "Character Counts-Building A Life of Character". The apostle Paul commended his friend for his "refreshing spirit". In a time of great persecution, Onesiphorus took the time to journey to Rome from Ephesus in order to encourage and pray for this soldier of Christ. He is only mentioned twice in Scripture and both occasions in the book of 2 Timothy. Sherry emphasized the need for the young people to be faithful in encouraging their friends during times of frustration and tribulation. As the young people enter into the period of final exams, these are often known as "suicide months". Pray that our young people will have an impact on their acquaintances.

In the Men's Bible Study we discussed the teachings of Amos and the warnings given to the children of Israel for their selfishness and disobedience. The final question last week was "how can we, today, make a difference in our community?" Brother Siwale said that we have to get out of our comfort zone and force ourselves to express the love of Christ to those around us. I found it interesting that he used the word "force". It doesn't matter where we live, it seems we all have to continually "force" ourselves to love the unlovely and share Christ with those whom we come into contact whether it be at work, the market or our neighbourhood.

We have a special request for a dear lady at our church. She has a very unstable situation in her family. Last week she asked us to help her write a Will. While writing a Will in the USA is a normal part of family responsibility, it is seldom done in Zambia and usually only by those who feel threatened either because of illness or other physical danger.

Obviously, we cannot mention her name, but please pray for M. M.

Earlier today I met with a young man named Kelly. He has been in the Resource Centre regularly learning from the material and asking Sherry many questions. Over the past couple months; he has been attending services at Fellowship Chapel. During our conversation today I discovered that he has been bounced around from family member to family member for most of his young life. Currently he is responsible for caring for his grandmother who lives out on the family farm. We talked for a long time about salvation. He is sure of his place with the Lord and has a strong testimony of that fact.

In two weeks time, he will follow the Lord in Scriptural baptism declaring his faith to friends and family alike. His desire is to know the Word of God. His friends are a little surprised that he reads his Bible during the tea breaks at work. He told them he was "addicted to the Word." Please pray for Kelly that his "addiction" will become contagious to his friends.

We appreciate the part you have in our ministry through you gifts and prayers.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry