19 November 2008

Life is never dull in Africa

Greetings from Luanshya!

Life is never dull in Africa when you are involved in the lives of the people among whom we serve. Last Saturday Sherry and I were invited to a Matabeto celebration. This occasion marks a period of time in which a married couple have been together. The family of the wife honours the husband with a huge feast and entertains his friends. There were nearly 100 people from all walks of life enjoying the food and fellowship. We were the only non-Zambians at the feast, but we were accepted and included as part of the family. Longevity in marriage is a rarity around the world. This couple has been together for 32 years and have been faithful to one another over the years when cultural norms encourage quite the opposite. Praise the Lord with us as we commemorate this event with J & B.

Sherry's youth lesson last week centred on Romans 8:28-30, "Providence Made Practical". Sometimes we tend to spout off verses without actually taking the time to consider what is really being said. Sherry was giving the young people encouraging words for discouraging days. Many of them have just completed their year-end exams. As we have mentioned in the past, this is a very stressful time for students. Just in the last few days we have heard of several incidents where teenagers have taken their own life because of the intense pressure placed on them to succeed. Fortunately, the young people in Sherry's class know that they can come to either of us, at any time, and talk through their frustration. Please pray for the youth. They want to succeed, but they need to realize that success in God's eyes is not the same as success in the eyes of their peers. The lesson concluded with the idea that whatever happens God means it for good and not evil. We must move past our initial rejection, progress beyond our toleration, and be encouraged by our realization of God's faithfulness. (Jeremiah 18:1-4)

We have had a number of students in the Christian Resource Centre focusing on various topics. One gentleman was preparing a message on "Spiritual Warfare-How to Be Prepared for Battle". A youngster is coming to terms with the divorce of her guardians and has read two booklets dealing with issues of divorced parents. Another young man is studying the Holy Spirit and is reading Chuck Swindoll's book "Flying Closer to the Flame". Yesterday an elderly gentleman was in researching on the Apostles. We just happened to receive a few weeks ago a book on "Lives of the Apostles". A few weeks ago we were able to give him a pair of reading glasses. Since then, he has been in every week reading and studying. Something as simple as a two dollar pair of reading glasses has transformed a mediocre existence into a vibrant learning experience.

In the different kinds of things we are doing we see God is able to use us to meet the various needs of those with whom we come into contact. Your part in our ministry makes that possible.

Thank you for your continued prayers. as we remain…

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry