31 December 2008

Looking Forward

Greetings from Luanshya!

We are thrilled to be able to let you know that my father's heart surgery was successful. He now has a bovine valve in his heart. For some reason the doctor decided not to use the sow valve. One could say he is now "strong as an ox." He is now on the road to recovery. Please continue pray for his full recovery and return to an active life of ministry, even at the age of 80.

As the year comes to an end, we look forward to the many opportunities of service that the Lord may lay before us. This past week we've both had occasion to spend time with believers in the churches where we minister and are making plans to expand the counselling outreach as well as the multimedia facility at the Christian Resource Centre.

The Bible School where I taught earlier this year has invited me back to teach in an expanded capacity. I am looking forward to this opportunity to train church leaders from several countries in south/central Africa. As they return to their homelands better equipped, we trust many more souls will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour.

Sherry will continue with the youth ministry as well as training those that wish to participate in the music program and Sunday School. This is an exciting aspect of our work as the young people insist on having classes even on public holidays and during school vacations. Their thirst for knowledge and willingness to question everything is refreshing to us.

The correspondence Bible school division of the work continues. We end the year with 3,650 students. My work with the community as the Luanshya District Education Board Chair will give us an even greater inroad to the schools as we introduce the Source of Light Bible Correspondence School ministry to new students. We have already expanded the adult segment of the school, now to focus fresh attention on the primary school children, again.

Your prayers and support during 2008 have made it possible to represent you and the Lord Jesus Christ to the people who come within the circle of our influence. We continue...

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

15 December 2008

"How To Pass A Test Without Cheating"

Greetings from Luanshya!

This morning we had a delightful conversation with John Bwalya. John is the young man Sherry and I brought up some years ago when his family kicked him out. He is in Luanshya for continuing education to acquire his "diploma" in Teacher Education. He and his wife were both a bit discouraged by the fact that they have been posted in rural schools for the past four years instead of being transferred back to Luanshya after two years, as promised. As he spoke, he shared that one of his students from the village attained the highest grade 7 scores in the entire zone. Five of his students scored high enough to be placed in the best high school in the District. Sherry shared with him a portion of her upcoming youth lesson on Daniel. Daniel did not want to be where he was, but God wanted him there for a purpose. Sherry entitled the lesson "How To Pass A Test Without Cheating". While we would love to have John and Sarah back in Luanshya-and pray for that end-we know that God has a purpose in keeping them where they are for the time being in order to minister both to the students in the school and the rural church where they are very involved. Please pray for John and Sarah as they continue to serve where God has placed them.

Last Saturday Sherry and I lead a leadership seminar at the Christian Resource Centre. We discussed team building, communication, public speaking and leading with vision. Some of the participants are community leaders and we used this opportunity to share not only basic leadership principles but also biblical truths. While not used specifically as an evangelistic tool, we have had several of the participants talk to us about their spiritual and emotional needs since the seminar. People are really looking for answers and not finding them in their traditional religious settings. We are offering an alternative to "conventional wisdom". Please pray for this rather unusual outreach as we continue to be available.

The expanded audio/visual section of the Christian Resource Centre is being used regularly. We have made available a number of the Christian DVD's in our possession and have set up some viewing areas for those interested in using this facility. There is also a small lounge for people to sit and talk about issues in their lives and yet another section where discipleship can be carried out around a table. We appreciate the assistance of those who have made this expansion possible.

Finally, As you read last week, my father had an angiogram, but the scheduled valve replacement was delayed until after Christmas. It is now scheduled for either 29th or 30th of December. Needless to say this year will end on an interesting note. Please pray for my dad and for us as we are so many miles away.

We celebrate Christmas because it marks the coming together of both God and man in the person of Jesus Christ. Now man can find a way to God through His Son for eternal salvation-and that is something to celebrate!

May you have a joyous Christmas celebration.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

10 December 2008

Life has been incredibly busy

Greetings from Luanshya!

Life has been incredibly busy these last few weeks. Our internet access has been sporadic so these updates have not been as regular as we would like but we know you are ever faithful in your prayers for us.

We were asked if we celebrated Thanksgiving in Africa. We do, but it is not an African holiday and therefore is a regular workday. We were able to find a turkey for the first time in four years. We had invited a few friends to eat dinner with us and we explained the concept of Thanksgiving Day. They thought it was a great idea and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. We appreciated the turkey. they just thought it was a giant chicken. We knew the difference!

School is out and that means children are everywhere. Sherry's youth lessons continue in spite of the fact that the children are not in school because the students don't want to take a break from their weekly gathering. Last week, Sherry's final lesson on "Practical Christian Living" covered "Church: Who Needs It?!" Obviously, she gave them biblical evidence that we all need to be gathering in God's house and the discussion was animated as they covered the important of discipleship, evangelism, praise, worship and the development of their spiritual gifts for the edifying of the Body of Christ.

The youth lessons will continue through the holiday season. The next series covers the Panorama of Prophecy. This week they will look at "Daniel: God's Man of the Moment".

I have been meeting weekly with a young man in discipleship. He lives just outside of Luanshya and travels in to town twice, if not three times a week to spend time in the Christian Resource Centre, in discipleship, watching Christian audio visuals and church activities. Currently we are about to finish the second of seven books in Design for Discipleship series. Each week he amazes me with the depth of his questions as he grows in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Pray for Kelly as he continues to mature.

Finally, on a personal note, my father had an angiogram yesterday. He was scheduled to have valve replacement, but that was delayed until after Christmas. As our oldest son said, "any time a doctor does not feel that probing around in your heart is an immediate emergency, is a good thing."

Please pray for my dad and for us as we are so many miles away.

Until next week.

In His Grace,
Patrick & Sherry