08 December 2009

Taking the Opportunity

Greetings From Luanshya!

We have both electricity and Internet access today so we are endeavouring to send this update today rather than tomorrow because, well, we never seem to have both electricity and Internet access on the day we want to communicate with you.

School is out for the end of the 2009 school term. Exams are finished and our three grade nine students from the Lighthouse Children's Home all assure us that they passed with excellent marks. We will know for sure in a few weeks when the final results are released. Until then there is no shortage of "pins and needles" at the Home. While we are waiting everyone is involved in gardening and cleaning up the place which was overlooked while intensive studies were underway. Dickson has begun to broaden his activities to include Karate training at the sports club in town. He has promised us to practice only at the club and not with the other children at the Home. Johnnie and Shadreck are helping with the landscaping at the church and Nancy is lending a hand with Sherry at the Christian Resource Centre and staying involved with the Red Cross Society at school even during the break. Andrew won an award at school for his proficiency in computers and is currently excited about raising three Guinea Pigs. It is very refreshing to see the children following their various interests. It is also good to see them interact with each other like a family. Please remember to pray for the exam grading.

A few weeks ago while going to the Kafubu Block Bible study I noticed smoke coming from the fuse box in my 10-year-old Kia Sportage. I stopped and removed the remnants of a fuse that had literally melted the lower section of the box then limped back home. Last Wednesday and Sunday I returned to Kafubu Block to teach and preach. They were pleased to see me and I was pleased to be able to go back. It was frustrating to have to wait so long for the vehicle, but at least it able to be repaired in Zambia. Some of the parts had to be ordered from Korea so the wait (and cost) was unavoidable. The believers at the church told me that they had continued in their Wednesday afternoon studies, but they had over an hour of questions about the judgments of God. They "apologised" for the questions and said: "The more we know the more we want to know." I assured them that they apology was not necessary and I was VERY pleased to help them find their answers from the Word of God. Thanks to a few gifts from friends in the States we will be able to improve on their seating situation shortly. The benches they have are pretty shaky. We will send pictures of the new benches when we have them.

As we mentioned earlier, school is out for the next 5 weeks so the Christian Resource Centre is busy every day with young people coming in to study, read and utilise the recreation centre. Sherry's youth class has increased to the point where more tables and chairs had to be brought into the conference hall. This is a good "problem" as more youngsters are being exposed to the truths of God's Word. Last Friday her study topic was God's Peace (Phil 4:4-9). This week they will study the "Sovereignty of God: What it means and what does He do?" While these seem to be pretty heavy subjects, Sherry has a way bringing these subjects to a level where the young people not only understand, but begin to discuss them among themselves.

On Saturday I will be travelling to Zambia's second-largest city, Kitwe (one hour north of Luanshya), for an all-day Youth Conference. The theme of the conference is: "Remaining steadfast in a changing world". They have asked me to talk about how the youth have been caught in a really fast paced changing world and the misconceptions about the way of living the world portrays. They said in their invitation: "The fact of the matter is that we are living in this world, the big question our theme is asking is how can Christian youth remain true to God's word in this seemingly 'we do not need God' world." There will be young people from all over the Kitwe District so the assembly is expected to be large. It promises to be an exciting day.

Our efforts here are made possible by the faithful prayers and support of our partners. We sincerely appreciate your part in keeping us...

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

21 October 2009

Transitions

Greetings From Luanshya, Zambia!

The transition between one of the coldest winters to one of the hottest Octobers in history was too fast! We have gone from heaters to fans in a few short days. Even the Zambians are remarking about the heat so we know it isn't just us. Of course, October is traditionally the hottest month of the year and there is no rain to break the spell, so we live with it as we have for 25 years.

We mentioned in our last update that Sherry was feeling better after her bout of pneumonia. She is back at about 90% of her full strength with only a nagging cough left. Our personal physician told her last night that part of the problem was all the meetings she has been having coupled with the dusty trip to the rural church three weeks ago. After two courses of antibiotics and the "nastiest tasting cough medicine on the market" we are seeing a marked improvement and she is back in the office at the Christian Resource Centre full time again. The doctor has told her, however, that dusty roads are out of the question for the time being until her lungs are completely clear. Sherry agreed so she will be avoiding trips like the one I am about to make today for my mid-week Bible study and discipleship class at Kafubu. Thanks for your prayers! Keep it up!

The exams have begun in Zambia and the students in the exam classes (grades 7, 9 and 12) are concentrating on remembering all they have been taught in preparation for this month. In addition to the three children at the Lighthouse Children's Home, we have several young people in the weekly youth class that are taking these exams as well. Some of our regulars have been coming to the Christian Resource Centre to find a quiet place to "rest their brains" between exam sessions. They read novels or magazines to help them relax after the tense situation of life-changing exam periods. One grade 12 student remarked: "I need this place to help me keep my head together." We are pleased to be able to help "keep heads together" as well as keeping hearts close to the Saviour. Your prayers for our youth are deeply appreciated.

There is one more "transition" that will take place this Sunday. I will be officially stepping aside from the leadership of the English-speaking church that we started 12 years ago and placing it entirely in the hands of Zambian leadership. This has been the longest period of time that I have maintained a leadership role in any church and I have, in fact, shared that role for several years. The English-speaking ministry is different from the vernacular ministries simply because of the cultural and economic situation here. Also, the venue was moved in the early stages of the ministry due to circumstances beyond our control and this put it outside the selected target area.

I will not be completely gone from that church, but I will return when invited to teach, preach and help train new leaders. I will be focusing on developing church leaders in the Bible College as well as travelling throughout the Copperbelt Province working with existing churches as needed. There is also a group of people about an hour from Luanshya who have been meeting together who want to be organised into a church. They have asked me to organise a “plan” to visit them on a regular schedule so my plate is still full, but with different items. It is both exciting and frightening to see this transition, but I have been through this 25 times in the past 25 years. I look forward to seeing the baby fly!

One very important prayer request must be shared with you. There is a fuel crisis in Zambia. We have three fuel stations in Luanshya. The lines for fuel are 35-50 cars long and often the fuel runs out before the cars have reached the pumps. This morning I had a meeting with the director of one of the colleges in town. Instead of meeting at either his office or mine, we met at his car in the line for fuel. During the meeting his car went from number 30 to number 23. Police are stationed at every filling station to avoid “situations” that could become ugly. The government leaders assure us on national television that the situation will be normalised soon, but a lack of fuel severely limits what we can do especially in the outlying areas. We will appreciate your prayers.

As this ministry grows and matures we realise more than ever the part our prayer partners play. Without you we could not remain...

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

14 October 2009

"taking it easy"

Greetings from Luanshya!

First the good news! Sherry is better! The fever broke late last week, but it fluctuated up and down for several days. It has stabilised and she is up and moving around – albeit it slowly. The doctor told her to take it easy for the next week… so she goes to her office at the Christian Resource Centre as per usual and does the scoring of the courses for the Bible Correspondence School, prepares for her youth lessons, meets with those who come in with questions and attends to the bookkeeping of the various ministries we have. Does that sound like "taking it easy"? Hmmm I didn't think so, but she tells me that she doesn't get up from her desk unless she needs to do so. Thanks for your prayers. Please continue as her strength increases.

We had a few water "issues" at the Lighthouse Children's Home last week. The shower fixture in the boys' bathroom was leaking so I bought a new fixture. The "plumber" (notice the punctuation) left it with a leak so one of the boys decided to "fix it." The hot water handle snapped off into his hand so I had to buy another fixture. After the "plumber" left for the second time there were even bigger leaks so I contacted the water company and asked one of their plumbers to come in today. I also warned the boys not to "fix" things without my permission – and permission is denied. It is always interesting to note that boys around the world are still "boys." Hopefully the plumber will be able to correct the problem today.

This coming Sunday Sherry and I will be on "split duty" as I go out to Kafubu Block to teach and preach while she attends a service being held in the Christian Resource Centre as one of the churches in town uses our baptistry tank so several new believers can follow the Lord's command to be baptised. The water in the streams is very low and muddy so the church leaders contacted me to see if the facility was available. Of course, it is and we have just repainted the washrooms and baptistry tank last week so it is ready to be used. It is always encouraging when churches are growing and new believers are being added to the Kingdom of God.

We want to remind you that school exams begin in a few days and several of the children at the Lighthouse Children's Home will be taking these exams. Nancy, our 18-year-old ninth grader, is getting more anxious She says she is confident of passing, but there is still a lot of pressure. The boys, Shadreck and Dickson, are less confident though they promise us that they will "at least pass." Please pray for these the other students in school exams here. All grade 7, grade 9 and grade 12 pupils country wide are taking the exams.

With the challenges of this ministry it is always great to know that we have partners who pray and support our efforts as we remain...

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

30 September 2009

Still Planting Seeds

Greetings from Luanshya, Zambia!

Very early this morning I began to pray about the lost suitcase of our German visitor, Vivian Kleeblaat. Today is the second week that Vivi has been here and her suitcase was somewhere between Berlin, London and Johannesburg. She has been a very good sport about it and Sherry took her to buy a few skirts, blouses and other things so she would at least have something to wear, but – like all of us – she really wanted her own clothes. This afternoon she received a telephone call from the South African Airlink agent to say that the bag had arrived last night and was waiting at the airport for her – 40 minutes away. With no small amount of trepidation, we went to the airport and found the suitcase intact with everything still inside. That alone is a miracle because Johannesburg is known internationally as having one of the least secure baggage handling facilities in the world. Vivi is very happy, but she has not had time to put her own clothes on just yet because when we returned home to Luanshya it was 3:00 pm and she had promised Andrew, our youngest Lighthouse Children's Home resident, a piano lesson. She has really gotten into the swing of things here in Luanshya. This coming Friday she will be sharing her testimony with the students at the youth meeting.

Speaking of the Lighthouse Children's Home, I spent the last two days in the garden planting 325 spinach, Chinese cabbage, kale and egg plants. We had accumulated a large amount of compost, but nobody seemed to know what to do with it. It didn't take long for me to find out where we needed it most and we have been cleaning, digging, watering and cultivating the soil. Other items in the garden include beans, pumpkin, onions, okra and a few stalks of popcorn.

Tomorrow we will finish the final section and the garden will be fully "occupied" with vegetables. One of the children has planted an herb nursery because he saw that "Aunt Sherry" had her own herb garden. She had a few extra seeds so she let him have some for the LCH. All the children help in the kitchen so it is anyone's guess what new delicacy may be served in the not-too-distant future. Three of the children are feeling the extra stress of exam month which starts in two weeks. Please remember to pray for Nancy, Shadreck and Dickson as they prepare for their exams. A failure means they will not be allowed to continue on to tenth grade. They are spending every spare moment with their noses in their textbooks and notes.

According to the American Embassy in Lusaka, the Swine flu is indeed spreading in Zambia. The Embassy (including CDC) is working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH) to monitor the situation and the "Pandemic Diseases Working Group" in Lusaka holds regular meetings to ensure coordination. The Embassy commitment to Americans living in Zambia is that Americans get the same safety information as those in the Embassy community and are informed of any decisions to draw down staff, etc. The new Consular Officer is coming to Luanshya for a "Town Hall Meeting" We are not panicking, but we are listening to the news and taking precautions. The MoH has discouraged large gatherings and all weddings, kitchen parties (bridal showers) and other social events have been cancelled. The MoH has also discouraged the customary shaking of hands which is probably the hardest habit to break because it is an automatic reaction here when meeting someone on the street. Church services have not been cancelled as has happened in the past when there was a cholera outbreak, but that option is still on the table. At this point we are praying for you as you pray for us!

Last Sunday we all travelled to a rural church in a farming community east of Luanshya. The road was so bad that we averaged about 20 miles per hour. The greeting was very warm – as was the building under the low metal roof – but the most intriguing part of the visit was the fact that in order to sit on the benches we had to lean forward and keep most of our weight on our feet even when sitting down. One of the benches did finally collapse (Not one on which we were sitting) and one of the men quickly ran outside, grabbed a large rock to pound the nail back into the seat. I have attached a photo. (If you want to help buy a few benches you can contact me.)

This week we will be travelling to the city of Kitwe to a church that we have never visited – about an hour from Luanshya. Kitwe is the second largest city in Zambia and is home to the Copperbelt University. The church is near the university, but we do not know anything about it except the directions to where it is located. I was invited after speaking at a Bible Conference a few weeks ago and Bro Tryson Mtonga wanted me to come and preach that same message to his congregation. This will also give Vivian an opportunity to see a church service outside of Luanshya in a major metropolitan centre.

As the ministry grows we appreciate all the more your prayers on our behalf.

Together in His Service,

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

02 September 2009

Trustworthy

John 3:31-36 – He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Jesus' testimony was trustworthy because He had come from heaven and was speaking of what He had seen there. His words were the very words of God. Our whole spiritual life depends on our answer to one question: "Who is Jesus Christ?" The heartbeat of John's Gospel is the dynamic truth that Jesus Christ is God's Son, the Messiah, the Saviour, who was from the beginning and will continue to live forever.

It is this very question and these exacting truths that Patrick presented at a recently concluded conference held in one of the townships off of Luanshya, this past week. Well over 1,000 believers attended the conference and heard the unashamed proclamation of Jesus Christ and the cross. Many we

re challenged, many came forward recommitting their lives and families to the Lord and others were greatly encouraged by the boldness of the concluding message on accountability. Pray that the fruit of our labours may mature with time, bringing forth a great harvest for the kingdom.

The Christian Resource Centre continues to be a great source of outreach to the community. A number of young adults have been visiting the reading room and initiate conversations ranging from morality in this day and age to life choices. I spoke with one young man yesterday morning who is trying to discern which route he should take: whether to continue working the family farm with his grandmother or to embark on a life of "chasing his own dreams". How would you answer a question like this? You see, things really aren't as different as you might think from life in the United States or Europe. Our young people have the same concerns, hopes and dreams. Pray for wisdom as we counsel young people, encourage others, and provide scripture education through the correspondence school and leadership training.

Concerning the work of the Lighthouse Children's Home, the orphanage we started some years back: The remaining five (5) children are in their teens. Three are preparing for their grade 9 exams (Nancy-18, Dickson-16 and Shadreck-16). Because these children began school so late in the stage, there are deficiencies in their learning. Therefore, we have arranged additional tutelage for each in an effort to give them a level of confidence and comfort in their studies. Exams begin in November and go on through December. Please do pray for them. John, our eldest boy in the Home, is only in grade 8 at the age of 17. He has a tendency to hang out with the "wrong crowd" from time to time and finds himself "in problems" as we say around here. Pray for John, that he

develops more of a sense of "responsibility" and "separation" as he tries to live his life in Christ among his unbelieving friends without compromise. The youngest, Andrew, is now 13 and smart as a whip. This morning I walked into one of the rooms in the Christian Resource Centre where he does his piano practice. There he was, sitting in front of the keyboard with a blindfold on, trying to

play one of his pieces by memory. I don't know if he smelled my perfume or felt my presence, but he removed the blindfold and just smiled from ear to ear his sheepish little smile. We are very proud of our children and the accomplishments each has made over the years. However, like every other teenager we know, they are apt to "walk in, okay…run in to temptation" with their eyes wide open so we'd really appreciate your prayers for them and for us. Please don't pray for patience. You know what happens when we do that!

So, there's a brief synopsis of this weeks' activities. Apart from Patrick spending some time on the roof of the Christian Resource Centre attempting to find any leaks before the rains start in November, and the renovation program for the seminar room…

We really do appreciate your prayers and support of this diverse ministry. With all that is going on from week to week, we need to remember Who it is we serve, why we serve and our partners. Thank you for helping us meet needs both spiritually and physically.

In His Grace,

19 August 2009

Planting Seeds

Greetings from Luanshya!

Few thing are more exciting than seeing a seed begin to grow. I remember as a boy when everyone in my first-grade class was given a seed and a cup of soil then told to plant that seed. We watered... and waited... and watered... and waited. A few days later one of the girls in the class exclaimed that her cup of soil had changed. It wasn't the soil that had changed, but the seed in the soil. Within a few days all of the tiny, green shoots of bean stalk had begun to rise above the soil. We had succeeded as tiny farmers in the midst of the suburbs of Los Angeles. I am not sure if anyone in that class went on to become a professional farmer, but I never forgot the excitement of seeing that plant begin to grow.

Two weeks ago Mr Mbewe came to see me. He had been struggling to find a church home. He and his wife have been in several "mainline" denominations over the years, but the more they studied their Bibles the more convinced they were that "denominational religion" was more man's creation than God's. He was sharing his frustration with a friend in Luanshya and his friend said, "If you are looking for Bible answers, then go see Patrick & Sherry Coleman. They are known to teach three words: The Bible Says." (It is good to have that kind of reputation.) Mr Mbewe came to see me, but he was ready for an argument. He would ask a question, then immediately counter whatever I said with: "But this church says..." or "That church teaches..." I must admit that I am often amazed at what intelligent people will believe just because it is stated with authority by someone with a religious title.

I finally stopped him and said, "Mr Mbewe, I am not interested in arguing about the different dogmas and doctrines of particular churches. I believe our conversation is over. When you want to talk about what God says in His Word, then come back to see me and we can continue." He was a bit surprised at my reaction, but I didn't have the time to argue with someone who wanted to argue for the sake of arguing. We prayed and I asked God to open his heart and mind to what God wanted him to have. Mr Mbewe came back last week while I was away at a Bible Conference and told Sherry he desperately needed to see me. When we met yesterday he said the moment he walked out of the Christian Resource Centre he realised that he had made a mistake. He had used the very arguments he had rejected to counter the answers I had presented from the Bible. He said he "kicked himself" all the way home for being so stubborn, but he knew he needed to hear more. We talked for an hour and a half. The more he opened up his heart the more I realised that the seed planted two weeks ago had taken root.

Please pray for Mr & Mrs Mbewe as they continue to grow in God's grace. Mrs Mbewe has not been well since she miscarried a child a few years ago. The doctors are not sure what the problem is and their treatments have been counterproductive, so please pray for her health as well.

As we plant seeds of hope, we see God bringing forth the fruit "in His season." Thank you for making it possible for us to remain in His harvest field.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

05 August 2009

Training Trainers

Greetings from Luanshya!

We are in the midst of a "Training Trainers" week here at the Christian Resource Centre of Luanshya. Bro Twakkies DuToit from Pretoria, South Africa, is the Africa Director of Evangelism Explosion. He has come at our invitation to lead a seminar for church leaders who will, in turn, take this material back to their churches and train the believers how to lead their friends, neighbours and family members to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The numbers were not huge, but those who did attend are excited about sharing their faith both in their respective churches as well as from "house-to-house" in Luanshya. On their first visitation they led a woman to Christ. This morning she came with two of her nephews and said "They need to hear what you told me." We look forward to seeing what God can do with a few well-trained evangelists in Luanshya!

For the past few weeks Sherry has been planning a "Community Fair" in Luanshya for 3rd August in order for local merchants to present their businesses and get to meet one another. This was also a way for them to meet us! We invited anyone who wanted to come and set up booths around park in the middle of town last Monday. The biggest booth was right next to the entrance where a choir from one of the churches sang several times a day. Right in the middle of the booths was the Child Evangelism Fellowship presentation. Twice during the day CEF conducted a "Bible Club" for the children and gave each child a book. We also gave each child a book. Many of their parents were there had a chance to meet us. Sherry assigned me to oversee the games for the children and youth. We did typical community fair activities including 3-legged races, sack races and an egg toss. This was mostly just for fun, but getting to meet people was also a part of the plan. We made several contacts and will be able to follow up on many of them in the next few weeks. With the EE Training we will have an opportunity for our church leaders to make contact as well.

Next week I will attending a Bible Conference in another small town in Zambia about 2 hours from Luanshya. This is being hosted by local Zambian churches and I was invited to participate. It is always great to see local Christians initiate and run programs for believers. This is what we came to do – Train national leaders to lead! The conference will be from Monday through Friday. It promises to be interesting. I will let you know how it went in a couple of weeks.

Few things are more exciting than leading someone to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Training someone else to do that is on that list. Through the EE seminar, Community outreach and Bible conferences we have an opportunity to reach out to those who do not know the answer to the question: "Have you come to the place in your life where you know for certain that if you died today that you would go to Heaven?" Because of your faithfulness to this ministry we can not only ask the question, but we can show the answer from the Word of God. Thank you for your support!

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

30 July 2009

Crowded

Greetings from Luanshya!

We ordinarily send this update on Wednesday afternoon. With the new class I have in the rural church I am out of town from 1:00 pm and I return just in time for the mid-week Bible study at the English service. After that study we has yet another meeting and we returned home at 9:30 pm we thought it best to wait until we were more rested. So... Here is the update. I thing we may start sending this out on Tuesday afternoon... unless that becomes as crowded as Wednesday.

Speaking of the Wednesday Bible study, we are going through some of the basics of the Bible laying a foundation for future lessons This includes the time or dispensations of God, the people mentioned in the Bible etc. Yesterday we discussed who the Gentiles are and what God's relationship to them was, is and shall be in the future. At the end of the class I asked if there were any questions. One young man who was a first-time visitor last Sunday asked me how he could know that God actually heard his prayer. I answered with a question: "Do you know that God is your Father and that you will go to Heaven when you die?" His answer was no, and we talked in front of the whole class about how he could have that assurance. When I asked him if he wanted to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour he responded enthusiastically by stepping over the benches in front of him and coming to the front of the class. We sat on the bench in the front row and Chibuye became the newest member of the Family of God. There is no better way to end a Bible study!

After class I went with two of the men from the church to visit an elderly woman who was no longer able to come to church because it was "just too far to walk." Esther Mukombe is 85. Up to a few weeks ago she was faithful to be at every service – rain or shine – of this small, rural congregation. Last week the men asked if I could find a wheelchair for her. It "just so happened" (if you believe in coincidence) that the Rotary Club of Luanshya had a wheelchair sitting in their meeting hall. I went to the hall, collected the wheelchair and took it with me to Esther. When we arrived at the mud brick house Esther was feebly standing in the door. Her daughter and son-in-law (Rachel and Bryson Katele) had just returned from their small field and the children gathered around the car. I pulled the wheelchair from the back of the Sportage and pushed it over to Esther. She is almost blind and could not see me or the wheelchair until I was a few feet from her. We told her to sit in her new wheelchair and she began to weep. Her daughter began to weep. Her son-in-law didn't know what to say. I explained that the church was Esther's "as long as she needed it" then it was to go back to the church so another believer could use it. Bryson is not a Christian. He witnessed the love and concern of Christians who wanted to meet the physical need of one of their sisters in Christ. He promised to come to the church service on Sunday to hear about the Saviour who gave more than just a wheelchair – He gave His life. Please pray for Bryson. He will hearing the Gospel for the first time in a few days.

Next week will be something different! We are hosting the "Evangelism Explosion Africa" seminar at the Christian Resource Centre. The EE – Africa Director, Bro DuToit, is coming from South Africa and we will be having classes for 20 church leaders from the Luanshya area. (One man is coming from Kitwe so he will be travelling an hour each morning to get here.) The classes are designed to teach trainers from the churches so they can go back to their congregations and teach the "believers in the pew" how to reach their friends and neighbours for the Lord Jesus Christ. The classes begin each morning at 8:30 and will continue until 5:30 every afternoon. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there will be "OTJT" (On The Job Training) when the participants will actively present the Gospel to people. On Friday morning there will be a test which will include 12 verses that are to be memorised during the week and the Gospel presentation outline. The Director of Child Evangelism Fellowship is coming with a colleague. The director from Encounter Evangelism Ministry is coming with a few colleagues. Several other church leaders will be attending and we hope to "turn Luanshya upside-down" for the Gospel. Pray with us for a great meeting!

Sometimes we get tired, but we are encouraged by what God has allowed us to do and the victories was witness. Thank you for remembering us in your prayers.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

23 July 2009

Lost Causes

Greetings from Luanshya!

Last Sunday in the Men's Bible Study at our English-speaking church we studied Acts 9 dealing with the conversion of Saul. As you will remember, Saul was a zealous and enthusiastic persecutor of Christians who thought he was doing the right thing by arresting and imprisoning those who claimed the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah and Lord. It was only after coming face-to-face with the Lord Jesus Christ that Saul realised that the person he rejected was, in fact, the Messiah. He went from one who hated those who followed Christ to a follower of Christ in a matter of moments. His biggest problem at that time was trying to get beyond the reputation that he had spent so much effort to create. By any definition he was a "lost cause" for the cause of Christ. Nobody would have thought that Saul of Tarsus could be reached with the Gospel... until he met the Saviour.

The first question in our Bible Study was "Do you know anyone that you believe is a 'lost cause' to Christianity?" Just about everyone had a name (or several) on the tip of their tongue. I told them that ALL of us were "lost causes" before we came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and that it was only by the grace of God that we were His children. I then shared the following story. I am using initials because this is being published on our web page and I do not want to embarrass anyone here.

Mr B is a middle-aged man. Mr C is a very young man. I led him to the Lord several years ago and baptised him in a swimming pool before we had an indoor baptistery. Both work at the same company here in Luanshya. When Mr C went to work at this company he ultimately began working side-by-side with Mr B. Mr C noticed immediately that Mr B was not a happy person. Every other word from his mouth was either vulgar or profane. Mr C asked him what was bothering him that would make him talk like he did. Mr B was initially dismissive and even rude, but after watching and listening to Mr C for several months he asked him what made him different. Mr C told him that he had something that Mr B needed. Mr C brought Mr B to see me. Mr B said, Mr Coleman, I need what Mr C has and I need it now. Mr B was saved as a young man, but his experience in church was not pleasant. The was a lot of denominational infighting and he finally decided that "church" was not what he wanted or needed. As we spoke tears gathered in his eyes and he said, "I need to come back." He started our discipleship course that day. Two other men started the discipleship course last week as well and another three men will be starting in two weeks. Interestingly enough, the men are realising their need to know more about God and the Bible.

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf! Because of your support we are able to be here to reach the "lost causes" and bring them to the Saviour.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

16 July 2009

Promise Kept

Greetings from Luanshya! This should have gone out yesterday, but...

On Sunday evening I received a text message that the wife of a dear friend had slipped into the presence of our Lord and Saviour. Vivian was the wife of Stephen Kabamba, Child Evangelism National Chairman and an elder in his local church. We have known Stephen and Vivian for many years worked with Stephen has conducted training seminars at the Christian Resource Centre for both his local and national CEF workers. Vivian was only 39 years old, but she was diabetic and was suffering from malaria. The two factors together were too much for her body to fight here in Zambia. She left five young children behind.

I went to Stephen's home immediately and was escorted past a hundred friends and family members who were gathered in small groups around his home talking about Stephen and Vivian's shared ministry in CEF, their work in the church and their testimony I the community. Stephen was in a small room at the back of the house, sitting on a mattress on the floor with members of the church sitting with him. I sat on the floor next to him and we wept and prayed together. I have been where he is and he remembered. On Monday afternoon we gathered at the same church building where 15 years earlier we gathered for another funeral. That time I was the one sitting in the front row. I was surrounded by the prayers of thousands of believers as they asked the Lord to comfort me. God, in keeping His promise, has never left my side and has blessed me more than I could have imagined on that day 15 years ago. I reminded Stephen of the Lord's promise and he said he could never forget it. He had watched me for the past 15 years and had seen what God could, would and had promised to do. Twelve years ago Sherry and I returned to that same church and re-enacted our wedding for 500 observers. God has been so good! God did, indeed, keep His promise! Today I am asking you to remember Stephen – my friend, my colleague, my brother in Christ – in your prayers.

Earlier that day I had been preaching and teaching in a rural church 45 minutes from Luanshya on a 10-mile road that ceased being passable many rains ago. Without my tough little 10-year-old Kia Sportage the trip would not have been possible. I keep looking for the thumbprint of God on the back window of that little vehicle because that is the only way it keeps going! I arrived just as the first member of the congregation arrived. I greeted them in a mixture of Swahili and Bemba. Some of them travel as far as 6-7 miles through bush paths to come to church. A few have bicycles, but most walk. Their Sunday morning trip to church takes over an hour. They sit on rough benches made from "off cuts" of timber at a lumber mill. There is no air conditioning or heating system. The windows are open vent blocks without glass panes. There aren't enough song books for everyone and there is no music so the song service is a cappella – and they sing with enthusiasm! I preached about Noah's faithfulness to obey even when it did not make sense – Whoever heard of building a boat for a flood when nobody had even seen rain? Noah's belief and obedience even when faced with direct ridicule and persecution caused him and his family to be saved. That same belief and obedience is required today by believers.

After the service I met – as in my custom – with the leaders of the church. They had asked me at our last meeting to come for regular Bible Institute classes because for them travel all the way to Luanshya would take several hours by foot and bicycle. They had discussed it among the congregation and decided that Wednesday afternoon would be best. Because 99% of the people there live from their small farms they are "free" in the afternoons. (Work starts at 5:30 am) So, they asked me to come at 2:00 pm on Wednesday.

I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical that they would have more than a few people there, but I was willing to come. I arrived at 1:45 and some of them were already waiting. We sang a few songs until time to begin. By 2:00 we had almost everyone from the Sunday morning assembly with a few coming in 5-10 minutes late – apologising as they entered. I taught a simple introductory lesson from a small book entitled "Understand Your Bible" written by Wilfred Munnings, a missionary to India for 17 years. Bro Munnings realised that books in simple English were needed so people with limited education could both understand and translate basic Bible truths in many local languages and dialects. I gave copies to those who could read English and they have become the "teacher's aides" in the class. The first session lasted an hour. At the end of the hour I said: "Next week we will study..." and the "class" was surprised that the hour had passed so quickly. There were many questions and answers were taken from the Bibles that they had so they know that the teaching is not from me, but from God's Word. After the first hour I met with Bro Simwanza and Bro Matanda for an hour of personal discipleship. After driving home again I was exhausted, but exhilarated by the fact that this rural assembly of believers would walk miles to hear a Bible lesson and be excited about being there. We didn't have food. We didn't have tea or coffee. We didn't have special music. We only had a one-hour Bible lesson and they were excited about coming. They promised to come back next week with their friends!

This is why we are here doing what we do. The purpose of the discipleship class is to train Bro Simwanza and Bro Matanda to be able to teach others and to work with me in the weekly classes in the future. As we reach out into the various communities in and around Luanshya we see God working in the lives of His children. He comforts those who mourn and encourages those who want to learn more. We are able to be here to facilitate His will because you are faithful to pray and support this ministry.

The "new and soon-to-be-improved" web site is under construction at www.colemanministry.info. Check it out and keep going back for updates...

Thank you for your prayers on our behalf!

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

08 July 2009

A Different Perspective

Greetings from Luanshya!

It is always good to get away for a while, see things from a different perspective and observe not only your world but the world around you. It is both refreshing and invigorating. However, there is nothing better than returning home, unpacking suitcases, sitting in your favourite chair and sleeping in your own bed. Whoever said it said it best: “Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home!”

While we were away two people died. I am not thinking of the people whose names have been spread across the news networks. These were not famous people, but they were friends. At the same time, they were completely different from each other. Mr Simwanza was a leader in a rural church about 45 minutes from Luanshya. He lived in a small, mud-brick house with his wife and children. He had a small piece of land from which he scratched out enough of a living to feed his family and he served the Lord by preaching and teaching in the little chapel in his village. Mr Mbewe was a businessman in Luanshya. He owned several houses and lived in a large house near the English-speaking church I had just finished building. He watched the building go up and told me on several occasions, “I will visit you one day.” He never did. He left his wife, children and earthly wealth behind and slipped into eternity having never kept his promise. Members of the church went to both funerals. They were as different as two funerals could be. One was filled with hope – the other with despair. We are sad to have lost both friends, but sadder that one was lost forever. Please pray for the families. I will be going out to the village on Sunday to preach and pay my respects to Mrs Simwanza.

In America the Fourth of July is celebrated with fireworks, picnics and baseball. We basically spent the day doing laundry, catching up with correspondence and resting. In Zambia there is a two-day holiday which is celebrated on the first weekend of July called “Heroes and Unity Days.” The International Trade Fair in Ndola (25 miles away) is always conducted over this four-day weekend, but it is a more subdued atmosphere and there are no fireworks. Still, I used the “Heroes” theme for my message on Sunday and preached from Hebrews 11. As I examined the heroes of the faith I talked about what made them “heroes.” For example, Abel and Enoch pleased God, but their departures from earth were quite different; Noah and Abraham were both asked to do something completely contrary to “conventional wisdom”, but God blessed them for their obedience. All of these heroes were able to claim that title because they obeyed. We are not all asked to do the same thing, but we are all asked to obey. I ended my message with this sentence: “There is a history waiting to be written: Yours!” When we come to the end of our earthly sojourn those left will remember our life. I remember both of my friends – one with hope… the other without.


By way of an update on the web site, Hosting Matters is not being very cooperative. Arguing with them from this distance is both expensive and futile. We are making plans to change the name slightly and re-open the site soon. I appreciate the expertise of our oldest son, Christopher, as he puts everything together. Be on the lookout for…

www.colemanministry.info

Coming soon to a computer near you!

Thank you for your prayer on our behalf!

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

Dr. Patrick & Sherry Coleman

27 May 2009

Never Actually "Mundane"

Greetings from Luanshya!

Life here is never actually "mundane." There are always surprises on the horizon and that brings both good and bad experiences. A flying stone send from the vehicle ahead can crack a windscreen (windshield) in an instant creating a very interesting design right across my field of vision. For "just $1,000" I can get that replaced. I didn't know that "just" and "$1,000" could into the same sentence. This is not good news!

The current teachers’ strike is not a good thing, but we have had an increase in students coming into the Christian Resource Centre for the past week. Many of them come in school uniform because they go to school hoping that classes have resumed only to find that the teachers are still refusing to work. Consequently they come to the CRC to read the books we have. A number of new students have joined the Mail Box Club programme that Sherry oversees from the CRC. We are encouraged that people are sharing what they have learned through their lessons with others. This is good news.

Work among the youth continues. During these "days off from school" a number of high school boys have been spending their time in the Youth Centre keeping occupied with the various board and table games. This ministry has been a true blessing to many and we are pleased to be a part of keeping the youth out of the bars. Sherry has just begun lessons on the final chapter of Daniel during the weekly youth meetings. This week the young people will look at the first four verses of chapter 12 and next week conclude the chapter and book. It has been a long haul through the book of Daniel, but the youth have grasped some of the events that will be taking place in those last days as well as examples to live by through observing the life of Daniel. Pray for the young people of Luanshya as they seek truth.

In the Men's Bible Study last Sunday we examined Acts 4. Some of the questions included: What risks do we take when we try to witness to people about Christ? When, if ever, have you been challenged or threatened because of your beliefs? What steps can you take to better prepare yourself to explain the gospel to unbelievers? When has the testimony of another believer strengthened or encouraged you to boldly witness for Christ? Finally the question that stopped the class cold: Who is one person you can tell about Jesus’ offer of salvation this week? Each of the men was asked to name one person to whom they would talk about the Lord this week. The men had to look at their week and decide who would be approached about their eternity. One man said, "Several." I asked him to name one. He stumbled. When we think about reaching the "world" for Christ it seems easy. When we think about the individual and concentrate on how to reach that one person for Christ the question becomes personal. Ultimately each man mentioned a name of someone they would either invite to church or at least give a book about the Lord. It isn't evangelism if we aren't evangelists.

This week I will be in one of the rural churches. I went out to the village a few days ago to meet one of the leaders. The road is horrible and it will take nearly an hour to get there. I am glad I went then because I would have been 30 minutes late for the service – not unusual for them, but unheard of for me.

On a personal note, Colin finishes his course in San Antonio on Thursday. He is a "Aircraft Load Master". He now goes to Florida for a few days to learn how to parachute. Actually, he will learn how to land when parachuting. That is the hard part. Jumping from the plane is apparently "easy". Then he will spend a few weeks in Washington State learning how to live on bark and leaves. Then he will go to Oklahoma where he says "the wind comes rolling down the plain." After all the training he will be in Hawaii for 3 years. Thank you for praying for him during his training and for continuing those prayers as he is begins his assignment. With the excitement in Asia over the past few days this is cause for concern.

We appreciate your prayers on our behalf. With the planned ministries and the unplanned events, we know Who hold the future.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

06 May 2009

"Different"

Greetings from Zambia!

I spent part of the first three days of this week doing something "different." (My children will attest that doing something different is not all that "different" for me.) I took each of the older three boys from the Lighthouse Children’s Home out to lunch. John is 6 months away from his 18th birthday; Dickson has 10 months to go until his 18th birthday; Shadreck will turn 18 in 16 months. This means that all three boys will make a decision about what they want to do in the next few months. We have said that the children can stay in the Lighthouse Children’s Home after they reach their 18th birthday with a few conditions:

First, they must continue in school thought the 12th Grade. All three of these boys will be older than 20 when they graduate from 12th grade. They will become legal adults at 18, but if they want to stay in the home, eat our food, sleep on our beds and go to schools that we pay school fees for them to attend, then they have to stay in school – and pass their exams. At 18 they go from "wards" to "houseguests." All have agreed to this condition.

Second, they must not drink alcoholic beverages. The legal drinking age in Zambia is 18 years so most of the boys and many of the girls who are still in high school at 18 are allowed to go into bars and drink alcohol (and most 18-year-old young people in Zambia are still in high school if they passed the exams to get into high school). The result of this freedom is a general failure of most grade 12 students to get passing grades on their final exam. Some retake the exam the following year, but most simply consider themselves as having "completed" grade twelve. Sadly, many of them do foolish things while under the influence of alcohol and the cemeteries are proof of that fact.

Third, they must obey the rules of the house including care of the property, helping with kitchen duties and working in the garden. While they will be "houseguests" on paper, they are still responsible for their chores around the house. They will continue to make their own beds, wash and iron their own clothes and polish their own shoes.

Again, all three boys have agreed to these rules and want to stay in the Home to finish their education.

I asked each of them several questions: What they wanted to do. (Electronics, Engineering. Mechanics and Rugby were mentioned) What were their biggest concerns. (What happens after grade 12.) What would they change about their lives if they could. This last question stumped them. They would not change anything. All three said they realised they had been given a chance to succeed and the did not want to disappoint "Auntie Sherry" or me. I was humbled by these three boys who felt that their lives were "as good as it gets" because of the care and love they had received at the Lighthouse Children’s Home.

This does not mean they are perfect by any stretch of the imagination. They are boys and they do the dumb stuff that boys do. I remember being a boy (vaguely) and I remember raising two more. We have issues from time to time and I have had to walk between two of them now and then when tempers flared. Still, they have grown tremendously in the past 10 years physically, emotionally, academically and spiritually. They have learned to rely on each other for moral support and they know they can lean on either of us when times are difficult.

Sherry and I are very appreciative for your prayers – and support – for this particular ministry. Even in these troubled economic times the funds have been available to supply their food, pay for their school fees and provide for their basic needs. The lives you touch will someday lead Zambia.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

15 April 2009

The Bible Says

Greetings from Zambia!

Funerals are never really a happy experience. This past week a dear friend and colleague suffered a stroke and slipped quietly into eternity. Bro Medford Chintende had worked as a mine administrator for many years until retiring early a few years ago and serving full time in his church. His funeral was remarkably different from so many that we have attended in past years. There were tears, of course, and the loss of husband, father and grandfather will be felt, but most of those who mourned did not mourn as those who have no hope. The theme of the sermons, poems and eulogy was that this is not a permanent "goodbye" – it is "See you later." The message of hope and the declaration of the Gospel by Bro Kohokola was strong and clear. Even the music declared that believers would be united at the resurrection of the saints when the Lord Jesus Christ calls His followers home. It was a blessing to see and hear these believers express their faith in the midst of their grief.

Bro Parlin teaching the participantsThe Encounter Revival Ministry (ERM) team from Harrisburg, PA, USA, is visiting Luanshya in partnership with Bro Leonard Bwalya and the ERM team of Zambia. This is a group of 25 young adults who spend a year between high school and college travelling around the United States and making one trip to a mission field during the year. Mr Ardy Parlin has been working with this group for about 17 years. Bro Bwalya started the Zambian ERM team five years ago and has groups in Luanshya District as well as two neighbouring districts. He has over 60 young adults singing, preaching and teaching in churches and schools throughout the year.

Bro Leonard Bwalya (yellow tie) addressing the groupThe US team arrived last Tuesday with Bro Parlin and four other adult team leaders and have been all over Copperbelt Province singing in schools, preaching in churches and training church leaders. Today they are conducting a church leadership conference at the Christian Resource Centre in Luanshya. The 50 church leaders, elders and pastors were introduced to and encouraged in leadership principles, life strategies and practical Christian living as leaders. One major theme is that Christian leaders are to serve the Lord by serving others in the church and the community. Some of the young men were school boys when Sherry and I first arrived in Zambia and we have been able to watch them grow and mature both physically and spiritually to become leaders in their churches. The ERM US & Zambian teams singing in both English and BembaIt was a privilege to host this meeting. We were also able to introduce the men at the conference to the ministry of The Christian Resource Centre including the library, audio-visual materials and Bible Correspondence School. Please pray for the leadership of the churches here in Zambia. They face many of the same trials and temptations as those who lead in "developed" countries, but all too often they do not have the support of trained counsellors with whom they can share, encourage and receive encouragement.

The schools are closed for their regular holiday for the next three weeks. This means that students are travelling across Zambia visiting family while those in exam classes (grades 7, 9 and 12) are attending intensive review sessions preparing for exams in November and December. This also means that children are visiting the Christian Resource Centre throughout the day because they are not in class. This is a great opportunity for us to reach into their homes and lives and parents are pleased that they are here. Even children whose parents will not allow their children to attend a church other than the "family church" are happy to have the children come to the CRC because they know it is a safe atmosphere. The children are able to read, watch Christian film and play games in a drug-free, alcohol-free and temptation-free zone. Pray that we will be able to see lives changed.

This coming Sunday I will be preaching in another long-established church here in a township in the Luanshya area. I last preached in this church about five years ago. They have had a few questions come up in discussion in the church and they have asked for "clarification from the Bible". As churches grow people come in from various backgrounds and they wonder why things are "different" in churches that are Bible-centred as opposed to "denomination-centred." Many of the older members remembered the phrase I stress everywhere I preach: "The Bible Says..." They have asked me to return and emphasise what "The Bible Says" about particular questions. It may be a long day, but that is why we are here. Please pray for wisdom as I answer the questions presented.

The more we do, the more there seems to be to do. We are honoured to be able to be here and "do" what God has asked us to "do". Thank you for your prayers and support.

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

07 April 2009

Indaba

Greetings from Zambia!

This past Saturday the government of Zambia held the national Indaba (meeting) where representatives from various governmental and non-government organisations gathered to talk about the financial affairs of Zambia. Guests were invited from other countries and the vice chair of the World Bank was also in attendance. Many things were said, suggestions made and everyone had a "way forward" for the future. We don't actually know how many of these ideas will be put into action, but there was a frank discussion on issues of national and international concern. One of the issues floored was the fact that many of the plans for development are waylaid by bureaucrats who are comfortable with the status quo and simply fail to forward the proposals which, in some cases, have been sitting on their desks for years.

Sometimes in long established churches the same kind of neglect takes place. Last Sunday I visited a church on the outskirts of Ndola (20 miles from Luanshya) which had been started nearly 55 years ago. The members and leadership of the church were quite comfortable with their programs and the schedule of events was on a well-worn piece of paper that had seen many Sundays. As I preached, I talked about the fact that the Lord Jesus came to present something new to the world, but the organised religious leaders of the day were comfortable with the programs that they had known since childhood. Christ's new "love your enemy" philosophy contradicted the "Eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" mentality of the Scribes and Pharisees.

At the end of the service I spent two hours with the leaders in the church. They had many questions concerning church organisation and discipline. While discipline is important, it is also necessary to realise that those who have slipped into sin also need healing, not just punishment. Many in the church are more like police officers than doctors. They are ready to condemn rather than restore. We had a good time of bible study and prayer. They have asked me to return so we can continue the teaching. Please pray for this and other congregations as they leave their comfort zone and discover the true meaning of ministry.

Sherry's youth class will be meeting in two weeks time to discuss "The Living End" as seen from Daniel 8. A few weeks ago the young people learned about Nebuchadnezzar's statue. Daniel 8 reveals, in a sense, the nations represented by the statue, some of the events that will or have occurred since Daniel's day, and give a view of the impending end of this world as we know it. Many have been caught up in the studies and are expressing a deep concern for their friends an schoolmates, so much so that they have invited them to the meetings so they, too, can hear God's plan for the future, their future. Pray for the young people as they discover a new way of life, with vision.

Yesterday I had a meeting with Leonard Bwalya, the director of Encounter Zambia. This ministry is another “outside the box” outreach that works specifically with young adults. They are planning a two week series of meetings in the Copperbelt. I helped him design a brochure and tract for the outreach. We will be hosting one of their meetings in the Audio/Visual room of the Christian Resource Centre. This young man has a desire to reach the youth of Zambia and we are privileged to be a part of that dream in providing a facility and expertise.

As we enter this particular season, we remember the ultimate sacrifice that the Lord Jesus Christ freely made to purchase our salvation. We consider it an honour to serve Him in this place and thank you for making this service possible through your prayers and support.

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

01 April 2009

No Foolin

Greetings from Luanshya!

When I was a boy I would get up early on 1st April and exchange the salt and sugar in the kitchen. It became a “custom” in our home. It just wasn’t April Fool’s Day with one of my brothers (or my Dad) putting salt on the corn flakes. As we get older the pranks change (and we get concerned about sugar on anything!). I can remember glue on a pencil, nailing a chair to the floor and even removing the tyres from a friend’s car while he was at work. All of this was done in good fun, but when our communication breaks down it isn’t funny. Sadly, our Internet access has been poor for several weeks and nobody could find the problem. Yesterday the antennae on top of our house finally fell off the mast. Apparently it was loose and the reception was affected. Currently it is hanging by the coaxial cable and there is zero Internet connect so this is being written for future transmission – we hope before the week end...

Having no Internet access also means no email, no SKYPE, no FACEBOOK and no Google searches for sermon and lesson illustrations, but it does not slow the ministry down much here. We are still providing counselling and meeting new people every day in the Christian Resource Centre. I spent 1 ½ hours with young Mr Jere this week in discipleship. His answers to the questions are becoming more in depth and his questions concerning the Christian life are deeper every time we get together. He is looking for work to pay for his last year of school to finish his accounting course. Please pray with us about this need.

The youth continue in their Friday study with Sherry in the book of Daniel. They are studying about the anti-christ and this always generates a lot of questions. Sherry avoids speculating on who might be alive today that could fit that description. We do know, however, that the Saviour’s arrival is imminent and our first priority is to reach all we can for that event. Several of the young people have been bringing friends to the youth meeting. We are encouraged to see them concerned about their classmates.



This Sunday I’ll be preaching at one of the oldest churches in the area. This particular assembly of believers began over 50 years ago. The leadership is completely in Zambian hands – as it should be – but they came and asked specifically for me to preach on the Passover and how it relates to Christians today and to help them reconcile a difference that has developed in the congregation. It will be a long day, but I am pleased that they have placed their confidence in me to help them come to a peaceful and Biblical resolution. I will appreciate your prayers as we seek the Lord’s will in this situation.



Sherry continues to improve after her surgery. For the first time in over ten years she can lift her left arm above her head. This is an answer to many prayers and we appreciate you for remembering her. The “physio-terrorist” (his word) said the process would take several months so Sherry is faithfully following the protocol and looking forward to a complete recovery!

Between the first paragraph and this last one the ZAMNET technician came and reconnected the antennae so the Internet is back up. However, moments ago a storm started pounding complete with lightning and thunder so we are about to shut everything down… Good news – Bad news!

The great news is that we know that we have a great team of supporters with us in this work and we thank you for making it possible for us to represent you here in Zambia

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

25 February 2009

“We are loved.”

Greetings from Zambia!

It has been a few weeks since our last update. This is due to busy schedules and Internet issues. ZAMNET has been having problems for several months and our connection has been intermittent and poor. This past week the system was “spammed” and the entire mail server was shut down. We mention this because much of our incoming mail was lost in “cyberspace” so if you sent a message and we didn’t respond, please send it again. We have come to rely on the Internet as a form of communication and information gathering. In 1985 a letter took 6-8 weeks to go from Za├»re to the States. The response was equally slow. The turn-around time was 3-5 months. Today we are accustomed to responses coming within the hour (when time zones allow) and “instant messages” via FACEBOOK. It is truly a different world!

Two Sundays ago a young man came to me after the service and said he really wanted to be baptised. We spent some time together and he will follow the Lord in believer’s baptism in two week’s time. This gives him time to invite his family and friends to witness this event. He is very excited about this next step in his spiritual life.

Last Sunday I preached to a new congregation meeting in a school. The school is called “Twatemwa Basic School” so the new assembly of believers will use “Twatemwa” in their name. It means “We are loved.” I think it is a great name for a church. Nearly a third of the congregation of 101 people (including 25 babies) spoke Swahili so I felt right at home. The people have been meeting in the school for about 3 months. They asked me to spend time with them teaching them from the Bible. I gave them 500 gospel tracts and promised to arrange a schedule when we can meet for a Bible Institute. They also made a simple request: The would like to have some plastic communion cups. Even as a new church they realise the importance of remembering the Lord’s Supper. I don’t have any at the moment, but perhaps that can be sorted out soon.

We spent a couple of days over the past week travelling to and from Lusaka (the capitol city of Zambia). Sherry received a message that her “Entry Permit” had been approved, but her file had been misplaced. We made duplicates of all the papers and delivered them to the appropriate immigration officer. We return to the office five days later to collect her permit. This certifies Sherry as a “permanent resident” of Zambia. She has been here for over 18 years and the officer said “Welcome Home!” Zambia is, indeed, “home” to us and we are pleased that this milestone has been reached and her contribution to the community has been recognised.

Sherry also has a prayer request. She has had a persistent pain in her left shoulder for some time. Two weeks ago it got to the point that she could not move her arm without severe pain so she called the doctor. X-rays were taken and there is an obtrusive calcium build-up on both the upper arm and shoulder. She had extensive physiotherapy at the local hospital, but the doctor said surgery was required. He said it could not be done in Luanshya so we are going to go to South Africa next week to see an orthopaedic surgeon there. Friends of ours there have made the appointment and assure us that the surgeon has the highest recommendation in Johannesburg. Please pray for Sherry (and me) as we travel to Johannesburg for this operation. From what we have been able to ascertain it should be “routine” – but any time someone cuts it is not “routine” for me!

Blessing and challenges – Both come our way and we are thankful for those who stand with us in this ministry.

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

11 February 2009

Rains

Greetings from Luanshya, Zambia.

The rains continue to come, but so do the blessings of serving here. This past week we have had several visits from across the spectrum of the Zambian society.

Bro Lumayi asked me to speak at a new congregation which is meeting in a school situated in one of the largest townships around Luanshya. The name of the school is “Twatemwa” – “We are loved” and the new assembly of believers will be using that in the name of the church when it is ultimately organised. Bro Lumayi was instrumental in starting another church several years ago and it is wonderful to see Zambian leaders accepting the responsibility to reach their own communities for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what we have been teaching for over 20 years! It has to start with dedicated local believers!

Within a few days came a visit from Bro Lukonsolo who came on behalf of one of the oldest churches in the Copperbelt Province in a place called Twapia. He said the church was in need of some specific teaching on three particular topics. There is some “discussion” about certain issues that were brought up recently and he had “heard from Bro Katandula” (The man with whom I started two churches in the Luanshya District) that they could rely on me to present answers from the Bible. Please pray for me as I spend a few days teaching and preaching in this rural setting.

Yesterday we had a visit from Mr Mukoshi, a “traditional judge” who works in villages as an itinerate magistrate. He hears cases on a very local level involving village disputes and conflicts. He comes into the Christian Resource Centre periodically to get answers from the Bible for his cases. His current study is on the blessings of God for peacemakers in the home. He said there is a great concern for “human rights” and many of these assumed “rights” by one individual seem to overstep the “rights” of another. Sherry made the comment that the Bible does not speak of “human rights” and the only “right” we have to go to Heaven is through the acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Saviour according to John 14:6. Mr Mukoshi said that was exactly what he needed and he left to return to “court.”

We are often amazed at the opportunity God gives to us to share His truth in Zambia. We serve the young and elderly, the new and the established, the urban and the rural almost every week. We asked God to “expand our territory” when He brought us together over 11 years ago. Sherry said to me when she was in the process of accepting my proposal for marriage – a simple “yes” would not suffice – that if we could not do more as a couple than we were as individuals, then we should not be married because God did not send us all the way around the globe to cut our ministries in half. Our ministry continues to grow. We are presented with open doors that are new outreaches for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you for your support and prayers as we continue…

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

04 February 2009

Rains

4th February 2009

Greetings from Luanshya, Zambia.

The rains are heavier than anyone can remember and the Zambian Meteorology Society (yes, we have one) says the rains are going to get heavier still during February. This is, of course, good news for a place that has experienced drought for several years so the Zambians are actually "complaining" about the rain, but it makes life difficult when rural roads are knee-deep in mud and almost everyone is walking from place to place.

The Luanshya Copper Mine is officially closed meaning that over a thousand miners are out of work and several small companies that supplied the mine with special services are also on "forced leave" until "someone" - either a new investor or the government - comes in to restart the mining operation. There have been several suggestions, but according to one of the Zambian administrators this morning nothing has been approved yet. This is not the first time this has happened in Luanshya and the people here are cautiously optimistic that the mine will open again, but time is always the question. Please pray for the situation here. Zambians are, by nature, patient, but hungry people are desperate people.

Sherry was surrounded by several dozen school children this morning in front of the Christian Resource Centre. The teachers had an "In-Service Seminar" so classes were dismissed and the youngsters wanted to start "The Mail Box Club" lessons. Word of Mouth advertising has helped to increase the enrolment and this is great news. Many of these children are introduced to the truth of the Bible by "The Mailbox Club" Bible correspondence programme and carry these lessons to school every day. Just this week Sherry was stopped by a former student who is now an adult. He thanked her for making the Bible available to him when he was just a youngster. We want to thank YOU for making this possible!

John Banda from the Lighthouse Children's Home came to us this week with a very serious request. At his new school they are offering a computer class. He has not taken much interest in computers in the past even though we have two in the Christian Resource Centre. When he saw Andrew and Nancy enjoying their computer access he wanted to know more. His classes cost less that $10 per month and he was pleading with us to let him take the classes. Of course, we are thrilled that he wants to study something new and agreed. He is excited! We just received news that one of our first "wards" from 12 years ago is now working with computers in Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) and doing very well - both in his work and in his church there. As we see the children grow physically, academically and spiritually we are encouraged in what God has allowed us to do.

There are challenges every day. There are also victories that we are able to share. Thank you for praying for us through the challenges and celebrating with us in the victories!

Together in His Service,

Patrick & Sherry

21 January 2009

hustle and bustle

Greetings from Luanshya!

Sherry and I spent a few days out of town last week visiting old friends. It was nice to get away for a few days then we came back to the hustle and bustle of a new school year. The children at the Lighthouse Children's Home are back in school but some have yet to get their complete uniform requirements because the schools have run out of supplies. Some of those schools also do not have the necessary books and we have had to supply those as well. It is always a challenge putting children in school and even more so when supplies are limited. Please pray for these youngsters and their schoolmates.

We hope, in the next few weeks, to be able to present the Mailbox Club Program in several of the area schools. Our target group will be grades 5 through 12 this year. Obviously, we already have a number of students but with the start of a new school year, many more young people move into the region. The school principles are always willing to allow us access to the children and this is an open door that we cannot ignore.

The Christian Resource Centre continues to be utilized by both young people and adults. Many are curious about what we have to offer but most are serious students of the Word and looking for resource material for personal Bible study and lesson preparation. As we develop the audio/visual room, we are sure many more will take advantage of the opportunity to learn.

The rains have seriously affected some areas of ministry. We have had torrential storms over the last several days preventing those who participate in discipleship and counselling from attending. Every road is flooded and even paved roads are showing signs of deterioration. We know this is a seasonal phenomenon so we are not discouraged by cancelled meetings. Please pray for those who are unable to meet these commitments to do weather.

On the evening of the Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama we had a group of Zambian friends at our home to witness the occasion. They had a lot of questions about the American political system and were very impressed by the fact that the transition was peaceful an amiable. They noticed the fact that President Obama thanked President Bush for his help during the transition period and that he, President Obama, greeted Senator McCain during the proceedings. These actions greatly contrast with the proceedings of many African nations when it comes to handing over leadership to another political party. We are thankful that America continues to be the model. Such a testimony bodes well for us as we move among community leaders in Zambia and opens many doors for sharing the peace that comes from our Saviour.

Thank you for praying for us and those whom we come into contact every day.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

07 January 2009

A Flurry of Activity

Greetings from Luanshya!

2009 has started with a flurry of activity. We are in the process of preparing five teenagers for school. New uniforms, shoes, books and supplies have to be purchased. We have five students in four different schools making it even more interesting. We appreciate those that have made this particular ministry of special interest because your help makes it all possible.

The Christian Resource Centre has been equally busy. Not only are the "regulars" using the facility but a new believer, Mr. Mwansa, was directed to the library by his church so he can grow. He is planning, in the future, to start the Bible correspondence courses as well. Please pray for brother Mwansa as he grows.

A brief update on John and Sarah Bwalya.: They have spoken to the senior education officer in their District as well as the one in Luanshya. Their transfer back to Luanshya should begin within the next few weeks. We are very pleased at the prospect of having them back in town working in the schools and here with us. Please continue to pray for this young family and that no obstacles will arise preventing their move.

Sherry's youth meeting continues in the book of Daniel. Last week she discussed Nebuchadnezzar's dream and Daniel's response to the edict made for the death of the entire "cabinet". The young people were very animated in their discussion. Sherry has a little knack for being able to apply the lessons in Daniel to everyday situations. This Friday she will be talking about the Blue Print For Tomorrow from Daniel 2:31-49. Pray for the young people as they discover truths to live by.

I have been spending quite a bit of time at the church property finishing things that were left undone by the various artisans. The rain does not always cooperate with a work day, but it has to be done. Pray that the Lord will raise up men from within the local church to assist in the maintenance and upkeep of the House of God.

We look forward to another exciting a fruitful year. We appreciate the part you play in our ministry as we remain.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry