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


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,