Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for me and Jill as we travel throughout the United States on our furlough. The Lord has really blessed and so far we have had the privilege to report in many of our supporting churches and in 3 brand new prospective supporting churches.
Here in Illinois we experienced a brief fall season and jumped right into winter. The cold has kind of taken us by surprise. Although Jill grew up in Colorado and I right here in Illinois, we are no longer acclimated to Midwestern winters. I guess that 21 years in Africa with tropical temperatures will do that to a person. The cold and snow is certainly a change of pace and we are adjusting accordingly. We appreciate your prayers as we continue to adjust. Please pray especially for us as we get used again to driving in winter conditions.
When we write to our church members back at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola and share with them the below freezing temperatures and photos of falling snow and ice covering roads and vehicles it is something totally new for them. They ask us many questions. We miss our friends at home in Zambia. Things there are going well though. Bro. and Mrs. Paine are doing a good job. We praise the Lord for the modern communication we are able to enjoy and how quickly we can share messages and photos. Our church folks miss us and we miss them.
Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola is doing ok. Attendance and offerings are down somewhat, but that is to be expected. The men of the church are working at visiting members and new contacts and we are praying that soon the numbers will return to normal and even grow.
Please pray with us that in our absence the members of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola will take this opportunity to stand and to mature as Christians. There is a time in each Christian’s life when they can choose to make an effort to grow closer to the Lord or to fall away. Falling away is certainly easier but the reward from growing closer is worth the effort. Please pray for our Zambian brothers and sisters at this important time.
So far we have had some amazing meetings and mission’s conferences. Just recently, Jill and I were at a mission’s conference and the assistant pastor took us around to a few of the children’s churches going on during one of the main services. At the conclusion of each introduction the pastor would ask two of the young boys in the class to pray for us missionaries. What a blessing it was to hear these young boys in their simple language speak to our Lord and ask for His blessing on the missionaries. Their pureness and frankness touched our hearts. It was a true blessing. We praise the Lord for children who pray for us!
At this same conference we met at the assistant pastor’s house on a Saturday night for a meal with 2 of the adult Sunday school groups. It was an amazing time. After the meal the assistant pastor, who I considered a peer, got up and introduced me by saying, “I first met Bro. and Mrs. Schultz at my dad’s church during their deputation when I was a little boy.” I think my mouth fell open as I pondered that thought. Surely that could not be correct. Here was a man near my age I thought, with 4 kids, the oldest being 16 years old, and he was saying that during our deputation he was a little boy. I kind of laughed, and asked him about that and we realized that indeed he was just 15 years old when Jill and I visited his father’s church on deputation 23 years ago. Sometimes I forget just how long we have been serving the Lord as missionaries to Zambia. The time has certainly flown. We praise the Lord for allowing us to serve Him all of these years.
While we were out West for a series of meetings, after one of the services I was standing at the front door of the church greeting folks as they left. This is a normal practice. When one dear lady shook my hand I happened to look down and there in her purse was a small dog looking back up at me with its tongue half out of its mouth! It was a cute little dog and had been quiet all through the service. In all my years of preaching that was the first time that I know of that I preached to a dog!
During another mission’s conference Jill and I were at a laundromat doing our laundry, (yes, missionaries have to do laundry) and I ran across the street to a supermarket to grab a couple of drinks and some odds and ends. As I checked out at the registers the lady bagging the groceries handed the cashier her swipe card and asked the cashier to give me her employee discount. She said “This is MY missionary to Zambia”. I did not recognize the bagger lady but apparently she was a member at the church where the conference was being held and had been praying for our family. It touched my heart how she claimed ownership of me and Jill as HER missionaries. She rightly felt that she was our partner in ministry. How we praise the Lord for men, women and children who claim us as THEIR missionaries and lift us up to the Lord in prayer. Your prayers make a huge difference.
Thank you for your prayers for Jill’s foot. The Lord continues to heal her and she is regaining more movement in her foot, slowly but surely. The Lord is doing what the neurologist here in the US said was practically impossible. Jill still has a long way to go to return to normal (smile) but we are encouraged by her progress. Please continue praying for her complete healing and recovery.
At our service last Sunday a woman received Jesus as her Savior later that afternoon. Please pray with us that the Lord will continue to speak to folks’ hearts through our furlough ministry.
Sadly, we are unable to visit every church that we would like to during this brief furlough. If you are a pastor and you would like to receive some prayer cards and other material for your church members please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to see that you get everything that you need. Likewise, if you are an individual and would like a prayercard sent to you, please let us know and we will be happy to drop one in the mail to you. Praying Christians are the lifeblood of the missionary.
Jill and I ask that you keep us in your prayers. Please also pray for the Lord’s blessing, provision, guidance and protection for our children. Thank you for making it possible for us to reach Zambia with the Gospel. We are praying for you.
Today is Jill’s birthday and I praise the Lord for her. The work that we do in Zambia would not be possible without her assistance and partnership. Please lift her up in your prayers today.