Last Sunday as I was at church preparing for Sunday School, Linda* came into the auditorium and sat down.  She was quite a bit early, but I was busy getting ready for the services and it was nice to chat with her.  Linda is in high school.  Her parents live far away in a smaller town in Zambia and so they sent her to stay with her aunt and uncle while she finishes high school, because the schools in Ndola are better than the place where they stay.  Her aunt and uncle are faithful members of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola.  Jill and I met Linda when we returned from furlough.  She is active in the youth group, helps clean the church with her aunt, sings in the youth choir and participates in the services she attends. 

The Holy Spirit pricked my heart and I looked at Linda sitting on the bench looking at me, and I asked her, “Linda, if you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?” Because of her level of activity in the church and her faithfulness I have just assumed for the last 3 months that she was saved.  Linda looked at me with a thoughtful expression and she said “This week I asked Auntie about that, and she said that I should talk to you about being baptized and saved.”  (Salvation by baptism is a stubborn belief that many have held since their childhood – we teach on it often but it still hangs on in the thinking.  Change comes slowly)

I was pleased with her openness and so I made an appointment to talk to her personally after the invitation.  

Sunday School at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola on a recent Sunday.

There is another young lady in our church who made a profession of faith some months ago.  Last week she attended my baptism class.  Her name is Mary*  and Jill and I have been wondering about her testimony of salvation because it seemed that she just repeated a prayer that someone told her to say.  As the Lord would have it, Mary was the next one to enter the church building.  I spoke to her alone and asked her if she would mind “chaperoning” me and Linda after the service as I explained the plan of salvation to her.  A chaperone really was not necessary as our Sunday School rooms are outside, without walls, in plain sight of everyone, but I wanted an excuse for Mary to hear as I witnessed to Linda.

The service went splendidly.  We had two adult visitors and most of our regular members were in attendance.

During the offering time, some of our members gave toward the new floor because they were unable to give last week when the official offering was taken.  The offering was encouraging.  

After the offering I shared with the church how Independent Baptist Church in Kabwe (about 3.5 hours away toward the capital) had heard about our plans to replace our church floor and had taken up a special love offering for our church.  That week they had transferred 1532K ($118) into the bank account of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola!  Our church members were amazed and humbled at their gift.  We praise the Lord for the blessing of their friendship and generosity.  Their love and partnership encouraged our church members.

After the invitation and the service concluded I met with Linda and Mary in one of the Sunday School rooms and opened my Bible and shared with them slowly and clearly God’s simple plan of salvation.  About 30 minutes later when I finished, I asked Linda if she would like to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation and she said “yes” and she bowed her head and in her own words, in her own heart language prayed and received Jesus as her Savior.  When she finished I looked at Mary and asked her “Is this what you did when you received Jesus?”  She quietly shook her head “no”.  I asked Mary “would you like to receive Jesus as your Savior as well?”, and she also bowed her head and in her own words asked Jesus to save her.  What a wonderful Sunday it was!

It is so nice having Jill back in Zambia with me.  This week we needed to go to the next town over for some supplies.  We went there, had lunch at a favorite restaurant and then on the way back to Ndola stopped at a nursery to get some flowers and herbs for an herb garden Jill wants to start.

While at the nursery we saw a beautiful, large, iridescent green/blue wasp attack a huge wolf spider, more than twice its size,  stun it and then start dragging it off toward what we assume was its nest.  It was such an amazing sight I took some photos to share with you.

The life and death struggle between wasp and spider. If you look closely you can see the spider’s multiple eyes. Once stunned the spider will be stung repeatedly until paralyzed. At that time the wasp will lay its eggs inside the spider. When the eggs hatch the spider will still be alive and will be eaten by the wasp larvae. (Note: The wasp is almost two inches long)
The wasp dragging the stunned spider back to its nest.

This Sunday was Father’s Day, and we wanted to do something special for all of the fathers in attendance so we purchased some coffee cups and filled them with a pack of delicious cookies and candy and presented them to the fathers in attendance.  We had a great time!  (Happy Father’s Day Joe!)

Although our attendance was a bit low today we were able to celebrate these fathers in attendance today and challenge them from Ephesians 6:4.

Today we baptized 4 young people who in the past few weeks have accepted Christ as their Savior.  Last night the temperature was 48˚!  The water in the baptismal had a few hours of sunlight to warm it a bit before our baptism after the morning service, but still it was cold!  I praise the Lord that our baptismal tank is the type where the preacher stands outside the water!  I praise the Lord for the dedication of these young people who braved very cold water because they wanted everyone to see that they are standing with Christ in His death, in His burial and in His resurrection.  Please pray for these young people as they take a stand for Christ and begin their Christian lives growing in the Lord.

Please pray for me as I continue to seek the Lord’s guidance in the proper course of action for our church floor.  This week I have to make a decision about the contractor to use and the options for the floor and I want to make sure that I use the Lord’s money wisely and make a decision that is best for the church.  Thank you for your prayers.

This week Jill and I met our new next door neighbors who just moved into the new house that they built.  They are Muslims, and their kindness toward us was refreshing.  When I first went next door to meet him he was doing his afternoon prayers and I had to wait about 10 minutes until he finished.  Zambia is having a great influx of Muslims (our neighbors are from Canada) and it will be our honor to learn more about them as we witness to them and share the testimony of our faith in Christ in word and action to them.  Please pray for us that we will be the witness the Lord has called us to be.

We got a really good phone call from Judah last night.  Judah has just finished week three in his 53 week condensed LVN course in Los Angeles.  Already 18 of his classmates have quit the class because of its difficulty.  Judah has been working hard but has been running into some serious obstacles.  In his mind, he has been questioning if this college program is really God’s plan for him at this time.  

On Friday he was called into the college administration and was told that a vital document from the Veteran’s Administration was missing from his file.  Without this authorization document he would not be allowed to return to class.  (This course is the type that if you miss more than two days the course must be retaken.)  Judah knew that he had submitted that document with his application, but the administration had no record of it, and he didn’t have a copy.

Knowing how the VA works, Judah thought that this was God’s indication that maybe this course was not for him, but he decided to give it his best try.  Logistically it was impossible to get this document from the VA in time.  Normally it takes a week or two to get a document from the VA but he was not going to quit.  The VA was 20 miles away from his college – two train rides and one bus ride.  It was 1pm and the VA closed at 4.  Impossible.

Judah went to the train station and just as he got to the platform the train that he needed arrived.  The same thing happened at his connecting station – just as he needed the train, it showed up.  When he got to the bus station the bus that he needed was ready to pull away.  He walked into the VA and where normally he would find lengthy queues he found an open line to the office he needed.  He walked into the office and the clerk said that he was “lucky” because he was going to be the last client of the day for that office.  

Judah explained what he needed and the clerk printed off the document right then and there and handed it to Judah.  Judah was amazed.  He traveled back to the college and went straight to admissions and turned in the document just before the close of business for the day.  He then had time to go to the men’s activity at his church that he had been looking forward to all that week.  Judah is praising the Lord for His provision, and I am praising the Lord for His provision, and Jill and I are thanking you for your prayers for our children!

The Lord is doing some great things here in Zambia.  Our plans are starting to come together for our annual August youth camp.  I have also heard from a good pastor friend who may be bringing a group out in April to do a unique evangelism program that I have been praying about for some time.  As the Lord opens the door to this in the future I will share more with you.  Please pray with us for God to show His will.

Again, thank you for standing with us in the ministry to which the Lord has called us.  Your partnership is an encouragement and a blessing.

Throwback Photo: Our family in 1999 just after Allison had been born. Allison was our first child born in Zambia.