Today we had a great day of services at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola. In Sunday School I am teaching through the book of Exodus and having a great time doing it! I love teaching about Moses and the Lord’s great provision and power to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land. I think the church is enjoying it too because each week it seems like more and more people are coming “early” to Sunday School instead of just showing up for the morning preaching service.
Last Sunday during the congregational singing, before the morning preaching service, a young man came in and sat on the back pew. He was very attentive, and then immediately after the closing prayer he quickly walked out. I ran to catch him and asked his name – Gary* – and introduced myself. Then he was gone. Today Gary was again in our service. This time with his wife and newborn daughter. I was able to get his address details and make a plan to visit him at his home. Please pray for me this week as I visit this young couple. Only the Lord knows what their needs are.
Thank you so much to those of you who prayed for Allison as she traveled back to Zambia this week. She had safe travels and arrived (with all her luggage!) on Thursday afternoon. She is still tired and trying to get over her jet lag, but we praise the Lord for His great provision and protection as she traveled.
Please continue to pray for Allison to recover her health as she prepares to return to the United States next year.
Jill and I delight in serving the Lord here in Zambia. We miss our family in the United States, but we enjoy living in Zambia, and we truly love the Zambian people to whom the Lord allows us to serve.
It is our goal to share with you the reality of life outside of North America. In doing so, sometimes we write about things that are not-so-great and even frustrating. Please do not think that we are complaining. We are just trying to allow you to “peek behind the curtain” and see the reality of our lives and ministry.
The Lord takes amazing care of us. Again and again He shows His mighty arm in interceding for us and supplying our every need. We praise the Lord for this opportunity to serve Him.
Last week when I checked our mail I found a bunch of anniversary cards for me and Jill. Now, our anniversary was in May – May 12 to be exact – but our mail often arrives late. According to the postmarks, the mail gets to the capital of Zambia from the U.S. within 10-14 days of it being mailed, but then getting it from the capital to Ndola and then into our post box – THAT is what takes 4 months! Anyway, it was a wonderful surprise and we loved opening them all up. Christmas cards in April are also very nice. ha ha
The mail delivery from Zambia to the U.S.A. was so sporadic and slow that a couple of years ago I just stopped using the Zambia Post Office for outgoing international mail. Over half of it never reached the recipients and the mail that did arrive took about 2 months to get there. So now I just hold onto mail going to the U.S. until I find someone flying there and send my stamped letters with them to mail for me.
While at the post office I decided to ask about sending a letter to the U.S. and found that it is no longer even possible for us to send mail to the U.S. from Zambia. The Zambia Post Office no longer accepts international mail (except for mail to the UK). I asked the mail clerk about it and she said that although they receive mail from international destinations they no longer send to international destinations. Something about non-payment to the airlines carrying the post and so now the airlines have cut them off.
Praise the Lord for email and messaging!
There is a man in our church who teaches at the local technical college and in his spare time helps the teens in our church with their homework assignments. He also helps them with their schooling applications and the difficulties that are often encountered in getting into a college or trade school. What a blessing to see selflessness and kindness in our church.
Zambia is currently in the midst of an energy crisis. Long story short – there is not enough electricity to go around. This has resulted in “load-shedding” which is when the electricity company shuts off one area’s power so that there is enough electricity for other users. (maybe it should be called load sharing?) We started out two months ago with 4 hours of load shedding per day and slowly it has increased. On Thursday of this week our power was off from 8am to 6pm – 10 hours. It looks like that might be our new schedule. Believe it or not, that is not even as bad as some others have it. I have read reports of neighborhoods being turned off for 15, 17 or 20 hours per day – multiple days during the week. Factories and places of business are not exempt either. Imagine trying to do business under those conditions.
We are just entering our hot season, and no rain is expected until the end of October or mid November. This is significant because 85% of Zambia’s electricity comes from hydroelectric power – dams and rivers. The national electricity company claims that the majority of the 690 megawatt shortfall is because of low water levels at the main reservoir (Lake Kariba). Once the rains do come it will take about 2 more months for the water to make it to the large reservoir and start making an impact.
To offset this deficit Zambia intends to import 300 megawatts from South Africa at a cost of 22 million dollars per month. This cost will be passed on to the consumers. We are not sure how much that will cost each customer but the official information we are seeing is stating somewhere from a 75% to 200% price increase on electricity starting in October. Of course, when the cost of electricity and fuel goes up, the cost of everything else goes up with it.
About 11 years ago, Zambia had a similar serious crisis and we were load-shedded 8 hours a day – every day, for 9 months! This is when all of our children were here and we were homeschooling. It is very hard to live without electricity and water. A few years ago, after much prayer and counsel, Jill and I invested in a solar system for our house so the load-shedding is not as severe for us now. Those without any back up power really suffer though. Even the hospitals lose their power from time to time – this is literally a matter of life and death for those on life support.
This week I heard about a couple in our church who walked over 5 kilometers (3 miles) each way to visit another family in our church that was going through a difficult time. I spoke to the husband and wife and they said that they just wanted to encourage them. Imagine! What a blessing to have church members who care enough for one another, and their spiritual condition, to walk over 6 miles to simply be a blessing!
Please remember these special prayer requests. Please pray for Jill’s mother, Mary, who is going through some very difficult physical problems right now. Please be in prayer for our friends Al and Cathy, who are both battling different cancers. Please also pray for our children in the U.S. – Judah is working hard on his course of study, but is having difficulty in one or two classes. Andrea and Anna are well but they would appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s leading and blessing in their lives also.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and support that allow us to serve here in Zambia. We are able to make a difference here because you make a sacrifice there. Thank you for taking the time to pray for us and lift us up before the Savior day after day. We need your prayers and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Lord bless you!