What a blessing it has been to have Andrea and Anna with us here in Zambia the past few weeks.  We have been having such a fun time.  It is a blessing to play games, work puzzles together, and hear the laughter of sisters enjoying each other’s company.  (We even enjoy the brief squabbles.)  Of course, the girls are enjoying being back in Zambia and staying in the “magic” house again.  You know the magic house – it is the house where the ice cube trays refill themselves, and dirty dishes left in the living room and on the kitchen counter become clean and put away overnight, where clothes left in the washer get “magically” moved to the dryer and then folded and placed on their bed. Ha Ha.  It has been wonderful though.  The Lord is so great to allow us to be able to share this time with the girls.

The youth of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola had a great time at Christmas.  They gathered under  Jill’s leadership and organization and delivered 325 gifts and cards to some of the patients at the two hospitals here in Ndola.  One is the teaching hospital for our province and the other is the national children’s hospital for Zambia.  The youth sang, handed out treats and gifts, offered tracts and church brochures and prayed with patients and parents and family members.

The Youth of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola had a great time painting their faces and wearing silly festive hats to get in the holiday spirit for their visits to the Ndola Teaching Hospital and the Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital. Their excitement and energy was contagious and the nurses, patients, and families were blessed by their visit.

One of our youth pulled Jill and me aside afterward and said “Thank you for showing me what Christmas is all about.”  You see, this was the young man’s first Christmas.  Having grown up in a Jehovah’s Witness family he had never celebrated Christmas.  Earlier this year he accepted Jesus as his Savior (to the severe displeasure of his family) and has been eagerly growing in the Lord.  This year he was able to celebrate the birth of our Savior by ministering and witnessing to others.  Please pray for his continued spiritual growth.

The Youth of Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola with some of the 325 gift bags and cards that they prepared for distribution at the hospitals (top left). The children and their parents were very excited to receive the small gifts and to be entertained with Christmas carols.

Please pray for the spiritual condition of Zambia.  Zambia is a very religious nation.  However, there are so many cults and false teachers around it is easy for souls to be confused and tricked into believing a lie.  My heart feels sorrowful whenever I speak to someone who is so confident in their cult or false religion that they can no longer even consider the clear truth of God’s Word.  Please pray that we will have success in sharing the genuine free Gospel of Christ.

The Christmas fellowship at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola fell on the Sunday after Christmas this year, but we still had a great time.  The church paid for all of the food and Jill and I (mostly Jill) prepared it and helped to serve it.  We had chicken and sausage on the grill and delicious pasta salad and baked beans and delightful chocolate cake. We played games and sang carols.  I taught a brief lesson and encouraged everyone to start off the year right by serving the Lord genuinely and reading the Bible daily.  We provided three different Bible reading plans for the year.  We were so happy to see the response from the folks.

Christmas Fellowship Afternoon at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola. The whole church had a great time. While the food was cooking the youth challenged the men of the church to a game of football (soccer). The play continued through a rainstorm ensuring many slips and spills to the delight of the ladies and children. Fortunately, no hips were broken. The final score remains a mystery. ha ha. It was wonderful for the church to have a time of celebration together.

If you are looking for a good Bible reading program I would like to recommend the program that I have used for the past 4 years.  I use an app on my phone for the reading plan but then use my Bible for the reading (although when my Bible is unavailable the plan syncs with the Bible app on my phone seamlessly).  This app has many reading plans from which to choose. (I use the M’Cheyne plan which takes me through entire Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in the year.)   All the apps mentioned are free.

These are the two apps that I use to organize my daily Bible reading. I have used this method with great success for the past 4 years. Both are available for free on the Apple App Store. The Bible reading plan has numerous plans to choose from to fit your schedule.

The Bible reading plan is https://apps.apple.com/us/app/readingplan/id336984707 but it is only for Apple devices.  

A similar plan (although I have not personally used it) is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.puritansoft.biblereadingplan&hl=en

The Bible app that I use is https://tecartabible.com/home  Click the main menu on the top left of the page and a drop down menu will appear and you can select either the Android app or iOS app download. Tecarta Bible and Reading Plan can both be found in the Apple App Store for free.

We continue to have electricity for only about 9 hours each day.  However, this week to recover their lost revenue the national electricity company increased their rates by about 75%.  Fuel prices also went up last week throughout the country, and there is serious talk that the drought that we have been experiencing will bring food shortages throughout the country.  In the southern part of Zambia there are already shortages and many people are suffering from hunger.  Please pray for the people of Zambia.

Please also keep Allison in your prayers.  Her condition is again quite bad.  Her abdominal pain is severe after every meal and the weight loss continues.  We had hoped that her condition would stabilize here in Zambia but that has not happened.  In the next few weeks I will be flying her down to South Africa to see a gastroenterologist for more testing and treatment.  Please pray with us for the recovery of her health.

Please also pray for Judah.  He is doing very well in his school and we are really proud of the progress he is making. Judah lives in a very rough area in Los Angeles.  To get to his college he has to walk quite a way to catch a bus to get to the train station and then on to the school.  His daily commute takes about 2 hours each way.  Please pray for Judah’s safety and for the Lord’s provision and guidance in his life.

Please pray for me and Jill as we serve.  There are a lot of things going on in our lives right now for which we need your prayer.  Please ask the Lord to give us clarity of thought and guidance, and a closeness with one another and with our Lord.

My friend C. Duane Hearron II and his family are missionaries in Crimea, Russia.  Duane and I were at Bible college together years and years ago.  This week Duane had a health crisis and had to be evacuated from Crimea to Vienna, Austria, for emergency surgery.  Will you please join us in prayer for Duane’s full recovery and for his wife Bonnie and their children who are still in Crimea?

Thank you for faithfully partnering with us as we serve the Lord here in Zambia. Your prayers and your notes of encouragement mean so much to us.  We are praying for you as you are praying for us.