Thank you for your continued prayers for the Lord’s Ministry here in Zambia. The work goes on, even in times of world-wide crisis.
Zambia is slowly coming to the realization that this COVID virus may affect them. As you can imagine there are all kinds of rumors swirling around – official government accounting of cases of COVID verses rumored figures is the talk of the day. The Zambian government was very quick to mandate hand washing and sanitizing stations outside of all shops, and is doing a commendable job in trying to keep the country informed of what is going on. In some areas we are seeing efforts at social distancing and self isolation. Just today I heard that the government has stopped all public service vehicles (large and small busses) from traveling to and from the capital city. The government considers the capital the epicenter of infection for Zambia.
In our city of Ndola (population 300,000+) the local government offices have shut down for the next 14 days. Only essential facilities remain functioning. Schools were closed about 2 weeks ago.
At Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola we have voluntarily stopped holding services on the church property. Jill and I are not worried for our own safety, but we want to be good examples and take proper precautions to protect the health of our church members and Zambian friends.
This week, in addition to our church pamphlet that I produce and distribute, I recorded a few podcasts to use in conjunction with the pamphlet. The pamphlet contains our church announcements and prayer requests, the Sunday School lesson, and the sermon. It also has a couple of Bible crossword puzzles or word finds for fun. Some of the youth of the church helped me distribute the pamphlets to all the homes of our church members.
Last night in my office I recorded the podcasts and posted them on the church WhatsApp group. Wow, I like preaching in person so much better! One podcast was for the announcements and prayer requests, one for the Sunday School lesson, and one was the sermon. Jill said that she is looking forward to listening to them later today. What a joke, like she didn’t write the sermon for me! (just kidding – she didn’t, ha ha)
Last week two ladies brought their tithe and offerings by the church and left them with the caretaker. What a blessing! Our obligation to honor the Lord with our tithes and offerings does not stop just because we cannot have physical services. As a pastor, this conscientious decision by these ladies blessed me.
This week at the church we had a baptism of a young girl who recently received Christ as her Savior. Because of the precautions for the virus, it was just her immediate family at the baptism, but it was a wonderful event.
In town during the week I am still able to hand out our church brochures which have a clear message of Salvation inside. I have to mention that we are not holding services for the time being but people understand and I have yet to have one person refuse an offered brochure! Please pray that we will continue to see souls saved.
The economy in Zambia is suffering greatly. In the last few weeks the Zambian currency has fallen over 25% in relation to the strong dollar. This means that the Zambian’s buying power has also reduced by 25%. This free fall is expected to continue. Please pray for your Christian brothers and sisters in Zambia.
Allison traveled back to the US safely last week. We praise the Lord for the way that He answered our prayers and watched over her as she traveled through Malawi, Ethiopia, Togo, New Jersey and Washington DC to get to Chicago. There were a few moments of crisis, but the Lord was with her all the way. Thank you to all of you who answered our urgent request for prayers in the time of her crisis.
Allison was our first child born in Zambia, and for one of her college courses she is writing a blog about growing up and living in Zambia. She gave me permission to publish the web address of her blog in case you would be interested to read about her experiences.
Thank you very much for your continued prayers for Jill and me here in Zambia, and for our children and family in the United States. Thank you for your faithful support of the Lord’s work and His ministry that persists even in times of trouble. Your prayers and notes of encouragement help to sustain us.
We are certainly living in a time of confusion and potential panic. Although we are on the other side of the earth from most of you, we still get the news – BBC, CNN, Fox News, and of course FaceBook. When I see the news reporters telling me about a “healthy” thirty-something with no pre-existing conditions dying from the virus it frightens me too.
But then I remember that the news organizations thrive by sowing fear in the populace. In my experience I have found that physicians and hospitals are prohibited by law from revealing certain pre-existing conditions that this “healthy” person may have had. Conditions like HIV, STDs, and a history of smoking tobacco, marijuana or other recreational drugs cannot be revealed to the public by law. All of these conditions can make a “healthy” person more affected by an illness.
I am reminded that there is always a consequence for our decisions.
~The choice to use tobacco brings consequences.
~The choice to use recreational drugs brings consequences.
~The choice to be promiscuous sexually brings consequences.
~The choice to lead a sedentary lifestyle and overeat and avoid exercise brings consequences.
~The choice to allow the state to educate our children brings consequences.
~The choice to send our young adults to colleges and universities led by liberals, socialists and communists brings consequences.
~The choice to “play church” and embrace religion instead of pursuing a relationship with our Savior and God also brings consequences.
I am not saying that everyone who is affected by this illness has a pre-existing condition, what I am saying is that the hospitals cannot tell us the whole truth and the news media is pumping that up and using it to sow fear and panic in our nation.
It is sad watching our constitutional liberties being stripped away one by one by the government and Americans are just sitting back and allowing it to happen.
Benjamin Franklin said “Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The way that the news media is presenting it to us the numbers do look very large, but when taken in relation to the large US population the numbers are not as overwhelming as we are being led to believe. The population of the US dwarfs Italy, England and most of Europe and so when taken proportionally to the population, our numbers are more understandable, and far less alarming.
I admit that this virus is a bad thing, and I am extremely saddened by those affected by it. It always grieves me to think of people entering eternity without a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
I am also saddened by what the US and state governments are doing to our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Their trampling of our basic freedoms and strangling of our economy might, in the end, be much worse.
The effect on small businesses and entrepreneurs could be massive. Many might go under, never to resurface. It seems that we are moving closer and closer to a government controlled and socialistic society. Already the day of the small farmer is practically gone. In my generation tens of thousands of family-owned farms have been swallowed by huge corporations – forced out of the family’s hands by new taxes in the last 30 years. Yet, America has not blinked an eye.
Our government will try to placate the masses by giving out “stimulus money” and we will accept it and forget that there is no “free lunch”, someone has to pay that debt. Somewhere down the line that money has to be accounted for. The stimulus is like a pacifier given by the government to silence the critical questioning citizens. Outside of the US a pacifier is called a “dummy” – very appropriate in this case. What does a pacifier do? Does it provide warmth, nourishment, health and safety like a mother’s breast? No, it is a trick to silence a fussy baby. It gives no nourishment, no health and usually in the end it becomes a painful habit to break.
It is a known fact that thirty percent of all US debt is owned by foreign countries – including China. Going more into debt will put the US deeper under the control of foreign governments and foreign business interests, many of whom would love to see the US economy falter and fail.
Personally, I do not want to be more in debt to China. There is no question that the origin of this pandemic was China. That is a fact. Consider this: most every city of size in China has at least one “wet” open meat market where the common Chinese buy their scraps of food to cook and feed to their families. There are tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands meat markets throughout all of China. What a coincidence that this virus started in one of the only cities where China researches and develops biological weapons. What are the chances? Astronomical? Maybe that is an understatement.
Sadly, our country is so dependent on China that already there have been threats of them withholding antibiotics (because we no longer manufacture our own) and other medicines and supplies to fight this very virus that coincidentally started in their own backyard.
So what can we do?
We Americans need to start thinking for ourselves. We need to use independent resources to check what the news media is telling us. We need to use common sense in questioning the decisions of our elected leaders and remind them that when elections come we will hold them accountable for the decisions they are making on our behalf.
Most importantly, now is the time for people everywhere to turn to the Lord. Not just to get our wealth and freedom back, but because we are sinners and our sin puts a barrier in our relationship with Him – because He is just and merciful and will welcome our return with open arms. Perhaps this will be a wake up call to dormant Christians and we will realize that the day of His return is approaching very quickly. We must work while there is light.