Do you ever feel like you are living the same day or week over and over again? That is certainly what it feels like in Zambia during this time of lockdown and quarantine. We praise the Lord that we still have the opportunity to witness to folks when we run to the store, but we do miss having our normal church activities during the week.
The rains are now finished in Zambia and the cold season is starting. This is the beginning of the Africa winter. Of course, it is not winter in the sense that I remember from my youth in Central Illinois, or that Jill remembers from the mountains of Colorado in her youth, but after twenty odd years in Zambia it certainly feels like winter to us.
On our early morning walks for exercise and appreciating our Creator, Jill and I can definitely feel the change. The air on our skin is more crisp, we see our breath more often and we have responded by wearing heavier clothing and I wear a stocking cap in place of my long departed (and sorely missed) hair. We have watched the morning temperatures drop from 60 to 58 to 57 to 55 each day this past week. Typically, the coldest of the cold season is in June and at that time the early morning temperature will be in the low 40s. We praise the Lord for flannel sheets, warm clothes, hot tea, and a gas space heater!
Today Jill and I loaded up the van to visit our church members and deliver some much needed food to various families. A lot of our members have been laid off or have just lost their jobs directly. Others were unemployed before the COVID crisis and they continue to suffer financially. We are happy to bring these provisions from the Lord to our beloved church family.
Yesterday, as I visited, I delivered some food and a few Bibles to some of the youth. One young pre-teen has wanted a Bible for a long time. We have a memorization program where one can earn a Bible, but he really struggled. Even though he did not complete the program we wanted him to have his own Bible. You should have seen his beautiful smile when he saw it.
Some of our older youths were in need of a quality study Bible. On our last furlough we were able to buy a case of good quality Bibles and it was a pleasure to put their names in the Bibles and present them to the youths. The way they embraced the boxes you could see that they would be a true treasure to them.
At one home I found a single mother with a lot of children running around. Although it is “winter” the days are still quite warm and so the kids were sparsely dressed as they ran around playing. They enjoy my visits and I enjoy playing with them. As I opened the back of my van to present the food gift all the little kids gathered around. This young mother has just two little ones but there were a handful of neighbor children as well. I was delivering two 22 pound bags of white corn meal, a couple of bottles of cooking oil, five pounds of rice, two pounds of salt and some fruit from our trees. These are just the basics that will help feed this family for a few weeks. The mother was greatly appreciative.
As we carried the food to the house one of the little neighbor children, a little girl about 2 years old and adorable with slightly crossed eyes tried to carry the bag of salt. It was slippy and she struggled but was so proud of herself as I commended her for being such a helpful big-girl. Her smile was heart-warming.
Thank you so much for allowing and enabling us to represent you and our Lord here in Zambia. What we consider the “normal” church work that a missionary does is temporarily postponed but the “heart” of ministry work continues. Assisting the widows, orphans and church members, witnessing, teaching and preaching the word of God through text messages and podcasts is an on-going endeavor.
It has been an eventful couple of weeks for our girls in Florida. School was completed on-line and Andrea graduated with her nursing degree and Allison with her business degree. Anna moved from the sophomore class in mechanical engineering to being an upper-classman and a junior.
All three girls have good jobs for the summer. Andrea’s job is just temporary while she waits to take her licensing exam as a Registered Nurse. Allison found permanent full time employment in a business environment and Anna is working on campus for the college this summer organizing blueprints in an engineering related job. The Lord provided greatly for them and we praise Him for His watch-care and provision. What an awesome God we serve! We yearn to be with them but it is a great comfort to know that their heavenly Father is watching over them every step of the way.
Allison gave us permission to announce her engagement to Isaac Webb. They were engaged just after graduation. We like Isaac and his family and we are praying for the Lord’s leading in their lives. They have not set a “solid” date for their wedding but it looks like it will be late Spring or early Summer in 2021.
We appreciate your on-going prayers for Jill and me and for our children in the United States. We are praying for you as well, and that the Lord’s Will is done through the situation that the world finds itself in at this time. Without a doubt, the Lord’s return is nearer than it was yesterday! What a day that will be! Lord bless you and keep well.