Thank you for your faithful prayers for us here in Zambia. Today we held services in person for the first time in 10 weeks. 

Our Sunday services were restricted somewhat as we had to make modifications to follow the guidelines set by the Health department of the Government of Zambia, but it was a pleasure to meet together as a church in the house of the Lord.  This time of lockdown and quarantine has been a very lonely time.  We have missed fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters.

The text for my sermon this morning was Psalm 122:1; “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”  What a blessing to be able to gather as a church to worship our great Lord together!

Of course, we are not fully back to “normal”.  Our numbers were down quite a bit, but that was to be expected I guess.  In other ways things were very normal! For instance, the elderly widow who showed up 5 minutes before the end of the service (she walks to church, so I understand) and then interrupted the service to loudly greet everyone on her pew.  This well-loved and dear saint has been a part of the church for ever it seems and we are all used to her colorful interruptions.  We just smile at one another and wait for her to sit quietly so that the service can continue.

Our first service back after lockdown and quarantine. Top Left – Jill made some Bible story and activity packs for the children of the church (under age 14) who were unable to attend church today because of health regulations. Top Right – We were asked to keep a record of all who attended in case of an outbreak. We also provided masks and plenty of hand sanitizer for those in need. We used the temperature gun to make sure that no one was running a fever.

Earlier in the week I had to take an application and letter of request to the office of the Health department.  Then I had to give the health inspector a ride to our church property so that she could inspect our building.  We had to have every person write their name and address and phone number on a record sheet in case they needed to be contacted.  We also had to have hand washing stations set up at the entrance to our property and at every entrance to the church building – this included soap and water and hand sanitizer.  We were required to have masks available for those who forgot to bring theirs.  We had to have bleach water to wash the benches and common surfaces before and after the services.  Social distancing had to be observed at all times. Lastly, our service was restricted to those age 14 and above only, and only for 1 hour and for a maximum of 50 people.

A lot of hoops to jump through, that is for sure, but we want to set a good example by obeying the ordinances set down by the government that God has placed in authority over us.

Earlier this month, Jill and I celebrated 25 years of marriage.  Interestingly enough, this was the first time in the past 3 years that we have actually been together on the same continent for our anniversary.  We celebrated by having an excellent meal at our favorite restaurant.

Celebrating our 25th anniversary

June will mark another anniversary – the 25th anniversary of being missionaries to Zambia!  What a blessing to be able to serve the Lord as His representatives (and yours) here in Zambia.  

Will you please pray for me and Jill today and throughout the coming days?  I know that a lot of times we Christians say “I am praying for you” as a type of politeness or etiquette, but in the end sometimes we do not actually stop and pray for the person. I have done this myself.  

But what I am asking you for today is more than that.  Will you please actually take a moment to stop and talk to the Lord on our behalf and pray something like:

“Lord, I don’t know what needs Andy and Jill have today, but You do.  Please intercede for them, please answer their prayers, and supply their needs according to Your will.” 

Obviously, that is just an example.  Your prayers are between you and the Lord, but the fact is we need your genuine prayer today and in the days ahead.  Please pray for us.

Thank you so much for being our partners in ministry.  Your prayers are essential, and your encouragement is uplifting.  Together an impact is being made here in Zambia.  Please pray for your Zambian brothers and sisters in Christ and for ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.