The last two Sundays at Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola have been refreshing.  Due to social distancing we only have 3 persons per bench (normally we could fit 6-8).  Last Sunday all of the benches were filled to capacity, so this week we added three more benches so that we could comply with Zambia health regulations.

Churches in Zambia are free to assemble as long as we follow the government health directives.  Mainly we have to be inspected (once) and obtain a health certificate.  These inspections and certificates are free and in our experience, do not expire.  We had to agree to social distance within the church, make masks available, keep a record of attendees, and place hand washing and sanitizing stations outside each entrance to the property and the church.  The time of the service is limited to 1 hour, and we are not to have children younger than 12 attend the services.

It will be nice to get back to the “old” normal.  I hope that day comes soon.

Today I preached a Father’s Day message and exhorted the congregation to choose a Godly way of life to glorify and magnify our Lord and set a good example for our children.  This is an easy topic to preach, but a difficult task to accomplish.  The world is oh so tempting and tantalizing and so often their arguments for compromise make a great deal of “sense”.

As part of my Father’s Day sermon this morning I asked three of the men in our church to say something about their fathers. Each of these men gave an inspiring anecdote of how their father influenced them.

This morning during my morning walk/run I just missed a solar eclipse!  I read in the news last night that this morning would be a solar eclipse in our area of the world.  Unfortunately, the eclipse started at 5:50am and the sun did not actually rise past the horizon until 6:20, so by the time the sun came up, the eclipse was finished.

During my prayer time I find myself longing for the return of our Savior.  This world is in such a mess.  I feel bad though, because I wonder if everything was going great and we again had freedom of movement, and peace in the streets, and the economy was booming, would I still be so eagerly petitioning for His return?  I hope so.

The COVID situation in Zambia is becoming more relaxed.  I am not sure about the actual COVID infection numbers, but the general population’s response to the danger is becoming more relaxed.  Social distancing seems to be a thing of the past and most people only wear masks when forced to by a business. Calvary Baptist Church of Ndola still follows the government requirements for assembling as a church, but it seems that many do not.

Some of the government schools are open again.  In the beginning of June, grades 7, 9, and 12 went back, and I hear that in July other grades will return, as well as universities and vocational schools.

There are so many rumors about COVID in our country it is very hard to know what is really going on.  Many people say that in Zambia we have not reached our “peak” of infections, that that will come in July, August, and September.  We will see I guess.  What a frightening time this must be for those who do not believe that the Lord is in control.

Please remember to pray for Zambia.  Our economy is really in distress.  I know that economies around the world are suffering too, even in the United States, but in Zambia the economy was already in a very bad condition before COVID so our fall has been quite serious.  In our church many have been out of work for a long time and the anguish is genuine.

Thank you for your prayers for our children in the US.  I am happy to report that Andrea passed her licensing test and is now officially a licensed BSN-RN in Florida and many other states.  She has an interview lined up for this week and we are praying that she will find the Lord’s Will in employment.  Please continue praying for all of our children.

Last Friday I had a “cardiac event” that we are not sure what to make of.  In the afternoon I felt very strange, not sick, but not normal either.  I guess kind of light headed with a slight headache.  I thought that perhaps my blood pressure was up so I checked and it was actually quite low for me, but I noticed on the machine that my heart rate was 158 bpm.  (In the mornings when I run I have difficulty pushing my heart rate over 144 bpm.)

Jill and I kept an eye on it for the next few hours and my heart rate would stay above 155 for a while then drop down to the 50’s for 30 minutes or so then shoot back up over 150.  We also noticed that I was experiencing arrhythmia – my heart would miss beats.  Each minute it would miss 6 or 7 beats, at various intervals.  Through all this I had no chest pain or pain in my left arm.

This went on continuously for a few hours until Jill and Andrea encouraged me to go to an emergency clinic to get checked out.  Finally around 8pm I complied, but when I got to the clinic I found that their EKG machine was broken so I drove myself home again.  Yes, in our city of 300,000+ there is only one emergency clinic with an EKG machine.

I did go see a cardiologist this week and he did an EKG and an echocardiogram of my heart and his results turned out fine.  (of course)  These results matched the tests from my last physical.  He tested my cholesterol and thyroid and those results were normal too.  On the plus side the EKG and Echo only cost a total of $16.00!

So, Jill and I do not know what to think. Maybe this is a normal part of aging. I had a similar occurrence in February but it only lasted a few hours, and I did no further testing.  Even IF there was a problem there is nothing that we could do about it. I do not think that we could get to a good hospital in South Africa if necessary because of the current travel restrictions.  We are just asking that you pray with us for the Lord’s Will and His healing if necessary.

The cold season is back in Zambia now.  This morning it was 48* out during my walk/run.  When you consider that our homes have no central heat, and most are constructed with concrete floors and walls it means that we are cold pretty much all day.  It is manageable though with multiple socks and heavy clothes and long periods of going out to sit in the sunlight.  How I praise the Lord for flannel sheets and thick blankets at night.  I am sure that many in Zambia do not have these luxuries.  It is sad to note that this is the time of the year when many Zambians die of carbon monoxide poisoning from having charcoal fires in their homes for warmth while the doors and windows are tightly shut.  

Again Jill and I thank you for your faithful prayers for us here in Zambia and for our family in the United States.  Your partnership in the Lord’s Ministry in Zambia with us is greatly appreciated.  We are praying for you too.  May the Lord richly bless your service and sacrifice!