News from Zambia

Missionary Newsletter March 2010

Dear Church friends,

Hello everyone, I fully intended to get this letter out over a month ago! I hope it is not too late to wish you all a happy new year.

I have had a particularly busy time teaching this year — enough to keep me from working in the compounds since early January, but I am pleased to say the group at lpusukilo has finally got their lnsaka built, so at least they have a dry shelter to meet in.

We had a small celebration to christen it on the 18 January, but it was rather muted as there was a cholera outbreak in the compound. Our half hearted singing was accompanied by the sound of loud speakers informing people where they could get free clean water.

Celebrating the Insaka
Celebrating the Insaka

I think I have mentioned before, Ipusukilo is situated right by the river Kafue, and so is one of the first compounds to be affected by the rise in the water table in the rainy season. This does not necessarily mean flooding, but it can mean that effluent from the “long drop” toilets seeps into the wells, (sometimes they are only a few meters apart) resulting in all sorts of tummy bugs. People still use their home dug wells for various reasons, one being that changing habits is hard, another that they don’t want to, (or can’t) pay even the minimal charge for 20 liters of drinking water from the local kiosk, (or the kiosk is situated too far away), and finally because there are rumours that treated water
counteracts the effects of the antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV. Still we hope and pray that education (or sensitisation as it is known here) will win the day.   

My work in Karnatipa has ground to a temporary halt too, as I am teaching the deaconate candidates on the day the group meets. I had hoped though, to make some progress on being allocated land by the Rural District Council for a playground in the “Play for All” project, but Earnest, the dedicated young man who has been helping me, had the offer of a job in Lusaka a couple of weeks ago. This will be his first full time paid job since he graduated 6 years ago, and I wish him well I will look for another project manager in the next few weeks.

It was with great pleasure hat we welcomed back Adrian Hendy for his 3 year as chaplain at MEF. I know it was an agonising decision to return and he had many good reasons to remain in the UK. He has been, and will be an invaluable support for the workers and students, and is becoming an integral part of MEF. We much appreciate the sacrifices he has made to return here — not least giving up one of the coldest winters in living memory to brave the sweltering heat of Zambia ...

Whilst I am on the subject of returns, I can hardly believe it is less than 6 weeks till I return to the UK for furlough. I will be home from the 25 March to the 23 May and will have speaking engagements in England and Scotland. I am both excited and apprehensive about this. Catching up with my family and friends (old and new) will be wonderful. I look forward to meeting so many of you in person who have supported me through prayer, practically with items in the post for use in the compounds and with letters and cards of encouragement.

Adrian with some students
Adrian with some students

The other major change since I last wrote was my transfer to UCZ theological college in January. It will be my main thrust of work and I am helping organise a social work diploma (about 12 candidates to begin with) and will be teaching a module there as soon as! return from England.

I was delighted that Carol, my daughter came all the way to Cape Town to spend some time with me at the end of November. We stayed a couple of nights in one of the poshest hotels I have been in for years before spending the rest of the stay with friends. Thanks Carol.

In my last letter I mentioned the reopening of the MEF swimming pool — sad to say it came in with a gush and went out with a splutter — after a couple of weeks it was decided that more renovations were needed to bring it up to scratch. Still, looking outside just now, I think we have enough rain to fill several swimming pools!

Items for praise:

  • For the successful building of the insaka at Ipusukilo before the rains set in
  • For Samuel, who seems to be making headway with his business
  • For the safe return of Adrian Hendy
  • For all the support I have received in my first term in Kitwe

Items for prayer:

  • For those mourning or affected by the recent cholera outbreak
  • For the right person to work with me on the Play for All project
Wishing you all Gods very best and looking forward to seeing you soon.