Mission Partner

Andy and Rachel Symons

Andy and Rachel serve at Proclamation Institute Zambia (PIZ) – a bible school that teaches bible handling skills to Zambian men and women in their own culture and context.

Both Andy and Rachel have had a desire to serve God in an African context for many years. They spent five years in South Africa studying Theology at George Whitefield College and serving in a local church. They then returned to the UK where Andy pastored a small church for five years. In 2019 Andy and Rachel moved to Zambia to begin work at PIZ. Andy teaches several of the courses at PIZ and Rachel is involved with discipleship groups and looking after their two boys, Haydn and Daniel. 

Zambia

Population:

15,511,000

Evangelical Christians:

26%

Main religion:

Christianity

Main Languages:

English, Nyanja and Bemba

Recent Prayer Letters

It’s not often you will hear British people being happy about rain but here in Zambia, there has been a severe lack of it in the last few months. The rainy season normally runs from November to April but there has been a break of about two months in the middle of this, resulting in a lot of failed crops. The National Farmers Union has predicted that approximately 90% of the non-irrigated crops will fail this growing season. This has a big knock-on effect for the majority of Zambians, as most of the population still depend on the crops that they grow to sustain themselves throughout the year. The rains have restarted again now, but the reality is that it is probably too little, too late. Please pray that there will be some usable crops and that the government will be wise in making decisions about how to ensure there will be food for all. The Zambian currency has weakened in recent months and the cost of living has gone up, much like the rest of the world.
Moving on… After nearly 4½ years at Proclamation Institute Zambia (PIZ) in Kitwe, we are making a move to another part of Zambia called Mkushi. There, Andy will take on a new role in partnership with a group of churches called Mkushi Christian Community (MCC). As there is no one doing this role with these churches, Andy’s job description will take a little while to finalise, but it is essentially offering training in Bible handling skills to those in church leadership and those that have an interest in developing those skills. The time at PIZ has helped to shape our understanding of the needs in the Zambian church and this will help with the next step.
As you read this prayer letter, we are coming towards the end of our time at PIZ. Andy will finish as a lecturer at the end of November, when this year’s cohort of students finish up and head back to their churches. We have made the decision to leave after many months of prayer and discussion both here and in the UK and are sure it is the right thing to do.
One of the things that we have been reflecting on in recent months is the importance of discipleship. Jesus spent time with his disciples; teaching, explaining and generally living alongside those followers.
The New Year brings a new class of students at PIZ. One of the things that is always surprising is how many students will actually appear at the start of term. The list of prospective students is circulated amongst the lecturers beforehand and then the wait begins! It is often not until the end of the first week that the class truly takes shape. There are a variety of reasons why students don’t make it to PIZ. For some, pressure to work to financially support the wider family means that taking 10 months away from earning is discouraged. For others, getting the money together to travel and then to pay the fees is impossible. For some, simply a different opportunity has come their way.  For a lot of the students that do come, it’s the first time that they have left the family home and the adjustment to living in shared accommodation, attending lectures and studying hard means that the first few weeks of term seem to go by in a blur.
As I write this, we have been back in Zambia for three weeks. Our return has seen a flurry of activity: getting ready for the last term of teaching at PIZ, home school for Rachel and the boys and Andy finishing up our veranda. We have added a veranda onto two sides of the house and now we have outside space for school, but also to keep the heat out during the hottest months and to stop the house from flooding in the rains! It has been a mammoth task, but Andy now has some new skills that he probably wouldn’t have acquired had he been in the UK. One of the many joys of living in Africa is that you can have a go!

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