The New Year brings a new class of students at PIZ (see the PIZ building at the top of the page!). 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.

It is always interesting to get to know each new class. To chat about where they have come from, what they hope to learn at PIZ and what they hope to do after they have finished studying. For some, as they are exposed to God’s word through the lectures and devotions, they develop a different view of ministry. PIZ attracts some students from denominations that are led by charismatic ‘apostles’, ‘prophets’ and ‘bishops’. Often this means that coming to PIZ shows them what the Bible actually says, as opposed to what they are told it says from the pulpit. It can be a revelation to hear that they can read God’s word for themselves and have a personal relationship with Christ, without another person mediating on their behalf. It can be exciting to see the students really change as they are immersed in Scripture.

For us as a family, we continue to adjust to life as home schoolers. Lots of people ask ‘how is it going?’ but the reality is that, like anything in life, there are good days and bad. While it was never the initial plan to teach the boys at home, we are thankful for the resources that enable it to happen. Armed with advice from teaching family and friends in the UK, and a lot of prayers from our supporters, we managed to get through the first term in one piece! There were a few tears along the way, but by and large, the boys worked really hard and have managed to learn a few things (we hope!). One of the silver linings of Covid is that there are a lot more online resources available to supplement the textbooks that we have. Monday to Wednesday are the most intense school days whereas Thursday and Friday are lighter on lessons, with judo and a visit to friends in the afternoons. The judo lessons have been a surprising addition to the timetable. Both boys have managed to get to yellow belt partly because they enjoy practising at home. We have put a mat on the veranda for them to use so now our afternoons are punctuated with thumps and slaps as they practice their holds and falls. We never expected to find a judo class in Kitwe, but we are so thankful for it!

 Due to lower-than-expected rainfall in the last few years, both Zambia and Zimbabwe are experiencing load shedding for the foreseeable future. Load shedding is the system by which the power company, Zesco, turns off areas in rotation to maintain lower levels of demand. This means that in two days out of three, we will experience 12-hour power cuts. This has happened off and on ever since we have been in Zambia but this time around, we have the blessing of a battery back-up system which means that we can run a few electrical goods including lights and the fridge/freezer. We are so thankful for this system – when we didn’t have it, we struggled to keep our food fresh. That we now have this battery back-up system is because of those that have been able to financially support us, and for this we are so grateful.

At the end of each year, Crosslinks asks us to do an end of year review. It is such a good way to reflect on the past year, to think about different things that we need to pray about and perhaps change when it comes to ministry. It is also a really humbling reminder that we are only able to be here, serving God in Zambia, because of the prayer and financial support of those back in the UK. Thank you for being part of God’s mission with us here!

Andy, Rachel, Haydn and Daniel

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