Praising God for the rain!

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.

The other effect of little rain is on the electricity supply as it is predominantly provided by hydroelectricity. Little rain means lower levels of water. To ensure that there will be a supply throughout the year ahead, we are now going without power eight hours a day. We are so thankful that we have a battery backup system which keeps the lights on and the fridge cold! Thank you to those that have been able to support us financially as those gifts have allowed this to happen.

Slow but steady…

Andy (and to a lesser extent, Rachel) has started Bemba lessons. While most people speak a certain amount of English, to build better relationships with the local pastors and elders, it is helpful to be able to communicate in Bemba. Life revolves around relationships here in Zambia, so the first few months in Mkushi have been focussed on visiting and getting to know some of the church leaders. It is a slow process, but we are hoping that it will mean that Andy will become known and trusted in the local area. There has not been a big focus on having the skills to be able to handle the Bible well. Instead, the focus has been on doctrine, personal faith, church life, evangelism etc in the training that is offered to the church leaders.

So, Andy is trying to get across what he wants to do clearly, so that when he starts doing more formal training in Bible handling, church leaders will know what it’s all about.  For this, Andy is praying for God to lead him to a couple of strategic people he can begin with who can then be ‘evangelists’ for what he’s doing in the wider church group.  It is an exciting but daunting process, and we are praying that God will open doors and provide men and women who have a genuine desire to be further trained.

Family life

Haydn and Daniel are starting to settle into a new routine of school. The day is very busy, but they have adjusted well. After a slow start due to a cholera outbreak, they have thrown themselves into this new chapter. We are so thankful for Chengelo school and for the friendships that the boys are making. Rachel is still working out where she can serve and what the needs are but has had some good discussions with the church here.

Encouragements

One of the previous PIZ students, Bright Moono, has just started his studies at our old Bible college, George Whitefield College in Cape Town. Travelling to South Africa to start in February was the first time that Bright had ever left Zambia and he sent some lovely pictures of the sea, something that we don’t see here in Zambia! For Bright, the opportunity to study further has been made possible in part by Crosslinks supporters through the BEST bursary scheme. It is our prayer that he will return to Zambia in a few years and be able to teach the Bible faithfully in a local church setting as a pastor.

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