Greeting from Ethiopia on my way to South Sudan

Dear Pastor:

The last few weeks have been full of trials and difficulties in our life and ministry in Zambia, but we thank God for his sustaining grace, as well as the prayers of all the saints on our behalf.

Central Africa Baptist University
In spite of the current difficulties and uncertainty in Zambia due to the Covid-19 situation, by the grace of God, last month we finished another semester of pastoral training. Last semester was probably my busiest so far because of the amount of students I had (a total of 80 stud
ents), but by the enabling grace of God, I managed to not only finish the semester, but also to spent many hours in edifying conversations and discipleship time with a good amount of students throughout the semester. Paola also spent many hours with a group of young women that are part of our new, 1-year certificate program. Overall, we praise God that we had many opportunities for discipleship and training.
The school is currently on a short break which was supposed to have ended the first week of July. However, because of the recently imposed restrictions on schools and any other gatherings, we are not able to open yet. Sadly, this means that we were forced to cancel our July block classes for the second year in a row. These classes are so important because we normally have around 150-200 pastors and leaders in attendance that cannot be enrolled in full time theological training. The government will give an update on July 31st, and we will know then if we are able to open. If the government does not allow it, we will have to start our semester on the 3rd of August with online classes until we are allowed to meet regularly. However, doing online classes is very challenging here in Africa because most students do not have access to a computer or even internet. So, our prayer is that we will be able to start our normal semester, otherwise, we will definitely lose some students. Either way, our new semester will begin on August 3.

Kitwe Church
As I mentioned earlier, this past semester was a very busy one, and that includes the encouraging work at Kitwe Church. The church has been growing steadily in the last few months, not only with people that have come to know the Lord recently, but we also have several people that have joined us from other churches in search for sound preaching and teaching. By God’s grace, I had the privilege of baptizing eight people last month, most of which are new believers. Thus, our church had experienced a great spirit of life and encouragement in the last few months. However, right after our baptism service, the government emphasized the fact that Covid-19 has gotten out of control in Zambia and they announced new restrictions for all schools, businesses and gatherings, which also included limiting church services to 1 hour. This has created a general sense of fear in the population that has also affected the church of Christ. Sadly, a few of our regular comers and also some newer believers are struggling with fear and are even afraid to come to church (though the majority are still trying to stay faithful to the Lord and his church). Nonetheless, we are trying to keep everything functioning as normal as possible while we continue to encourage the believers to remain faithful and courageous.
By God’s grace, we will be holding our second annual missions conference in our church on July 10–11; our plan is to focus on teaching our church what it means to be senders and not just receivers. Furthermore, one of the purposes of the conference is to share with the congregation a detailed plan of the work we are trying to start in the country of South Sudan, as well as to challenge and encourage the congregation to commit to giving and supporting this endeavor.
In relation to the work in South Sudan, we want to thank you all for praying for me while I visited South Sudan a few weeks ago. I traveled to South Sudan to explore the city of Juba (the capital city) and the potential areas where we can begin a church plant under Kitwe Church. I was accompanied by Emmanuel Juma, a South Sudanese brother who graduated from our college in Zambia and also did a 1-year internship with us at Kitwe Church. Emmanuel will be sent by our church to plant churches in Juba; our plan is to launch the work in January of 2022. Please pray for Emmanuel and the work in South Sudan since it will a very challenging endeavor. South Sudan has had wars since the early 1980s and though there is relative peace, the situation remains tense and the war can start at any moment. Nonetheless, many people are coming back to South Sudan and we believe it is the right time to begin a church. Also pray for us as we lead and encourage the church to take to heart the importance of missions.

 

Ministry Trip
If everything goes well, I will be traveling to the Democratic Republic of Congo on July 25 for one week; I will be training a group of Congolese pastors. The situation is a little tense at the border due to Covid-19, though it remains open. Please pray that I will not have any problem with my Covid tests so I can be back in Zambia safely to begin my semester at the college.

Our Family
We thank you all for your prayers on behalf of our son Everett. Living in Africa makes it quite difficult to access to good health care, but we are thankful that we were able to fly to the capital city to see a neurologists and a good pediatrician, both of which gave us more concrete answers. His brain scans show that he suffers of severe febrile convulsions, which means that every time he gets a fever (however mild), he will very likely have a seizure. However, his last two seizure have been a bit challenging to predict because in both of them, his temperature was only 98.9 degrees. Thankfully, they taught us how to deal with the seizures and how to know that one is coming. We also found out that he has some allergies and that the environment and pollution in our city make it more difficult for him; this also causes his body to react more dramatically to anything, especially chest infections, which he has been having frequently. Moreover, tests showed that his immune system was low or weak, so we will be going down to Lusaka again for further tests sometime in August. For now, we just have to watch our son carefully to make sure he does not get sick, but we know that will be very difficult, so please, keep us in your prayers.
All things considered, our family is doing well and almost back to normal after a full month of battling illnesses and Everett’s seizures. Paola just had a birthday on July 2. Asher turned 8 on July 6 and Everett will be turning 2 on the 19th. We thank God for his grace on our family.
Finally, we are thankful that on July 4th, we began our tenth year of life and ministry in Zambia. Over the years, we have seen God’s sustaining hand upon us and we pray that the Lord would continue using us for his glory and the spread of the Gospel in Africa.

Prayer Requests

  • For the situation in Zambia so that we may be able to start our regular semester in August
  • Pray for our missions conference and its effect on our congregation
  • For the plans to start a Church plant in South Sudan in January of 2022
  • Pray for our Church so that the brethren would remain faithful and with a cheerful heart
  • Pray for my trip to the Congo later this month
  • For our family’s health and safety (if that is the Lord’s will)
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Praise the Lord, my soul