Whenever you face trials

Dear Pastor:

We greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus, trusting that your hope is placed in him who controls all the events of the universe for his glory. It has been a while, but here is a short update of what the Lord is doing in Zambia for his glory.

Central Africa Baptist University
The training of pastors and leaders is going very well. Earlier in the year, we did not know if we would be able to have regular classes this semester because of the pandemic. However, the government announced the opening of everything, including schools and many other business and institutions. Therefore, by God’s grace, we were able to start our regular semester a couple of months ago, which will run until the first week of June if nothing changes.
This year we have the highest number of students we have ever had. The increase is mainly due to the fact that we started a new basic, 1-year certificate of theology program for those who cannot come for 3 or 4 years. So far, we have about 45 students in that program.
Furthermore, we are very excited to have Steven Zulu as a student for the next 4 years with us to study theology. Steven is a young man from the church we planted in Mindolo together with Pastor Noah a few years ago. By God’s grace, the church is strong and now has their young people training for the ministry. That’s very exciting for us!
We also thank God that we were able to have our graduation ceremony a few weeks ago. This graduation was for those who completed their studies in 2021. Some of the graduates are already in ministry and it is exciting to see how the Lord is using them in different parts of Zambia and in other African countries.
We are also very thankful because the Lord gave me the opportunity to be in Congo to train a group of pastors in the city of Lubumbashi. Lord willing, I will be going again sometime in the middle of June to teach a Biblical Interpretation class to the same group of pastors and leaders.
In the meantime, our semester is well under way and things are going smoothly after all the uncertainty we have faced.

Kitwe Church
Our Church has been growing steadily for the last few months since August of 2020 when we restarted services. Several people have come to the Lord in recent months under the ministry of the church and many others are pouring in because of their hunger for good preaching. Most of them come from churches that only preach prosperity, health and wealth. Recently we accepted 10 people into membership and 6 of them were baptized at our church. However, because of the many people that are wanting to join the membership of our church, we just had another 2-week membership class the last 2 Sundays; 15 people were in attendance, some of whom have been saved recently and will be baptized soon. We praise the Lord for his grace! As you can see, much work is being done and at times it is overwhelmingly joyful to see what the Lord is doing. We count it a privilege to be part of his work.
A few weeks ago I was approached by a couple (both of them very educated doctors) who wanted counseling. After a couple of sessions it was clear that, though they were very religious, they didn’t know the Lord. When I pointed that out to them, they were not very happy, but after a few weeks of meeting with them, they both made a profession of faith about 3 weeks ago and are joyfully growing in Christ. They attended our membership class and will be baptized soon. On top of that, they brought another female doctor friend of theirs with them to church who recently got engaged. She is a Jehovah witness and her fiancé is Roman catholic. They have asked me to meet with them to resolve their religious battles, but for me it is just an opportunity to share the Gospel and I am excited about it. My prayer is to soon start a Bible study with all the doctors of the regional hospital (I already have a group of 5 doctors interested in it). Pleas pray for that too.

Furthermore, the theme for this year at our Church is missions, so we will have many missions-related activities. Our congregation is young so they are learning much about missions, something not so common in Africa since most of them have been receivers and never senders. Therefore, a few weeks ago, we voted to be the sending church of Emmanuel Juma to South Sudan. Emmanuel is a South Sudanese brother who was my student at the college and also a member of our church; he wants to plant churches in Juba, the capital city. Actually, as I write this letter, I am in Ethiopia on my way to South Sudan to meet with Emmanuel (who has been in Uganda serving the Lord for a few months) for a survey trip. We will be surveying potential areas for church planting, as well as strategizing for when he moves to South Sudan. Our goal is to begin the church the end of this year. Please pray our trip, that the Lord would protect us and guide us as we seek to extend his Kingdom. Also, pray for my family in Zambia while I travel.
As you can see, we are seeing a great harvest here in Africa.
We also recently voted to support Mohamed Ismail as a church planter in the country of Sudan (from which South Sudan got their independence 10 years ago). Sudan is 98% Muslim. Mohammed was my student for 4 years and he has moved to Sudan. We are not his sending church, but we have partnered with his sending church to support him. Please pray for him.

Family

By God’s grace our family is doing very well. A couple of months ago all of us were sick with malaria (except for Everett), I ended up being hospitalized but only for one day, but we are all healthy now. Please continue praying for our health as we serve the Lord in Zambia. About three weeks ago, several people in our church were sick with Covid-19, two of them very seriously ill. Even though we had contact during that time with most of them, the Lord has kept us healthy and we praise him for that.

Everett is growing rapidly and is an intelligent, fearless little boy. Asher is also maturing a lot, which is good for him because for the first time in a few years he is seeing consistency in his life. In the past couple of years there have been many changes and unexpected travels back and forth to Mexico and the USA and he went trough a lot. Finally, things are a little more smooth and he is now at 7 years-old learning to read well. He is very excited about it. He has not yet made a profession of faith but he is now understanding the Gospel well. Pray for his salvation.

Thank you again for all your many prayers for us.
Paola is very involved in many different ministry activities. She disciples a group of young women and also runs a women’s Bible study at our church. People also call our house “the Garcia Hotel” since we always have people over. I thank God for a very hospitable wife.

Prayer Requests
•    For the Lord to help us finish the semester well
•    Pray for Kitwe Church and the different missions projects we have planned for this year
•    Pray for my trip to South Sudan and the plans we have to start churches there
•    Pray for our family’s health and walk with the Lord
•    Pray for Asher and Everett, that they would come to know the Lord

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Ministering in Mozambique