Dear Friends and Family,
On June 14 we celebrated the first anniversary of our arrival in Zambia. It’s hard to believe that a year has already gone by! We would like to mark this momentous occasion by pausing to reflect on the challenges of the past year.
In many ways the past year has been difficult. The biggest challenge was the move itself. It’s not easy to say good-bye to your family, your church and your friends, to leave behind everything you’ve ever known in following God’s call. Yet God has been faithful to us through the pain of separation from what was familiar and through the difficulties of adjusting to a new life in a different place.
We faced a new set of challenges after we arrived. Once in Lusaka we learned that the renovations to our house weren’t complete. We ended up living out of suitcases for several months. In August we said another painful good-bye when John returned to Canada to continue his studies. And in the months since we’ve had to say good-bye to numerous friends we made in that short time. Today’s missionary community seems to be transient, so finding good friends and developing lasting relationships is an ongoing battle. Please pray for Kristina and I, that our marriage would be strong and that we would have wisdom as parents. Pray for John as he is only with us for a short time and will be returning to St. John’s at the beginning of August. Pray for the girls as they grow up in a new culture with few friends their age.
It’s also been challenging to adjust to a new language and culture. While most people do speak English, the local language in our area is Bemba. Even though we have started taking Bemba lessons it will be a long time before we’re able to have a meaningful conversation in Bemba. There are also many cultural differences, some of which are so subtle that we’re only now becoming aware of how ignorant we really are.
My first year at the Theological College of Central Africa was also full of challenges. I came to TCCA at a time of transition. Unfortunately, changes in leadership brought many conflicts and broken relationships. Nevertheless, God has been faithful to TCCA, and we are hoping that the worst is behind us. Despite all of this, my greatest joy has been in being with my students, both as I teach them God’s Word in the classroom, and as I seek to disciple them outside the classroom.
Another challenge we face is financial. We’ve finally been able to get an accurate picture of our support account after all the various setup expenses have been processed. We also have a more accurate understanding of our ongoing ministry expenses. At the moment we have a deficit of $12,500 in our support account, and we require commitments for an additional $500 per month to meet our ongoing expenses. Yet if our experience over the past few years has taught me anything, it is that God is faithful to meet all of our needs, including these seemingly large amounts. Please pray that God will meet these needs.
In reflecting on all of the challenges we’ve faced over the past year we can draw a few conclusions. First, we should remember that our God is bigger than anything we can imagine. God has been so good to us over the past year, regardless of what has come our way. We can have confidence in the future, knowing that God has been faithful to us in the past. And second, we should remember that our challenges are often small compared to those of others. Please pray that God will help us to keep our lives in perspective and enable us to minister to others as He gives us the grace we need to do so.
Once again we would like to thank each you for every prayer and gift offered to God in support of our ministry. Please continue to pray for us as we begin our second year here in Zambia.
Next month we hope to introduce you to our workers, Gilbert Mung’omba and Wilson Shindamba. Your gifts support not only our family, but also Gilbert’s and Wilson’s – a total of 19 people!
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill