Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Zambia! As always, we are truly thankful for your faithful prayers and support, as well as the messages and e-mails we’ve received over the past month. Life has been busy at the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA), as the first term of the year finished in April and we’ve already started the second term this past week. This term is divided into shorter modules. For me that means teaching an entire Hebrew course in two weeks, which has been a challenge. But my students are amazing, and they are all excelling even as we finished half the course last week!
A Tale of Three Churches
In addition to teaching, meeting with and mentoring students outside of class, and taking care of academic issues, I’m also involved in supervising students as they are involved in ministry at their local churches. TCCA is training men and women for ministry, so it is important that they develop their practical ministry skills while they are studying. Here are some of the memorable experiences we’ve had since our last newsletter:
- One of my students has been serving at a small church on the outskirts of Ndola. This church is currently without a pastor so my student has many opportunities to preach. He would normally preach in the local language, Bemba, but since we were there he also used a lot of English. He delivered a passionate sermon from Nehemiah, which we had been studying together at TCCA. After the sermon but before the end of the service the elder who was leading the service asked me to stand and addressed me directly for about five minutes, during which he apologized for the church building and indirectly asked that I help fund the new church building. I responded graciously with a reminder that God is with us wherever we gather.
- The following week we visited two churches on one morning. I supervised one of my students leading a bible study at one church, then hurried on to a second church to supervise another student’s preaching. The pastor of the second church was informed that we may be a little late, and the service had just started as we arrived. Even though I had asked that we be allowed to sit discretely near the back we were ushered straight to the front, where we were seated on special chairs next to the pastor and his wife. The student who preached did a remarkable job and is clearly a gifted speaker, which was surprising since he is normally very introverted. This church was meeting in a brand new building, so after the sermon the pastor called the building committee to the front, then without warning summoned me to offer the prayer of dedication for the new building and a blessing on the members of the building committee.
- A few weeks later we attended the ordination and induction service for one of my students who graduated in December. We sat near the back and were pleased to witness this momentous occasion for my former student and good friend. As the pastor leading the service prepared to do the ordination and induction, he called TCCA’s Principal and I to the front, and without any prior notice asked me to give the ordination and induction prayer as we laid hands on the new pastor. This was truly a memorable experience and an honor I won’t soon forget!
As you can see, ministry at TCCA is full of many unexpected twists – you never know what will happen next! But it is an awesome privilege to be asked to participate in the lives of so many of my students, and to have them receive guidance and instruction, both in and out of the classroom, on how they can become more effective ministers of the gospel.
At long last our itinerary for home assignment has been set. We will be leaving Ndola at the end of July, stopping for a few weeks in Hungary to visit Kristina’s family, then on to Toronto for a few days to debrief. We will arrive back in St. John’s on August 21, returning to Ndola early in the New Year, Lord willing.
Thank you for the gifts given over the past month. We recently had a large shortfall, but thanks to the generosity of our supporters this deficit is nearly eliminated. However, we remain about $300/month short in our ongoing support. Please pray that God will provide for our needs. One of the things we’ve seen over the past few years is that God is faithful in providing for our needs. In the words of Agar: “give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9).
- Pray for TCCA’s faculty as we teach our students. Pray for our students as they grow in knowledge and wisdom. Pray for new students to join us in 2015.
- Pray for our continued health and safety in Ndola.
- Pray for continued spiritual growth in the lives of our children, John, Anna, Sarah, and Katie.
- Pray for us as we plan for home assignment, in arranging for someone to take care of our house and van while we’re away, as we finalize arrangements for our stay in St. John’s, and as we plan to visit our supporters along the Eastern Seaboard (likely in October).
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill