Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from Zambia! We give thanks to God for your prayers and for the gifts we received in the past month. God has blessed us richly through your support and we are truly grateful.
One of my struggles in writing these newsletters is to communicate what life is really like at TCCA. This month I will present a “day in the life” from last week. I hope that it will give you a sense of some of the cultural experiences and ministry opportunities that we encounter nearly every day. This particular day was perhaps a little more intense than usual, but most days are just as full.
My day began with a funeral for the mother of Dr. Lazarus Phiri, TCCA’s Principal. Mrs. Phiri had been battling cancer for a number of years and passed away on Friday. The burial took place in Kitwe, about an hour’s drive from Ndola. I rescheduled classes for the day so that all students and staff would be able to attend the funeral. We met in the TCCA parking lot at 7:30 and drove to the church in Kitwe. The service, a beautiful celebration of Mrs. Phiri’s life, was in many ways similar to what I’m familiar with from Newfoundland. One of the big differences is that the church’s women’s group played a central role, carrying the casket in and out of the church, and singing a number of hymns during the service while circled around the casket. After the service the casket was positioned just outside the church and opened so that the mourners could file past and pay their last respects. We then drove to the cemetery for the burial. After the casket was lowered the grave was immediately filled, and then the mourners were called forward to place flowers on the grave. Family members were called first, then other visitors in order of importance.
Shortly after returning to TCCA that afternoon I gave the last lecture for the second year OT Exegesis class. I shared with my students how this was a bittersweet moment for me since I wouldn’t be with them again in the classroom until next year. During the class I learned that the father of one of my students had been rushed to the hospital earlier that day. This student has been going through a stressful time recently and had come to my office in tears just a few days earlier regarding some serious personal and family issues. After class I met with a few students who had questions about the Bible passages they’ve been working on for their exegetical papers. As always, it was encouraging to see how they are engaging critically with their texts and applying the truths they’ve glean to today’s Zambian context.
When I finished meeting with my students I drove to Ndola Central Hospital to visit two patients and their families. The first patient is a close relative of several members of TCCA’s staff and the sister of a former student. She is suffering from a serious condition that has been complicated by other health concerns. After meeting with the family around her hospital bed we walked to the other end of the hall where we met my student from OT Exegesis class and her family. Her father had just been wheeled into the corridor on his way to surgery. The family was distraught as they had just made a very difficult medical decision. I was able to pray with them and comfort them as they waited for the attendants to arrive. Since there is no cafeteria in the hospital and the family hadn’t eaten all day I left the hospital and went to a nearby shop to buy food for the family. I’ve visited the hospital several times since, and both patients are improving but still face difficult recoveries.
Returning home at the end of that very long day I was exhausted. As I reflected on the events of the day I was overcome with the emotion of everything I’d experienced. My mind was drawn to John 11:35, “Jesus wept”. Even our Lord, the very Son of God, was moved to tears in the face of suffering. Should we be any different?
Please join us in praying:
- for Dr. Phiri and his family as they mourn the loss of his mother;
- for the patients who are still in hospital, and for their families;
- for my students as they write term papers on passages from the Old Testament;
- for our family, as Sarah, Katie and I have been suffering from a stubborn flu bug;
- for John as he writes midterm exams;
- for our travels as we visit Kristina’s family in Hungary on the way back to St. John’s in August
Special Project – Logos for TCCA Students
Logos Bible Software (www.logos.com) is a digital library system designed for Christian books and other resources. Many of the best Bible translations, commentaries, dictionaries, lexicons, journals, and other resources are available within Logos. In fact, I rarely buy paper books any more – I’d rather buy them for Logos instead.
Logos is offering our students an 80% discount for a base package of over 430 books. Last year we received a special donation that cut Logos’s discounted price by half, making it possible for 15 TCCA students to purchase Logos. Visit my home page, www.timothychurchill.com, for YouTube testimonials from several students who purchased Logos last year.
This year I am hoping to raise $3,000 so that as many students as possible can purchase Logos. If you would like to help please contact me by e-mail by the end of June. Payment will be made directly to Logos if we are able to proceed with this project.
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill