Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you again for your faithful support of our ministry here in Zambia. You have a critical role in the training of future pastors, denominational leaders, teachers who will strengthen and grown the church on the african continent and beyond. We are grateful that you’ve partnered with us for this amazing task and “thank God upon every remembrance of you”.
Since moving to Zambia we’ve been overwhelmed with the welcome, acceptance and love we’ve received. When we returned to visit Canada and the United States last year we had the same feelings. Yet there are moments when we are torn by the reality of having a foot in two different worlds. One morning last week as I was walking from our house to TCCA I heard a voice call out to me from behind. When I looked I saw a school girl running to meet me. When she caught up she asked, “Can you be my friend?” This seemed a little strange since she was only about 10 years old and I didn’t know her, but she seemed so sincere. I asked why she wanted to be my friend. She grabbed my arm, pointed, and said, “Because I like your skin.” I told her that God made me that way, and that God had made her too.
One of the challenges that we’ve faced in moving to Zambia is coming to terms with the idea of “home”. My encounter with the girl reminded me of how much we stand out here. When people see us they immediately assume that we’re not one of them. Our girls especially feel the difference as people often stare and even shout at them as they’re walking down the street. Kristina even gets informal marriage proposals for our daughters: “Mama, would you like a son?”
Yet we experienced the opposite reaction while we were on home assignment. One of my first encounters at our home church was with a friend who remarked, “You look the same.” My immediate reaction was to say that I may appear to be the same on the outside, but I’ve changed a lot on the inside. A few weeks later I went for lunch with the same friend. At the end of our time together he looked and me, paused, and said, “I think I’m starting to understand what you said about being different on the inside.” Our time in Zambia is changing us on the inside, but it takes time for people who knew us before to realize this.
As you can see from these stories, we face the challenge of not quite fitting in anywhere. After we first moved the girls used to distinguish between Ndola and St. John’s by calling our Zambian house “home” but St. John’s “home home”. There are moments when it feels like we don’t have a home anywhere. Yet this is not necessarily a bad thing, because it reminds us that we shouldn’t be too comfortable in any earthly home while we wait for the heavenly home that Jesus has gone to prepare for us. One of the hymns we sing at our Ndola church is “No Abiding City”:
We’ve no abiding city here;
This may distress the worldling’s mind,
But should not cost the saint a tear,
Who hopes a better rest to find.
At times when we’re feeling out of place or discouraged wherever we are, we remind each other that we have “no abiding city” in this world. But we are blessed to have two earthly homes now as we wait for our eternal home, and that’s a good thing!
- For a quick return to full health as we’re all suffering from head colds
- For John and Anna as they prepare for final exams
- That God would provide a job for John’s next work term
- For next month’s TCCA faculty retreat, that God would grant us wisdom as we review our current curriculum and begin planning for the future
- For TCCA’s fourth year students who will be on internship in churches and schools across Zambia next term
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill