Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus! We give thanks for your prayers as we minister at Evangelical University in Zambia, and for the many gifts that have been given to support our ministry here. May God richly bless you for your faithfulness to us!
News from Evangelical University (formerly the Theological College of Central Africa)
I write this newsletter as I sit in class watching my students write the first in for a course on Ezra-Nehemiah. We’ve already learned much about the Persian Empire, and how God stirred the heart of Cyrus the Great to allow the people of Israel to return from exile in Babylon to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
Every day brings its own joys and struggles. Monday of this week was typical in this regard. When I left our house that morning I was hoping to get caught up on my to-do list. As I entered the parking lot I stopped to speak with a pastor who is husband to one of our students, whose young brother had been killed in a road accident just a few days earlier. Although the family is still seeking to understand what had happened, they were taking comfort in God and the support they had received from the EU community in particular. Following this, I was called to the staff room to give an official welcome to the Ndola Fire Chief and several others from the fire department who had come to train some of our staff and students as fire marshals (the Vice Chancellor is away on school business so I am acting in his absence). I also spent some time with our IT person, assisting her in setting up a new intranet. I then moved on to the registrar to answer questions concerning the upcoming module in the Masters program. While EU doesn’t have it’s own Masters program yet, we have partnered with the South African Theological Seminary (SATS) to offer one of their Masters degrees at EU. To facilitate this program I have joined SATS as an adjunct postgraduate lecturer will be teaching the next two modules in this program.
It wasn’t until after lunch that I was finally able to sit in my office chair. I breathed a sigh of relief and started to answer the first e-mail of the day. I hadn’t made it through the first line of my reply before there was a knock on the door from one of my students. Since I had been busy in the morning a long line soon formed. I spent the next several hours dealing with various student issues. Unfortunately that day was the deadline for payment of fees, and two of our students had fallen short. I had to meet with these two students to explain that according to school policy they would be excluded from class until their accounts were cleared. The last of these meetings finished in the evening as the sun was setting. After finishing a very emotional meeting with prayer, this same student and several others drove with me to Ndola Central Hospital to visit a student who had been hospitalized for nearly a week after being diagnosed with diabetes. The time at the hospital was good, since the student was looking much better than he had just a few days earlier. We shared a good time of fellowship with his other visitors, including some other students who had gone to the hospital earlier. I was able to pray with the patient and his family before driving my students back to EU.
At the end of the day I realized that I hadn’t accomplished anything that I had set out to do. But I had still had a very productive day, and had been able to have a part in many lives. Interruptions and unexpected events can cause frustration, yet much of Jesus’ ministry agenda was driven by others. Think of how many events in Jesus’ life began when someone came to him with a problem. Jesus was consistently patient in ministering to others. Remember Jesus’ words to the disciples who even tried to protect him from meeting little children: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them” (Matthew 19:14). These words should be a challenge to us when we face the demands of ministry and family. May God grant us strength and patience to minister to the needs of those around us as Jesus did.
Our ministry account remains frozen with a $6,000 shortfall.
At the same time, we have just finalized our budget for the new fiscal year beginning next month. Most of the line items have changed little, but SIM Canada has recommended an increase in our monthly ministry budget to prevent future shortfalls. As a result, we are now faced with the need to raise an additional $700/month to cover our ministry needs.
- Pray for Sarah Lantz, a SIM Zambia surgeon who is receiving treatment for breast cancer;
- Pray that God will quickly provide for the two TCCA/EU students who have outstanding fees;
- Pray that God will provide for the $6,000 shortfall in our ministry account and the new $700 ongoing monthly need;
- Pray for John and Anna as they resume university studies, and for Sarah (grade 10) and Katie (grade 8) as they continue homeschooling;
- Pray for Kristina as she faces the challenge of managing a household with near daily power and water shortages.
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill