May 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

We sat in the airplane last Sunday afternoon waiting to take off from Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola. As we waited the song “Homeless” by the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo began to play in the background:

Emaweni webaba / Silale ‘maweni / Webaba silale ‘maweni
And we are homeless, homeless / Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

That was the feeling we all shared. Just the night before we had gone to sleep in the same beds, in the same rooms, in the same house that we’d called home for the past four years. In a moment everything had gone: our house and everything in it, our van, our dogs, our workers, my job, my office, my students, my colleagues… All the earthly possessions of our entire family consisted of the twenty-two bags we’d brought to the airport. We were on our way to Cape Town to deliver most of those bags. Our onward journey to North America on Wednesday seemed a distant after-thought.

In that moment I pondered over the lyrics of the song. “Homeless, we are homeless, moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake…” In the moment I realized we were truly homeless in an earthly sense. Many questions began to swirl in my mind. What will we miss most about Zambia? How had Zambia changed us? How had we changed Zambia?

A week later and we are back in St. John’s. Our journey went very well, but I am still reflecting on the questions I had on the runway in Ndola. Time does not permit me to share the plumbing incident on our second last night in Ndola (it ended with Katie sweeping water out of the kitchen with a broom while I jumped up and down in the back yard), but I would like to share some of the ways in which God used us in Zambia during our all too short time there.

Ministry at Evangelical University
During our time in Zambia we experienced God’s hand of blessing at Evangelical University:

  • My ministry at Evangelical University gave me the opportunity to teach nearly twenty different subjects related to the Old and New Testaments. I was able to push students beyond what they had previously known, including the completion of a full year of Hebrew language, and developing new courses to encourage the use of Greek in ministry. I also taught the past two modules in the Masters program that is now offered at EU by the South African Theological Seminary.
  • I mentored students outside the classroom and encouraged them either in ministry as they finished at EU, or in continuing their studies at the Masters level. In the past month I was privileged to visit two former students who have seen tremendous growth in their churches since we arrived.
  • In addition to teaching, I oversaw the faculty and curriculum as Academic Dean. When we arrived, enrollment was at an all-time low. As we depart enrolment is now reached the all-time high. I have been part of the transition from college to university.
  • Through the generosity of our supporters many of my students have been equipped with Logos Bible software. Nearly 40 students have each been able to purchase a computer library of over 500 top-notch resources.
  • I was also able to help upgrade EU’s IT infrastructure. EU is now part of a national and international association of educational institutions with a new fibre-optic connection to the internet. Just this past term we were able to allow our students to go on-line; we have identified the hardware ad software systems that will allow for online learning and improved student/administrative services.

In addition to the ministry at EU, our family was heavily involved at the Chintu Road Orphanage. Kristina mobilized donors for the construction of a borehole so that the children always have water, as well as the payment of school fees and uniforms for the older children so that they can attend school. Even in the last weeks, as we prepared to leave, she arranged for the construction of a big new playground so the children will have a safe place to play. Anna, Sarah, and Katie spent many hours with the children at their home, and also brought many back to spend the day in our home.

So we leave Zambia with mixed emotions. We are very sad to be leaving our ministries, our friends,  our home. Yet we are staying faithful to God’s call to a new ministry in South Africa. The old chapter has ended for us, but a new chapter is about to begin.

Support Update

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14–15 NIV).

The transition from Zambia to South Africa is not without cost, but we believe that God will provide since He has called us to this new ministry. We continue to have a one-time need of approximately $16,000. Please pray that this need will be met as we seek to follow God’s call.

Prayer Requests

  • Praise for the sale of our vehicle and furniture, and for safe travels;
  • Pray for the faculty, staff, and students of Evangelical University as classes resume next week;
  • Pray that our application for a South African visa will be granted;
  • Pray for our time with family and friends in Canada and the United States;
  • Pray for our church visits in the coming weeks:
    • May 8 – Calvary Baptist Church, St. John’s NL
    • May 15 – West End Baptist Church, St. John’s NL
    • June 5 – Ardsley Bible Chapel, Glenside PA
    • June 12 – North Quabbin Community Church, Athol MA
    • June 19 – Faith Bible Chapel, St. John’s NL
    • June 26 – Calvary Baptist Church, St. John’s NL

Blessings in Christ,

Tim & Kristina Churchill