June 2016 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings from St. John’s! We pray that you are doing well. The past month has been an interesting time for us as we re-adapt to life on this side of the world. There have been moments of “reverse culture shock” as things that were familiar to us can now seem unexpectedly strange. But we are glad to be back, to reconnect with family and old friends, and to make new friends! Thank you to each of you who have been praying for us during our time of transition, and for every gift that has been given for our ministry. We pray that we will be good stewards of the gifts that have been entrusted to us, especially now as we prepare for a new ministry in South Africa at the Bible Institute in Cape Town.
The most difficult part of following God’s call to a distant place is leaving family and friends behind. When we first went to Zambia we had to say goodbye to all of our family and friends on this side of the world. While in Zambia we met many new people. But since the missionary community is very transient we have also had to say goodbye to many, many friends we had gotten to know there. Just a month ago we had to say goodbye to everyone in Zambia – colleagues, close friends, students, workers, children from the orphanage, and more. Soon we will have to say goodbye once again to everyone here when we leave for South Africa.
For me, saying goodbye to our son John was the most painful thing about following God’s call to Zambia. John travelled with us to Zambia in 2012 when we moved but returned a few months later to continue his studies at Memorial University. I had tried to convince him to stay with us and study by distance but knew in my heart that what he was doing was best for him. I will never forget the moment we said goodbye at Ndola airport. I can only imagine how he felt in returning back to a place he knew well, but without his family.
In my mind I heard an echo of the words God spoke to Abraham regarding his son Isaac in the book of Genesis: “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” I knew without a doubt that God had called us to ministry in Zambia, but I felt like God had asked me to sacrifice my only son John in order to do it. In case I had any last minute doubts I recalled the words of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Matthew: “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Well, God had certainly put me in a place where my faith would be tested in this regard.
Although the years have come and gone I still find it difficult to be separated from my son. Kristina and I have had to do most of our parenting by Skype or FaceTime from Zambia with an internet connection that barely permitted an audio-only conversation, with a delay that made it seem like we were communicating from a different planet. I often missed John so much that I didn’t even want to speak through an iPad because it made the pain of separation all the more real…Yesterday John graduated from Memorial University with a five year Bachelor of Commerce degree. He graduated along with his fiancé Rebecca. As the MC at the graduation dinner said, they have (to quote Rihanna) “found love in a hopeless place”!
I am so proud to see how John has persevered through the challenges he has faced to finish this degree. And I am thankful that God has allowed our family to share this special time with John. Please pray that God will provide a job for him despite the downturn in the economy, and that He will bless John as he grows in his relationship with Rebecca. But more than all, pray that John will grow to lean on his heavenly Father as the source of all wisdom, truth and love.
After a thorough review of our SIM reports it appears that we are falling behind on our monthly commitments:
- We continue to have an ongoing shortfall of $850 per month.
- We also have a one-time need of $4,000 for setup costs in South Africa, down from $16,000 last month. We are very thankful for the gifts we have received in answer to our prayers!
Please pray that God will raise up supporters to meet these needs so that we can continue to fulfill God’s call to train church leaders. If you would like more information about how you can give in support our ministry please visit www.timothychurchill.com and click on the “Give” tab, or send us an e-mail or Facebook message.
- Pray that our FBI background check can be completed quickly;
- Pray that our application for a South African visa will be granted;
- Pray that our support needs will be met;
- Pray for our upcoming church church visits:
- 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
- July 17 – Emmanuel Chinese Church, St. John’s NL
- Pray that God will provide a job for John as he graduates from university
Blessings in Christ,
Tim & Kristina Churchill