Melvillesworld

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pastors at Lusaka Theological College

I have been teaching on Tuesday nights at a small college in Kanyama - a township/compound in the south of Lusaka (it was the one that got badly flooded) It is called Lusaka Theological college and is set up to be a low cost college for pastors in the local area. I have just finished teaching them a 12 weeks course on Galatians and Romans and last week gave them back their assignments and their final tests. The nights usually end up, and sometimes start, with no electricity so we end up using candles. It is a bit of a dangerous drive back after dark in the compound, especially going through the city market at night. The traffic jams up as there are no police out at that time and every mini bus driver thinks only of himself. I once got stuck for nearly one hour trying to get through and felt very conspicuous as the only white. Fortunately it is still early enough so the drunks are mainly just merry! I started taking a long detour around, but that means either going over a very risky mud bridge that is only just wide enough for my four wheel drive, or going through the heart of another compound on a very narrow mud road. So, partly as a treat for them and partly for me, we held this last class in our office in town and had pizza and a fruity drink. I had sent out a text message saying we would be having pizza, so they turned up smartly dressed because they thought I sent them a message saying "I would take their picture"!!! I worked it out after a while where they got the idea of the picture, when I realized how few had seen pizza. As it happened I did bring my camera and here are some a few pictures. I started with 14 pastors at the beginning of term, but one died a few weeks into the course from a stomach ulcer. A few were traveling as it was the summer holidays so there are just eight of them here.






Here they are singing a few songs at the beginning.

















The last photos are them posing with their papers, results and a copy of Wentworth Pikes "Sharing The Bread of Life" which Doug Nichols from Action International had sent across previously.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

President Mwanawasa Dies

Ever since the President suffered a stroke at the end of June and was transferred to France for treatment, there has been rumour and discussion as to the state of his health and whether he would ever be able to act as president in the future. No photos were shown of him in hospital and the government came under attack for their tepid comments on the issue. Well now that is all at an end. Today it was announced that President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia died around 10.30 am local time. Seven days of mourning start today although exactly what that means is unclear. Zambia has only had three presidents since it became an independent nation and Mwanawasa is the first to pass away. Constitutionally presidential elections have to be held within 90 days so the coming weeks will be vital ones for Zambia. A poor nation, Zambia has nonetheless been stable and peaceful and economic progress was being made. Please pray for the country's continued political and economic stability and for peaceful elections.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Visitors

We have had a great time this summer (well winter here of course) with visitors coming out to see us in Lusaka. Sarah's mum was out just as school finished and treated us to a fantastic helicopter ride over Victoria Falls! It was lovely to get out of Lusaka for a couple of days and return to Livingstone which we last visited back in 2004. Next our friends and neighbours, the Klingenbergs, came and we enjoyed spending time with them. Philip and Bernard practiced their catapult skills in the garden and Rachel loved having Aleah and Hayley to hang out with. We took them to our friend, Ernest Sitali's, church which proved to be a very Zambian experience and enjoyed shopping with them as they looked for chitenges and other momentos of their trip here. Last but not least, Sarah's brother Stephen and his mum, Claire, arrived on Stephen's 18th birthday. In true Zambian fashion we had a punture on a dirt road within 15 minutes of leaving the airport as we travelled to a lodge to celebrate. We managed to soak him in water (the thing to do to people on their birthdays here), get him photographed right next to an elephant and to end the day he was presented with a wonderful cake accompanied by a fantastic rendition of 'Happy Birthday'. The college where Claire works has adopted our community schools this year as their charity, so it was great timing that Megan was running teacher training workshops during their visit which Claire had the opportunity to attend and meet all the teachers. It was a flying visit - just 5 days in all and we wish that they could have stayed longer.
It was great to spend time with friends and family, to cuddle our puppies, to share some of what we are doing here, introduce them to some of our Zambian friends and customs as well as just enjoy their company (OK - and the goodies they brought with them!). We really appreciate everyone's support whether it be financial, an encouraging email or turning up on our doorstep - thank you all for coming!