Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 2014 Prayer Letter

Thank you to all who have been praying for Preetika during these last few months. God has been good to us. After counseling with our sending pastor as well as several doctors, we have decided our next step is to return to the States to seek further treatment and a diagnosis. The response of the people here in Zambia has been encouraging, and we believe the ministry will continue forward for the cause of Christ in our absence. 

 Pastor Chris Teis, our sending pastor, set up a fundraising campaign to help us meet the expense of traveling to America as well as some additional needs (both medical and ministry). We have been blessed by the outpouring of love and help in response to our need.

 I also want to update you on our recent trip to into Zimbabwe. We were blessed to have Pastor Darrell Hurst and Bro. Donnie Foley from New Zion Baptist Church, as well as Bro. Jeremy Snipes, Taigen Gonzalez, and Charles Newton from Hyles-Anderson College.
They were used of the LORD to greatly encourage the believers in Zambia before heading across the border to Zimbabwe. Bro Snipes and Pastor Hurst had a great impact through their preaching from God's Word. Scores of Zimbabweans made decisions to trust Christ, to win others to him, to plant churches, to cling truly to God's Word, and to disciple others to follow Christ. The three younger men of our team were also a personal blessing to me. Additionally, they were an inspiration to African Youth in both countries during their stay. Our young people were motivated by seeing men near their same age serving the LORD!

 Thanks to all who had been praying for our trip to Zimbabwe. The LORD gave us a better reception than we could have hoped for. God was very evidently involved in bringing this meeting together. One man in particular was instrumental in the conference taking place.  Leonard Mlotshwa had left Zimbabwe for the UK 10 years ago. The LORD had laid it on his heart to find someone who would go to Zimbabwe and help train some believers in his home country. After approaching several people over the years, God finally lead him to cross paths with Pastor Hurst about a year and a half ago.
That meeting lead to this conference in June. As Bro. Leonard planned to make the international trip for the conference, he became sick and it seemed that he may have to miss the conference he had been so looking forward to. Though he grew weaker, he was able to travel to Zimbabwe. When he greeted people at the conference,
he said that he was so glad to be home in Africa - especially to see his 10-year dream come to pass. Little did we know that 2 weeks after the end of the conference, he would leave his home on earth to go Home with the LORD in Heaven. Bro. Leonard had finished his course and possibly his "for such a time as this" moment. I am thankful to have met this man and grateful for his part in directing my eyes and heart
toward the needy and open field of Zimbabwe!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 2014 Prayer and Praise Update

In the past few weeks, we have seen our church reach new heights – literally. Due to the sacrificial love gift of the Broadway Baptist Church, we were able to put part of the roof on the church! It was an exciting step for our church people.
They are encouraged, not only by the roof itself, but by what it represents – that they are loved and remembered by Christian brothers and sisters halfway across the world! Thanks again, Broadway Baptist for being a blessing!

A few weeks ago, while celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, we were able to baptize several new believers. See the picture for some of the young men that followed Christ in believer’s baptism on that day.

In addition, on Easter Sunday, we were honored to remember our Lord in the participation of the Lord’s Supper, for the first time as a church.
After some teaching and explanation concerning the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us, each believer was eager to take of the elements in remembrance and thanks of their Savior. We look forward to this becoming an important and special time in the life of the Fallsview Bible Baptist Church.
Please keep praying for our work here in Zambia. Also please keep our fast-approaching conference in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe before the Lord. From June 24-26, I will travel to Zimbabwe with several American visitors. We are trusting the Lord to use His Word and His power to make an impact in our neighboring country of Zimbabwe during that meeting!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 2014 Prayer Letter with additional pictures

Pastor Chris and Bro. Decision preaching in a village school.
2 Guys from NJ
Pastor Chris preaching at Fallsview Bible Baptist Church

Dear Praying Friends,

                Thank you so much for your prayers and support for us and our work here in Zambia. The LORD has greatly blessed His work in Africa! One of the greatest blessings to us over the last couple of months was a visit from my friend and sending church pastor, Chris Teis. We were greatly blessed by his time and work here. Accompanying him on the trip was Bro. Andrew Garcia, a Christian filmmaker, who is planning to make a short documentary on how God brought Elijah into our lives. The film will appropriately be called Elijah and should be released toward the end of the summer. During their time in Zambia, they shot video and conducted interviews for this film project. We are excited for this film and believe it will be greatly used to bring glory to the LORD! Here is a link to some of the scenic footage Andrew captured during the trip.

                We were also able to do some preaching in a new village area during their trip to Zambia. We spent the night in the bush and preached to several gathered in the village of Nsalali. There were between 30 and 40 who made a profession of faith in Christ and showed interest in seeing a church started in their area. Please pray for us (and specifically for Bro. Decision Siampondo) as we continue to work in this area for the cause of Christ. In addition, this village area has 5 schools that have welcomed us to teach and preach the Bible weekly in the schools. Bro. Decision makes the 40-mile circuit each week on his bicycle. I am praising the LORD for Bro. Decision’s dedication to the work of Christ! 

                During Pastor Chris’ visit, he encouraged us in the starting of a one-on-one discipleship program at the Fallsview Bible Baptist Church. I have already started with one man in our church and am training 5 or 6 of our church leaders to be able to do the same with others. Please keep this exciting and needful ministry in your prayers.

                Finally, we would like to give sincere and heartfelt thanks to the Broadway Baptist Church in Muskegon, Michigan, for their generous love offering, which they gave toward our building project. We are set to begin this week with making some progress on our building. We will do the roofing on the “classroom section” of our church building. Thank you, Broadway Baptist, for helping to push the work of Christ forward in Livingstone!

                Let me also take time to let you know how much we appreciate your kind thoughts, cards, and expressions of love during Preetika’s birthday and our 11th anniversary. You encourage us more than you know!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

December 2013

Dear Praying Friends,

                Merry Christmas from Zambia! Regardless of the hot, humid, and rainy weather, we are enjoying the Christmas season. Preetika and Elijah have worked on baking Christmas cookies and Elijah is learning about giving. He is currently figuring out which of his toys he can give as gifts to his friends. Preetika and I are thrilled to have had Elijah as part of our family these past 3 years. We are amazed, as surely all parents are, at the things he learns and picks up.  I was recently telling Elijah about the wise men who came to worship Jesus, when he confirmed that those wise men had built their house upon a rock. He had been hearing about the wise man and the foolish man (who built his house on the sand) much lately as it was the theme of our recent youth conference.

                Speaking of our youth conference, it was a great success in spite of the wet weather! Being the first ever conference hosted by our church, we were very pleased with how it all went. We had at least 100 youth with dozens of pastors and chaperones who camped with us. As you can see from the pictures, it was truly a Youth “Camp” – Zambian-style. Over the week, we had 5 young people trust Christ with many making decisions to serve the LORD with their lives. I cannot forget how a similar decision at a youth camp set my heart toward serving the LORD as well! My wife worked hard organizing the cooks and menu for the nearly 130 people we had to feed each meal. Have you ever tried cooking over an open fire in the rain? All in all everything worked together to make it a memorable week for the youth. Everybody went home encouraged, full of good food, wet, and blessed. A pretty great youth camp if you ask me!

                Please keep us and all of your missionaries in prayer during the holidays. These are often the most difficult days to be far from home. Also would you continue to pray for two areas of need in our ministry?

·         Our large church vehicle is broken down again- please pray that we can fix it or upgrade It with a more reliable one soon.

·          We are trusting the LORD to make it possible to continue on (and complete) our church building. The next stage is to put on the roofing sheets!

Thanks for all of your thoughts, prayers, and support throughout 2013. You may never know this side of heaven how much it means to us. Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our home to yours.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Building Project

We have been working on the second stage of our church building over the last few weeks. We will put up the steel structure. A group of men from our church have been tirelessly working in the extreme heat - 95-105*F every day - with almost no shade!
Please keep our safety in your prayers as all is done by physical labor - no heavy machinery!

Man-power to lift trusses into place...

...with a little help from block and chain pulley

Half a truss up
a little welding
One truss done, six more to go...

October 2013 Prayer Letter

The past month of July has been a whirlwind of activity. While seemingly running in several different directions at the same time, we believe that we have recently seen some important foundations laid for the cause of Christ, both in existing ministries as well as in envisioned future ministries.
Village Meeting

Typical Village Life
 Recently we’ve had two very productive and blessed meetings which bode well for some new church- planting opportunities. First, a group of men from our church took a journey to an area we had never been before. We were able to have a meeting with Chief Siachitema about preaching the Gospel in his villages. We presented him with a Bible and were graciously welcomed to begin a Gospel work among his people. Please keep this open door in prayer, as we plan to survey some of the villages of that chieftainship in August or September.

Pastor Donga greeting our Bible study
The second meeting was with Eliot Donga, a pastor from Zimbabwe. As we mentioned in our most recent prayer letter, we have been trusting the LORD to open obvious doors concerning our involvement in preaching and training believers in our neighboring nation of Zimbabwe. With that aim in mind, we received Pastor Donga and his adult son Andrew as visitors in our church and Bible Institute for a few days. As we got to know these men and see their heart for serving the LORD, we noticed a kinship of spirit and agreement of purpose with these servants of God. We look forward to seeing the LORD continue to guide us as we plan to make the six-hour trip to their area of Zimbabwe in the coming months in preparation for a Biblical Training Conference during June 2014.

 In addition to the new opportunities, we are pleased with a few developments in our existing ministry. In July Preetika started a Ladies’ Bible Study, which meets on Thursday afternoons. The meeting has been an encouragement not only to the ladies themselves but also to my wife, as she sees their hunger for learning the Word of God. One lady named Christabel, who cannot read, was able to say her memory verse. Her husband, a student in our Bible institute, had read the verses over and over again to teach them to her. Stories like this remind us of the great need to personally bring God's Word to those who would not or could not read and understand it for themselves. We ask your prayers for this needful ministry to the women.

Ladies' Bible study
                Also in the coming weeks, we look forward to continuing work on our church building. The LORD has provided us with materials and equipment to move into the next stage of our building project. We are now able to put up the steel structure and framing work. Once completed, we will be about halfway to having a fully enclosed church building, leaving us with the need to install the roofing sheets and build the walls. We are confident that this building will prove to be an important tool used by the LORD to bring many Africans unto Jesus, as well as train them to serve Him!

 Finally, would you make one other area of our ministry a matter of your prayers? The last six weeks or so, our ministry has really been hampered by the lack of reliability with our vehicles. We use three vehicles in the ministry, including my personal vehicle. For a couple of weeks, all three were broken-down at the same time. This made many activities in our church a struggle just to get people to the right places. Our "fleet" is aging, and rare is the week when at least one of our vehicles is not out of commission. (As I write this, two of them are not moving as they await needed repairs.) Our newest (but worst-conditioned) vehicle is a 1994 minivan. Our best vehicle (usually, but not lately) is my '92 pickup truck, while our most useful is a 1989 open-bed truck. The constant drain on our funds to keep them maintained and repaired to a reliable and safe level has been a burden sometimes. Thank the LORD that He has always provided what has been necessary to keep them running! Pray that He will continue to do so and also that He would provide the means to upgrade a couple of our vehicles.

 Thank you always for your continued and faithful prayers for our family and ministry in Zambia!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bible Institute

End of Term 1 Tests

The students are taking their end-of-term tests. A couple of these students had not taken a test in 10 years since they left school. They worked hard and ultimately did very well. We praise God for them!