We finally saw some rain on Sunday night a couple of times. It was heavy but not really long lasting. It is getting into the rainy season. With the rains it cools off the horrific temperatures, at least for a time. The rains are needed as it has been dry. Farmers do not begin to prepare to plant until the rains come in earnest. It helps with breaking up the soil and they rely on the rains to water their crops.
Sunday services went well but in the heat the building becomes really hot. If air moves through is can be tolerable but if there is no air it’s not good. There has been some talk of trying to put ceiling fans in to help move the air. I do not know where that is right now.
When I am in Siavonga I preach just now. Sunday I spoke on the practice of righteousness from 1 John 2. There were three responses asking for prayer. One was a member who has not been faithful in attendance. The other was a young man who is not even a member who said he wanted to start coming to church. The third was having some health concerns.
I have been talking with Charles about needing to reorganize the Sunday services. At best they last 3 hours sometimes even more. In this heat that is too long and as I observe how things progress I think it is too long anyway. There is only a general idea of what will be done each Sunday. The song leader is free to lead as many songs as he wants and the person who leads on the Lord’s Supper can preach a sermon if he wants. That is what happened on Sunday. I believe he spoke longer that I did. By that time is was late in the morning and the temperature was getting up there. I am hoping to discuss this with the men before the end of the year. In all this there is, I believe, a lack of a sense of why we are gathering together. That gets lost as the service goes on and the many children become restless.
There is only one class for the children and I am not certain what is taught. I am fairly certain there is not much of an ongoing theme. I believe we will need to improve that if possible. The building has only one large room for assembling. The children meet outside. A program for teaching children is also needed in the village churches. The last time I was at the Kasamba congregation there were more than 40 children. They were required to sit during class and the worship service. They quickly became a bit of a distraction.
I am finally getting around to adding to this post. The heat has been really oppressive along with a high humidity. It really saps your energy.
Tomorrow we are going to the Nabbanda congregation for services. It will be my first visit there since coming to Zambia although I have spent a bit of time with one of the church leaders. The congregation has been impacted some by an accusation of witchcraft toward one of the leaders. It is not true but that does not mean much when you are dealing with really superstitious people. We are aware of several people being killed after such an accusation in several villages. I hope to know more after tomorrow’s visit.
I have been approached to oversee the construction of a medical clinic in the Zalaunga area. My name is known because we drilled one well and tried to drill another in that area. The group is known as Zalaunga Community Development. I will be the man on the ground organizing and overseeing the construction. I have been told that it will not necessitate me being there all the time but checking in from time to time. It will be a challenge but I think I can do it with input from knowledgeable people.
Zalaunga is bush some 15 km off of the paved road on the way to Chirundu. I have to admit I am kind of excited about the project. We will see how it all falls out.
We are still working out the details of the drip irrigation seminars. Drip irrigation is a method used in dry areas to minimize the use of water while maximizing output. It is great for gardens where people can raise plenty of vegetables for their family and possible even sell some to make some money. As I understand it, it involves dripping water directly on the roots of the plants. It also uses natural fertilizers and compost to enhance production. We will do 2 seminars…one in the Siavonga area and another in the Kabwe area near wells that have been recently drilled. The purpose is to teach the technique to people who can then teach others. Keep this effort in your thoughts and prayers.
With no end in sight for load shedding (the systematic turning off of power) we are going to try and raise funds for a back-up generator for my house. The cost (at this time) is estimated between $2000 and $3000. With the weak kwacha against the dollar prices cannot be totally known until time to purchase. The best would be a diesel as opposed to a gasoline powered unit. To run the entire house would require a 10KVA unit. A smaller unit would not allow some things to be operated. The expense for a generator here compared to the US would be due in part to the fact that here the current is 220 as opposed to 110 in the US. This would tend to mean heavier units.
If you would be willing to help with funds (or perhaps you would like to purchase the unit) please contact West Richardson at the Circleville congregation in Ohio or contact me and I will contact him.
I hesitated about doing this but power issues look to be an ongoing issue at this time since the country seems to be unable to meet its power needs. For now the goal will be $3000. Help if you can, please. God bless you all for your prayers, interest and concern.