A letter from Dustin and Sherri Ellington
April 27, 2010
We are happy to announce that we have received a new call: sometime in 2010 our family will be moving to Lusaka, Zambia! Go ahead and google it. If you are like most of our friends, you have (at most) a vague idea that Zambia is located somewhere in Africa. Looking at a map, you’ll find it as a landlocked country in south-central Africa, bordered by Victoria Falls and the nations of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Congo, Angola, Namibia, and (barely) Botswana. Until 1964 Zambia was called Northern Rhodesia. Lusaka, where we’ll be living, is Zambia’s capital city.
In Zambia Dusty will be a professor of New Testament and Biblical Interpretation at a seminary called Justo Mwale Theological University College, named after Justo Mwale, who in 1929 was the first Zambian Christian to become an ordained minister. Dusty will help train pastors for the thriving Zambian church, and will also teach in Justo Mwale’s fledgling master’s degree program, which is designed to help Christian leaders in the region receive advanced training while continuing to live in an African context. The language of instruction is English, which makes it relatively easy to get started! We also plan to work at learning one of the nation’s 72 indigenous languages, probably Nyanja, which is the one most commonly spoken on the streets of Lusaka.
Our family will live on the lush and green (to our Cairo-trained eyes) Justo Mwale campus, which is located on a sizeable dirt road about 10-15 minutes from downtown Lusaka. We hear that campus wildlife includes geckos, frogs, termites, and huge-but-harmless spiders, but none of the lions, giraffes, zebra, elephants, etc. that populate Zambia’s many beautiful national parks. That’s probably just as well, and we’re hoping the black mamba snakes stay off the campus too.
We feel that God is calling us to Zambia, and so we are excited to go! We are also aware that serving there will probably challenge us in ways we can only begin to imagine. The statistics we read stun us — that the average life expectancy is 38 for men and 39 for women. In other words, Dusty and I have both already outlived the national life expectancy. Many of Zambia’s early deaths are due to malaria, which is preventable and treatable. Others are because of AIDS — statistics say that around 15% of the population is HIV positive, many without realizing it. The Zambian church and many other Christian organizations are working to minister to these and other serious needs in the country, and the Zambian government welcomes this.
There is much more that we could write, and over the coming years I think we will! But we wanted you as our friends and partners to know right away of our new call to Zambia, which has been confirmed both by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and by our new Zambian partners at Justo Mwale Theological University College, whom we are so eager to meet. We are thankful to God for guiding us there. We hope that you will join us in prayer for God to go before us and prepare us for service to the people and the church of Zambia, as we gear up for this new assignment. We don’t have a departure date set yet, but could potentially leave for Zambia as soon as early August; for the bulk of July we will have orientation here in the U.S.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel.
With love in Christ,
Sherri and Dusty Ellington
The 2010 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 352