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A letter from Kari Nicewander in Zambia

November 2012

Dear Friends,

As I write this letter a young boy named Renardo is playing in our living room with my two sons, Frankie and Johnny. They are involved in an intense game of "Don’t Break the Ice," and they collapse into giggles every time the “ice” shatters. Renardo is 9 years old, and his parents are students at Justo Mwale Theological Seminary. His father is studying to be a pastor, and his mother is studying women’s ministry. Renardo is one of four children, and he has been a great blessing to our kids, a welcoming, kind, very fun presence during our first weeks here in Zambia.

When we arrived in Lusaka we were welcomed warmly by our partners, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Synod of Zambia. Five of the staff members, in addition to Nancy Collins, our regional liaison, were at the airport bright and early to greet our family and bring us to our new home. When we arrived at our house, the folks of CCAP-Zambia had already stocked our kitchen with an enormous amount of food! What amazing hospitality!

Rev. Dr. Victor Chilenje, former Moderator, Rev. Maleka Rabson Kabandama, General Secretary, and Mr. Isaac Nglube, Treasurer, have helped us with acquiring a car, finding a language partner, getting insurance, and taking care of so many details. We feel deeply blessed to work with such helpful, conscientious partners!

After a couple of days of settling in, we were able to visit one of the community schools in Mandevu, run by CCAP-Zambia. While there we saw almost 200 children in school who would otherwise not be able to have an education. Rev. Kondwani Nkhoma, who runs the community school program for the synod, explained that the children are able to stay at the school until 4 pm so that they can receive a good education and more than one nutritious meal. It was pure joy to see this excellent school, to meet the dedicated teachers, and to speak with the gifted administrators. Mr. Nkhoma is a committed servant of God, sharing Christ’s love with many children and families. There are 28 community schools run by CCAP-Zambia, and there are plans to start more in the upcoming year. God is truly at work through our Zambian partners in ministry!

Joel and I are excited about the work we are going to do; we have been asked to develop videos, highlighting the community schools program, the HIV/AIDS department, the Evangelism Department, Community Health Evangelism, and the remaining CCAP-Zambia departments. Joel will add these to the Website and help update CCAP’s Web presence. We will also create evangelism and discipleship curriculum as we partner with CCAP-Zambia to deepen the faith of this vibrant Christian community. In addition, Joel will do video and technology training, and I will help with evaluating ongoing Community Health Evangelism programs. Right now I am in the midst of language learning, and I look forward to the time when I can preach, teach and converse in Chichewa!

Frankie, Johnny, Joel, and I are very happy to be in Zambia. We feel very blessed to be supported by so many faithful Christians, and we are extremely grateful to God for calling us to be here. We seek to continue to follow Jesus as we celebrate the body of Christ around the world and the ways in which God works through each one of us, that we may love another and love the Lord our God.

Many blessings on you today, and thank you so much for being a part of our ministry! We wish you a blessed Christmas, full of the presence of God, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who leads us in the ways of peace, hope, joy and love.

Grace and peace,

Joel, Kari, Frankie, and Johnny

The 2013 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 115

Read more about Kari Nicewander and Joel DeJong's ministry
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