A letter from Nancy Collins in Zambia
December 17, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Monday December 7. It was the day we visited the Zambian Revenue Authority to apply for the tax payer ID number needed to process my household goods through customs. In under an hour the paperwork was completed. It was still early. My hospitable escorts, CCAP Synod of Zambia General Secretary Maleka Kabandama and General Treasurer Isaac Ngulube, suggested a tour of nearby Chunga Farm, where a chicken farm was taking shape and ground had been broken for new Synod offices. Half an hour later, after bumping across ruts and plowing through sections of the road flooded by recent rains, we arrived at the five-acre farm purchased in 1997 with PC(USA) assistance.
Using borrowed funds, construction of the chicken houses began in August 2009. The chickens are intended as an income generation project to provide funds to support the work of the Synod, which is responsible for all CCAP (Church of Central Africa Presbyterian) activities in Zambia. Currently, two chicken coops have been completed, and one now houses 600 chicks. The Synod consulted with a local veterinarian about best care of the chicks and followed his instructions to install heat lamps, feeding and watering stations, and mechanisms to minimize possible diseases. Care and marketing of the chicks has been entrusted to two employees—an evangelist who studied basics of agriculture in a short course at Justo Mwale Theological College and a chicken farmer with seven years of experience. Rev. Kabandama’s dream is to build 10 coops with a capacity of 12,000 chicks.
After I inspected the chicks, we walked to the location of the proposed Synod offices. The foundation had been dug and the Synod was in the process of laying rock and concrete to support the concrete blocks used for the walls. The foundation was dug so the placement of all interior walls was apparent. By hopping across the channels and over the mounds of dirt, Rev Kabandama showed me the General Secretary’s office, the Treasurer’s office, the conference room, and so on. To complete the frame for the building, the Synod has asked each of its members to contribute two concrete blocks for the building, an investment of 7200 kwacha ($1.50) per person.
Please keep these two projects in your prayers.
The day before, Sunday, I attended worship at Chawama (which means “It is good”) Prayer House. It was my first experience in a CCAP Zambia congregation. The service was a farewell from the Reverend Rodwell Chipeta, who with his wife Thandiwe (Titi) Chipeta, also a pastor, will be transferred 750 kilometers away to two new congregations. Chawama is one of five prayer houses (congregations in formation), which together with the home congregation—Lusaka South—make up one congregation.
I met Titi Chipeta, the Reverend Mrs. Kondwani, and Mrs. Alice Kapaso, secretary of the Women’s Guild Committee and assistant to Costin Mwale, coordinator of the CCAP HIV AIDS program. It was a joy to meet the women.
Worship began at 10:00 a.m. and ended about 1:30 p.m. Rodwell Chipeta gave a rousing sermon based on the Great Commission. He spoke about the growth of CCAP Zambia Synod. Since 1985, it has grown from 10,000 members in 16 congregations to 57,600 members in 56 congregations. He encouraged the members of the congregation to deeper commitment in terms of activities and financial support. Six choirs—one representing the Men’s Guild and one from each of the five prayer houses—stood up one after another, danced up to the chancel, and moving in time to the music, offered joyous praises to the Lord.
I looked around the church sanctuary at the bare concrete block walls, concrete floor, simple wooden pews, corrugated roof, and glass-less windows. There was no carpet, no sound system, no organ, no overhead projector, no stained-glass windows, but there was a congregation alive with the love and joy of Jesus Christ. The time passed in a flash. Praise God for the work God is doing in Zambia. Praise Him that I have the opportunity to witness this work.
My schedule for 2010 is starting to shape up. I will spend a block of time in Kenya in February getting to know partners and mission personnel and participating in training for community health evangelism. In March or April I’ll go to Malawi for introductions there. I expect to be back in the United States from mid-July through early October for vacation (visiting colleges with Charles), speaking, and participating in Mission Network Meetings.
Charles finishes his semester on December 18 and leaves on December 20 for the marathon trip to Zambia. He flies from Tulsa to Atlanta and from there direct to Johannesburg. After a short layover, he boards another plane for the two-hour flight to Lusaka. He will arrive on December 21 about 9:00 p.m. Lusaka time. In the following days he will get a tour of Lusaka and meet the youth here on the JMTUC campus. Then Christmas day we will drive to Livingstone to see Victoria Falls, the bungee jumpers, Livingstone Museum, and the crocodile park. It will be wonderful to see him. Pray for his travel.
Wishing you all joy and peace this Christmas season.
The 2009 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 344