Switching Gears, Sort Of

It’s hard to believe we’ll have been in Zambia for six months next week.  It seems like only yesterday when we stood on the front porch of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, hugging our kids and grandkids, all wiping our eyes, and getting on the plane to a new place, and a new beginning.  Time and time again, our decision to follow God’s call in our lives to this place, at this time, has been reaffirmed.  And sometimes I wonder why we didn’t  act earlier to respond to that call.  But then I remember life’s a journey, and we just hadn’t reached that stage of the journey yet.

With Labor Day coming and going, Melissa and I now begin the real work we were called here to do.  My teaching duties will start later this month, and I’m putting the final touches on my preparation for Agricultural Science I.  Because the faculty at Chasefu Theological College and Model Farm is composed of visiting lecturers, each course is taught in a one week block, from can until can’t, as my dad used to say.  I’ve prepared my syllabus/course outline, and we will begin class each day at 7:30 AM, and continue until late afternoon.  After dinner each night, I will meet with the seminary students at their hostel, watch a film and have a discussion on a pertinent agricultural topic.


I met this young man during a recent visit to Kasisi Agricultural Training Center, where it’s clear they hire only the brightest and best.

The drive from Lundazi to Chasefu is only 28 miles, but the road is pretty rough; in fact, it compares to some we’ve traveled on in Congo.  Because of that, I’ll stay at the almost-completed lecturer’s house.  It is nice, but no electricity, and water must be carried from the borehole, about 50 yards away.  But I’m looking forward to my stays, as Chasefu is a beautiful, peaceful place.


During a recent visit to Chasefu Theological College, we were fortunate to meet some of the seminary students who will be taking my course, Agricultural Science I.

During the recent biennial CCAP Zambia Synod Meeting in Lusaka, Melissa’s position as Administrator-Health Education Programs, was formalized and approved.  I won’t steal her thunder by going into great detail, but in short, she will be working in the CCAP Zambia Health Department, working to build capacity, and coordinating training programs.  You know how hard she works at something when she puts her mind to it, and I know she will do a great job.


Melissa tells attendees at the recent Synod Meeting about the fundraising efforts of one of our supporting churches, Liverpool (NY) First Presbyterian Church, to provide three villages with clean water through the work of the CCAP Zambia Shallow Wells Department.

Melissa and I enjoyed attending our first Synod Meeting, and we were reminded of the close connection among all Presbyterians, wherever they may be.  Nothing brought this home more than when the new moderator, Reverend Abel Banda proclaimed, “We are Presbyterian, we must vote!”, to begin the process of electing the new General Secretary of the Synod.


Outgoing CCAP Zambia General Secretary, Rev. Maleka Kabandama (standing), and Rev. Abel Banda, the new Moderator (seated), preside over the recent Synod Meeting in Lusaka.

In between our regular duties, we will continue to work on our mastery of Chitumbuka, with the hope that one day soon, we’ll have the proficiency of a first grader.  I believe we are approaching that of a three-year old as of this writing.  We look forward to our time learning with our teacher, Judith Mwanza, who has become a good friend.


Not only is our friend, Judith Mwanza, an exceptional language teacher, but she’s also a leader in our church, in the Christian Women’s Guild.  She’s pictured here, making a point during one of the many discussions held at the recent Synod Meeting in Lusaka.

Our induction service, which was originally scheduled for early July, will now be held on Sunday, October 30.  We look forward to that day, when we are formally inducted as mission co-workers by CCAP Zambia.  And then, only two weeks later, on November 13, our friends back in Texas, in Mission Presbytery, are sponsoring Mission Co-worker Sunday, in support of our work here.  Even though it is directed towards congregations in Mission Presbytery, it certainly isn’t limited to those churches.  If you would like to join in to support our work, please contact Tom O’Meara whose email address is found on this flyer:


Contact Tom O’Meara to learn more about Mission Co-worker Sunday.

We are also quickly approaching the end of the year from a fundraising standpoint.  Many of you have supported our work financially, but we need more help.  Maybe you’ve thought about making a contribution, and then gotten busy and forgotten.  Melissa and I would be most grateful to receive a donation from any and all of you before the end of the year.  The Presbyterian World Mission website has been getting a makeover, and while it is a big improvement over the old site, it still has some glitches which are being corrected (we hope).  One page which has caused some confusion is our giving page.  For any of you who would like to make a donation, perhaps this image will help avoid that confusion.  Or you can go straight to our donation page by clicking on the link shown in the caption, below the photo.



Melissa and I enjoy a beautiful Zambian sunset at South Luangwa National Park, where we met a mission team from Westlake Hills Presbyterian Church (Austin, Texas) in late June.

Melissa and I want to thank each and every one of you who support us, in whatever way you are called to do, be it in prayer, financially or both.  Without your partnership, we would be unable to do the work we are called by God to do in Zambia.  And if you have any prayer needs, please let us know, so we can support you in that manner.

May the peace of Christ be with you,