Who of us can forget that day when our College was due to start on 13 March 2001?
The day before, we waited in vain for students and staff to appear. Envisioning a one-man Bible school, I waited in vain until after nightfall when, first, Virgil and his family appeared and then, later, 2 other Frontline workers. Thus we had a suite of lecturers to minister to the first 16 students who seemed to suddenly come from nowhere!
Since then, up to 25 students have kept returning each term. My assistants have varied from 2 or 3 delegates from my church in Scotland to our Director, Dr. Peter Hammond (from Cape Town) & Stephen Perks (from England), Rev Jan van Straaten (Cape Town), Dr David Clegg (Somerset), and a delegation from Doctors for Life (from KwaSizabantu Mission in KwaZulu).
Now Ray Joubert (Somerset West) is my right-hand man and his wife, Sonya, administers our finance & Correspondence Courses. My wife, Marion, continues faithfully to teach Health and Nutrition while practicing expert treatment of innumerable ailments of students and neighbours. Not least, our children, Suzanne and Martin conduct Bible studies 3 times per week with local boys and girls.
Our student roll of 25 includes pastors coming 55, 70 or 87 km's on bicycles. Others ride 12 kms from the town daily. One or two of those who walk I sometimes meet as I ride my bicycle and exercise my dogs at 6h00 each morning! The range of lectures begins after student devotions of Psalm singing in Nyanja, reading and prayer. We hear students regularly confessing that this knowledge imparted is far beyond what they imagined was in the Word. Truths are unfolded which govern every area of life and worship. Great interest was shown in my last few weeks in homiletics - preaching practice - as the outcome of Old and New Testament Introduction, Systematics, Ethics and Hermeneutics. One student reported that he takes his lectures home each week-end and holds his own "college" when he shares his lecture notes with his people!
Three bright volunteers from North America kept us all awake! Mark and his brother, Jonathan, came in from Canada, in May, just as Ray & Sonya had to go. It was so clearly the Lord's provision & they manfully shouldered lectures, admin., building development and evangelism. Everyone was enriched by their zeal and grace.
John from Arizona arrived mid-July. In the next month John crammed every day with evangelism training, leading the students by inspiring example. Many tell us of the impact he made on their lives. One instance of a young man he uplifted, Martin Phiri, has dynamic leadership gifts but was searching for something. John had the answer and preached to him Jesus. Since then, Martin who is brother to the Senior-Chief, has done all in his power to attend our services and assist us as a mission. God is choosing out such key men as He has a mighty work to accomplish here in Eastern Zambia.
This year has been marked by a widening of the range of our activities to meet the crying needs of the community. Our dear friend, Dr. David Clegg, has visited our mission, from retirement in England , at his own expense, three times and has an honoured place in the District Hospital where he saves many lives and tutors trainee medical practitioners. This opening has led to a chaplaincy ministry by our students in the hospital. Pray for their continued, bedside witness when they often meet Roman Catholics, Muslims and Jehovah's Witnesses. Confronting the AIDS epidemic has to be a priority when 110 000 Zambians are dying every year of this epidemic. Two conferences led by Dr Clegg stimulated a Biblical programme of action. One Health Co-ordinator requested a copy of my presentation on "Building Strong Christian Homes" as the best long-term answer to HIV.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE PIPELINE
For long we battled to organize a water supply as essential for our New Mission land. A dam, built last year collapsed, wells dug failed and quotations for a borehole were excessive, our Regional Director of Water Affairs was in Sweden. In our last week, we heard he had returned; one man went off to make our plea to him and returned doubtful. On the day before we left, I was saluted in town by the local Water Affairs Manager, who said he had a rig going through this week and could divert it to our mission! He arrived next day, in the middle of our prize-giving, and hasty negotiations were concluded to sink the hole the day after we left! On the same day, Hansie arrived with a solar pump, for the new hole, from Frontline Fellowship in Cape Town! HERE IS WATER - the primary need. It is the Lord's doing!
Of the 25 students, only three failed. Even these benefitted, despite their deficiency in English and some recognition will be given them.
The top student, Alutha Lungu, of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, averaged over 90% with others close behind him from the Baptist, Anglican and Reformed churches.
More guest lecturers are expected to visit next year and we appeal for a full time agriculturist. Dr Clegg has new health initiatives in view and approaches are being made to higher institutions to further the studies of our best students after they graduate next year. Scholarships by overseas sponsors are the only way they can proceed. But the main thrust must be with the core of our students who need to be equipped with godly skills in introducing the implications of the Gospel in regenerating the whole man and the whole community for the Kingdom of God. At the heart of this is the defeat and dispersal of the Kingdom of Darkness. Already we see our men active in exorcising demons and challenging the dark practices of witchcraft and false religion. New churches are continually being planted and new converts baptized into the Kingdom. Be part of this glorious expansion, send us your e-mail address and become an intercessor and supporter to make Zambia a "praise in the earth".
Rev. David Fraser