Work Team in Zambia – Lessons in Trust

International travel is hard right now. COVID has made it much more challenging and mission organizations have seen a dramatic decline in teams visiting the mission field right now. We just had a team that braved the challenges of this crazy time and came to visit us anyway. It’s the first team we’ve had since 2019. It was also a special team in that it consisted of five family members to one of the missionaries, Emily.

This team dealt with disrupted fundraisers, last-minute passports, positive COVID tests, two team members having to turn back before arriving, lost luggage, flight changes, and government restrictions changing what they could do. In other words, it was an experience filled with opportunities to let things go and learn to trust God more. Like the old adage, “We make plans, and God laughs.” Our plans were constantly being disrupted and yet God knew it all before we did and it was a part of what He had for them and us.

The team was able to play with kids, put together some PETs, sand and varnish church benches, attend a PET distribution, clean and repaint the NLC kitchen, attend a church service where the church benches were being used, experience Chisokone market at its busiest, and get to know the NLC staff.

Teams are important to ministries. They get to see the work first-hand. The pictures and stories become flesh and blood. It’s no longer a vague or far-away thing that they hear about once in awhile from a newsletter, or a blog, or a social media post, or from hearing a missionary speak. They get to really experience a small taste of the reality that the ministry is seeking to serve real people with real needs. Team members become ambassadors for the ministry – helping spread the word and need to others, keeping us in prayer and on people’s minds. It’s one way of moving from a supporter to a partner. Supporters are great and needed! Partners are even better.

20 PETs Delivered to Mufulira

Over the weekend, we delivered twenty PETs to Mufulira. We worked with Pastor Zemba Wellington with the SDA church who has worked with us many times over the years to help identify those who need help with mobility. In one beautiful act of kindness and selflessness, one woman who had claimed a PET saw others who had come too late and willingly gave up the claimed PET saying “Please give this to someone who needs it more than me.

We pray that all twenty people will be able to become more active and involved in their families and in their communities now. And that we can continue to provide PETs to those that need them, including that selfless woman. That in providing this gift to others, we can show the love of Christ to a group of people that are too often forgotten.

Working Towards Sustainable Preschool Education

Possibilities Preschool was built with the support of Possibilities Abound, Inc in Kawama next to Grace UMC a few years ago. We at New Life Center entered this partnership with Possibilties Abound with the idea that a preschool could be a way to help the community and one of our sister churches.

There has always been a need for more quality preschools that give a solid start to a child’s education. Churches often struggle with their finances and in ways to help serve the communities in a practical way. We saw a long time ago that maybe we could do something to help meet both these needs – partner a preschool with a church. The church provides the location; the preschool helps the community and brings in some church income by “renting” the location with a small percentage of their income.

It has been a bumpy road as we have navigated this venture with that wonderful but sometimes elusive goal of self-sustainability before us. Providing quality education at a reasonable price that allows the school to be maintained properly and the teachers to be paid a reasonable wage. Every year we have made changes to help us on this road to get closer to the goal.

COVID has made things extra challenging with the government closing schools down at different points last year and this year but we are still hopeful as we have seen some promising changes this year – an increase in the quality of education and the number of paying students which increases the overall income, getting us closer to seeing the preschool become self-sustaining. We aren’t there yet but we are getting closer!

Thank you to the preschool staff – Teachers Rose, Jane, and Elizabeth – for all their hard work in caring for these kids and helping them with a solid educational foundation.

Training Women

Women work hard to care for their families. New Life Center seeks to train and empower women to help them in that work. We regularly have women’s seminars where we teach women new skills – tailoring, gardening, and cooking – are all examples of things we taught in the past. This year the women learned how to make two different types of floor mats and small bags made out of chitenge material. We also took some time to teach the women about bookkeeping and starting a small business. Our prayer is that the Lord would guide these women to using their skills and resources to help provide for their families.

Investing in the Future Leaders of the Church

COVID may be slowing down our ministries and what we can do, but God is still working! Limiting the number of attendees to follow health restrictions, New Life Center hosted the UMC youth leadership training this year. It’s said a lot – the youth are the future of the church.  We say it a lot because it is true. Investing in the youth means investing in the future. We want the church to be filled with leaders who are servant-minded, grounded in the Word, honest, discerning, and most of all truly love the Lord. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes intentionality, time, work, love, mentorship, encouragement, challenging them, patience, wisdom, and truth. Seeds have to be planted and watered, and given time to grow.

This training taught on everything from servant leadership to financial integrity. Our prayer is for strong future leadership in the body of Christ.

ED Project – We Never Retire From God’s Work

Rick and Cathy Hatcher have been partnering and serving with New Life Center here in Zambia for many years. Throughout the years, they saw the need for more education for the children in Zambia and more training for the teachers. As retired educators themselves, they decided they could maybe help. Thus they began the ED Project. While in Zambia, Rick makes tables, cabinets, and other supplies for preschools to use. Cathy reads and does crafts with the kids and spends a good deal of time working with the preschool teachers training them in new ideas and methods for effective teaching. While in the US, they collect more educational and classroom supplies to send to Zambia. They have worked so hard to help serve Zambian children in giving some of them a better chance at a strong educational foundation which in turn gives them a better shot at breaking out of the poverty cycle.
New Life Center is blessed to be able to partner with the Hatchers in their hard work and service. We are grateful for their commitment to the education of the children here. God doesn’t finish using you once you retire. He wants to continue to use you for His Kingdom work. The Hatchers are a great example of this! They are faithful to the call of God in their lives, and He is using them to make a difference.

Continuing the Feeding Program Amidst COVID-19

Each week we are still working with feeding malnourished, under 5 year old children in Zambia Compound 3 times per week. The program has changed a bit due to COVID-19. We no longer meet once a week with the children to serve them hot porridge. Now we are only able to provide them with a dry High Energy Protein Supplement (HEPS) 3 times a week. We make it here at NLC each week and deliver it to one of our Community Health Educators (CHEs) who live in Zambia Compound. The family of the children in the program then come and collect it from the CHEs. It is still helping children stay nourished and healthy. Thank you to all who make this feeding program a success!

Abram Gets a PET!

This is Abram. He is 5 years old and lives in Solwezi. Earlier this year he became very ill with malaria and stayed in the hospital for about 2 months. There were complications that led to his feet and his hands being permanently damaged. He has lost all his toes and many of his fingers. His hands have already healed but his feet remain in bandages. His wish was to have a bicycle, so for his 5th birthday he was given a small bike but because his feet are in bandages and still very painful he is unable to ride the bike. He sits each day on a mattress outside his house while his siblings and friends play on the street and learn to ride bikes. Receiving this new PET has given him a new life, one where he can be mobile again and play outside with his brothers and friends. It has given his mother and father hope for his future and much reason for his family and friends to celebrate! Thank you so much for enabling Abram to have one of these PET bicycles.

The Growing Church in Zambia!

Here we are in May already…WOW! We hope your year has been filled with lots of great memories and health!

We have been very busy holding conferences, building sister churches and church benches, building and distributing PET handicap tricycles, working on our plans for the new Livingstone center, and we have much more planned for the year.

We want to bring some of the highlights to your attention. Let me remind you, as well, that you can follow these events as they happen on FaceBook. We really encourage you to join. These posts are loaded with pictures and videos!! We have two main pages…

  • New Life Center Zambia
  • PET Zambia.

First… we just held the 2019 Holy Spirit Encounter here at NLC. This was, once again, a very special time for our pastors and leaders of the Zambia UMC Conference. We had a number of speakers from Zambia; Rev. Kenneth Kalichi, Rev. Robert Kilembo, Chaplain Beatrice Soko, Rev. Delbert Groves as well as Rev. Scott George, along with his wife Tammi and daughter Alison, from PineCastle UMC, Orlando, Florida. This was the 5th time for Pastor Scott to join us. Our time together was simply outstanding! The words of faith and encouragement to the leadership of our growing Zambia United Methodist Church is always so very important for those that are pioneering the way! It refreshes all of us to keep going in our work for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Holy Spirit Encounter – April 19th to 23rd, 2017

Dear Partners,

Holy Spirit Encounter 2017For the last fifteen years we have hosted the Holy Spirit Encounter gathering here at the New Life Center in Kitwe. This has become one of the key events for pastors and church leaders in the Kitwe area and actually all of the Zambia Conference. Our UMC pastors and their families are true pioneers when it comes to building the church in Zambia. Their living conditions are difficult. There are difficulties getting enough money for food and for their children’s education. Many of them do not have their own church building to worship in so they must find money to rent a room for Sunday only. Bibles and study material to help them grow in their personal faith are not always available. The purpose of the HSE is to encourage and bring fresh insight and vision to those that work so very hard, in these difficult situation, for the Kingdom of God.

This year we once again have three wonderful speakers coming to share and encourage those that are able to come. Evangelist Blake Lorenz from Orlando, Fl., who has been coming each year from the start. Then Rev. Scott George out of our home church, Pine Castle UMC in Orlando, Fl. And then Evangelist Ken Suckling, a missionary’s son who grew up in Zambia, coming from Bristol, England. This is the third year these three have teamed up and it has been a great encouragement for all of us. It’s such a blessing to have them!

Holy Spirit Encounter 2017Each year everyone that comes leaves recommitted to their faith and call in ministry. So often there are times at the alter for specific commitments of their lives and some of our visitors even give their lives to Christ for the first time. However, before this gathering takes place it’s always best if we ask God to lead and bring favor on this special time. That’s why I’m sending this quick update out. We want to ask YOU to take time between now and April 19-23 to pray for The Holy Spirit Encounter and our Zambia leadership as they come and learn. Ask God to help our speakers, to give them clarity and annointing as they speak. This is your time to be in ministry for the church of faith in Zambia through your prayers. These are your brothers and sisters in Christ giving themselves to a great and wonderful calling…. To make disciples of all nations.

We’ll be sending more after the Holy Spirit Encounter…

Faithfully, Delbert & Sandy