Good Soil and Thorns: Miller's November Update
Goshen Church blossomed so much since we saw it last year. Thokozani showed me the school they were building for village children. “When we harvested potatoes, we laid the foundation and built to here.” She pointed about one foot high on the brick building. “After the maize harvest, we built to here,” she pointed next to a level just below the windows. Young men from the village were plastering the building as we walked around. “They are working now, and we’ll make sure they have fertilizer for their fields by planting time.” She pointed out the cisterns in their newly purchased field, which can provide irrigation and year-round vegetable crops. (Thanks to the PAZNAZ kids VBS for the donations making that purchase possible!) A neighbor had two pregnant cows who were malnourished from lack of feed. Thokozani purchased them, and by spring they should have two young heifers and start providing fresh milk for the Children’s Development Center. Thoko continues to provide juice for the children through her tailoring business, and now she has a shop by the road where she sells her items. Other villagers have asked her to help build storefronts for them, and she is already planning for a community tea house. She is bringing beautiful clothes, jobs, vegetables, protein, and water into the village. She is teaching the children about math and business even as they learn Bible stories.
Thokozani’s husband Nixon was elected District Superintendent and now oversees more than 150 Nazarene churches in our region. Although he could live in a big house in town, Thoko and Nixon continue to go without power, internet, indoor plumbing, and paved roads so that they can make a profound difference as they live among the people. Greg and I really respect them and hope that we can bring impacts like that to villages some day, or at least encourage other pastors to bring that kind of health to communities. I’ve had a chance to visit some community clinics in the Nkhoma area, and we are trying to find more about public health projects here and join the hospital chaplains in their Community Health Evangelism.
But we’ve had some difficult times, too. Between power outages, lack of water, bed bugs, and lack of sleep, we really feel the difference of living in the village instead of the city. The hospital has really been in the middle of a staffing crisis, and remaining clinicians are feeling burned out. Greg himself is tired driving to town so many times. He’s getting to know his students a bit, but the distance impedes the impactful mentorship he’s been hoping for. Greg has been discussing opportunities at the Nkhoma seminary, Josophat Mwale Theological Institute, but we hesitate to pack more into our lives right now. We praise God for the 7 visiting doctors and residents who came in the last month to help with staff shortages, and for Greg’s mom who is helping us with day-to-day living and a fresh perspective. Even so, we are preparing for the next few months, which may bring many more patients (malaria season) and much less staff (holidays and saying goodbye to volunteers). We want to be strong, we want to make an impact here, but we will be relying on your prayers more than ever in the coming weeks.
This month, please pray for:
- Wisdom as we re-evaluate long-term plans and strategize sustainable ministry here
- Peace and rest as we make some difficult decisions and face some stressful times
Thank you for your prayers and support, Christina and Greg