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Special Canada Day Edition 01/07/13

Don & MJIt’s not goodbye, it’s so long…

(Originally written on Monday June 24, 2013)

I am writing this blog thirty-five thousand feet in the air on British Airways flight 254.

MJ and I lifted off from Zambian soil this morning after spending three and a half years in this wonderful country.  It is the people of Zambia that we will miss the most.  People like Bishop Harrison Sakala who first welcomed us to Zambia, and so kindly dropped us off at the airport this morning.  People like Bishop Wilson Phiri who believed in us from the beginning and hosted our first series of RTC conferences in Zambia.  People like Dr. Adrian Chalwe, president of TTC, who extended the invitation for us to renovate the prayer tower in the center of the campus and open our first leadership center.  People like John and Ruth Kerr who made us feel so welcome and made our transition to Zambia so much easier.  People like David Chibale who has become such a dear Zambian friend, and now has a vision to plant a Chinese church in his community.  People like Dr. Victor Chanda who shares a similar vision for leadership development in Zambia, and I am confident will carry the leadership torch into the future.  People like fellow missionary Cheryl Johnston who so often helped us to understand culture and church traditions.  As always, there will be people who will read this blog and wonder why they were not mentioned.  There is not enough room in this blog to include everyone, but to all who have made our time in Zambia so significant (and you know who you are), we say thank you!!!!!!

There are a few perks that I will miss.  Golfing with John Kerr for the equivalent of $8 Canadian dollars (including the caddy). Carol, the only hairdresser in Kitwe who knew how to cut a white man’s hair (for only $8 dollars I may add).  Our Friday night braii’s (BBQ’s) that went back and forth between the Kerr’s home and ours.   The great PAOC mid-termers who shared our property over the years.

Then, there are a few things that MJ and I will not miss.  They include malaria, power outages (including the one that happened on the morning we left, making the final washing of clothes very difficult, delaying our trip by about two hours), water turned off daily, growing traffic congestion, broken down trucks and Internet interruptions.

So Zambia, it is not good bye, it is so long.  Lord willing, we will return each year for seminars and conferences (including “The Missional Church” Conference in March 2014).  We are indebted to you for allowing us to lay such a solid foundation for RTC.  Now, we will build on that foundation in 2014 from Pretoria, South Africa.

Thank you for accepting us so warmly in your beautiful country.  Thank you for the hundreds who faithfully attended RTC seminars and conferences.  Thank you for your encouragement to press on in leadership development on the Continent of Africa.  Thank you for modeling such a passionate and exuberant love for Jesus in churches across the nation.  Thank you for allowing us to call Zambia our African home for the last three and a half years.

As a couple, we are grateful for all of those that we have gotten to know and grown close to in Zambia.  You are missed already and your influence in our lives will always be cherished.

Our last Sunday in Zambia was spent at Ebenezer Pentecostal Cathedral.  What a thrill to see twelve people walk to the altar and accept Christ as personal Savior at the end of my message.  I could not ask for a better conclusion!!!

We have left our African home and now find ourselves celebrating Canada Day on Canadian soil.  I never tire of the thrill of seeing our children and giving them a huge hug!!!  Over the next six months, we will criss-cross the nation, visiting churches and re-connecting with friends.  What a privilege is ours to experience “two continents and two perspectives”.

Until next Monday…

Don

www.reiventingthechurch.com

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