Dear Friends, co-laborers and partners in Christ:
We pray that 2008 has been a wonderful year for you. Our three teen-aged Missionary Kids (MK’s) - Chasah, Caleb and Charliese- are doing well in school and are active in sports and community service projects. Our adult children, Candace and Charles are thankfully doing well with Candace receiving her PhD from Stanford in CA this year in Religious Ethics and Charles working at a great Information Technology firm in Georgia and enjoying his new house, neither are married. Our ministry year has been busy, blessed and challenging yet it has been such a fruitful and meaningful one. We have been involved in a number of exciting projects that have kept us active and creative and as 2009 approaches we are confident that God will continue to bless His work.
Our year in review:
This year we traveled to various locations in Zambia teaching Spiritual Formation classes as well as preaching in various churches. With your help we were able to put the Word of God in the hands of many people through distribution of bibles.
In July, a mission team of eight (8) from FBC Pomona, CA visited us. Aside from conducting VBS sessions, preaching and teaching, they also helped to continue the renovation work on the Baptist Convention of Zambia’s (BCZ) Zambia International Theological College (ZITC), enabling it to open in September of this year with an enrollment of eight (8) students in the Diploma of Theology Program and six (6) students in Certificate of Theology Program. Lecturers include Rev. Thomas Lumba- BCZ President, Rev. George Zulu- BCZ General Secretary, other credentialed BCZ pastors and Rev. West. The team from FBC Pomona first came in 2007 and scraped, painted, nailed and tiled to start the renovations on the building. The Community Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio donated books from their book depository to ZITC and now the students have the beginnings of a reference library that contains commentaries, bibles and other good reference materials.
ZITC Opening: BCZ President (Second Row, 3rd from left) and General Secretary (Second Row, 1st from left) with first class of students and lecturers.
Another great project we are partnering with our convention churches on is the opening of orphanages and training centers in rural areas. We are commencing this project- Wellspring of Faith and Hope- at the pilot site in a rural village called Nyankuba about 2 hours from Lusaka where orphaned and vulnerable children will have lots of room to play, grow and learn.
A large garden has already been planted with rows and rows of corn which will be milled to make mielie-meal. Mielie-meal is a staple food, part of every meal, eaten alongside of vegetables- in most cases instead of rice which has become extremely expensive. Peanuts, Chinese cabbage, Texas onions, carrots and tomatoes have also been planted in anticipation of the rainy season which has already started in earnest. The church members and community people are working extremely hard digging and making bricks for the buildings to be molded and fired and we are now awaiting the actual construction of the first two dormitories.
Church and community workers digging and molding bricks at rural village orphanage site.
With the help of a talented member of our Missionary Partnership Network (MPN) we are in the process of designing a website (www.westinzambia.org) that we hope you will visit. The website will be user friendly, give you another way to email us and provide access to updated ministry information, pictures and links that you can use for your church and mission groups. Please visit the site and give us your feedback as to what would be helpful to you and e-mail us your thoughts.
To launch the New Year we and International Ministries’ staff have put together a 2009 calendar that pictorially displays our ministry in Zambia. Ordering a 2009 calendar which is $18.00 will help to continue and further ministry around the world. To get your copy visit www.westinzambia.org and pay online, click on the “Contact Us” link and e-mail us (email@example.com) with your name, address and the number of calendars you would like and we will have the calendars mailed to you.
We recognize that because of the credit and mortgage crisis many people are pulling back on their charitable giving but we know that God is still in control. It is only through your donations and prayers that we can continue to remain on the field and continue the work that God has begun here.
Thank you for your faithfulness,
Charles, Sarah, Chasah, Caleb and Charliese West