Dustin and Sherri Ellington - April 2013 Update
Greetings from Zambia. I realize people appreciate stories of what God has done, and we do like to share those! But my experience is that the most significant stories I’m involved in are just beginning. My calling is to equip and prepare others for ministry. I teach students, I preach to them, I befriend them, and sometimes I have to correct them. I also do a lot of listening, whether in class discussions, as seminarians preach, informally between classes, or sitting with them in my office. I teach, but I also try to offer a pastoral presence in students’ lives, to take part in what God is doing to mold and shape them for future ministry.
It’s gratifying to see students find their own thoughts and voices. The process couldn’t happen in a matter of a few days or a few weeks. It’s happened over two or three years. Walking with others in a genuinely transforming way is something that can take time. Real results cannot be hurried. But if we’re patient and stick with people, they produce fruit.
Because of the growth of Christianity in Africa, our seminary’s graduates normally begin their ministries as solo pastors of congregations with between 500 and 3000 members. The training in character and skills which they receive at Justo Mwale will have ripples in many lives.
Let me say thank you for making this ministry possible through your prayers and financial support. Some forms of work cannot be done from a distance or in a short-term way; you who pray for us and support us financially are making it possible for my family and me to be here. Thank you, indeed. You are playing a role in the development of grassroots leadership for the church in Africa - and leaders of churches play a critical role in the daily life of communities on this continent.
I want to take the opportunity of this letter to let you know that my family and I will be based in Louisville, Kentucky for Interpretation Assignment from late July of 2013 until early July of 2014. We will be finished with our first three-year term of service in Zambia, and we hope we can see many of you before we return to Zambia for another three-year term.
If you would consider inviting us, we would love to visit and share. We can speak in a wide variety of settings - Sunday morning services, church potlucks, mission or Bible conferences, college and seminary events, Sunday school or Bible study groups, and mission committee gatherings - to name just a few. I'm happy to preach and teach, or we can share in less formal ways.
Sherri and I can speak about the following: our ministry in Zambia and at Justo Mwale; the significance of training pastors and Christian leaders (especially in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East); the global work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency; and biblical perspectives on the life of mission and ministry.
We will be receiving our normal salary and benefits during this time, so we do not need to be paid for speaking. We would, however, appreciate help with travel expenses.
Please keep us and our ministry in your prayers. For our seminary, Justo Mwale, we would appreciate prayers for a spirit of mutual encouragement among students and faculty and that our students would gain a vision for ministry that is self-giving in the manner of Christ. For our family, we would appreciate prayers that we may be centered in Christ and have perspective in the midst of very busy days and weeks before we leave Zambia for America. Our son, Clayton, is also taking many big exams covering the past two years of his British curriculum schooling.
We are so grateful for your partnership with us and the ministry God has given us in Zambia. Thanks especially for your prayers!
Yours in Christ,
Dustin and Sherri Ellington
Minimum Goal for 2014
$10,000 for ministry funds and $1,400 per month for student scholarships at Justo Mwale Theological University College