Nancy Collins - March 2018 Update
Regional Liaison for East Central Africa
The Outreach Foundation is sponsoring a trip to Southern Africa to see how God is at work through partners in Zimbabwe and Zambia. The trip will be led by Outreach Foundation staff, Frank Dimmock, Africa Specialist, and Ebralie Mwizerwa, Projects Coordinator. Also traveling with us will be Rev. Ted and Sue Wright, former missionaries in Southern Africa. The trip dates are August 28-September 10, 2018. For more information or to sign up for the trip please contact Lisa Dill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear family and friends,
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus Christ from Justo Mwale University (JMU), Lusaka, Zambia where I have my home. It is quiet, very green, a lovely place to live. I enjoy having the theological students and faculty as my neighbors, and I appreciate when they stop by calling “odi” to say hello.
The 2018 JMU Bachelor of Theology (BTh) program is well underway now, although it got off to a bumpy start. Cholera broke out in Lusaka in October 2017. By January 12, 2,840 cases were recorded with 64 deaths. At the end of December, the Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, banned gatherings of more than five people (including worship) and outlawed street vending. Military police patrolled the streets to enforce the bans. At the beginning of January, Dr. Chilufya postponed the opening of schools nationwide. The ban on public gatherings was lifted February 3.
During the relative chaos created by the cholera outbreak, a new JMU administrative team was getting oriented to a new organizational chart and new responsibilities. The University Council appointed Dr. Lukas Soko, former Dean of Students, to succeed Dr. Edwin Zulu who served as Vice Chancellor for eight years. Dr. Stephen Sitali Kakungu is continuing as JMU Registrar. He is joined by Dr. Victor Chilenje as Assistant Registrar Academic Affairs and Dr. Dustin Ellington, JMU lecturer. The administrative team is working to move forward to meet requirements as a university with Schools of Theology and Religious Studies, Education, Business Studies, and Humanities and Social Sciences.
JMU BTh students coming from multiple countries in southern Africa were scheduled to arrive on campus January 8. Due to the cholera, the university contacted them to postpone travel. Orientation began Monday, January 22 and classes started Monday, January 29. The BTh students are now all busy with classes; evangelists and pastors are on campus participating in the JMU Booth Center Sustainability Program which teaches agricultural methods for self-support. The week of February 19, master’s students in distance learning programs in theology and education were on campus for contact sessions with lecturers. Despite the different programs in session, the campus maintained its tranquil atmosphere.
My main connection to JMU is as administrator of the scholarship program which serves Presbyterian students from five synods of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe), two entities of Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa (in Zambia and Zimbabwe), and the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique. There are currently 16 scholarships which sounds like a lot until you realize they are divided among eight Presbyterian partners in the region.
I met with scholarship students at the end of their first week on campus to get acquainted and to gather the information needed to properly calculate their scholarships. The students came back to my house over the following few days to give me their information sheets and to have a photo taken. I emailed the photo and information sheet for each student to his/her sponsor in the United States. It is a pretty intense process for a couple of weeks!!
Jose Jaime Bazima is one of the scholarship students I met for the first time in February. He is from the Portuguese-speaking Presbyterian Church of Mozambique (IPM), established by the Swiss Mission from South Africa in the 1880s. He lives in Maputo in southern Mozambique so of the scholarship students, he has traveled the farthest to answer God’s call to Justo Mwale. He came to Justo Mwale with his wife, Obed and their four-year-old son, Khensani. IPM blessed them with air tickets so they flew from Maputo to Johannesburg, South Africa and then on to Lusaka, much easier than three days on the bus which is how some of the previous IPM students have traveled.
The biggest challenge for the Bazima family is their limited knowledge of English. Jose shared that he studied English in high school and his wife also knows some English, but it is hard for Jose to keep up with his theology courses and for Obed to understand what is being taught to spouses of theological students in the Christian ministry program. Jose has a wonderful attitude about learning. According to Jose, “In each of my courses I am taking two courses at the same time – theology and English. For both subjects it is a challenge and an opportunity.” Jose expects that his fluency in English will have increased greatly by the end of 2018. After completing theological studies at Justo Mwale, Jose looks forward to returning to Mozambique wherever IPM will send him. “I am not depending on self,” he says. He desires to work for church and community.
East Central Africa is a very active region. It is a great joy to see the many ways God is at work here. I appreciate with all my heart your care and concern, your prayers, your communication, and your financial support for my ministry. Thank you. I ask that you please continue your support of my ministry. You are my partners here, making my work possible.
Your sister in Christ,
The Outreach Foundation is seeking $10,000 for support funds for Nancy Collins and $5,500 per student per year for scholarships at Justo Mwale University.