Dear Friends and Family,
“God wants you back in Africa,” was Dr. Bruce Shelton’s conclusion.What a blessed and busy year it has been! 2011 opened with Timothy’s medical treatment for lead poisoning, fungal and parasitic infections, kidney problems, heart problems, liver problems, and chronic fatigue. Over the first few months of the year we saw the Lord provide both healing and the finances to carry out his treatment. We also witnessed the incredible speed of his recovery: “God wants you back in Africa,” was Dr Bruce Shelton’s conclusion! This was exciting to hear after so many doctors told Tim that he should consider removing himself from Africa permanently due to “unknown causes” and critical complications (like declining multiple-organ function). While Timothy is still taking a vast array of supplements and medications to continue the recovery process, the improvement in his health is nothing less than incredible. For this we are profoundly grateful. Please continue to pray for his recovery and the stability of his health as we serve the Lord in Africa.
Our ministry this year has differed from any previous time in our lives – an improvement for the better, I might add! Last year we faced repeated vehicle and engine problems which forced us to carry out a lot of our ministry from a bicycle. While there were plenty of opportunities locally, this logistical challenge made Timothy’s normal “trade route” of pastor and teacher training nearly impossible to carry out. Not to mention trying to move a family around without a vehicle! We’re grateful for the many opportunities that we found within easy cycle distance and for the friends and fellow missionaries who helped transport us around Kabwe and beyond. That being said, we’re even more grateful to have a fully repaired and running vehicle this year! Thank you to the many of you who prayed and supported us through to this happy end to The Engine Saga.
As 2011 draws to a close, we can look back and see the many ways in which God has provided incredible opportunities to serve Him and His people around Zambia. Timothy has been able to lead pastor, teacher, and leadership training seminars around the country. We’ve distributed almost everything from 2009’s Container Project. Return visits to villages, teachers, pastors, and communities have shown us how far a few books and practical lessons can go when God’s hand is on the recipients (and the teacher). Pro Christo has opened their door very wide for Timothy to use his Teacher Training Manual materials right here in Kabwe- this means less driving and fuel expense as he fine tunes the lessons before going to print next year (Lord willing).
Our family has been malaria free for 18 months. That is a record and an unexpected gift from God! While we’ve experienced a variety of flus, a family bout of dysentery, and the odd parasitic infection, we’ve been blessed to avoid anything truly life-threatening. I think a great deal of this can be credited to the new water filtration system Timothy built upon our return to Zambia earlier this year. Using schematics he found online, Tim constructed a 1,000 liter biosand water filtration system that effectively cuts out nearly all of the plentiful bacteria, parasites, amoebas, and other gross “things” found in Africa’s ground water. That filtered water is then run through a complete reverse osmosis system before we drink it. We praise God for the precious provision of clean drinking water!
Building Our House and Growing Our Ministry
Our vision as a missionary family in Africa is to be an example of God’s covenant and grace to His people. The best way to do this is through our lives, our successes and failures, our sins and repentance. The most appropriate venue is our home- which at the moment is too small to accommodate much in terms of outreach and ministry. Since moving to Zambia we’ve been praying for the Lord to provide a home big enough to facilitate training and discipleship workshops, hospitality, and guests so that we can truly be a “light on the hill” to the community around us. A few months ago we had the unexpected opportunity to start building a house of our own. The amount of funding needed to build the walls and roof, while economical in the Western sense, was a formidable sum to us ($25,000). But it seemed foolish to pass by the chance to have a really good builder using his ministry (Impact Multiplied) to build our home and have it finished before the expected dramatic price increases in 2012 (new president with many new taxes). We trusted in God’s provision, should this project be what He had in mind for us. We are excited to say that through your prayers and support, the Lord has sent in the funds that we need for the first phase of building our house (foundation, walls, & roof)!
We still need to raise about $20,000 to complete the building (electrical, plumbing, fixtures, etc), and we’re again trusting in God’s grace to provide these funds. We are looking forward to having adequate living space for our family and a big enough home to facilitate local discipleship and training workshops. Please keep our home in your prayers as we wait on God’s provision to finish it and plan how to use it for His glory in the coming years.
Big Plans for the Coming Year and YOU CAN HELP!
2012 is going to be a very full year! After the arrival of Baby 3, Timothy is planning a field trip to Uganda and Sudan to carry out pastor and teacher training workshops, as well as work with other ITMI missionary partners. We will also continue holding training workshops around Zambia. We hope to be able to finish our home and move in by June 2012. We are planning another Container Project!!! Our first Container Project was incredibly successful in its goals of saving on the financial burden of bringing materials from South Africa and providing African teachers and pastors with desperately needed discipleship materials,classroom supplies, and Bibles. Watch our website for more details to come and keep your eyes and ears open for Christian school curricula, school supplies, Bibles, Christian discipleship materials, etc. If you hear of churches or schools looking to replace old materials, please snatch them up (or put us in contact with the people who have them). We need YOU to help us collect a container full again!
Will we see you soon? We hope so! We will be returning home to the US, Lord willing, in October of 2012. We plan to pack the Container Project and spend some time with our family, friends, and the many people who’ve been praying for us. We would love to share about missions in Africa with your church or small group- if this is something you or your congregation would be interested in hosting, please get in contact with us! It is not too early- many churches plan their speaker/event calendar a year in advance.
Tim, Ashley, Monica, Frederick and “3″ Keller