I was thankful that my return flights were comfortable and uneventful, and I enjoyed arriving at two recently completed new airports here in Zambia — in Lusaka and in Ndola. Those who remember the old and dilapidated Ndola International Airport would agree that the new facility was long overdue! It has been super to be so warmly welcomed back by so many friends and colleagues and young people, and to settle back into familiar routines as the rains begin and temperatures drop.
Being welcomed back has emphasised to me the importance of my role as a “father to the fatherless”, and of course the motherless too. It has become obvious how much our presence means to these young people. The little we are able to do in paying attention to them and supporting their needs is significantly, and indeed disproportionately, appreciated. Of course I look forward to having Alison’s support again when she arrives in January. Both our schools are running smoothly and I am encouraged to see how our Limapela people have taken responsibility during our absence so that Alison and I can pull back and enjoy having less pressure in our lives.
This week I plan to drive to Lusaka to set in motion an application for an employment permit for Kirsty Lickfold, a primary teacher from Hamilton, New Zealand. Kirsty visited Zambia briefly as a tourist in 2019 and now feels called to join Limapela as a volunteer. We look forward to welcoming her around Easter of the coming year. We also anticipate a sort of partnership with Germans Tobias and Carola Schempp. They have given many years to mission in Angola and Zambia, and they have recently decided to work as roaming volunteers to support a number of different missions here in the Copperbelt province. Tobias is a mechanic, and Carola an agriculturist, so we expect that their skills and experience will be of considerable help to Limapela.
We wonder why the COVID-19 crisis seems to have abated in Zambia in recent months. We have read about a theory that endemic malaria in this part of the world may be an inhibitor to COVID. But now the Omicron variant, identified last week in South Africa, will doubtless find its way up to Zambia very soon, and our perceptions may change yet again.
I guess being in New Zealand for 9 months has allowed us to more effectively articulate the Limapela story and our need for ongoing support. We thank all our generous friends and supporters for so generously responding to ensure that we are able to do the things we are called to do.
— Matthew and Alison Raymond