A grade eight student wrote last week in her journal, “I used to think that I got saved in grade two, but about a month ago, I realized that there had been no change in my life. Last night, while I was in bed, it became clear. I suddenly saw Jesus’ sacrifice differently. I saw myself as a dirty worm. I realized that Jesus died so that a worm such as I am could live and be washed clean. I know that Jesus has come into my heart and God sees me as clean now.”
When the Lord works in salvation, we realize afresh the awesome and yet humbling privilege it is to serve the Lord in a small way here at Sakeji Mission School. Furthermore, the school’s motto, “But continue Thou,” based on 2 Timothy 3:14, 15, is realized as letters and emails are received from former students. It is a wonderful encouragement to be able to receive communication from them, showing that they are continuing and developing in the things of the Lord.
Pam and I, along with our three children, came to Sakeji Mission School in 2003. We first heard about Sakeji when there was talk of closing the school due to a lack of teachers and other staff to carry on the Lord’s work here, which had been going on since 1925 in this part of rural Zambia. The Lord opened the way for us to come, and by faith we came. What a joy and privilege to serve as teacher, nurse, and parents to a large extended family!
With the tremendous privilege, there is tremendous responsibility to communicate the gospel, in lifestyle as well as word. My mind often turns to Psalm 78:4: “Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” The purpose follows in verse 7, “That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” This is our prayer and desire, that the children, who come to Sakeji, would not only hear the Word, but also receive it and make it their own through a personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. As we plant the seed of the Word of God, we pray that it will continue to bring forth much fruit and, as a result, these children will grow into men and women of God, bringing glory to Him in their communities, homes, and workplaces.
The past few years have seen many changes taking place: buildings have been maintained, a water turbine installed to provide 24-hour power, a school curriculum revised and updated, a new kitchen and dining hall facility built, and sundry other projects to update and make Sakeji Mission School a place where children can continue to receive a very good education but, more importantly, receive the message of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Currently there are 75 children, ages 6 through 15 who call Sakeji “home” and “school” for 34 weeks of the year. There is a staff of 13 missionaries that fills a variety of roles: dorm parents, teachers, headmaster, caterer, maintenance, and secretary. Besides our main roles, we all take on other responsibilities to meet the needs of these children, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As a new school year approaches in January, we are inundated with many applications for a place. If we could, we would accept all who apply, but we wait on the Lord to raise up others to help us here.
In the past most students were children of missionaries; now there are children from many diverse backgrounds. Some are missionary’s children, others are children of Zambian commended missionaries and various church workers, some are from Zambian business owners, while others are children of government employees. The parents are very supportive of the work we are trying to do here. Some only wish for their children to have a good education and do not have spiritual interests at all. However, many do desire a school that will build into their children Biblical values. We trust that whatever the reasons of the parents for choosing this place for the education for their children, we will not only do that, but we will be able to point them to Christ as well! There are always ample opportunities in parent-teacher interviews at the end of the term to share spiritual truths with the parents and encourage them in the things of the Lord. So, although most of the efforts made are with the children, we trust that there will be eternal fruit borne out in the lives of parents as well.
The Lord’s work here at the school does take most of one’s time and energy, but with His help, there are opportunities to reach out into the surrounding communities. At times and often through local assemblies, practical help for widows and orphans can be given. Provision of medical attention and treatment of minor cases to those who work for the school as well as their families is another area of outreach. This also extends to others when medicines run out at the local government clinic. There are opportunities to speak in local assemblies and conferences, assisted by those who are able to interpret into the local language of Lunda. There is a real need for clear, gospel preaching and sound teaching in our area and there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Some are involved with a local Scripture Union group, comprised of high school students at a nearby high school. During the term, there are weekly meetings in English and a yearly weekend outing. In July, two of these high school students professed faith in Christ as Savior during this outing.
There is a need for others to join us in the work for the Lord here in various capacities and we continue to look to Him to supply each need. Perhaps you are not able to come, but would you pray? Pray for staff to be raised up of the Lord to come and serve here with us; pray for the Lord’s blessing in salvation and growth in the things of the Lord; and pray that we might all be sensitive to the Lord’s leading.