stratton tingle letter

Friday, November 1, 2002

Dear Southeast Missouri,

Greetings from Zambia! I've been here for nearly two months now as a student missionary and am loving every day of it. I am on a huge farm that employs 350 people, 100 of whom reside on the farm. There is a Bible school here for children and older students enroll in evangelistic training, lifestyle and tailoring classes. We have over 50,000 banana plants, along with tons of fruit trees and other gardens.

Right now, we are in guavas up to our ears, and I love it. Pretty soon the mangos will be ripe so I'm looking forward to that.

I haven't been doing much farming, however. After one week of settling in, I went to Botswana to help out with a two-week evangelistic seminar. The people here are yearning for truth and for freedom from the vices of alcohol, prostitution and famine and are very open to the Christian message.

After Botswana, I went to Zimbabwe to visit Hwange Game Park and Victoria Falls. God really blessed us tremendously at the game park. We saw four of the "Big 5" (water buffalo, elephant, rhino and lion ... we didn't see leopard until last weekend here in Zambia).

Those animals are just indescribably amazing. We went whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River, which was really, really awesome, also. I can't explain the magnitude and force of the water that falls over the edge. It's breathtaking.

After that trip, they put me straight to work with the World Food Program. Nearly everyday, I go give food to starving people. As you may know, Zambia refuses to accept genetically-modified maize from the U.S. and U.K. You may not know, however, that the genetically-modified cornmeal is sitting in the depots wasting space right in front of the peoples' noses. I go to a distribution point in a village with anywhere from 10 to 30 tons of white maize for distribution, and have to load 10 to 30 tons of U.S. meal to take away. That's very frustrating, because I have to make people that are starving help me load food that the government won't let them have and take it away. Our district has just been upgraded to a Zone 1 hot spot by the World Food Program, which means that the starvation and AIDS epidemic is as bad as it can get.

It also means that I will have a lot of work to do.

So, I've been putting in 14 hour days, 6 days a week.

It's worth it, though.

God has blessed me more than I could've ever imagined during my time here. I know that this letter is getting lengthy, but I can't stress enough the importance of unselfish living and full devotion to Christ. He has so many things in store for everyone.

The mission field abroad and at home is huge and God calls us all to be missionaries in Matthew 28 and Mark 16. I encourage you all to take the incentive and step out in faith. You won't be disappointed. I know I haven't been. I'll try to write again soon.

Yours in the service of the Lord,

Stratton Tingle

Kafue, Zambia

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