Missionary: Jill Avery

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“I’m NEVER going to Africa!”

This was my thought when I was younger.

How is it, then, that my last 14 years have been spent mostly in Africa?!? It’s really all the Lord’s doing! Through various circumstances, people, and His perfect peace and will, this “I’m never going to” place has become home…God’s ways are always better than any other way!

Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect… | Deuteronomy 32:3b-4a

Tucked into the northwestern part of Zambia, in Central Africa, is a school. It began over 90 years ago, created for the children of missionaries. There are many stories about “the good old days,” when lions would come around and elephants would be a part of the norm as one journeyed through the African bush to get here.

Although lions and elephants are not part of the regular occurrences anymore, and the students are no longer all missionary children, some things haven’t changed. The school is a faith-based mission which seeks to instill in its students a Biblical foundation for their lives. The staff pray for the children’s personal salvation and growth and seek to provide a good education for them as well. We realize that this is the Lord’s school and pray that what is done and taught here would be for His glory!

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Some Sakeji Mission School smiles!

The school ranges from grade 1 to 9. This term, we have over 80 students who board here for about three months at a time. The majority of our students are Zambian and come from a variety of backgrounds. The main teaching staff are all commended missionaries. God’s Word is still allowed to be spoken of freely in Zambia, and we realize what a privilege this is!

This term, we received a letter from a student who left us recently. He is having a challenging time adjusting to things at his new school. He says to the grade 8-9 class,

“…The one thing that you must keep in mind in your last year, or second last year, till you finish is that the world outside of Sakeji doesn’t try to bring you up the way that school does. I know that sometimes you wish you could leave right then, but cherish all those moments that you have.”

The school year is full of moments. Just like in any place, there are joys and sorrows, ups and downs—and then there’s sometimes malaria, chicken pox, and head lice thrown into the mix! The life and work here is really a daily line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept kind. The highlights of the year are when a little one comes to Him. On those days, we’re told that there’s rejoicing in heaven too!! Also, a number have been baptized here, and this is so wonderful to witness!
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Some of my guitar students

You never know what’s going to come out of these kids’ mouths! The other day one of our grade ones was talking about a new song he had learned: “Swing low, sweet Cheerios”! Instead of “chariot,” he thought we were all singing about Cheerios! Lots of chuckles were made over that one!!

We would appreciate your prayers for our students, that their hearts would not become hardened to God’s Word by much hearing. Pray for their salvation and growth. Also, please pray for more teachers to come here to this place in the Lord’s timing and will. There is a great need for teachers. Thank you so much for your prayers! They are so valued!

The school is a distribution point for Bibles and Christian literature in English (the official language of Zambia) and Lunda (the local tribal language). Our last supply of the Lunda Bibles are almost finished. We are waiting for the Bible to be reprinted. It’s wonderful to see that God’s Word is still hungered for and wanted here!

When I think about challenges on the mission field, something I’ve heard about it really resonated with me, and I’m finding it to be true. Here it is in a nutshell: When you come out as a missionary, you hope, with the Lord’s help, to make a change in people’s lives.

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Part of the student body with a beautiful red flamboyant tree in the background

After living as a missionary for a while, in an isolated location, working alongside others in a very small community (the majority being children), and living in a bit of a fishbowl, you realize that the Lord is up to something else: changing you! Pride, selfishness, anger, impatience…lots of ugly things seem to surface…so much dross! The good thing about Him doing all this changing is that I’ve realized much more deeply how much I need Him! I am so very thankful for His mercy and grace!!

In thinking of these challenges, one of my favorite passages is Hebrews 4:14-16:

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. | Hebrews 4:14-16

I’d like to share a few more verses with you to encourage you in our pilgrim journey:

…Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith … Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. | Hebrews 12:2, Isaiah 41:10

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Click here for more information on how to financially support Jill as she serves the Lord in Zambia.

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