Thursday, June 16, 2011

STEAM XXII - Trumble Missionary Update - 11 October 2010

Greetings from Malawi! Itsure is warming up here. I’ve heard October referred to as“Suicide Month” and it definitely is getting hot as we move towardthe summer months. Chichewa is the main language spoken in Malawi(although English is used for higher education and even in Parliament). One of the early things I learned to say after arriving in Malawi was,“Kutenta kwambiri” meaning that it’s very hot. We hadsome pleasant months in June, July, and August but now it’s starting toreally get hot. One might even say it’s “Africa-hot”here!

Saturday was Stephen’s 9thbirthday. A bunch of kids came over to spend the night and that wassomewhat successful although there was a fairly large age range represented andStephen didn’t always feel like he was the center of attention (becausehe wasn’t) and that was a bit disappointing. Another lesson of reallife I guess…Our own selfish desires are not always fulfilled.

Before we moved to Malawi, oneof the things that Stephen consistently identified as one of the good reasonsfor moving to Africa was the fact that the power goes out. The power,indeed, does go out a lot but on the campus of ABC we have some generators andthus we are protected from a lot of the inconvenience of power outages. We didn’t remember to turn the power off for dinner but before we atedesert, Steve threw the breaker switch and plunged us into darkness and we atedesert (cake and Fanta floats) without the main power…we did have somecandles and there was at least one flashlight in use some of the time.

Stephen’s breakfastrequest was “bacon” and we had bacon and eggs for breakfast(I’m not sure he had any eggs but some of us did).

Today, Monday the 11thof October, Stephen is 9 years and 2 days old. I was 2 days past my 9thbirthday when my mother died in November 1979. So, as of tomorrow, all ofmy kids will have had more time with their mother alive on Earth than Idid. It is good to have a mother and we’re blessed to have Beth asmom (and wife). As an adult and as a parent, I have a greaterappreciation for what my Dad went through in raising my sister and I after ourmother died. I was 9 and Amy was not yet 8 and Dad suddenly was thrustinto a position where he had to try to fill the roles of both mom and dad, dealwith the grief of losing his wife, and dealing with all of the logistics ofgetting us back and forth to school and feeding us and such. For yearsDad would consistently drive the morning portion of the carpool so that hewouldn’t have to drive the afternoon portion which would have beentougher to coordinate with work.

A few years ago a church friend,Dennis Andrews, dug out an old copy of our church’s newsletter. This was the November 1979 version in which Connie Wallace, a friend of mymom’s, had written a piece about my Mom.

Quoted here is a part of thatnewsletter:

(Editor’s Note: On this past November 12th,God called Home one of His dear saints, Gladys Tumble. This month, inplace of our usual pastor’s page, we asked a close friend of Gladys toshare some of her thoughts with us.

What a joy it always was to be with Gladys, or even to visit with her on thephone. Now the memories of those times we re-live and cherish, and howglad we are to have them, for her friendship was one of God’s dearestgifts. Her joyful outlook will be what we remember best, and Proverbs15:13a provides an apt description of it: “A happy heart makes theface cheerful”.

The make-up of Gladys’ personality was surely the work of the MasterCraftsman, and how we delighted in her company! Who among us could notrespond to her smile? She had a capacity to have a good time, laugh atherself, and see the funny side of everyday situations, which was sorefreshing. And when she said, “Hi Friend! How are you?”,she really wanted to know, in detail! She knew how to listen andwas not quick to make judgments or give advice. Her interest in peopleseemed to know no bounds, and what an encourager she was. One of thegreatest reasons we loved her is the same reason we miss her…she met needsin our lives. And she freely shared with us her own life—her joysand concerns about her family, friends, health, job; and when she felt afailure in some area—a weakness or sin, that she shared, too. Sheknew us and she let us know her. She was a friend.

Over the years, a picture of her growing-up years as a red-haired,freckle-faced girl on a Washington wheat farm took form in my mind, as sheoften spoke of the close and loving family life she enjoyed, and of the friendsshe had, many of whom she kept in contact with and loved dearly. Gladys’ father died when she was a senior in high school, and though sheloved him and missed him acutely, she saw it was through his death that she andher brother made solid decisions for Christ. Her mother went to [be] withthe Lord only last year. Their relationship was special; she so respectedher mother’s consistent, practical walk with the Lord and Gladys wasfaithful to her in every way—in correspondence, sending pictures, visiting,etc. And her relationship to her brother, Howard was no usual one either,as evidenced by her accounts of their childhood and how they continued to writeweekly.

Throughout her college and single years, she made friends with people whom shecontinued to pray for and love. Then, in 1969 came the bigevent—marriage to Jim, whom she often referred to as “myJim”. And there was no doubt in her mind that God had givenher the best of the best! Last year she even wrote a short article forValentine’s Day which was published in the local paper; it ratherembarrassed Jim, but it aptly described her admiration for him! This isnot to say she did not share rough spots in their relationship, but themarriage they had was a real-life example of a Christ-centered marriage to manyof us. Then in 1970 and ’72 came Daniel and Amy and, once again,she was convinced that God had given them the “cream of thecrop”! They were a great delight to her, and again we had anexample of Christian parenthood from Jim and Gladys.

In June, 1978, came the first of the battle with cancer. The next yearheld many hard times, most especially the physical therapy following surgery,then chemotherapy with all its side effects. And though she admitted tothe difficulties, sometimes through tears, these things only sidelined her forshort periods, then she was up and greeting life and its duties with her usualcheerfulness. It was a beautiful combination of what I came to call“grit and grace”. In May of this year she wrote to an oldfriend in Washington, sharing with her what she had learned and how shehad profited through this experience. Among several things she wrote thatshe had seen God’s love in a new way and that she was certain of Hiscontrol. She came through it with what she called a “rock-ribbedconviction” that she would continue to walk with Him, no matterwhat. She was thankful for the hearing she had with unbelievers due toher bout with cancer, as she shared the reason for her hope. The dailythings of life with Jim and the children were appreciated even more, such asthe opportunity to tuck in the children at night and to do their mending. She called Jim a “tower of strength” and was so thankful forhim. And she said that her relationship to Christ had been renewed as shehad been drawn closer through such a trial. And she was overwhelmed bythe love of His people toward her. Toward the end of the letter, shequoted a woman who was dying of cancer: “Affliction is not learningyou have cancer in your body. It is living without peace and withouthope”. Gladys went on to say that she was encouraged about thepeace and hope that do not depend on health.

Gladys’ life revolved around relationships. Even people who hadknown her for a very short time felt her love and warmth. Though Gladysperceived herself as a very ordinary person, there was nothing ordinary abouther relationships as wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend—her lifewas literally poured into people. In everyday, practical ways she livedout Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in brotherlylove. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Gladys wanted the credit for anything good in her life to go to the Lord, so itwould be fitting to end this with a prayer. “Thank you, Lord, forthe precious gift of knowing Gladys. It was a joy. Thank you forher relationship to You and that she now sees you face to face. We needand accept your comfort. Help us to somehow fill the void of her leavingby being more loving toward one another. In Jesus’ Name,Amen.”
--Connie Wallace– one friend among many

Friday is Mother’s Day inMalawi. Take a moment to thank God for your mother. If your Mom is stillliving, why not take a few minutes to drop her a note or give her a phone calland tell her how special she is to you? For those of you in the UnitedStates, your mother is probably not expecting typical “Mother’sDay” greetings from you this week (since Mother’s Day is in such adifferent part of the year in the U.S.). Surprise her and tell her youlove her.

Jack and Nell Chinchen foundedthe ministry of African Bible Colleges in 1976. They are both in their80s now but they are still active in the ministry. Jack’s office isright across the hall from mine in the Administration Building where I work andthey are our next-door neighbors. You could say that Nell is the“Mother of ABC”. This is Nell’s renewed call for prayerwarriors:

A Message From Nell Chinchen


The mother of Charles Wesley once said, "The handthat rocks the cradle rules the world"... I would like to add to thatstatement..."by prayer."

Empires may tumble; stock markets may crash... but thework of God upheld by prayer will remain steadfast, unmoveable on that solid Rock.

African Bible Colleges was founded by prayer, expanded byprayer, encompassed Africa by prayer, and as we "enlarge the place of ourtent; lengthen our cords, and strengthen our stakes", during theseuncertain days, we need you to become a prayer warrior with us.

Our goal is 100 prayer cells, with one or two ("Iftwo of you will agree as touching anything on earth it will be done for you byMy Father which is in Heaven") praying together once a week for AfricanBible Colleges and its missionaries.

When Jack and I began the first African Bible College inLiberia, West Africa, we had over 500 people praying for us and our childrenevery day. As a result...we now have 3 African Bible Colleges...Malawi,Liberia, Uganda...3 radio stations, a clinic, a Christian academy...and many ofour own children serving in Africa with us and others in Christian ministry.

But that was over 30 years ago!!! Let us renew that vigil!

If you would like to join this army of prayer warriors,please respond below.

We will keep you up to date on special needs ...and youwill be encouraged as together we watch God do amazing things for thefurtherance of His Kingdom in Africa!

In His Grace,
Nell Chinchen

This letter can befound on ABC’s website here: If you are interested in responding to her call forprayer, follow the link and fill out the simple form at the bottom of the web page.

Thank you for yourcontinued prayers for our family. This week Beth and the kids don’thave school as the week is sort of a “spring break” althoughI’m not sure hardly anyone really calls it that. I am taking a fewdays away from the office as well and we’re going to get away for a bitand go to Zomba Mountain to a cottage that a Christian family allows missionaryfamilies to use for a reduced rate. Please pray for a restful time andgood family time.

Finally, please prayfor the African Bible College students. While the costs of theireducation is significantly subsidized, they still are responsible for payingsome of the costs and this can be a very big challenge for some of them. Today I met with a number of students and a few of them will be forced to leavecampus and not attend classes until they meet some of their financialobligations. ABC does offer a way to provide partial sponsorshipfor students. If you are interested in helping any students, let me knowand I can perhaps point out a few specific ones (or you can choose your ownstudent by going to

Thank you for yourcontinued love, support and prayers.


Stephen (center top) and the kids at his birthday party. Inthe second picture, see Stephen with the red “You Are Special Today”plate with pasta and a white chicken sauce that he had chosen for his birthday.
Stephenand his cake. As this was his ninth birthday on October 9th,it was his “golden” birthday -- see the number 9 in gold (actuallyyellow) M&Ms.

Baconfor breakfast. Note the arrow pointing again to the red “You AreSpecial Today” plate.

Inimage of the church newsletter (actually an image of a copy of the newsletter)that is quoted above about Gladys Trumble, my Mom.

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