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Doug & Barb Petersen Newsletter (Spring 2024)

Greetings to Family and Friends,

We are writing this newsletter from Florida. Our last few weeks have been monumental in our lives as we left Zambia in the hands of a new country coordinator, Oscar Chama, along with his assistant coordinator, Thomas Kabwata, and a staff of faithful men and women of God. This all
happened somewhat suddenly, and we will try to explain it the best we can.

Doug has not felt well for some months. He lost his appetite and even though he tried, he could not keep food down. We were due to come home to the US in August, but as the situation was not getting better, Teen Missions moved up our fights to May 9th. It was time to turn the ministry over to our faithful Zambian staff. Steve, who is our son, but also the president of Teen Missions International, had to make the call that the transition to the local staff needed to happen now. We know that after working for years together as a team with them, they are very capable. They are like family to us. It is a very special bond we have with them.

Letting all of this sink in so suddenly has left us still adapting to this new reality of being on staff on the US side of the world. We will be able to do what we can to encourage the overseas work, as well as the US staff which is continuing to grow in numbers. The US staff has been more than gracious in welcoming us home. This has meant so much to us. They were lining the street waving and shouting with posters to greet us back. Hugs were all around us and then we found gifts of food and flowers and signs of their love in our home as we walked inside on Heavenly St. Since arriving, we know we need to look forward and that our loving Father has more for us to be a part of right here.

As we prepared to leave Zambia, everyone was grateful for our time together. We all knew in our hearts how difficult leaving was going to be, and there were no words that could communicate all we were feeling. The staff in Zambia rented a venue in an assembly hall and had an appreciation dinner for us on our last night. It was so beautifully done. So many of our staff families, co-laborers and friends gathered together for this dinner. It was a beautiful night. The hard part was saying “good-bye”—not knowing when or if we would see their faces again. We have both shed many tears, and still are. We loved our people, our country, and the ministry of the Gospel. All of this is deep in our hearts and will never go away. Living life together with our Zambian family has been such a gift from God. We were there for just over 25 years. God blessed us and gave much growth and fruit to the Glory of His Name.

On the day of the dinner, Doug was having a difficult time physically. It became so serious that flying the next day started to feel like it might be in jeopardy. Much to his dismay and desire not to get checked out at the local private hospital, family and staff prevailed and at 2:30 in the afternoon he was admitted for tests and given a “drip” to rehydrate him along with some other meds. Later in the afternoon guests began arriving at the farewell venue and Doug was still in the hospital. He was finally released, got home, changed clothes and we arrived at a hall that was packed with special favorite people and we walked down the center aisle over an hour late!

Everything was over the top, beautifully done and we were totally humbled by it all. I cannot describe all of the details here, but we were so blessed, loved and honored and all we could do or say was, “To God be the Glory! “. Even the manager of the hospital, where Doug had been, ended up coming. She was one of our Former Team Members! She was the reason he was able to be admitted and cared for so late in the day and discharged in time not to miss the farewell party. It was a God “thing”.

The next morning we (Doug, Barb, Steve, Gay, and Sarah) flew to the US and things went well. The Lord is speaking to us daily in our quiet times, and we will be telling you in future letters how God is working everything together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We are not quitting, but we are entering a new phase of ministry with Teen Missions stateside.
Thank you to all of you who so faithfully have supported us as we served in Zambia. Fruit abounds to your account. The salvation statistics have been added up for the past year alone and were stated in our last Zambia Board meeting. They included the Boot Camps and team outreaches, Sunday school ministries, Rescue Unit ministries, and Dorm ministries. The salvations added up to 38,155. Again, To God be the Glory! “Some plant, some water, and God gives the increase!” Amen

Thank you for joining your hands with ours as we labor together,

In His Harvest,
Doug and Barb Petersen
Matt 6:33 Gal. 2:20

In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18


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