Chitokoloki Celebrating a century of the Lord’s work in North-western Zambia - Alma Turnbull

Precious Seed

Paperback, 163 pages, 
Published by Gospel Folio Press, 304 Killaly St. West, Port Colborne, ON L3K 6A6, Canada.
ISBN: 9781927521557.

This is an interesting and informative book, written by Alma Turnbull, recording how the Lord has worked in a mighty way in a settlement on the banks of the Zambezi River called Chitokoloki. The remarkable story commences in late 1913 when three faithful men Mr Frederick Arnot, Mr T Lambert Rogers and Mr George Suckling heeded God’s call and established a ministry in an area of Zambia yet to be reached with the gospel. 

This beautifully illustrated book uses many photographs, historical accounts and documents spanning 100 years of service in order to bring the story to life for readers who have never experienced what it would be like living and working in such a region of Africa. There is a helpful map which can be used to locate the places referred to, and a chronological index of missionary workers to help readers understand where and when the workers fit into the history. My only slight criticism of the book is that it would have been nice if all the photographs came with a brief description.

The author sets the scene well and then focuses on the mission station and its workers, the advance in education, the spread of the gospel and the teaching of God’s word. A large proportion of the book records the development of the medical work from a small hospital with few patients to a fully fledged hospital with modern equipment capable of conducting major surgical operations, interspersing this with touching accounts and testimonies of individuals whose lives were changed both physically and spiritually. 

What makes this book interesting and challenging is the thread that runs throughout - God is faithful! Yet the reader is caused to stop and appreciate the remarkable nature of events that are recorded so simply. There is a good balance between the joys of being involved in such a work and the heartaches, difficulties and at times seemingly inexplicable circumstances that have been faced along the way.

Alma Turnbull gives a clear insight into the work that has been done but when reading this book it needs to be remembered, this is an ongoing work. It is also likely that this book will leave you challenged, to quote Gordon Hanna speaking at a graveside in Chitokoloki, ‘what is important is not the quantity of our life but the quality - not how long we spend here on earth, but what we do with the time God has given us’.

(Our thanks to Esther Scarsbrook for this review).