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Zambians share memorial service with church 10,000 miles away

AJAX, ONTARIO — When Kelly Hamby died at age 66 he left a legacy on two continents.
Church members in the United States and Africa remembered that legacy as they shared a memorial service for the educator and missionary. His funeral was broadcast from Abilene, Texas, to a laptop computer in Zambia — about 10,000 miles away.
Hamby retired in 2004 from Abilene Christian University, where he waschairman of the department of general studies. He served in aleadership role at Namwianga Mission in Kalomo, Zambia, from 1980 to1989 and then became the mission’s stateside superintendent.
His Nov. 12 death from complications following a heart attack was reported on Zambian television and radio.
More than 450 Zambians gathered in and around the home of missionariesDavid and Linda Gregersen at Namwianga to hear a live audio feed of theNov. 15 service from the Hillcrest Church of Christ in Abilene.
Hillcrest member Ray Ferguson set up the connection using a computerprogram. Hamby and his wife, Eleanor, lived in Zambia from 1983 to 1989and began coordinating annual medical mission trips to Namwianga in1995. During the most recent trip, 135 volunteers from the UnitedStates and 90 Zambians treated about 18,000 patients.
Hamby also trained Zambians to teach others about their faith.“Often, the people we helped simply had no medical (help) otherwise,’’Eleanor Hamby told the Abilene Reporter-News. ‘’He was a verycompassionate person and he loved the people of Zambia — and they lovedhim.’’
During the memorial service, the Zambian church members sang a song inthe Chitonga language that was broadcast to Hillcrest. Namwiangasuperintendent George Phiri led the closing prayer.
“Dr. Hamby was loved and respected by all at Namwianga,” said Zambianchurch member Robby Banda. “Being able to share in the memorial servicewas a great comfort to us.
Born in Shattuck, Okla., Hamby earned a doctorate in schooladministration from the University of Texas and began teaching at ACUin 1975. Survivors include his wife, two sons, a daughter and sevengrandchildren.

  • Feedback
    Kelly Hamby was an old and prescious friend. He and Eleanor attended the church in Anthony, Kansas. He was my principal at the Junior High School. He and Eleanor were present at ALL meetings and activities of the church. He was not a christian. My husband,the preacher,had tried to convence him. When he later became Christian he calledus 1st.
    Floyd and Patsy Robertson
    Cliff Church of Christ, Cliff, N.M.
    Silver City, New Mexico
    July, 29 2009

Filed under: International

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