Monday, 30 December 2013


Greetings to all my friends and family.
Well we are back in Canada at this time.  We returned on December 3rd and are making the most of our time here with connecting with as many of you as we can.  Spent Christmas day with Bette and Brian.(Glen's sister and her husband.)  Had a great day with them and we have been enjoying visits with as many people as possible before we return home to Zimbabwe.  Yes, in the three short months we were there, Zimbabwe has indeed become home.  So now we have two homes, one on either side of the world.  It is great and we are looking forward to returning to the warmth of Africa.  Neither Glen or I have been able to warm up since we got back to Canada. 
This blog is going to be rather short.  I promise to review our Canada trip in more detail when I blog next from Zimbabwe but this short blog is meant mostly to make sure those who are just being added to my blog are on line and receiving updates.  We appreciate all the prayers and support coming our way and we thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. 
God bless all of you and we wish you a very Happy New Year.\


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Greetings once again from Zimbabwe.
We will be boarding the plane tonight for our return to Canada.  This past week has been an extremely busy week.  Monday and Tuesday were final exams at the college.  Here at PACC all the desks were moved into the Chapel where all the students gathered to write their exams. I was taken back to memories of my high school days were all the students gathered in the gymnasium to write final exams. 
Then once exams were over, of course the task of marking those loomed immediately ahead. We had house guests arriving, Valerie Penny from Canada and Janice from Kenya for our graduation so I spent a couple of very busy nights marking exams so I could be free to spend time with our guests.  They arrived on Wednesday and stayed with us until Sunday.  Valerie and Janice were our first 'overnight' guests here at the cottage and it was a delight to have them here.  We have made some more new friends. Both Valerie and Janice are involved with PAOC.  Valerie is involved with the 'Timothy Fund" which supplies scholarships for students at various colleges throughout Africa and Janice is a long term missionary from Canada to Kenya.  She has been in Kenya for about 13 years.
Graduation was a two day event and certainly was a time of celebration.  I was privileged to be the guest speaker at the graduation banquet which was on Friday evening and then the graduation ceremonies took place on Saturday, November 30th.   I have included a couple of pictures, one of the Principal, the Academic Dean and me; the other one is of me presenting an award of excellence to one of our students.  Will send more later but wanting to get this off to all of you before we leave.
On Sunday (yesterday) I preached at one of the local church plants here. I'm sure our time in Canada will be gone very quickly and before we know it we will be returning to Zimbabwe to begin the next school term.  We leave Canada on January 6th, 2014.
Life is good.  God is good.  We have been so blessed to have this opportunity to minister in this way.
I thank all of you, my family and friends for your support.  We feel your love and your prayers.  Thank you!
Love and Blessings


Friday, 8 November 2013

Update from Zim

Sending greetings from balmy Zimbabwe.
Just a brief update from Harare.  School is going well. Only three weeks left and then return to British Columbia for a short break before returning to Zimbabwe to start classes again in January.  It has been quite a run-around to get everything in order to obtain a temporary work permit.  Thanks Brenna for all your help.  I think finally we have all the documentation needed and the application is with Zimbabwe Immigration.  So now it is in God's hands.  If we are to be here then it will happen.
On Thursday I visited the Village of Hope where I spoke to the moms and aunties of the homes.  Those are the ladies who care for the orphans.  I had been asked to come and speak to them about Burnout and Burnout prevention.  I have included a picture of the ladies.  We met in one of the homes.  Each home has eight or nine children.  The moms and aunties do all the things any parent would do, such as cooking, cleaning and in general raising the children.  They remain at the orphanage until they reach the age of eighteen.  I will go again another time to speak about respect.

Glen and I actually went golfing yesterday.  It was fun.  The golf was very reasonable and we even had a caddie. The scores weren't super but we enjoyed ourselves.  This Sunday I will be doing a teaching on 'Leadership' at one of the local churches.  Lots of opportunity to get involved. Following the service we will go out for lunch with six other missionaries.  We are making a habit of doing that on Sundays.  The restaurant we are going to has a Christmas Special on so it will be interesting to find out what that actually is.  So far the restaurants we have gone to have been great and prices are pretty reasonable.

Last evening we had Grace and King in for supper.  They are the caretakers for the Bishop and I think I mentioned before that they live here on the property.  It is very interesting listening to their experiences.

Everyday brings some new experiences as we continue to explore Zimbabwe and be open to each new experience.

I will try to blog one more time before we leave Zimbabwe and head home to Canada.

Love and Blessings to all


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Better Late than Never!

Hi again to all you beautiful people out there in Canada.
I began this blog a while back and then suddenly couldn't access my blog.  So, I'm hoping that it didn't already get sent and that I am not repeating myself.  If I am, please forgive me.  Forgiveness is such a great thing, isn't it.  Anyway, as with the electricity, my computer service and even my g-mail (of which my blogger is a part of) seems to be sporatic.  'Tis Africa they say.  And I guess that means to expect the unexpected.  So I will now update this blog, add a bit of news and send it off hoping everything works as I expect it to. 

I am thinking of all of you as you move from Fall into Winter.  I am enjoying the sunshine of Zimbabwe.  It is supposed to be a balmy 30 degrees Celsius plus here today.

Well, it is now official.  I received word yesterday (a week or so ago) that it is the desire of those in charge that I should remain here for the next two years.  Those in charge being the Bishop, the Principal, the Academic Dean and other staff of the College.  They are all in agreement.  As for me, I have currently committed to being here for the 2014 school year.  At the very least, that means , we Glen and I will be here in Zimbabwe until December, 2014.  We are still on track, though, to return to Canada December 3rd, 2013 and then will be returning to Zimbabwe early January, 2014 to begin the new school term.  Our initial three months contract on which we are here on Visitor's Visas ends December 3rd, 2013.  I am in process of applying for a work visa.  The work visa covers both of us although does not allow Glen to work.  It has been suggested that we apply for that before we return to Canada.  It is quite a process but I don't expect there to be any problems as the PAOZ (Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe) and the PACC (Pan African Christian College) are actually completing the application for us and walking us through it.  Then they are the ones who will take the application to Zimbabwe Immigration on our behalf.

Mid-term exams finished a couple of weeks ago and so I have been busy marking papers and grading exams. And then it is always on to preparation for the next week and before I know it, it will be final exams and then graduation time.  I have been asked by the principal to give the grad address to the students and do feel that is quite an honor. 

I am including a few pictures.  The first one is of my colleagues here at the college taking during tea time at morning break.  The next one was taken at a grist mill.  Glen and I drove Grace (my new friend who works for the Bishop and lives on the property here) to a place where she takes her sack of corn to have it cleaned and ground.  This then becomes the staple of which they make what they call Sadza.  Next I have included a couple of pictures that I took of the huts that dot the roadside and in which many people in the country live.  These pictures were taken on our trip to Bulawayo where we  journeyed to Bulawayo to visit with friends of ours this past week and had a great time.  I appreciated the break from papers and classes.  These pictures give you an idea of how many rural people live here in Zimbabwe.  One certainly finds extremes of the very rich and the very poor here in Zimbabwe.  The sadness is that the majority are very poor.  Unemployment is extremely high and the majority of people are struggling to survive and feed their families.  Many believe it will get worse again before it gets better.

I will now attempt to include those pictures and get this sent out to all of you.   

I do wish all of you a belated Happy Thanksgiving.  One almost forgets about Canadian holidays being so far away.  However, we have been reminded by family and loved ones and we certainly have so much to be thankful for.  God is good!

Love and Blessings


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Update from Zimbabwe 

Greetings to all my friends and family back in Canada and the USA.

It is hard to believe, it is nearly mid-term exam time here at PACC (Pan African Christian College).  And so I am busy with both lesson planning and preparing exams.  I hope to have the exams prepared and be a few weeks ahead with lesson plans before Glen arrives next week so he and I might spend some time together.  I look forward to a wee break and to travelling to Bulawayo where we will visit friends who are grieving the loss of their 34 year old daughter who died just a short time ago from pneumonia.  She was to have been married in March, 2014.  Glen spent time at their home when he was in Zimbabwe earlier this year and it was shortly after his return to Canada that their daughter died.

I woke up this morning and did not have to go out and start the generator in order to make my morning coffee (decaf, of course...and I even brought Tim's coffee from home.)  It is a regular occurrence to have to run the generator.  Electricity, or the lack thereof, is a real challenge here in Harare.  It seems the power is off more than it is on.  The generator is great to have.  however, when the power is off there is no running water either, even with the generator.  It kind of takes me back to my childhood, growing up in rural Saskatchewan with no power nor running water.  (Now that dates me for sure!) Drinking water here I either buy or get from the Village of Hope where it is safe to drink.   Navigating your way through traffic, especially at rush hour, can also be a bit of a challenge when the power is out and the 'Robots' as traffic lights are called, are not operational when the power is out.  There is no such thing as right of way.  It is every driver for him/herself and of course everyone is in a hurry to get where they are going.

While the college is very needy and under-equipped according to Western standards, to use a phrase I often heard my mother use, 'We just make do".  There are none of the modern technologies such as overhead projectors and screens.  Classrooms are sparsely furnished with desks worn from too many years of use.  The old chalk blackboards still decorate the front of the classroom and are wiped clean with worn out brushes.  Students struggle to pay their tuition.  Some students live on campus in very basic accommodations while others travel considerable distance to attend.  The library does not have updated resource material and as a result the course outlines I had prepared prior to leaving Canada had to be revamped to accommodate the resources available in the college library for students for use as textbooks.  I feel both humbled and blessed as I realize that my Bible College days were much different than what I am experiencing here in Harare.  The country is beautiful but certainly has been struggling economically for a number of years.  To think that Zimbabwe used to be called "The Bread Basket of Africa".  The country is in recovery but it is slow.

I am including a couple of pictures I took at a water baptism two weeks ago.  The baptismal service was held at the Norrie's (the directors of the Village of Hope providing both home and school for orphans and other underprivileged children).  There were 65 people being baptized that day and it was awesome to watch as a young mother and her children stepped into the water to be baptized together as they publically declared their decision to follow Christ. There were many others.  Two pastors performed the baptisms on this day.  The afternoon wound up with refreshments and much celebrating.

The next picture is of the cottage where I am living.  It is a beautiful spot.   And next is the area where college staff gather together for mid-morning tea/coffee and for lunch.  The fifth and sixth pictures show the Canadian connection to the college, with people such Rev. Bill Morrow and Rev. Gary Foreman being recognized for their contributions.  The next picture is taken inside the college library.  The final picture I have included is of me and a new friend.  Grace and her husband King are the caretakers for the property and work for the Bishop (head of PAOZ).  King and Grace also live on the same property where the cottage is located.  There are three residences, the Bishop's house, called the Big House,  my cottage and then King and Grace's house.  King and Grace work for the Bishop, who really lives in Mozambique and is here periodically.  The property is owned by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and we all rent from them.

I have gotten to know King and Grace.  They are a lovely couple.  They escaped from Mozambique during war time and came to Zimbabwe as newlyweds to make a new start.  King was a teacher in Mozambique but with language differences and lack of funding to recertify and learn a new language he took a job as caretaker and has been doing that for eighteen years.  The other day I took Grace to a lovely new restaurant for lunch.  She said that is the first time in the 18 years that they have been in Zimbabwe that she has been to a restaurant.  Hard to imagine isn't it?.

It is just coming into summer here and the rains will soon be making the true beauty of this place come alive.  It is beginning already.

I will be in touch again soon.

Love and blessings to all.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Update from Zim!

Greetings to everyone.
Well, I'm still relatively new at this thing called 'Blogging."  I wrote an update the other day and then saved it.  Now I can't find it.  So here's to a fresh start.  Also, I have no idea of how many of my friends or family back home in Canada can actually access my blog.  If you can simply send me a quick email to let me know.  Those I don't hear from I will try and include again.  (Brenna, where are you when I need your expertise?)

Classes are well underway and I am quite enjoying the challenge of teaching in an entirely different culture.  My third year class on 'cross-cultural studies' is interesting to say the least.  Class members and I are all enjoying the differences in our cultures and that certainly precipitates discussion to other cultures as well.  I have a class of 20 students and they are a good mix of both men and women.  My 'ACTS' class is smaller with only ten student, all male.  That is my second year class and at first, being all men, they were not so interactive.  However, as we got into Acts and discussing the various passages, such as those regarding speaking in tongues, as referenced in both Luke and Acts, and other topics such as water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the discussion got very lively.  That opened the class up and subsequent lively discussions are taking place as we study the book of Acts together.

Last evening I had the Principal and his wife as guests at my little cottage for supper.  A very pleasant evening.  Our conversation centered around future plans for the college and what my role in those plans might be.  As our Academic Dean introduced me to the third year class on the first morning of that class, he told them that if I did not stay for the nest two years it was their fault.  Now that's a heavy to lay on a class!!  I don't know where he came up with two years as I have only ever talked about being here for the year 2014.  Maybe he knows something I don't know!

I'm finally getting fairly comfortable with getting myself back and forth to the college without fear of getting lost.  Driving on the 'wrong' side of the road has not presented any particular problems.  Yesterday I actually ventured out on my own and found my way to a very nice shopping center and back home.  All this, mind you without my usually trusted GPS.  Maps, as well are in short supply in Harare and as of yet I have been unable to purchase one.  The Norrie's have loaned me one but it is fairly old and does not have all the streets.  Some of the streets here are not very well marked which adds to the difficulty for newcomers to get around.

I am including a picture of the welcoming committee who were all there to meet me at the airport when I arrived.  Will send more pics with the next blog.
Love and Blessings


Thursday, 5 September 2013

Hi to everyone
I have been in Harare for two days now being hosted by a lovely Canadian couple, Gay and Elizabeth Norrie.  Gay and Elizabeth are the Directors of the Village of Hope and I had opportunity to visit and tour the village yesterday.  Gay and Elizabeth met me at the airport along with a party of about 10-12 others, including some officials and the Principal of the College were I am to teach.  I will move into my little cottage tomorrow.  Classes don't officially start until Tuesday, September 9th.  Monday, Sept. 8th is registration day so I will be at the college on Monday to meet some of the students and get set up for classes.  Today I met with the principal and numerous other staff members at the college and enjoyed lunch outdoors with them.  Sasza and vegetable soup or sauce (made with cooked greens...somewhat like spinach) along with rice and vegetables. I believe the rice and veggies, with a little chicken thrown in for good measure, were served simply because they had a visitor (Me.)  I'm not crazy about the local food but I'll get used to it (or not).  I will be doing my own shopping and cooking at the cottage.  They have a fabulous market not all that far from the cottage and the selections are good.  The people here are very warm and welcoming.  And the weather is great.  I love it! 

Prior to coming to Zim, I spent a few days with Geoffrey, Monique and family in Texas.  It was great to have some time with them before leaving North America.

Upon arriving in Zimbabwe there was the usual clearing customs and security and then going to immigration to apply for my Visa and then on to collect my luggage...which all arrived safe and sound...praise God.  On two previous occasions when I came to Africa (Cameroon) my luggage did not arrive with me and so I was stuck wearing the same clothes for a  number of days.  Of course I had to wash them out at night.  All worked out in the end as both times my luggage finally arrived.  Back to Zim and my current trip...At the end of a very long day and two long flights ( 10 hours from Houston to Amsterdam and then another 9 hours from Amsterdam to Harare) I arrived and was so glad to see all the smiling, welcoming faces there to greet me. 

Enough chatter for now.  Hopefully the next blog will include some photos.

Love and Blessings to all.