Thursday, 30 January 2014

Greetings once again to all my friends and family back in Canada and the US.
Things are settling nicely into routine with college classes and the like.  I'm not sure some days where the time goes, but each day seems to go quicker than the one before.

We have had great opportunities to fellowship with other professors and their families from the college.  Last Friday we hosted our principal and his family to supper/dinner (whichever terminology you prefer) at our home.  So there were eight of us which is just about the maximum at our little cottage.  Tomorrow evening we are hosting our Academic Dean and his family.  There are five of them and two of us so again nearly a full house.  Then in early February we are planning to host a  braai  (BBQ back home) (gocha in Shona) for all the college teaching staff and their spouses.  We are hoping that Bishop, who rents the big house on this property and has a gazebo, will allow us to use the gazebo.  It has lots of room and has an outdoor fire-pit for the braai.  That will be great fun.  Will give you details on how that goes with my next blog.  So as you can see we are settling in nicely.  This has indeed become our second home.

I just started Shona classes  today.  Grace, whom many of you met through a previous picture that I sent, is going to tutor me.  I am told it is an easy language to learn but considering the time I have put into learning French and have yet to master it, I'm not sure how easy the learning will be.  I do listen to it being spoken everyday so that might prove to be a help as I struggle to learn.  My students and others at the college, keep urging me to greet them in Shona.  My brain does not seem to pick up on things quite as quickly as it used to.  Now that's a scary thought, but a reality non-the-less.

I am in the process of trying to plan a trip to Nairobi, Kenya to accompany our principal and academic dean for a Teacher's Conference in February.  My Temporary Work permit has not come through yet so I am still in this country on visitor's Visa.  Working out the details of what that looks like as I leave the country and return. I am praying that the work permit comes through before I go as it certainly would simplify things and reduce costs
We are taking steps to replace the existing printer/copier at the college.  The existing one has been out of operation for the past six months or more and the cost to repair it exceeds the cost of buying a new one.  So, having said that thank you to those of you who support this ministry.  Your support is going towards that purchase.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The college is also taking steps towards updating our library.  Our academic dean is working on that and it looks promising.  What a blessing that will be.  The library currently is very outdated and text books and the like are in short supply.  But we trust that God is good and will supply our needs.

Glen keeps busy doing much the same things as he would do if we were back home in Canada.  He has been busy repairing the lawn mower for the caretaker here on the property.  He brought some tools and supplies with him from Canada and this week will be going to the college to check out needed repairs on our desks and chairs.  He also does most of the day to day work here at our cottage and slowly it is beginning to take on the feel of truly being our home.

We are always amazed to see local women carrying huge bundles on their heads with apparently no effort.  One of the pictures I have included is of two ladies we met one day as we were out for our walk.

We spend some time just exploring the area and the other day we went to Chopungu Sculpture Park where we watched some local sculptors at their trade.   We enjoyed chatting with many of them and learning about some of the stones they work with.   The park is in the city of Harare and not very far from where we live.  I am including a picture of one sculptor taken as he was hard at work.

That's about it for this until next time
Love and blessings to you all.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Greetings again from Zimbabwe
We returned to Zimbabwe to temperatures of +27C.  Hard to take!  It is currently 10:15pm and still +20C.  I absolutely love it!!!!
Seeing as how my last Blog was short on information regarding our trip home to Canada...I will go back there first.  It was great indeed to spend time with family and friends throughout the month of December.  It literally flew by.  We arrived home on December 5th and our whirlwind started.  I made a trip to Vancouver for my peer review.  Thank you to my colleagues, Philip C and Philip W for agreeing to fit this into their busy schedules during the holiday season.  While in Vancouver we met for lunch with my cousin Doug and his wife Lorraine.

We hosted our Bethel Church Staff Christmas party at our home on December 15th.  Such fun!  16 of us gathered for a delicious meal followed by games and Chinese gift exchange.

I also had the opportunity to share our experiences with our pastor friends in Keremeos and Oliver.  It was so good to reconnect.. 

 Just before Christmas we had a water pipe burst in our home at St. Andrews.  The lower level was completely flooded and so the task of having flooring, baseboards and the like loomed ahead of us.  We left that work unfinished as we returned to Zimbabwe on January 7th.

We spent Christmas with Bette and Brian (Glen's sister and our brother-in-law) and that was lovely.  Then we left on December 26th and headed off to Alberta to connect with family and friends there.  Stayed with my brother Dick just South of Beaumont.  Had a fun time with our daughter, Starla, our grandkids and great grandkids, our oldest son, Sternie, two of my sisters, Patra and Laurie, brother-in-law Nick, our nieces, Michelle and Anessa and Michelle's family at West Edmonton water park.  It was a good way to connect with everyone at one time. Also visited my brother Terry  and his family in Ponoka. As you can see from this paragraph I come from a very large family.

We visited many friends and former colleagues around Alberta, including a visit to the Grey Nuns Hospital.  It was like old home week.  I know we missed seeing some of you and do hope my blog keeps you in touch.

On our return to British Columbia from Alberta, we spent an overnight with my sister Patra in Calgary and my sister Wilma from Saskatchewan joined us there.  On Sunday, January 5th,  I had the opportunity to share with Bethel church (our home church in Penticton) our Zimbabwe Mission experiences.  We are indeed grateful for their support.  Then the task of determining what was needed for our return to Zimbabwe to spend the next year unfolded before us and before we knew it we were on board Emerates Air for the long flight home to Zimbabwe. 

The flying time to Zimbabwe is about 26 hours.  Our flight pattern took us from Kelowna to Seattle, then from Seattle to Dubai.  What a blessing that Emerates Air supply complimentary hotel accommodations for all passengers with extended layovers.  We certainly appreciated the chance to have a rest and a shower before continuing our travel on to Harare. What a great perk. 

As we arrived at Harare airport, we were welcomed back to the reality of life in Zimbabwe.  The airport was without Zesa (electricity) so it was a lengthy procedure getting our luggage as the belts were not operational. Gratiously, Richard (music pastor from Hope community church) was at the airport to meet us with our truck.  We were grateful to finally arrive at our cottage and were ready for a good night's sleep.

Had a couple of days before classes started.  Returned to college Monday, January 13th and am teaching three courses this semester.  My classes are all third and fourth year classes and include 1.  The General Epistles, 2. The Minor prophets and 3. Research and Writing. 

We continue to meet many local people and make new friends.  Glen is going to be doing some repairs and maintenance at the college throughout the year as the desks at the college are in poor shape.  We are currently having more problems with Zesa than even is normal for Zimbabwe so he is trying to sort out some details around that.

Yes, there are challenges but in the bigger picture our challenges are minute in comparison to those of the majority of Zimbabwe people, people who struggle to put food on their tables, to pay their children's school fees and just to survive.  We ask your continued prayer support for this country and its people.  We serve a loving God and we give thanks for the knowledge that God knows the situation here and knows the needs of the people.  He will supply!

Enough said for this time.  I am including a couple of pictures.  The first one is a young girl I met a couple of days ago.  She is in grade five and this picture shows the little street market where she sets up each day to sell a few items to earn enough money to go to school.  She is delightful and has such a joyous personality in the midst of life's struggles.  Her name is Makanaka. The other picture is of some of our students at PACC weekly chapel service.  They really enjoy praise and worship times.
Enjoy.  Until later!!

Doc Marj