Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Final Post

Greetings to all our family and friends in Canada and the US
Thinking of all of you and looking forward to seeing many as we return to Canada very soon.  Our flights are booked for December 3rd.
I write this to all at this time with mixed feelings...not knowing what the future looks like for us here in Zimbabwe.  As I have shared in previous blogs, I have been asked to remain at the college for at least the next two years.  That is the desire expressed by both PACC (our college) and PAOZ (Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe) under whom the college operates.  However, Zimbabwe Immigration have the final say. And processes take time and everything seems to move very slowly in this country.
So, having said that, this is where things are at for us at this time.  PACC and PAOZ had requested a two year extension for us for our TEP (Temporary Work permit).  We have been advised that we can not get an extension but have to begin the process of applying for a TEP all over again as though we have never been in this country.  Albeit we have lived here in Zimbabwe for more than two years.  Most of our missionary friends have experienced similar difficulties with most being denied TEPs.
We need to be in Canada in order to apply as we now need to, once again, get Police clearances and supply all our relevant documentation once again.  That process will take time...anywhere from two to four months. With all of this we know it will be end of July, 2016 before we return to Zimbabwe.

(Update)...It is now October 29th.  Yesterday I went to immigration and we did manage to get a 30 day extension from the date our current TEP expires so we are now good to be in Zimbabwe until December 9th.  Our flights home to Canada are on December 3rd...so we are thrilled.  We thank God for every small miracle and trust him to work out the greater details as well. That means I will be able to complete the courses I am teaching this term, oversee my exams and be here for graduation. 
The closer it gets to our return to Canada the more excited we are getting.  It will be good to be home!  We know we will miss Zimbabwe but we remain hopeful that we will get our TEP and return in 2016.

Below I am attaching a couple of pictures of Maka.  As we somehow lost all the ones we had previously, Maka and her mom came to our home and Maka put on a private show for us in our front yard.  She is such a delightful child and I am constantly reminded of how much we miss our family, grandchildren and great grand children back in Canada and the US.

Time is passing quickly and we are making preparations for our departure. This coming week I will be hosting our APTEA team as we review the report that has granted us conditional endorsement and determine 'next steps'.
Then on Saturday we are hosting our faculty and spouses to a Braai.  I'm sure the month plus that we have left will fly by.  Perhaps before I send this off, I will include some pictures of our Braai.

Two days of 'work' meetings have come and gone.  Busy time with hosting the entire team all day...but great fun even though it was a work day.  Amidst the fun we accomplished a lot.  Trying to squeeze as much as possible in before we leave for Canada.  The latest is that I have agreed to, along with another of the PACC faculty, conduct an internal audit for the past four years.  Hopefully we will do that in the next couple of weeks. 

Glen just got another delivery trip for clients of our friends in Bulawayo.  Gives him a break from the routine of repairing desks and chairs for the college.  I think he has now replaced seats and backs on over 100 chairs and refurbished a couple of dozen desks.  He doesn't mind but needs the break of doing some of the things he thoroughly enjoys.  I so thank God that he is supportive and chooses to be with me as I respond to God's calling to come to Zimbabwe.

We have decided to try to fit in as many of the 'touristy' things as we can while we are here. Towards that end we travelled with our friends, the Norries, on Saturday to the Great Zimbabwe.  Great Zimbabwe is the remains of an ancient city and one of the places many local people tell us is a must.
We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and touring around the old ruins.  Here are a couple of pictures for you and just a bit of history.

Great Zimbabwe is a ruined city in the southeastern hills of Zimbabwe near Lake Mitirikwe and the town of Masvingo.  It was the capital of the Kingdom of Zimbabwe during the country's late iron age.
Great Zimbabwe has the largest collection of ruins in Africa South of the Sahara.

Well, my computer battery is dying and we do not have Zesa so I will close for now.  Might try to send one more blog before we leave on December 3rd for Canada.
With much love and many blessings to all

Monday, 5 October 2015

Better Late Than Never????

Greetings all
     I'm trusting that the saying in my heading is actually correct...and hoping that none of you have forgotten me as it has been such a long time since I blogged.
     The weather is absolutely wonderful.  It is my kind of weather with temperatures reaching 30 degrees during most days.  I love it; I love it; I love it!!!  Trees are in full bloom although rainy season is not here yet.  I'm attaching a couple of photos taken on our street and at the college.  The Jacarandas  are amongst my favorites.  The brilliant purples just remind me of wedding settings where flowers are scattered along the path for the bride and her entourage to enter.

     Hate to sound like a broken record, but the reality is it has been very busy here.  Busy with things such as having company and of course, classes and the like.  We were blessed to have Jaquie, a good friend from Nova Scotia (just recently having moved back to Canada from Houston), a good friend of hers (Jen) from Vancouver and Jacquie's sister, Sam and her husband Todd (newly weds) living in Halifax and just about to move to Toronto spend a couple of weeks with us.  It was such fun.    We had four guests and Glen and I all crowded into our little cottage.  We gave up our bedroom and the spare room and Glen and I moved into our living room for the duration.  Although we had the use of two vehicles when we travelled out of Harare, when we were around town we all crowded into one and a couple of us would crawl into the back of the truck and believe we were locals.  It is quite a common practice here although not something I've done since childhood days.  The first picture attached below is of Jacquie and I taking our turn riding in the back.  The second one is of Glen and our guests enjoying the evening meal at our camp site.  The group of us went to a place called Mana Pools (about a 6 hour drive) where our good friend Frick from Bulawayo guided us on game drives.  The picture is taken at the camp there at Mana Pools.  And then later Glen took our guests to Victoria Falls while I started back at the college.

     Our missionary friends from Ontario, who have lived in Zimbabwe for about three and one half years, returned to Zim last Thursday.  It is great to have them back and we are trying to cram as much fellowship in as we can as they are only here for a short two months.  So, the other night we went to a live performance at a local theatre here.  The play was a comedy titled "Where there's a Will..." and we all had a good laugh.  That was the first time any of us had done something like that here.
I'm also keeping busy helping Maka (our sponsor child) in numerous ways and we have them to our home quite often.  She is involved in talent competitions and is now doing singing, modeling, dancing and presenting.  It is quite an experience for many local children and it is about participation; not all about winning.  I had hoped to include a couple of pictures of Maka singing and modeling but my camera seems to have done something weird and has corrupted some of my pictures.  Isn't technology great????  Rather I think it is that I am still somewhat technologically challenged and I have no doubt it is because of something I have done.  Maybe my techy guy can help.  He usually does.
     This week we have been honored to have Canadian missionaries, currently, living in South Africa, spend a couple of days with us. Cecelia, Felix and their 16 month old daughter Hanna are visiting family and friends here in Zimbabwe.  It has been lovely to meet them and host them here at our cottage.
     We still have no idea of what the future holds for us here in Zimbabwe.  I am busy trying to get everything arranged just is case we do not get an extension on our work permit and have to leave the country before this college term ends.
     We are so looking forward to returning to Canada again at Christmas time and hopefully (prayerfully) by that time we will have some answers as to whether or not we will be returning to Zimbabwe.  Part of the planning for 'whatever' is making arrangements as to how I can assist the college from Canada.  Technology does allow for such things and while that is not necessarily what I would prefer; it can be a workable solution.  I see myself still being able to act as an advisor and assist in the process of accreditation, along with other possibilities as to how we, as a college, move forward even in these difficult, challenging economic times.
     I think I will call it quits for now and go and pick some mulberries and perhaps make a mulberry crisp. (If our electricity comes back on at some point this evening.  We now are without electricity most of the time.  It usually goes off about five am and returns about 9-10 pm.  Thank heavens for our generator to at least charge our phones and my computer.  We have a gas two burner stove so cook on that.  I prefer gas to electricity anyway and that is even what I have (propane) at home in BC.
     So, enough said for now. 
     Sending much love and blessings to all.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Greetings to my family and friends in Canada and U.S.

Humblest apologies.  I promised in my last blog to send a further one before the end of the month.  (I began to write this blog on August 1st but then decided to postpone writing hoping I would have some news to share regarding some important decisions on our part and the part of both our college and our denomination.)  However, this is Africa and the wheels of progress move very slowly at times.  So, I must send of a blog and keep all of you in the loop.  "What loop?"  you might very well ask.  Well, I'm not sure.  The only thing I know for sure is that God is in charge and I trust that His Will ultimately will be done and we will be where He wants us to be.  

Having said all that, and I trust that maybe by now you are a little confused and a little curious and I promise you that if that is so, then we will all be on the same page.

Perhaps I'll add some clarity...and then again, perhaps not.  But here goes!

July was a very busy month.  The accreditation team came for a site-visit and spent two full days touring our college, interviewing people and reviewing all our files and documents.  It was truly a learning experience for us all.  Many meetings and a couple of dinners/suppers later; we discovered that we had all survived and lived to tell the tale.

Inserted here is a picture of the site-team and our self-study/accreditation team taken outside our academic Dean's office.  The three member site-team included APTEA members from the US, south Africa and Malawi.  We will continue work with them as the journey continues.

Their report should be available to us in the next week or two.  (It is now August 16th and we are still waiting) I expect we will be endorsed rather than accredited at this point in time but even that is a huge step forward for our college; especially in the very difficult economic times here in Zimbabwe.  The site-team were impressed with many things at our college and yet we know we have much work that needs to be done.  One of the areas that we definitely need to improve is the area of our library.  Our books are very old and text books are non-existent for some of our courses.  That is an area that we will definitely be exploring all possibilities.
(Update from original writing) - Praise God...we have been informed that a theological College in the US has just closed and their entire library is available for us. Now it is a matter of getting the books shipped to us here in Harare.  Thanks to the PAOC and a personal thank you to Dr. Carl Gibbs for getting access to the library and Rev. Steve Chaloner and the PAOC we are almost certain that a way will be found for this to happen.  Again, we praise God!  What a bonus this will be to our college and we are so grateful.
Much is happening!  Renovations are taken place, thanks to the TAC (turn-around-committee) and the fund raising efforts they have made on our behalf.  Jeff and Rebecca Smith (from the US) are living on campus and doing and directing much of the on-the-ground work.  They are currently home in the US fund-raising and will return to Zim in November to continue the renovation work they have begun through the TAC team.  To date the kitchen and dining room have been renovated, bathrooms and student dorms are in process of renovations, and the library and the chapel are on the list to be given face lifts.  We indeed are in transition at our college.  It is an exciting time in the midst of economic difficulties.

We could not do it alone. We thank all of you for your part, whether supporting us (PACC - Pan Africa Christian College) in thought and prayer or financially, we so appreciate each and everyone of you.  Please continue to pray that as we are faithful to teach the Word of God and train up men and women to spread the gospel, that He will continue to meet the needs of our staff and students. Scripture tells us that His grace is sufficient for all our needs and we are trusting in His Word.

As I've shared in a previous blog, I chaired our college self-study accreditation team.  I will continue to work with the college as we move forward to strengthen our college as we continue to train men and women to enter the ministry in various roles.  With today's technology it is amazing how one can work from afar and still remain part of the team. And o, whether I am here in Zimbabwe or back in Canada I will continue to be part of the team.

As you know, our work permit was denied and then extended for a few short months.  Currently that permit expires November 9th and we will seek an extension to Dec. 3rd which is when our plane leaves for Canada.  However, I was officially asked yesterday if I would consider taking on the role of principal.  It would be for an interim period (not sure what that looks like at this point in time) but with today's technology there is the possibility that I would not have to be on the ground here in Zimbabwe all the time.  Now that excites me.  Perhaps I could have the best of both worlds...living in Canada part of the year and in Zimbabwe part of the year. 

That might be possible because I would be mentoring a Zimbabwain local who would work along side me training to take on that role down the road.  Also, our college is seriously talking of changing from the current three term system that we have to adopting a semester system.  We have two days of workshops this week in which we will be discussing many of those things.  If we adopted the semester system our Canadian Universities/colleges use then I could be here for eight months - being September through April and then be in Canada from May through to August.  That would seem about perfect to me.  One of the major determining factors would be getting a work permit for the next two years.  

Here are a couple of pictures inserted to break the monotony of my longwinded monologue.

The first picture is of a little boy sitting on a log, just at the corner of our street, while he waited for his mom to get water from the community bore-well.
The second is; from left to right, our Academic Dean, Joseph Mufema, our Dean of Students, Felix Bondayi, and then our Principal, Bruce Mugavagava.

Well that must be enough of a ramble for now.  I think I may have repeated myself a bit, as I've written on three different days.  However, my computer battery is dying and I better send this off and then recharge before we loose ZESA...plus Glen almost has supper ready.  Yes, he does that quite often.  After forty plus years of marriage, I think I'll keep him around.

With much love and blessings to all.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


Greetings to all my friends and family
Just wanting to share with the good news that we are celebrating.  We spent about three hours at immigration the other day but it was time well spent.  The result was that we have been granted an extension on our work permit.  It is not exactly what we had hoped.  We had applied for an extension of one year.  What they gave us was six months and the six months was backdated to May 9th, which was the date our previous one-year TEP (temporary work permit) expired.  So our permit now runs out November 9th, 2015.  We will be asking for an extension of that as our college year-end and graduation is the end of November.   would like to finish teaching the courses I will be in midst of teaching at that time.  And I certainly would like to be present to see my students graduate.  I believe we will book our tickets back to Canada for beginning of December trusting that God will work it out that we can be here for that extra month.  Please pray for us towards that end.

Enjoying fellowship with the Allans, our American colleagues, who have just returned from South Africa.  The four of us got together last evening for catch up time which always seems to center around the supper/dinner table.  Rhonda is returning to the US this week and Larry will be following in August as they go on their year long furlough.  Unlike us they have been lifelong missionaries and so their hope is that after their time back in the US, they will return to Zimbabwe but they are also waiting for work permits.  that is certainly one of the biggest challenges in this country for those of us in the mission field.  Prior to coming to Zimbabwe, Larry and Rhonda spent about eight years serving in Malawi.

It is hard to believe that we only have one month left of this school term...so I am once again busy putting together final exams.  Also busy preparing for the arrival of our accreditation site-visit team's arrival July 20th.  Much to do and so little time to do it in.

Things are going well.  We are hoping to host the staff and their spouses again at a Braii at our cottage.  Hopefully that can happen during the break in August.

I promise to blog one more time this month, but really had to share our good news of being granted our extension with all of you.  It is good to connect with family and friends and so good to receive emails from many of you.  Thank you...thank you...thank you.  Continue to pray for us as we continue to discern how God would have us serve in this country for the time He has us here.

Love and blessings to all


Friday, 26 June 2015

Greetings all you wonderful people!

Please accept my humblest apologies for not writing in so long.  I really have no excuse other than lack of Zesa (Zimbabwe electricity seldom available)and the craziness our lives seem to have taken on of late.  Electricity has become more of a scarce commodity lately and predictions are that most of Zimbabwe will be without it about 70 percent of the time in the very near future.  Currently it seems as though we have it about fifty percent of the time and often times it is during the night when we don't really need it. 
Update on our TEP (temporary employment permits).  They were denied!  So now we have appealed that decision (with the help of the college and PAOZ) and are hoping that decision might be overturned.  They are letting us stay in the country while they are looking at our appeal and have given us a twenty-one day extension while we wait.  That twenty-one days ends on July 7th so please pray for us that we will be given permission to stay at least until the end of the school year, which ends the end of November.  Not sure how things would unfold if our appeal is denied as we are in the midst of the school year and I am scheduled to teach four courses next term including a block course and three regular term courses.
So, I am frantically working to try and put things in order just incase we are forced to leave for Canada on short notice.  As you all know from my previous blogs, I am chairing our accreditation team and we are very busy with that process.  We have made our submission and the site-visit team will be coming to PACC (Pan Africa Christian College) July 20th through 23rd. We are currently making arrangements for that visit and looking forward to that, hopeful that we will be granted accreditation. We continue to trust that if God wants us here we will be here but it is still stressful playing the waiting game. 
Glen has gone to Mozambique with his friend Frick for a week or ten days to do some fishing.  Glen has wanted to go there ever since we arrived and so this was a great opportunity for him.  Frick and some others have some property in Mozambique, but until very recently it was not particularly safe to go there. 
The Norries have returned to Canada, the Wilsons are in South Africa as are the Allens and all three of those couples are also uncertain as to their futures here in Zimbabwe.  It is a strange time to be here with being so uncertain of the future.
On the brighter side, the Canadian Ambassador is hosting a Canada Day celebration/reception at her residence on Canada Day and I am so looking forward to that. It is good to connect with other Canadians here in this country...although I do believe we are the only Canadian PAOC missionaries in  Zimbabwe currently.  Glen may not be back in time to go with me but I will go anyway.  There is also a picnic in celebration of Canada Day on this Sunday but I won't go to that.  Sundays are filled with visiting various PAOZ churches promoting the college.  This Sunday I will be going with our Academic Dean and a couple of our students to Ruwa.  Ruwa church is in the rural area and I went there as a guest preacher some time back so look forward to going again, this time to speak on behalf of our college.
We have a couple from the US, assisting with work projects at the college.  We got together yesterday afternoon, went to the stone market, which is always a lot of fun and then went out for Chinese food.  There is a Chinese restaurant a mere couple of blocks from our place.  Glen and I went there once in the early days of our time here and were not impressed.  However, the restaurant has changed hands a couple of times since we went there and the food and the service were both absolutely amazing.  A place I will definitely drag Glen to in the future.
Charles and Rutendo Mandinyanya (Charles is one of my colleagues) came to the cottage this morning for a visit and tea and cookies.  I had just made my mom's ice-box cookies and even sent some home with them for their children - who call them grannie's cookies and love them.  The little things we are able to do for the local people seem to mean so much.  I often take cookies or banana bread to college for meetings or for tea time.  These are all things that are not affordable for the majority of people here in Zimbabwe.  The economy does not seem to improve and people continue to struggle.  So, we help were we can.
No pictures this time, just a quick update.  I do hope that we have good news of our TEPs the next time I blog.
Sending lots of love and blessings to all

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Me Again!

Greetings to all you beautiful people out there!  And Happy Belated Mother's Day to all you Mom's.  

Time does have a way of slipping by and it has now been some time since my last blog.  So here goes to update on our life in Zimbabwe.
 was blessed indeed to speak to all three of my children during the week of Mother's Day.  It is great to be able to connect in so many ways all around the world.  Blogging, Skyping, WhatsApp, texting, and yes, even phoning, all help to keep us connected wherever we are. Our world does seem to have gotten smaller with all the modern technology.  It is wonderful, albeit challenging at times.

It is cooling off here now as we move into 'winter' season.  This morning it is a mere 14 degrees.  Really not bad except that it not much more than that indoors and this morning we are without ZESA.
That is pretty standard here in Zimbabwe to be without electricity.  Last winter we purchased a two burner gas stove and this winter we will purchase a gas heater to take the chill out of our little cottage when we have no Zesa.  We do have a generator that runs our lights but not much else.
I've had new curtains/drapes installed in both our kitchen and dining area.  They do spruce up the cottage and every bit we do makes it more like 'our' home. 

I am inserting a couple of random photos to break the monotony of my monologue.  This first one is a group of Impala (I think...you know me, I am not much of an animal person.)  However I do think these are some of the most beautiful and graceful animals and this picture is one I took on our game drive in Botswana.

Classes are well underway at our college and it feels good.  I might have written this in my last blog but if not, and FYI, I am teaching three courses this term.  Those courses are Cross-Cultural Studies, Major O.T. Prophets and Research and Writing I.  The first two are third year courses and the R&WI is a first year course.  Not quite so much preparation this time around as I have taught all of these courses previously.  That leaves me more time to write (or rewrite) the course manuals.  I think I mentioned before that our library leaves much to be desired as most of our resources are very dated.
I am currently working with our Academic Dean on applying for grants for library books from Langham  Literature, an organization out of the United Kingdom, which supplies resource material to Christian/Bible colleges.  This provides a wonderful opportunity for our college to upgrade our library resources.

We are still working on our accreditation for the college and we have hosted our team (made up of all the lecturers and our Board of Administration Rep) on two separate days at our cottage for work bees.  On both days we started at nine am and worked through until 4:30 pm...so they were full days.

There is much work being done at the college to try and improve the moral in which people struggle in this depressed economy. Our hosting the work bees is all part of that.  It is a treat for my colleagues to be hosted for the day which includes morning and afternoon tea (cookies and coke) and lunch.  They do not have transport at the college either so Glen goes and picks everyone living on campus up and brings them to our place.  A couple of those living off campus do have vehicles and if they have petro they drive themselves.

We, with the help of some of you (you know who you are), are able to assist the college and some of the local people and we just recently purchased an overhead projector for the college.  Such excitement!  Every bit of equipment is like Christmas...it brings such excitement and joy!  Next we hope to purchase a laptop specifically for use with the overhead as currently lecturers have to provide their own when they want to use the overhead and that presents a problem as everyone does not have a laptop.  We so appreciate the support we receive from many of you in whatever form that takes.  Mostly we appreciate the connections with home and the many prayers for our ministry here.  We actually feel the prayer support and that is so important to us here.

Last Thursday, we spent much of the afternoon at Immigration.  Our work permits expired on Saturday so we were trying, with the help of a colleague and administrator of PAOZ, to get our permits renewed.  Our application for renewal went in nearly four months ago...but these things move very slowly here.  So the ultimate result of our visit to immigration was that we were given a 30 day extension while they process our application.  We are still trusting that if God wants us to remain in this country then our permits will be renewed.

Both Glen and I are now the proud holders of Zimbabwe driver's licenses.  They are issued with no expiry date on them so we jokingly said that if and when we get to the stage where we cannot drive in Canada, we'll simply move back to Zimbabwe.  Getting our licenses here proved to be quite a simply and speedy process.  The license bureau clerk was a most pleasant, chatty lady who, it turns out, is working on her doctoral studies.  She has asked me if I might be willing to read some of her work .  I look forward to that opportunity to assist her in her journey. We'll see where that goes but I felt privileged to be asked.

Our friends, the Norries are back in Zim now but only here until the end of May.  They will return again to Zim in September. Just talked to them on phone and are getting together with them tomorrow evening for one last time before Terry and Joyce and the Norries all leave to return to Canada.

Terry and Joyce James, friends from Alberta, are here with us until the 20th.  Right now Glen is touring them around at Mana Pools.  This weekend we will all be going to Leopard Rock where we will get in some golfing. 

I spent last evening enjoying a meal and fellowship with the Wilson's , missionaries from AOG (Assemblies of God) in the US, who are also here on visitor's permit and expect to be leaving the country this summer.

Insert picture again.  This next picture is of Glen, in Zambia (when we were on PAOC retreat) in his micro-light flight.  He said it was an absolutely awesome experience.

And then this final picture is one of Glen and I with two of the Pastor's from one of the churches in Bulawayo when we went with students and lecturers from our college on a college promotional trip.
Well, I think that's enough chatter for this time.  It is 8:15, Wednesday morning.  I do not teach on Wednesdays so it is an opportunity for me to work at home on reports and the like. Even without ZESA, I have internet connection with a doggle (although there are sometimes problems with connections)  Having said that, I best get at some of my work needing to be done for our accreditation report which is needing to be submitted before month's end.  Glen and our company should be arriving back today sometime so must also do a bit of cleaning and the like.
So, until next time
Be Blessed

Friday, 20 March 2015

Greetings once again to all my friends and family in Canada and the US.
We are well into March and approaching spring time for all of you back home.  As for us, we are enjoying bananas picked from the tree in our back yard. Rainy season is over and so now it is Fall and early winter.  Of course, no snow, but cools off at night.
March, here in Zimbabwe, finds us with much happening at our College, including final exams which will be here before I know it.  Exam days are March 30th and 31st. The month will be busy as I will be guest preaching at churches here in Harare, Bulawayo and the outlying areas.  The college is planning some extensive promotions to increase our enrollment.  Thirteen of us, students and faculty, will be traveling to Bulawayo this weekend.  While there we will be hosting a 'Career Days" promoting our college on the Saturday and then on the Sunday we will be guest preaching at various churches.  I prepared a power-point presentation which we used this past year at churches right here in Harare in our promotions and as it was well received, we will be using that again, along with our newly printed brochures, etc., So much of what is just common place at home in Canada is relatively new here and even having laptops, overhead projectors and all the needed technological equipment is not something one takes for granted here. 
Sometimes it seems as though I am repeating things I have previously shared but perhaps that's because now that I have been here for 1 1/2 years, I have been around for six terms at our college and of course mid-terms and finals happen each and every term.  So, having said that I do hope that all of you rejoice with me as I continue to do what God has called me here to do.
I think I mentioned in my last report that we will be going on PAOC retreat in Livingston, Zambia and so look forward to reconnecting and/or meeting other missionaries here in Africa.  Next blog will include details of all the fun we will have while there.

This past Sunday I preached at Pastor Alex's church which is out in the high density area of Ruwa.  They have a congregation of between 100-150 people.  The service was pretty well entirely in Shona  and so I had to have an interpreter.  I have been at a number of churches where there was an interpreter but I had not previously been the speaker at any of those  (at least, not since I was in Cameroon a number of years back) so that was another new experience for me.  I so appreciated the young lady who served as my interpreter.  Here is a picture of the two of us outside the church.  Also inserting a picture of Pastor Alex and me outside his church.

Probably will be repeating that experience of having an interpreter in Bulawayo where the language of the local people is Ndebele.

I have just recently taken on tutoring Makanaka (our little sponsor child).  She is in grade six and her teacher informs me she is struggling in both math and computers.  We will try and arrange for her to come to our place one afternoon a week and hopefully help her to prepare for grade seven.  Grade seven is a pivotal point in a child's education here in Zimbabwe and so we want to do whatever we can to make sure she, Maka, has every opportunity.  Here is Maka at our house as she arrived after school for her tutoring lessons.

Last week I went to Maka's school.  The school had arranged an afternoon dedicated to prayer for all students.  Lately there have been a number of Kombie accidents with some students from Maka's school being killed and/or injured.  The Kombies which are van/taxis often carry more than twice the number of students they should and that and speed both contribute to accidents.  Before the prayer time, I met with Maka's teacher and was privileged to look at her work and talk with her teacher.  Wow; it has been a lot of years since I have done that type of thing.  I believe I did that a couple of times with Starla when she invited me along to Matheau's parents/teachers days.  That was a few years back!

Maka came again yesterday after school and we worked on her English and then she practiced her computer skills.  At her school they only have a few computers and her class alone has 44 students so they don't get much computer practice time.  Linda, Maka's mom, joined us for supper when she finished work and afterwards we enjoyed a game of Mexican Train.

Not sure if this blog sounds confusing or not but this is about the third time I have sat down to write  so I keep going back to update.

Both Glen and I now have our Zimbabwe Driver's licenses.  They do not have an expiry date so if and when we come back at some future time, they are still good.  Had an interesting experience when we went to apply for our licenses.  The government official in the license bureau (a lady) and I got chatting and she informed me that she had just finished her Master's and was beginning to work on her Doctoral Studies.  Anyway to make a long story short, she has asked me if I would be willing to assist her and read/critique her work.  She will actually be going to South Africa for 'Intensives' or block courses.  So now I have one person working on a Masters and two working on their Doctoral Studies all of whom I am assisting.  When I left Canada I was supervising a student from Edmonton and it worked well to do that through email and Skype so perhaps it will work well in reverse as I assist those from here even once I return home to Canada.

One final picture of the surrounding beautiful flowering trees that we are privileged to enjoy everyday.

With much love and blessings to all

Saturday, 14 February 2015

February 9th, 2015

Greetings to all

My calendar tells me it is family day in Canada...so Happy Family Day to all the families in my Blog circle.  It is 9:12 pm here and I am just relaxing after a very busy day.  Classes are going well.  Our student numbers keep growing as students somehow manage to find fees to pay their tuition.
Today I met a couple from the US (from Oregon) who are going to be assisting at the college to do some fixing up and also some fund raising (I believe).  They will be living on campus in a guest house.  Right now there is a team of ten people connected with Africa Works who will be working at our college.  The team are here for ten days only while the couple from Oregon are going to be here for a couple of years providing they can get their work permits.  That, of course, is the challenge.
Our friends, from both Canada and from the US are now appealing immigration's decision to deny their temporary work permits. When work permits are denied, you are never told why, simply notified that your permit is denied.  I'm trusting God for a better result.  I do know that the college want us here and in fact the principal has said if he had anything to say about it, I would have a five year permit.  However, we'll settle for a year at a time.  Our BOA (Board of Administration) of which I am a member ratified the decision to ask for an extension and so now it is up to immigration and God.

Wow! Time does fly by.  It is now Valentine's Day, so happy Valentine's Day to everyone.  Two nights ago we spent a delightful evening where we joined our friends the Allans for dinner and then an evening of fellowship and games.  Tomorrow after church we will join the Wilson's for lunch.  So, as you can see, we are not only busy with the work of being missionaries, but our social calendar is busy as well. We do a bit of church hoping, (Sorry Bethel) but we are trying to fit in as many experiences as possible.  This year I am going to be more intentional about visiting the rural churches.  A number of my students have invited us to their churches and so we are going to make efforts to visit those churches.
Right now we are waiting for an electrician to come to fix some problems here at the property.  We do not have any hot water as our geyser needs repair.  The past week has been challenging with no Zesa (electricity) for most of the week.  We do have this morning so I am trying to get the laundry done before the Zesa goes off again.  With this being Valentine's Day, if the electrician comes quickly enough, we plan to go to a near by golf course and play nine holes of golf.  The rates are very reasonable (no actually make that cheap.)  We can golf nine holes for $5.00.  We can walk the course and it is close by so that means if it rains (it is rainy season) we won't feel too badly having to walk off the course. 
I planted some radishes this past week and so am looking forward to those.  Radishes are not common here and are very hard to find in produce stores but, they are easy to grow and give us a taste of home.
We have managed to connect with a number of family and friends on Skype so that is a special treat to be able to visit in person.  It minimizes the distance between here and there.
I've included a few pictures I have chosen at random for your enjoyment.  The first is a picture of the grounds at our college (Yes, this was taken in January...please take note, there is no SNOW!!!)  The second picture is of the beautiful Bird of Paradise flower that is growing on the property here.  I remember fondly that my mom loved the Bird of Paradise flowers and so my thoughts often turn to my mom.  The third picture is of our little Makanaka (our semi-adopted little lady) and her brother Panashe.  They were at our home for supper and an evening just before Panache went back to boarding school.  Then I have included a picture of a common sight which we see often on the way to the college. We often see wildlife as Mukuvisi Wildlife park is on our way to the college.

Well, that's all folks!!! Till next time.
Love and Blessings

Monday, 5 January 2015

Happy New Year for 2015 from my House to Yours

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all

I know I had promised to blog from Canada but that did not happen.  Humblest Apologies!!!

We did manage to visit with many of our family and friends during our time in Canada.  We travelled throughout BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. For those of you whom we did not get to visit, for whatever reasons, we missed you.
The month was full of blessings and challenges.  It began with a quick trip to Vancouver and the Island, where I completed an ethics module to finalize my peer review to maintain my statis as a specialist with CASC, we visited family in Surrey and then on to Vancouver Island to visit my brother Ron and our friends Stan and Penny Spence.  While there we learned that we had a flood in our home at St. Andrews.  This was caused by a water connection from our fridge coming apart. The water went through the ceiling, down the drywall walls and onto our just newly replaced flooring.  Last winter, you might remember, we had a water pipe burst and had just finished having repairs completed from that, including having the entire lower level flooring replaced.  So now once again, the need to replace not only flooring but drywalling and ceiling.  The blessing in all this proved to be from our son Sternie, who had worked for many years in construction doing exactly the type of work we needed done.  Sternie, on break from Bible college for the Christmas season, came and not only spent time visiting us but did much of our repairs and maintenance.  Thank you Sternie.  That was a real blessing for us.  We have been blessed in so many ways by so many people.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I had the privilege of being guest speaker at our home church in Penticton on December 14th and opportunity to share what God is doing in our lives and what is happening in Zimbabwe. 

We flew to Edmonton, visited friends and family, stayed at my brother Dick's, spent a fabulous day at our daughter's home where she hosted not only us but all the grandkids and greatgrandkids as well.  Then my sister Laurie had kindof an open house on the Sunday and we got to see many of our nieces and nephews and their families. We visited many friends in Edmonton, Leduc, Red Deer and Inisfail.

We rented a car at the airport and drove to Saskatoon via Hoosier.  (If you don't know Hoosier, well it is just one of those small rural communities in Saskatchewan that you might miss if you blinked while driving by).  My sister Wilma and her partner, Darrell, farm in that area and we spent one night at their place. Glen's brother Ray and his wife Barbara, from Manitoba travelled to Sakatoon to spend an evening and overnight with us.  I had lunch and a catch-up with a dear friend and former colleague, Becky Vink.  Connected with many others as well.  Hectic but great.

Then as we were returning from Saskatoon to Edmonton, about 4 kms east of Lloydminster, a truck pulled across the highway and T-boned us.  Praise God, neither of us were injured but the rental car was seriously damaged.  My brother Dick, who is a long distance trucker, was just returning from Ft. Mak when we called him for help.  The RCMP drove us into Lloyd and dropped us at a truck stop where we waited for Dick to come and pick us up.  That kindof wrapped up our trip to Alberta and Saskatchewan and we flew out the next morning to return to BC. 

We celebrated an early Christmas at our BC home with both our sons coming.  It was great to have both Sternie and Geoffrey (and our daughter-in-law, Monique) able to spend some of the Christmas season with us.  Bette and Brian joined us for turkey dinner as well. 

The balance of that final week at home was spent trying to wrap up things and be prepared to be away for another year.

New Year's Day was spent in the air...as we left Canada on December 30th for the long haul back to Harare where we expect to be for the next year (at least).  Bette (Glen's sister) and her husband Brian Moen drove us to Seattle and we spent one final day with them prior to catching our plan out.  We arrived home to Harare, Zimbabwe on January 2nd; meaning we spent the entire New Year's Day and then some in the air or waiting in London for our connecting flight.  The airlines were busier than we expected with lots of people returning home from Christmas holidays.
When we flew home to Canada, we flew into Seattle and Bette and Brian met us there.  The drive home from Seattle was a real snow storm and 'welcome back to Canada'.  I'm attaching some pictures of what was waiting to great us on our arrival back to the beautiful sunny Okanagan and just for a contrast, a picture of what awaited us as we arrived back in Zimbabwe.  I'm sure you will know which is which!!

Now as life gets back into some sense of normalacy here in Zimbabwe, I have a meeting at the college tomorrow to look at our schedule and what lies ahead for the coming year.  We are hoping to visit friends in Bulawayo before the school year starts.

Well, after such a long time of not blogging, I trust this gives you some idea of what life has been like for us since I last blogged.

Wishing all good things and God's blessings to all in 2015.