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.