Thursday, 1 December 2016

Greetings from the beautiful country of Zimbabwe to all our family and friends.
The rains havew finally arrived.  Although much more is needed, the grass has turned green seemingly ovwernight.  A variety of trees bloom in every season here and here is a sample of what we are seeing right now.

Wow!  November has come and gone.  Glen is here in Zimbabwe with me now, having arrived November 7th.  It is good to be back together.

November has been a very busy month with final exams; and then along with that of course, comes the necessity to mark them and the accompanying papers.  Graduation was Friday and Saturday, November 25th and 26th.  Friday was our grad banquet and Saturday the graduation exercises.  It was a privelege for me to bring the charge to the grads and have opportunity to challenge them as they go out into ministry.

Our college is in transition (I think I said that before) but it is actually now taking place.  Our principal, our academic dean and our dean of students are all transitioning out and for the upcoming year we will have acting principal, academic dean and dean of students. This change has been talked about for the past few years, in fact talks were happening towards that end when I first arrived here in 2013.  But now it is actually coming to fruition.  Our college actually closes on December 2nd for the December break and as it closes the changes officially take place.  I will still be a member of the BOA and head up the Acreditation team.  Besides that I am now going to serve on the Academic committee.  That committee will work closely with the acting Academic Dean to establish the programs, courses and the like.  Promises to be a busy year and we are looking forward to some positive outcomes.

Monday, November 28th, Glen and I hosted an appreciation luncheon and fellowship time at our college for the outgoing faculty.  It was a fun time as we combined a roast type afternoon with all staff being invited to share a funny experience or a special memory of time with the three outgoing staff members and/ or their wives.  Laughter was abundant and it was good to celebrate together, even though Glen and I didn't understand much of what was shared as it was in Shona.  However, we got caught up in the mood of the sharing and could not help but laugh along, the mood was contagious.   Here is a picture of me and my colleagues who are now moving on.  As you can see the picture was tken at our graduation.  I will miss all three of the guys as we worked together for the past three yers.  Having said that I do look forward to what the future holds for our college.

Meetings are being held this Thursday at our cottage with the new team taking the reigns.

Things are still moving forward with our library as we continue the task of cataloguing and shelving the over 2,500 books we have received via donations.  It is a huge task and my unrealistic expectations had hoped to have them all shelved before the end of this term.  So, we'll just keep plugging along and they will get done.  Tomorrow, I'm becoming a student along with  Rebecca (worker at our college from the US) as our librarian is going to teach us the library computer program so that we can continue to catalogue and shelve books while the college is closed for December break.  Praying and trusting that perhaps my old brain can still learn some new things!  We'll see how that goes.

The Sunday before Glen came to Zimbabwe I had the opportunity to speak to a couple of special people from our home church in Penticton.  Don and Joy, it was such a pleasure to speak to both of you for even a few minutes.  We are also able to connect via Skype with those of you who utilize that method of communicating.  If you do and would like to connect with us via Skype let me know and we can arrange to do that periodically.

The rainy season is here and finally we have been getting some much needed rain over the last couple of days, although it is sunny right now.

Please continue to pray for the country of  Zimbabwe and the people.  The challenges are great and the latest is the fear throughout the country as the Bond Currency/Bond Notes are being reintroduced.  The local people remember well the financial disaster of 2008-2009 and the fear is that the country is headed, once again, in that direction with hyperinflation.

On a very positive note, we trust that God is in charge.

We actually found a place that has a 'turkey project' and we have ordered a turkey for Christmas.  Missionary friends, Larry and Rhonda Allen, from the Assemblies of God in the US are arriving next week and so we will have an early Christmas celebration with them.  Rhonda is bringing the cranberries.  We are excited to have them come back to Zimbabwe.  They will only be here for a short time but it will be good.

We are also anticipating having some of our family visit us in the coming year.  It is such a joy to have visitors, family and friends, come to visit us and see what we do and how we live here in this country.
Signing off now realizing that it is now, as I'm finishing this, December.  Will try to write again before Christmas.   Oh, talking of Christmas, one of the grounds people at the college has promised to get me a Christmas tree.  I'll look forward to that as might very well be a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and I'm not sure where I'll get decorations.  Might have to make a few...or perhaps Makanaka will make me some.

So, farewell for now dearly beloved.

Marj (and Glen)

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Greetings friends and family
Well, for only the second time since I've returned to Zimbabwe, the Zesa went off...but only for less than an hour so that's pretty good considering that when we left Zim to return to Canada last December, the Zesa was off  nearly 75% of the time.

It has been a very busy week.  Mid-term exams have been written and marked.  Friday we had a PACC Caring for Our community Day which involved all students and staff going out to the nearby shops and doing a cleanup.  We swept the parking lot, raked the surrounding area, picked up the garbage and handed out flyers promoting our college.  So, the day was two-fold.  It was to show the community we care and to make people aware of our college and who we are.  It was a very successful day.  I am inserting a couple of pictures so you can see us in action.  Following the cleanup we all returned to the college and shared a meal at the college dining room.  I was able to hire a young lady who has just been to catering school and she prepared a great meal for us.

Then on the Saturday, October 22nd, I celebrated my birthday by joining the Breast Cancer Awareness walk hosted by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe.  The young girl we sponsor, Makanaka, joined me for the walk and then spent the day with me.  The walk was complete with a police escort.
In the afternoon, we picked up Maka's mom, Linda, and we all shared a meal together.  Linda had to work earlier in the day and so could not go with us on the walk.  I am also including a couple of pictures of the cancer walk.  It felt good to be involved in the community in this way.

Sunday I walked to the Base Church, which is about 2.5-3 kms.  The church there is a combination of Black and White Zimbabweans and feels so good to see the integration which is not always present.

Then later on Sunday, Glen phoned me from our church in Penticton and I got to speak to a couple of friends there. It was a very pleasant surprise.  Don and Joy, it was so good to hear your voices and speak even for just a couple of minutes.

I always enjoy the opportunity to speak, either by phone or on Skype, to so many family and friends.fairly regularly. The distance doesn't seem so great somehow and I am truly blessed. It quite amazes me how things have changed in the years since I went to Cameroon and did not have the luxury of regular cell phone service or internet service. This experience is much different and holds its own blessings and its own challenges.

Glen will arrive in less than two weeks and I am certainly looking forward to having him join me here.

Just went for supper with friends from the US who are working at our college.  Had a great time of fellowship and sharing the challenges we encounter.

Enough chatter for this time so will sign off.  You are all much in my thoughts and prayers and I send love and blessings to all.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

September 26, 2016

Greetings again all you wonderful people out there.

Nearly two months since I returned to Harare, Zimbabwe.  Still busy working in the library, trying to get books on the shelves so our students can make use of the valuable resources we have been given.

I'm teaching basic accounting and Major Prophets this term, and although I have taught both of them before, it still seems to take me lots of time for preparation.  Never gets boring that way!!

Our good friends, the Norries, from Elora, Ontario arrived back in Harare on Wednesday.  They are hosting a team who arrived yesterday to work at the Village of Hope.  It is good to have the Norries here.  They are here for about a month!  I will just get used to having them around and they will be gone.

Transitions regarding staffing (I think I mentioned those in my last blog) will officially happen at the end of the term, being end of November, following graduation.  In light of that, other changes are happening slowly, much to my chagrine.  Those of you who know me well, know patience is not one of my better virtues.  I like things to happen, like yesterday.  Oh, well, God is still working on that in my life...although at times, it seems as though I'm a slow learner.  I'm glad God doesn't give up on us. His patience is rather awesome and for that I am grateful beyond words.

Tomorrow is meeting day and we have both an APTEA meeting and a BOA meeting.  Makes for a long day as meetings always follow classes.

As well, tomorrow I will have Tawanda take me into town to pay my bills.  I just don't drive in the inner city by myself at this point in time.  When demonstrations take place that's usually where they happen but locals seem to know ahead of time when they are about to take place, so being informed and avoiding those times and places adds an element of security.

(Continuation)  - Now October 1, 2016 - 1:45 pm.

I'm really enjoying my classes.  I am teaching basic accounting and Major Prophets with 14 students in each of those.

Just came in from picking mulberries and will make a mulberry crisp to host a desert after church tomorrow for the missionary team (10) and the Norries who are hosting them.  The team is comprised of people from a church in Ontario and they have come for two weeks to work at the Village of hope.
Also baked a couple of banana breads and made some of my mom's icebox cookies this morning, which are now safely stored in the freezer for quick retreaval when I need them.

My garden consists of four rows of radishes, which are hard to find in most of the grocery stores here. so, I decided to grow my own.  I picked a few this morning and will add them to my salad for supper tonight.

I'm kindof housebound today as the Isuzu truckhas been
n giving me some trouble.  I called in our mechanic who came and indicated the clutch is going so he will be coming by tomorrow after church to pick up my truck and make the necessary repairs. I am thankful that Glen left me all the information as to who to call for any repairs, servicing and the like.

It is a beautiful 32 degrees Celcius today and so  I will go for my usual walk.  It is summer time here now and the trees are in full bloom.  Inserting a couple of pictures just to break the monotony.  The third picture is of the mulberry trees growing on our property.  Wish you were all here and i could share my mulberry crisp with you.

 sure how long I'll be without my truck so may need to make some alternative arrangements to get to class for a couple of days. Hopefully I'll be able to get my friend Nellice to come and pick me up.

We continue to do renovations on the library. It will be a longterm goal as the work gets done as the cash becomes available.  Hopefully, the majority of it will be completed in the next few months.

We are also still in the process of realizing just what the transitions and changes are going to look like at the college.  We are looking ahead at various ways we can promote the college and our IT is setting up a webpage for us.

Well, I think I've rambled enough for this time.
Love and Blessings to all.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Greetings friends and family!!

Well, August has slipped by.  It is supposed to be summer here…but according to the local people, it is unseasonably cold (chilly really).  The temperature at night is still down to about 10 degrees and that is more typical of winter.  It does however, get quite warm, in the high twenties or even low thirties in the day time.  I love it!!!  The mulberries are just beginning so soon I’ll be able to pick and enjoy!  Today I planted some radishes but don't have much garden space so will settle for having those to add to my salads.

I talk to Glen every couple of days and am looking ahead to when he will be joining me here in Harare.  I'm expecting that will be late October or early November.  

I have been kept busy since my arrival here in Harare.  I am working with the librarian, trying to get some 2000 books catalogued and on the shelves before classes begin.  I don’t think that is going to happen but at least we will have made a dent. This picture is just a sampling of our books with Tapfuma (librarian) and I as we bagan the work of unpacking.  We still have many boxes to go.  It is lots of work but exciting.  I could just sit in the library and read.  There are so many intgeresting books.

Currently we have carpenters making some new shelving for us so we will have space to put all the new books.  So, I have taken on the role of organizer, getting the library cleaned up, hauling out old computer parts and other junk that has somehow found its way into ‘storage’ in the library back rooms. Our IT guy, Tawanda, is fabulous and not only helps me with all my computer challenges but accompanies me if I am going anywhere I’m not sure of.  So together we have been hauling garbage out to the dump and if I have to go into town I do not go alone.  He even came by one evening, with his wife and children, to look at my internet at the cottage. This picture is of his wife and their new baby boy.  They now have three boys.

There are many staff changes taking place here at PACC and so I’m not sure yet of what college opening will look like.  Academic Dean leaves tonight to work on his doctoral studies. So, the keys to the office we have shared for the last few years have just been handed over to me. 
I tried to use my debit card at ATMs the other day to discover for myself, that it is true what they say, and that indeed there is a shortage of cash in this country.  Reports are that there is very little cash money in the country and so Zimbabwe is becoming a cashless society.  The positive side of this, for me, is that most places are beginning to accept international visas or other credit cards, for paying bills, buying groceries, fuel, etc., so that is a good thing.  Of course for the local people that doesn’t really matter as they simply don’t have the money, be it cash or plastic.  It is a strange feeling, knowing that I am privileged while living in a country that struggles so much…and knowing that I can’t help everyone.  But I can make a difference to some and for that I give thanks to God.
I have been visiting a number of different churches within our denomination.  Services are mostly in Shona and so I am trying to arrange with a young lady to teach me some Shona.  I figure after all this time and I haven’t really picked up any of it (my old brain you know) that perhaps I should be more intentional about it.  We’ll see how that goes.  My efforts at learning to speak French over the years has not been anything to write home about; but maybe if I am surrounded with Shona it could have a different outcome.  Although English is the official language and what is taught in the schools, I think learning Shona is a way of integrating more with the culture in this area of Zimbabwe.
Sunday, August 28th, 2016, I went to the Oasis Church which is where my sponsor child, Maka, and her mom regularly attend.  Was invited by the pastor to speak to the church with words of encouragement.  That was a real privilege (even though it was spur of the moment and something I had not prepared for).  Maka turns 13 on Wednesday.  Her brother Panashi turned 17 earlier in the month.  Birthdays are celebrated in church and so I took a birthday cake for each of them and the entire church congregation celebrated with them.  Afterwards I brought the family to the cottage and we had a birthday party, complete with a meal and a few rounds of Mexican- Train after wards.  Grace and King, (Bishop’s help) joined us as well.  They attend the same church as Linda and Maka and live on the same property as I do.  It was a fun time.  Whenever I make a meal for Linda and Maka I always cook extra and send the leftovers home with them.  In that way I know they are eating another good meal.
Here is a picture of Maka and Panashe and their birthday cakes at Oasis church. In the background is pastor Moses.

Yesterday we had a bit of a celebration at the college as a sendoff for our academic dean, Joseph Mufema.  As staff, we gathered together in a time of prayer and then enjoyed banana bread and coke (which I supplied). It felt good to facilitate that in the midst of all the challenges in this country.

Today, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, has been declared a work stoppage day.  No one is supposed to be working…shops are to be closed and the like.  I guess it’s like a country wide strike so I am at home at the cottage. Tomorrow I will be back at the college again…doing some clean up.  Our shelves are supposed to arrive sometime tomorrow.  

Classes start on Monday, September 5th, with block courses.  My classes don’t actually start until the 12th but I’m anxious to get going.

I will be meeting with Rev. Munaki on either Tuesday or Wednesday this coming week to talk about all the changes at the college. I do know that I will be teaching O.T. Major Prophets and Accounting.  Have taught both of those before so am at least semi-prepared.  Looking forward to hearing more details about the changes.  

Enough rambling for this time.  

With love and blessings to all.


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

August 7-10th, 2016

Dear friends and family
Our time in Canada was super and looking back it flew by.  We so enjoyed spending time with so many of you as we waited for our Temporary Work permit.  We thank all of you from the bottoms of our hearts for the many prayers and support for our mission here in Zimbabwe.  So now for a bit of a catch up. 

I believe when I last wrote we were expecting visits from our missionary friends from Ontario and from the US.  We had a fabulous time with them even though they did not all manage to be at our place at the same time.  I've inserted a couple of pictures taken from our deck looking out onto 'Mount Neverest" so called by our great-granddaughter Tika, who when she climbed it with great-gramps a few years back declared when she reached the top "I ain't never going to climb that mountain again"...and so the mountain was named Mount Neverest.  

The first picture is Gaye and Elizabeth Norrie, us and Deb and Mike Wilson.  The second one is again Gaye and Elizabeth, us and Rhonda and Larry Allan. Norrie's will becoming back to Zimbabwe in September.  Not sure when, of if, the Wilsons and the Allans will return to Zim.  It was great to connect, share a time of fellowship and our Zim experiences. 

I arrived safe and sound in Harare on Friday evening at 5:10 pm.  That would be 7:10 am for those of you in B.C., 8:10 am in Alberta and so on and so forth for those of you in other parts of Canada and the U.S.  
Richard Chimbetete, from the Village of Hope, met me at the airport and took me to my cottage.  Thanks Richard, it truly was much appreciated.
Saturday was pretty much a write off.  I did walk to the nearby shops to pick up a few groceries.  Not much else that day.
Sunday, August 7, 2016 – 3:00 pm and I have just returned from church at Fountain of Hope, where I went with my dear friend Nellice. The pastor at Fountain of Hope is both a friend and my colleague from the college; Rev. Fanny Dube.  Service was great and it was good to see some familiar faces in the congregation as well.  Following the church service Nellice and I went for a delightful lunch and I have just now arrived home to the cottage.

 I decided that I should at least begin my Blog.  So this part of the blog will be copy and paste as I can’t access my blog because I do not currently have my phone hooked up and do not have my computer internet connections and that will have to wait until Wednesday at least.  Monday and Tuesday are ‘Hero’s Days’ here in Zimbabwe and public holidays so most services will be closed.  Fortunately I do have Zesa and different from when we left Zim in December, I am told that since end of June we have had no interruptions in Zesa.  Wow!  What a treat that is.  And very different from the 75% outages we had when we were here before.  I’ll just appreciate it while I can and be prepared for whatever lies ahead.  I do have a phone that Glen left here and so have been able to at least stay in touch with Glen.  Both my phone and my computer require that I re-register as I have been out pf the country more than six months.
Well…just paused and went for a walk.  Was gone about an hour and when I came back I had no Zesa and as well, the phone Glen left here, and I thought I could use, tells me it is ‘Serviced Out’.  I guess that means it has to be reregistered as well.  So until Wednesday I am without phone and computer service so this blog won’t get sent out until then.  Success, the Bishop’s gardener is on the property though and he does have a phone I can borrow if I need to make a call before then.  The Zesa outage only lasted an hour or two and is back on now.  So, praise the Lord for small mercies.  Oh, yea, the sermon this morning was all about  ‘power through faith, and relying on God and not on humankind!!!  Just a gentle reminder for me of how important our faith is.
Some of you might have heard via the news of an Emirates Air plane on fire that landed at Dubai on Thursday morning.  I haven’t heard of any injuries, but right now I don’t have access to news.  Much of the airport was closed and Dubai International had only one runway operating for at least a full day.  Many flights were cancelled or delayed, so I guess, in light of that, my 22 hour layover in Dubai was a God-send and our plane experienced no delay.
 Our dear friends, from Leduc days, Reid and Maureen Conrad, have a son, Joel who lives in Dubai.  I have known Joel since he was just a little child and now he is a grown man with a wife and two small children of his own (and a third one on the way).  Joel came to meet me at the airport and it was great to spend some time being escorted around Dubai.  Thanks Joel.  It was fun and certainly help to make my stopover pleasurable.
Tomorrow, I will go to our college (even though it is a holiday).  I am meeting with the Academic Dean to review some things.  I’m not sure what to expect as far as college changes.  I had a meeting with Murray Cornelius (International Missions Rep) who indicated the possibility of some significant changes, but I’ll wait and see.  I understand my role is more of a consultant although I do expect to be teaching some courses as well.
Then Wednesday we have a staff meeting/get together planned as we begin to unpack the library books we so graciously received from the combined efforts of AOG and PAOC.  A huge thankyou goes out to all involved in that lengthy process.  I know our students will benefit greatly.  Perhaps when I actually send this blog out I’ll have some pictures to include.

Monday, August 8th,  I went to the college, met with our academic dean, who updated me on changes.
Stopped and did some grocery shopping; then picked up Maka and Linda and brought them to the cottage for an afternoon visit and evening meal.  Maka has grown so much taller and is currently attending summer classes to improve those subjects she is struggling with.  She is going into grade seven which is pivotal as it determines which school she might get into for high school.
Tuesday, August 9th, 2016.Went on a long walk to stone market to greet friends there.
Lots of challenges, although relatively small such as keys not working.  Etc., etc.,
Write again tomorrow. 

Well, here it is tomorrow already.  August 10th, 2016.  Cut and paste has happened and my internet is now up and running and my phone should be very shortly as well.  Tawanda, our IT guy, took me uptown (I won't drive there alone) so I could get things hooked up.  It really is a blessing to have him around.   Spent the day at the college where I will be working helping to unpack and organize the library gifted to us.  Then on Friday we have a BOA meeting and an APTEA meeting.  So, I guess that will get me updated on what is really going on at our college. and give me some direction as to what my role will be.

Lots of bits and pieces here but I do hope that it gives you an overview of things here in Zimbabwe.

Blessings to all

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Greetings family and friends.
Well, finally, it is official.!!!!!  We have a work permit to return to Zimbabwe for the next year.  Some of you are already aware of that, but not everyone.  Our intention at this point, is to be in Zimbabwe until December, 2017.  So, that means we will have to apply for an extension while we are there as our work permit has been granted for a one year period. But, we will take it one step at a time, trusting that God is in control.

We have just had some fabulous family time.  We went to Alberta for our great-granddaughter's (Yes, you read that right, our Great Granddaughter's) grade twelve graduation.  Destiney is 17 and not sure at this point exactly what she wants to do so is currently working as she decides. It was good to celebrate with her.

The trip was short and yet we managed to cram some visiting with friends in as well.  I even made a trip to Cold Lake.  Managed to spend a delightful evening with my friend AnnE, taking in an art class.  Such fun!!!!  AnnE, it was so good to spend some time with you and Joel. Likewise to all of those whom we were privileged to spend time was indeed precious time and we have been blessed.

Following the graduation we rushed home for Christmas in July.  Glen's sister and her husband have hosted a Christmas in July celebration a number of times and they do it up great, complete with a visit from Santa.  Approximately 50 members of both Bette and Brian's family (and that includes us and our kids, grandkids, and greats) gathered for the weekend.  We had about a dozen at our house. such fun.  Most left this morning, except for our grandson, Joshua and his partner Chrystal who will spend another evening with us and leave tomorrow.

Next week we are expecting our nephew, Cody, to spend a bit of time with us and then the following week our missionary friends arrive for our reunion.

In between times I will be trying to decide what I can take with me to Zimbabwe.  I have two suitcases with their mouths wide open just waiting for me to feed them with all the things I will take back to Zimbabwe with me.  Decisions, decisions.  What to pack?

I will be leaving Canada heading to Zimbabwe on August 3rd.  Glen will be joining me later.
Please continue to pray for us and for the people of Zimbabwe.  Conditions continue to worsen and be very challenging for all the people in that country as well as many other African countries.

Again, we continue to trust God to direct our paths as we move forward.

Including just a few random pictures of what we are leaving and what we are going to.  Oh yes, I realize it is no longer winter in Canada...but one thing we don't have in Zimbabwe is  snow.  Amazing the similarities and how much, to me, our Canadian mule deer and the Zimbabwain Impala are alike.

My next blog should come from Zimbabwe.
Love and blessings to all.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Greetings family and friends
Time to blog once again and update everyone on where things are at for us.
Today, I have taken a huge step in faith and have just booked my flight back to Zimbabwe.  (Still waiting for my TEP (temporary Employment permit) but trusting God to work out the details of that). Please continue to pray for us.  We so appreciate all the support we have received...and yes, to those of you who ask if we are safe.  Just to reiterate...God called us to be there and He will protect us.

I will be flying out of Kelowna on August 3rd and will arrive in Harare, Zimbabwe on August 5th. Glen will be joining me at a later date.  We will have the same cottage we had previously in Harare and the truck is still available for us.

While here in Canada I have been privileged to share our Zimbabwe experiences with many and to do some fund raising for the Village of Hope orphanage and school for underprivileged children in Zimbabwe as well as simply spending time with family and friends.  Thank you to all who have assisted us in these endeavors.

It has been great to be home but it is now time to return to our other home.  The work God has called me to do there is not finished yet and so we are believing for time, health, grace and strength to complete that work.

So now that the date is confirmed, I can begin to do the packing and preparation.  What do I take? What can I take that will assist my friends and colleagues in that country?  How do we help?  We know that we can not possibly help everyone...but we can help in small ways and perhaps bring a sense of hope and encouragement to those whose lives we touch.

Library resources made available to our college by the combined efforts of Canada and the US are, I believe, on their way and perhaps have even arrived.  The last information I had indicated that the books were at customs just waiting to be released.  In addition to that I have received 1500 ebooks through Africa's Hope via contacts with the AOG (Assemblies of God) in the US.  I have taken those and copied (with permission, of course) nearly 80 copies to USB's and will take those with me to PACC (Pan Africa Christian College) library for use by our students.

So, in the midst of struggles, some good things are happening.  The economy is not good in Zimbabwe and getting worse but we continue to pray for better times ahead.

Heading to Alberta tomorrow to attend the graduation of our 17 year old great-granddaughter, Destiney.  Way to go, Destiney!!!!  We are so proud of you.  While in Alberta we will visit as many as possible as this will be the final trip for me before I leave.  Then on return from Alberta we will have our missionary friends here for a reunion.  Looking forward to that and to sharing our Zim stories and the like.  The Norries, from Ontario, have just returned from a one month trip to Zimbabwe and so will update us on the economy and changes since we came back to Canada in December.

No pictures for this time...but promise to be in touch soon.  Will try to blog once more before I return to Zimbabwe.

With much love and many blessings to all.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hi out there to all you beautiful people.
It has been a long time since I blogged.  It seems as though much has happened and yet at the same time there is nothing earth shattering as far as our return to Zimbabwe goes and thus I have not blogged. We are still waiting our TEP (temporary employment permit).

As I write this blog, I am listening to Richard Chimbetete &D28.  Richard and his band are well known in Zimbabwe and listening to them makes me yearn to be back in Zimbabwe. (Even though I am enjoying being home in Canada and spending time with family and friends).  Richard is also closely connected with the Village of Hope community and has become a good friend.

And I know it has been way too long since I had blogged and so here goes to update all of you.  The months have flown by since we arrived home to Canada in December of 2015.  We have been busy traveling from Manitoba through to Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and have thrown Texas in for good measure as we visited our son Geoffrey and his family there.  What a blessing to spend time with so many of our loved ones throughout the country.

I attended a CASC (Canadian Association for Spiritual Care) conference in Vancouver and was privileged to make a presentation at the conference in which I was able to share our Zimbabwe experience.  It was great to connect with so many friends and colleagues, people from all across Canada ,with whom I have worked and shared special friendships in so many ways.  I thank all of you for your support of our mission as well.

The Village of Hope orphanage and school for the underprivileged has a fund raiser from the sale of jewelry created from stones found on the grounds there.  The stones are tumbles and beautiful jewelry is created by a local artisan from Zimbabwe. Then to make a long story short (as the saying goes) we bring the jewelry back to Canada with us and sale it with the money going directly back to the village.  I have had so many opportunities to display the jewelry and share stories of both the Village of Hope and our College. I have been overwhelmed at the generosity and support of so many of you. Thank you; thank you; thank you.

I have stayed connected with my colleagues at our college in Zimbabwe through Skype and so the work continues.  Our library books (made available to us through generosity of both AOG and PAOC) will arrive at PACC on May 22nd.  I would love to have been there to be part of the celebration at receiving this wonderful gift but I will settle for knowing it will benefit our students beyond measure.
A digital library of approximately 1500 full text titles of books relevant to theological and biblical studies has also been made available to us and so I have been making USB copies to provide for our library at PACC.  some of those I have sent on with our friends and fellow missionaries, Gaye and Elizabeth Norrie, who are heading to Zimbabwe this Saturday.  I will then take copies with me, as well, when I return.  Indeed, we are richly blessed. On behalf of our college and so many people in Zimbabwe, I extend a huge thank you to all who are helping in so many ways.  Although the economic situation and the political situation keep getting worse in the country, we do what we can to help.  Indeed, sometimes it is overwhelming and I can only imagine what it is like for our friends and colleagues who live with that reality everyday of their lives.  And so we pray for God's intervention.

On a happier note, we have just returned from Mexico where we attended my niece Anessa's wedding.  Oh yes, it was Collin's wedding as well.  So often it seems we give all the attention to the bride and the groom gets rather sidelined.  Sorry, Collin!!  (Picture of Bride and Groom).  The wedding was on the beach.  It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple!

We had a fabulous week; got burned from too much sun and throughly enjoyed the break from routine.  One of the highlights for Glen and me was a very successful fishing trip, catching a 36 pound Wahoo...which we cooked up and served as an appetizer at the wedding reception.  Here's a picture of our fish! (and Glen).

Such fun!  Then we also enjoyed a golf game with the bride and groom a couple of days after the wedding.
While home in Canada I am once again a District approved counselor for the South Okanagan and so keeping busy with that and guest preaching at our home church and a couple of neighboring churches.

We expect the next few months to be busy with having family and friends visit us at our home here in the Sunny Okanagan.  We look forward to being at home and hosting those who come.  That will all be fodder for the next blog.

Well, that is a snapshot of what's happening for us (or the case of our work permits) but it really is a time to wait and see...and pray!  We're doing lot's of that and we know God holds our future in His hands and will work out the details.

Love and blessings to all
Marj (and Glen)

Thursday, 28 January 2016

January 28th, 2016
Greetings to all of you following my blog.  May each of you be richly blessed in 2016. 

My humblest apologies.  It has been way too long since I last blogged.  As all of you know we are now home in Canada and enjoying reconnecting with family and friends.  So here's the latest update.  We arrived home to Canada on December 5th with Bette and Brian (Glen's sister and her husband) meeting us at the airport in Kelowna. Thank you Bette and Brian for your willingness to come to the airport at that hour of the night/morning.  Much appreciated.

So much has happened in the short time we have been home.  And to think that last year we in December we were only home for a month.  Our time is quickly booking up with so many things we need/want to do while we are here.

At the moment our plan is to return to Zimbabwe end of July.  We are in process of getting the required documentation together to reapply for our TEPs. (Temporary Employment Permits).  I have to apply for a new passport as I have run out of pages on my current one.  It does make a neat souvenir to look back and reflect on all the parts of the world I have been privileged to travel to.  Yesterday we did the fingerprint thing at the RCMP and then applied for security checks.  Immigration want your entire life history, such as birth and marriage certificates, educational certificates, etc.,  We supplied all of that when we initially went so I'm not sure why we have to do it all again.  Perhaps they don't keep things like that on file once you have a permit.  So, we just jump through the hoops and once again, pull it all together.

At Christmas time we made a call and spoke to Makanaka (our sponsor child) and her family.  They were so excited to hear from us.

No serious problems at our home here at St. Andrews when we arrived home...unlike the last two trips home in which we experienced water problems and damage to our house.  Glen has finished all the repairs from last year.  Our son Sternie did a lot of the repair work from the water damage when he was with us last Christmas (thank you Sternie so much) but he was on college break and didn't have time to complete the work.  Now it is done.

Since being home we have made trips to Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as to Vancouver Island and other points in British Columbia.  It really was great to see so many of you and catch up on your lives as well.

I am still heading up the PACC (Pan Africa Christian College) team working towards accreditation.  It is not quite as convenient working from Canada but we are holding Skype meetings and that works quite well when they have electricity.  Wow!!! Isn't technology wonderful?  Well, most of the time...but it does offer some challenges and I am so glad to have IT people both in Zimbabwe and Canada who I can call on when my technology challenges present themselves and believe me they do that often.  Anyway our PACC team had a Skype meeting on Monday and with only a few hitches, we accomplished much.  JFYI, our Skype meeting was at 4:00 am my time which is 2:00 pm in Harare, Zimbabwe.

No promises, but I will try and blog monthly while I'm here in Canada as well to let all of you know what is happening in our lives.

Sorry, no pictures this time!

Love and Blessings