Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Greetings to all our loved ones whereever you are in the world.

Time is passing quickly and in less than two months we will be heading home to Canada.  The closer it gets to the time we are heading home, the more it seems there is so much yet to do before we leave.  And there are so many of our Zimbabwain friends we will want to spend some time with before we say goodbye to them.  Although I will be coming back, I am certainly aware that in the short terms when I am back in this country, it will be impossible to reconnect with many of them.  I am also very aware that the only constant (besides God) is change and things constantly change.  Elections are being held in this country next year and that will change things I'm sure.  One of the questions in my mind is how do elections really work in a dictatorship????  I'm not sure what things will be like when I do return.  The future awaits!

I was invited to speak at a Nasarene Church in Chitenguiza on Sunday September 3rd.  I taught the all church Sunday School and then preached, and then both Glen and I assisted with counting votes at their AGM, then we joined the congregation for lunch.  It was an all day affair and we were truly blessed to be part of it all.  This is just one of the tremendous opportunities afforded to me during our time here in Zimbabwe.

A few weeks ago, a number of the faculty here at PACC, participated in a Teacher Training Course (picture inserted below) and now we are looking to offer it to our adjunct faculty and faculty from the AOG (Assemblies of God) college.  That, if it happens, will be the first week of November.  I have been asked to facilitate that. One more thing to do before I leave.

At our college, this semester, I am teaching Old Testament Survey and enjoying every minute of it.  In addition to that I am supervising a student who is working through a self-directed counselling course.  Here below is a picture of some of my students.  I'm sure I learn more than my students do.  And it is such fun.

Good things are happening at our college in the midst of extreme economic challenges.  Many of  these things are thanks to the support received from family and friends in Canada.  We are in process of upgrading our classrooms and installing overhead projectors. Our offices have also taken on a new look with new paint and floor tiles.  Our ultimate goal is that PACC would become  'THE' theological institute on the African continent and have students coming from all over, not only Africa, but the entire world.  We are dreaming big and believing for great things knowing that we serve a mightly God.

And as we prepare for graduation happeing in November, I am so proud of our staff, principal, dean of students, administrator and registrar, all of whom have just graduated with EDBL (which is a Diploma in Business leadership) which will certainly be a huge benefit to our college.  I am inserting a picture here.  Not sure why I am in the picture, other than the fact that I support them in many ways and was privileged to be a guest at their graduation.

Our friends, the Allans are back from the US.  Still waiting on their TEPs.  It always proves to be a hassle for those of us from the Western World.  We get together quite often and are now looking ahead to when the Norries (missionary friends from Ontario) and the six of us getting together.  when we were back in Canada last year, the Allens and the Norries, along with the Wilsons (other missionary friends from Ontario) all got together for a reunion and had a blast.  So now we look forward to the three families getting together again.  It gives us all the opportunity to talk about the many challenges we face with other missionary couples struggling with the same things whilst remiaing positive with the people here who face much deeper challenges than we do.  Although we do need a forum to share, we also realize how truly blessed we are.  We just celebrated Thanksgiving and indeed that is a reminder of God's blessings in our lives.

We had a delicious supper, time of fellowship and a few rounds of Mexican Train with the Allens a week or so ago.  Glen was the big winner.  such fun!

It has been busy at college.  We are working hard at our work towards accreditation.  The struggles continue and our students from Namibia are facing challenges with getting study permits.  Immigration seems to always present challenges whether it is to get work permits as missionaries, or students coming in to get an education.  So, we cointinue to pray in all circumstances and refuse to be 'under' the circumstances.
Having said that, our friends the Allans have not yet received their work permits and so are here on visitor's visas.  they have a lawyer assisting them along with the National Church of AOG.

Out for a walk this morning.  Took some pictures of the beautiful Jacaronda trees which are in full bloom at this time of the year.  I am inserting a picture taken on that walk.  Enjoy!  I will miss so much of this country...but realize that I will also enjoy the beauty of Canada when I arrive home.  Every country (or at least everyone I have been privileged to see) has its own beauty.  I'm not sure if this picture is mine or Glen's but you get the picture of the beauty of the Jacarondas.

Part of the busyness as we prepare to leave is simply trying to wrapup four and one half years of life here.  It is quite amazing how even when one is trying to live simply, how much stuff one can accumulate.  However, there is no problem finding someone who can use what we choose not to bring home to Canada.

It never ceases to be a humbling experience as we realize how truly blessed we are and at the same time how extravegant I am.  And here I speak only for myself but perhaps I will become more of a minimalist when I return to canada...having learned that I can indeed live more simply.  No promises though, as I know myself and it seems, I live according to my means but I will intentionally try harder to share what I have with those who do not have. I have learned a lot about myself while living in this struggling economy.  It probably will take me some time (perhaps the rest of my life) to sort out exactly what I have learned about myself but then isn't learning a never-ending thing.  AND the learning continues.

It is so good to connect with so many of you via Skype.  It minimizes the distance and reminds me that the world is not so large afterall. 

Perhaps this will be the last blog I send from Zimbabwe for now, but I will try to keep in touch even from Canada so that all of you can continue to follow the adventures.  I am already looking forward to mid-March when I will return again to Zimbabwe.  I'm looking at returning twice a year, March-April and Sept.-Oct. for the next three years.

Trusting this blog is not too confusing as I simply jotted down ideas as they came to mind.  God Bless you all.

Sent with much love

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Wow  - Here it is September 5th and I realize it has been a very long time since I blogged.  And no I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  We are, indeed, still in Zimbabwe and in just three short months, as of tomorrow, we will be heading home to Canada.

It is truly with mixed emotions that we get ready to leave this country that has become our home away from home.  We are missing family and friends and looking forward to being back in Canada...AND   We will miss the friends and colleagues here in this country, who have been such a part of our lives for the past four plus years.  As we leave here, I am very aware that the work here is not finished.  I will be returning to Zimbabwe for shorter periods of time...probably for one months stints twice a year until the job of leading our college to attaining accreditation status.  The details of what that will look like are in process of being worked out. Having said that I realize that coming for short periods of time will be very different from actually living here and working with my colleagues on a daily basis but God willing, that will be rewarding for both the Zimbabwains and me. I am not sure whether or not the cottage in which we have lived will still be available.  However, I do have alternate plans if it is not.  I am just trusting that God, who called us here in the first place,  will work out the details and so I will leave that to Him.

The trees here are beginning to blossom and soon our street will be purple with the Jacaronda's in full bloom.  It's supposed to be summer but I'm still finding it old in early morning and evenings.  Our lass rooms are cold and I can hardly wait for the 'hot' weather to arrive.

We have been taking advantage of some of the social activities lately recognizing that our time here is quickly drawing to a close.  Some of those social events included:  1) A live theatre production of 'Sister Act'to which we took our sponsor child, Makanaka and her brother Panashe. The production was fabulous and just watching Maka and Panashe and their reaction was awesome. They had never been to anything like this and we so enjoyed being able to treat them in this way.  Panashe, who is eighteen, said it was an experience he will never forget.  2) We have been out on the golf course a couple of times in the past month.  In the four years plus that we have been here, we have probably been golfing a total of four times prior to this.  It costs us all of $5.00 per person for nine holes.  We just have not seemed to fit the time in to go more often.  Such a shame!  Scores were not anything to write home about but it felt so good just to be out. 3)We also went to a concert put on by the runner-up of 'The Voice - South Africa".  Another enjoyable evening.  4) Also went to a polo-cross game.  Polo-cross is quite popular here and Glen actually went two days in a row.  It was the International Junior Championships.  But, one day was enough for me.

 Doesn't sound much like ministry, does it.  However, things have been very busy at our college and we are in the midst of our first semester, having just changed our systems.  Just prior to the beginning of our August semester, I facilitated and also participated in a Teacher Training Course through APTEA (Association of Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa) which is the association through which we are seeking accreditation.
(Including a picture here of those of us taking the course)

This semester we have students from Namibia and supposedly have some coming from Malawi. They have encountered some difficulties with their passports and have been delayed.  Hopefully they will arrive before it is too late for them to join the current classes.  It will mean they have to work hard to catch up.  We are praying that things work out for them.  
Am inserting a picture of our students and staff on orientation day.  The picture was taken in our chapel.

We are working towards reinstating our Degree program which was discontinued in 2008, and, of course, we are still working towards our accreditation.  Renovations to our facilities are underway in a number of areas.  Being the Director of Quality Assurance has me running in many directions trying to see what all can be done while we are still on site.  Glen is still doing numerous repair and maintenance jobs and I know the workers will really miss having him around when he is gone.

Will try and be more diligent in keeping all of you up to date on what's happening this side of the world.

Love and blessings to you all.


Saturday, 24 June 2017

Hi again.  Just Me again!  I thought I sent this blog a long time back but my blogs are showing it as a draft.  so I'm resending it.  If, in fact, you did receive it way back in june then simply delete it.  So this is what I wrote back in June.

By now, all of you back home in Canada are moving into Spring as we here in Zimbabwe move into winter.  Far be it for me to complain as the coldest it might get overnight here in the winter will be around +8 C.  And then during the daytime most days the temperatures go to mid 20s.  The rainy season here, which has just ended, delivered more rain than usual this year after a couple of years of drought and that presents its own problems for the harvesting of maize.
My friends and colleagues here don't understand how I, a Canadian, can be cold in this country.  They all think Canada is cold all the time and find it hard to believe when I tell them that our summers are beautifully warm and that the temperature on my deck in British Columbia can be a balmy 40 C in summer. It shows how little we know of other countries in the world and I recognize that my knowledge of Zimbabwe was also very limited prior to us coming here and still I have much to learn. We do live in our own little bubbles don't we???
I really do feel the cold here as the buildings have no central heating.  Our class rooms are cold and it is quite common place for my students to ask if we can have our classes outside.  And so desks and chairs get moved out onto the lawn.  I really don't mind that when the sun is shining.  I always tell my students that we can only be outside if they promise not to go to sleep in class as they relax in the sun.

Well, I abandoned my blog for a bit but now will take time to complete the unfinished task. We are thanking God that He is still in control.  Yesterday we were granted the extension of our TEP (temporary employment permit).  That after eight trips to immigration.  It has been a bit of a frustration for sure, but now we can relax for the remaining of our time here.  The permit was granted for a further year but it is our intention to return to Canada in December, 2017.  I will make trips back (three weeks or so at a time) twice a year, probably for the next three years or so to see our accreditation process through to the finish.
Thursday we hosted the faculty, PACC Principal and his wife, on extreme right, next to them our Dean of Students and his wife and then on the right of Glen and I our  Academic Dean and his wife. We enjoyed a great time of feasting and fellowship.  It felt good to spend some time with the women as I spend so much time working with the guys. They are great...but...enough said!!!!  This picture was taken in our front yard.

Next we will host a luncheon for the current students as most of them will finish at the end of this term and then return in November for graduation.  As we begin with our semesterization in August all students will be new to the college.

And perhaps on Canada Day we will again make some sandwiches and take them to the local stone market. It is just one of the ways we can touch the lives of many, showing that we care, even though financially, we cannot help everyone.

I have planted a bit of a garden of radishes, lettuce, green onions and carrots and they are all just coming up now.  Gardens grow all year long and as I anxiously watch for things to peek through the ground, I am reminded of my dad who used to go out just to watch his garden grow.  I just came inside from 'watching my garden grow'.  It amazes me how often the things we do remind us of our parents.  One of my mom's favorite sayings was "You just make do with what you have".  That is so true here in Zimbabwe in so many ways.

The cash shortage continues to worsen and US cash has nearly disappeared.  Zim re-introduced bond notes but they are only good within the boundaries of Zimbabwe.  We are fortunate in that we can use our Visas in a lot of places, but cash is still necessary in the market places and some businesses.  We are so aware of how blessed we are in comparison to our local friends here.

Mid-term exams were written this past week and so I will leave you all, dear friends, and go and mark some exams
Love and blessings to all

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Hi again to all our family and friends back in Canada and the US.

Well, were to begin is the question?  Firstly, let me once again thank all of you for your support in whatever form that takes.  We so appreciate your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for us as we serve here in this country in which the economy continues to weaken.  Just today, I heard that businesses are now beginning to refuse to take cash payments and accepting only 'swipe'.  Not sure how that will unfold, and whether that only relates to the Zimbabwe currency what with the introduction of the Zimbabwe Bond Notes.  I do know, however, that the banks virtually have no money.  So, we continue to pray for our adopted country and thank you for your prayers for the people here in Zimbabwe and for the country.

So much has happened since my last blog, and we are now in the process of submitting an application for renewal of our temporary work permits.  As I believe I have said before, it is our intention to be here full time until December, 2017.  Then, God willing, I will return at least once a year, probably for a three month stint, until we (PACC) complete our accreditation process.  As I head up that committee, I believe it would be prudent to see it through to completion.  I will continue to work with the team through Skype, and email, etc.,  Technology does allow us to do things that a few years ago were impossible and I thank God for that.

Glen and I have just returned from a week in Kenya where we were privileged to attend a PAOC missionary all Africa retreat.  We were at a place called Turtle Bay which is on the Indian Ocean.  The pictures I have inserted here was one I took of the sunrise as I walked along the beach early morning.  It was awesome to meet with missionaries, about 100 in total, from many countries throughout Africa and to compare our experiences, both the blessings and the challenges.

It was a time of reconnecting with friends and meeting new friends.  It felt good to realize that we were not alone...even though we are the only ones in Zimbabwe.  It was truly a time to recharge and then return to our respective African homes ready to face new challenges.  One of those challenges is getting work permits.  We have learned, through the sharing of our stories and exsperiences, that it is becoming more and more difficult in many countries on the African Continent to get work permits.  Please pray for us that we don't encounter difficulties in that area.

Yesterday we had a time of fellowship and shared a meal with missionaries/workers from the US.  One couple, Jim and Becky Petersen are here in Zimbabwe on a stopover waiting to get clearance to go into Namibia.  They are lifelong missionaries who have served on the African continent, in many different countries for over fifty years.  Their work permits have just been denied so they are going into Namibia on visitor's permits and trusting God will open the doors for where He wants them to be.
We have gotten together with them a couple of times.  This is a picture of Glen and I with the Petersens.  As you can see we still get to go out to local restaurants.  That always presents some conflicting emotions for me as I realize we are privileged in the midst of the poverty of so many who struggle even to buy a loaf of bread.  But we still do treat ourselves to such times.

The other couple Jeff and Rebecca Smith, not in the picture, are working at our college doing renovations. They will be returning to the US the beginning of June and are hoping then to come back to Zimbabwe in November.

The Norries and the Allens, friends I have spoken of often in previous blogs, will all be returning to Zimbabwe in May.  The Norries for a month and the Allens are hoping (and praying) for work permits.

Our niece, Michelle and her husband Rob, are arriving next week and we are so looking forward to their visit and the opportunity to share our life here in Zimbabwe with them.  Glen has planned out an agenda and he has become quite a good guide.

Classes have ended until beginning of May and I will be taking a break while Rob and Michelle are here, so currently trying to get ahead of the game and prepare for my next classes.

I will be joining my CASC (Canadian Association for Spiritual Care) colleagues from across Canada in a fun run/walk on April 28th.  That is an annualfund raising  event that takes place at our CASC Conference this year being held in Saskatoon and I have tried to participateeach year even though I am in Zimbabwe.  

It is always good to touch base with so many of you and Skype makes that relatively easy.  So to those of you on Skype who would like to talk with us/me, send me your Skype address and I will watch for you on line. Those conversations/visits are treasured moments for me.

 This picture shows some of the beauty of this country which demonstrates the conflict.  In many ways the country is in ruins, certainly economically, and it seems appropriate to say there is such beauty among the ashes or ruins.

I pray that God will restore Zimbabwe.

Enough said for this time so until next month.
Love and Blessings to you all.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Greetings to all you beautiful people out there!!  (Whereever 'there' is).

And humblest apologies.  It has been way too long since I wrote.
It is rainy season here in Zimbabwe and the rains don't seem to stop.  Even the local people are ready for the rain to stop.  A number of areas in the country are flooding and bridges being washed out. We, here, however, although there has been more than ample rain, have not been subject to flooding.  I am more than ready for a steady dose of sunshine.

It is Sunday afternoon...and Glen and I have just returned from a long walk.  We have not been able to do that in quite a while because of the rains.  However, today is a beautiful sunny day with the temperature at about 26 c.

Time has flown by since I last wrote.  In February, I was privileged, along with our principal, Rev. Tawanda Munaki and our Academic Dean, Pastor Tichaona Chiwashira, to attend an APTEA (Association of Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa) conference in Jo'Berg, South Africa.  It was an awesome, albeit busy, time of reconnecting with people I had met at the last conference in 2014 and meeting many new people.  Our college has now received endorsement within that association.  What a huge step for us.  That gives us more credibility throughout the continent and already we are anticipating having students in August from a couple of other African countries.

I am inserting a picture of the three of us enjoying a McDonald's break, if you can imagine.  We don't have McDonald's in Zimbabwe and neither of the guys had ever been to a McDonald's so we just had to go.  Not fancy but a new experience for them and a little taste of home for me.  We had finished lunch and  here we are all enjoying an apple pie.  Made me think of our grandkids and greats as at home we would sometimes take them to McDonald's.  This time I took the big 'kids'.

The conference was attended by about 180 teachers and others associated with our theological institutes throughout Africa.  Fifty three (53) African countires were represented and it was great to be encouraged and encourage others in what we are doing.

Then, also in February we celebrated Linda's birthday.  Linda is our young lady Maka's mom.  Again we went to a place that reminds us of Canada and gives them a chance to experience something very different than the norm in their lives.  So we went to Kentucky Fried Chicken. We took the birthday cake along with us and the staff at KFC were very gracious and even allowed us to light the candles and sing Happy Birthday.  It was fun to see the excitment of our friends.  Linda had never had a birthday cake before.  Picture inserted here of the frivolity.


It may sound as though all we do is go to fast food places, but that's not really how it is.  Mostly we eat at home and cook for ourselves.  Although when we have missionary friends here or family, etc. we do enjoy some of the fabulous restaurants in this country.  Remember, Zimbabwe used to be a wealthy country and so there are still many upscale restaurants around.  At times we wonder how they stay in business but we appreciate the fact that they do.

Our next adventure will be a trip to Kenya as both Glen and I will be attending a PAOC all Africa retreat the end of this month.  It will be so good to connect with other Canadian Missionaries working in Africa.  Will tell you all about that next blog.

Our niece, Michelle and her husband Rob, are arriving in April to spend a couple of weeks with us. Glen has already booked photo Safaris for us and we are so anticipating the fun we will have together. It is, indeed, such a blessing to us when we have family or friends visiting us from back in Canada.  So the invitation is there...anyone wanting to come????

I was honored to be invited to be guest speaker at an investiture for 30 young prefects at the Cornelius Academy Primary School out at the Village of Hope.  I was asked to speak to them on Leadership.  The service was held in the chapel and it was full to capacity.  I was then presented with a beautiful basket of fruit by two of the young ladies being installed as Prefects.  I am moved by the generosity knowing that this is a great sacrifice for them.

Our college has special chapel services every Friday, following classes, and special guest speakers are invited. Our Dean of Students is trying to make sure all of us have some input into the spiritual lives of our students and so last Friday was my turn to be guest preacher.  I do consider it a privilege to be asked to preach and I do have those opportunities quite frequently at some of the local churches in addition to at our chapel services.

We enjoy opportunities to host our friends at our cottage and Friday evening we had one of my former colleagues and his wife join us for the evening meal and a time of fellowship.  They had a new addition to their family while we were back in Canada and so here is a picture of  little Emanuel with his mom.

We see our young sponsor lady and her mom on the average of about once a week.  Last weekend she appeared on the local television in her role as Queen Holiday.  The year will be busy for her as she fulfills that role.  Already she has taken part in collecting clothing and the like and distributing them to the less fortunate (which includes almost everyone in this country).  That is one of the responsibilities she, Maka, will undertake along with the organization Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, who were the sponsors of the competition through which Maka was crowned queen.

Work continues at Pan Africa Christian College and Glen is so great at doing renovations and fixing things.  I so appreciate him being my support in so many ways.  And to all of you, words are simply not adequate to express how much we appreciate the support we receive, in so many ways, from all of you.  Your prayers are felt all the way across the miles.  Your phone calls, your emails and your support of our college in various ways all mean so much.  You know who you are.  Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!!  We are blessed beyond measure.

And on that note, I will sign off for now.  Sending much love and many blessings to all.


Friday, 13 January 2017

Notes for my next blog!!

My blog this time is a reflection of my heart and with that you might note a heaviness that I am feeling.  I write this not to discourage anyone but simply to express the reality of my experiences.   I know we are here in Zimbabwe because God called us to be here.  Perhaps He called us to be here so that we/I might come to more fully understand that the entire world does not live the way we, on the North American continent live.  Perhaps there is more I need to be doing to do my part in helping those less fortunate.

As we celebrate Christmas and the joy that brings, we are so aware that many here in this country, while we can all rejoice as we remember that Christ came as Saviour, many struggle to feed their families and send their kids to school, and there is no money for that and certainly not for any special celebrations during the holidays.

The bond notes are now in the marketplace.  The banks are limiting the amount of money one can withdraw per day.  And you have to stand in line for hours to even get to the bank.  Cash machines are not working.  There simply is no cash and people express concern that the situation might be the beginning of a repeat of what happened in 2008-09 when inflation was crazy rampant.  At the moment the stores still have food and other consumables on the shelves and indeed in the supermarkets, such as OK Mart, it is looking very much like Christmas.  The reality is Christmas will be much simpler for most people.

The other day, as I was on my way home from college, I saw a young woman and two small children going through the garbage bins...presumably looking for something to eat.

There are long lineups at the banks, as people cue up to get a small amount of cash.  And then to be told when they finally get to the front of the line.  Sorry, there is no cash.  I'm told that the banks limit the number of people to 40 per day who can enter the bank and that doesn't guarantee you'll get money.
I've inserted here a picture taken Friday of the lineups.  People begin to line up the night before to make sure they can get into the bank.
And then there are those people who rely on cash...the people who are street vendors, selling their meger vegetables, or the stone carvers, and the list goes on and on.  And there is no cash.

Maka and Linda come to our house about once a week or so and often times when they come for supper they have not eaten at all that day.  We send home any leftovers with them; so that at least tomorrow they will have something to eat.
It is a humbling experience to say the least.  We are so fortunate and yet we also realize that we cannot help everyone.  At times, I ask God what I'm supposed to be doing in this country.  And I feel so inadequate.
Maka and Linda were here last night.  Maka has to go to school tomorrow to get her marks and then travel by bus to KweKwe to get registration forms to complete for her boarding school next year. One of the things we can do in this country is to help one young lady (Maka) get an education and improve her chances of doing well.  Even, as we spoke to her she was trying to put on a brave face for her mom, but expressed to me her fears of traveling alone to a strange city (she is just thirteen) by bus.  So, we pray for her safety as she travels and leave her in God's hands.
I also feel that inadequacy as I realize the sacrifices many of my students and my colleagues face just simply because they live in this country amidst the corruption and resulting economic difficulties.  My very dear friend, Nellice, has not been paid from her regular job for about six months.  When asked why she stays, the answer is simply, where would I go?  There are no jobs.  My friend tries to make ends meet by catering and decorating some events when possible.  I humbly acknowledge that we simply have no idea (even though we live in this country) of what it is like for the majority of people.  And yet, they put on their happy, smiling faces and life goes on.  My heart breaks for the country and her people!!

Enough of my heart heaviness for now.

It is rainy season here and this year the rains have come!  Maise is beginning to pop up everywhere.  It is planted on every bit of land available, much of it along the roadsides, as can be seen in this picture...anywhere people can simply claim a bit of land.

Even though classes are out for the month of December, there is much work going on as we plan for the 2017 year.

January 12th, 2017.
Christmas and New Year's have come and gone and we are now well into the New Year.  I realize that there has been a lapse of time between when I started this blog and nowalmost halfway through the first month of the new year.  Indeed December was a very busy month.  Much work was going on at our college and the majority of our 2,500 books are now on the shelves in the library and renovations have kept both Glen and I busy.  I am so grateful for the help of Rebecca Smith in cataloguing and shelving books.

Christmas day was different in many ways but was great; starting out with celebrating Christmas with our church family here and then hosting workers on the property and their families along with Linda, Maka and Panashe as well as King, who used to work on the property.  The workers on the property actually work for Bishop who lives in the Big house on the same property where our cottage is located.  The property is owned by PAOC, Canada.  We don't have workers as we do our own thing.

We actually managed to get a turkey for Christmas from a local super store.  It was imported and cost us nearly an arm and a leg, (they really wanted our first born) but it was so good and worth every penny. I guess when I think of it the cost was much less than returning to Canada for Christmas.

We had the same Christmas tree as last year, a gift from Maka, Linda and Panashe.  We added some light to it this year.  the other picture is of some of our guests after dinner.  The dinner just kind of went on and on as we served first at 2:00 when most of our guests arrived.  Then Linda, Maka and Panashe got caught in a flood an hour or so from here and so they came later in the day and we served again.  It was such fun and I realize how much I love to host people.
Here then is a picture of Linda, Maka and Panashe opening gifts.  We put together a basket of food stuffs and other essentials which they aren't always able to get.  They were quite excited and we joined with them in that excitement.  It feels so good to be able to add to the joy of others not only at Christmas time but throughout the year.  We are so blessed to be able to do so.

As I reread the first half of this blog, I realize there were moments of discouragement, but there are more times of  anticipation of the good things to come in 2017.  So, this half of my blog will take on a more positive note.  We are now definitely moving to a semester system, which will begin in August.  Our new college leadership team is in place and I have been given the new title of Director of Quality Assurance as part of my portfolio.  I guess, the reality is, I have been acting in that role for some time and so the powers that be decided to make it an official role.  I will, of course, continue as professor and Chair of our Accreditation team.

Our students for the first two terms will be those students who are looking to complete their programs before semesterization.  Graduation for those students will be in November and then come August we will bgin with an entirely new students.

Classes officially started this week.  Monday was registration, Tuesday orientation and then Wednesday first day of class.  I am teaching both the Old Testament Survey and The New Testament Survey and looking forward to journeying with my students as they explore the entire Bible.

It was a struggle getting a school for our young lady, Maka, to begin her Level I studies but she is now in school, albeit a day school and not boarding as we had initially hoped.  However, as it turns out, the school she is at is a girl's school within walking distance from where they are living.  It will work out well as she is able to be at home with her mom still.  Am inserting a picture of her in her new school uniform.

Sunday, January 1st, 2017 started out for us with a walk to the Base Church for their service, a golf game at Chapman's course in the afternoon and then a stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken just to make us feel connected to home.  A great start to the New Year, spiritually, physically and mentally.  The spiritual and the physical obvious and the mental with simply being out in the great outdoors and enjoying God's creation all around us.
It was great fun just to be out on the golf course and have the course almost to ourselves.  That was the first time golfing since coming back to Zimbabwe.  Golfing cost us all of $5.00 per person so we thought that was quite affordable.  (Joking, of dourse, it was actually very cheap...might even do it again.)

Glen has been busy removing, or arranging to have removed, four palm trees on the property that have been undermining the foundation of the big house on the property.  I'm inserting a video of the process. Hope it comes through.  It was quite interesting to watch.  Glen was in front with the truck, that would be to the right of the picture, and pulling as the guys chopped the tree.

Glen has been keeping track of the amount of rainfall and reports we have had 18.9 inches since he arrive in November.  That is certainly good for the country as it has been very dry the last couple of years and the water table is so low.  Everything looks lush and green; so we praise God for the abundance.

That's all folks!  Till next time.
Love and blessings to all