Thursday, 12 December 2019

Greetings to all my family and friends on the North American Continent.

My time here in Zimbabwe for this go-round is wrapping up.  Classes finished last week and now am busy doing an internal audit and some final reports before I fly home to Canada on Monday, December 16th.  I arrive in Canada on the 18th.  Just in time to get ready for Christmas, whatever that looks like this year. Glen has already put up the tree and sent me a photo of it.  Looks great and I'm now anxious to be home.
My sister, Laurie was here for one month with me.  It was great to have her here and she certainly was a big help with reviewing papers, completing some of my reports and just attending my classes and helping in so many ways.  We did manage to have some fun and do a few things besides work.  We went walking everyday and even got soaked in the rain one day.
We went to the Village of Hope Orphanage and school where we joined with the Canadian orgnization rep for ERDO (Emergency Relief and Development Oveseas) who organizes and runs a feeding program at a number of different locations.  The principal from our College joined Laurie and me and we ccompanied the ERDO rep journeying to an outlying school where we assisted with feeding nearly 500 children. It was a new and very reqarding experience for all three of us.
Am attaching a couple of pictures.

 A picture of the line oup of kids waiting to be fed.  These feeding programs (through Canada) are operated on a daily basis and for these children that will be their only meal of the day.  They bring their own dish-most times not acceptably clean by our standards, perhaps not even washed from the day before...but they are receiving something to nourish their bodies.  And we were blessed to be a part of it for one day. 

It was just awesome having some sister time together with Laurie here.  We do not live in the same province so have not spent that much time together forever.  It really was special to have her here with me journeying with me in my 'other' world, very different in so many ways from life in Canda and yet the same in many other ways. Thanks so much Laurie. 😘 You are not only my are my forever friend.


The last few days have been mixed with completing an internal audit, finalizing paper work, meetings and packing up my belongings.  I will not be living in the same house when I come back next time so my office is beginning to look like a storage bin.  

Tomorrow I will be taking my young Maka to make sure things are in order for her for the next school term.  And I am trying to make the rounds to spend time with friends and colleagues to say my goodbyes before catching the lane on Monday for my return terip to Canada.

I am so looking forward to connecting with many of you when I am back that side of the world.  Hoping to see many of you in person and connecting with others for long telephone conversations.

So for now, Musare Zvakanaka ( Farewell)
Towanonana - (See you another time)

Love and Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Greetings once again to all my family and friends back in Canada and the US.  I do hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving and we do have much to be thankful for.  I did think of all of you and missed having a turkey dinner and time with family and friends on that side.

On a somber note, the economy here in Zimbabwe continues on a downward slide.  It is difficult to know how people manage when prices in the stores, and at the fuel pumps, rise almost daily.  The exchange rate today is twenty RTGS (local currency) to one US dollar.  When I came in 2013 the local currency and the US dollar where at par.  Things have changed considerably.  The hope that with the change in government leadership (the party didn't change, only the leadership) things would improve.  There was much hope; however that hope was short lived and things have gotten steadily worse over the past two years, rather than better.  Please pray for all Zimbabweans and for the country itself that somehow corruption will come to an end and Zimbabwean life will develop some kind of stability in which people don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. The fuel ques are long and it is noticeable that there are fewer cars on the road. Somtimes one can get to the front of the line only to be told there is no fuel. People can be in lineup waiting for days for fuel.

October is nearly over and then 2019 will be fast drawing to a close.  October has been an awesome time of ministry for us here at PACC.  Midterm exams have come and gone for the mostpart, although I still have one midterm for my students tomorrow.

We had three days of ACTEZ (Accreditation for Theological Education in Zimbabwe) meetings, combined with fun and games for our students as they participated with students from other theological colleges throughout Zimbabwe.  Competitions were held in preaching, debate and sports.  Our PACC students faired well with one of them winning the debate.  I'm including his picture here along with two of our other students who placed well in preaching competition and debate.  We, and especially, me, were very proud of all our participants.  I was in charge of preparing our debate students.  We are anticipating beginning an official debate club here at the college.  That is something I have had my students do in some of my classes where they pick the topic (relevent, of course, to their particualr class) and then invite our faculty to be the judges.  It is something that our students enjoy and offers something a little different to spice up the classes.

Then last weekend, we travelled to various districts for what we call PACC days.  This is an opportunity for our students, along with us as lecturers, to promote our college and participate in various ministry opportunities throughout the PAOZ districts.  I took six students and we went to KWEKWE which is about a four hour drive from here.  Other lecturers also took students to other areas.  We had opportunity to speak at many churches in the various regions.  I preached on Sunday at Bishop Mafurusa's church and presented a power point presentation on our college.  All in all it was a great learning experience for our students and opportunity for all of us to promote our college.
Attached here is a picture of our students writing their midterm exams.

Below are firstly a picture of ministry at KWEKWE and then secondly a picture of two of my former students who are both ministering in KWEKWE along with me.

I took a break during the week of block courses and flew to Bulawayo to spend a few days with our dear friends, Frik and Lizette Muller.  Lizette is the principal of a small school for underprivileged and challenged youngsters and so I spent some time at her school lending a hand.  It was just good to have a breakaway from the hectic pace at PACC and I came back feeling refreshed.

I'm not sure if I mentioned in a previous blog or not, but we at our college have been approached by the University of Zimbabwe to become affiliated with them and so have submitted the required documentation to move towards that possibility.  This past week, we hosted a team from the Univerity as they did an assessment of our facilities, our programs and the like.  Being affiliated with the University would allow us to once again offer a degree program.  In the past we did offer a degree through PAC U (Pan Africa Christian University in Kenya until 2013 when, due to government regulations, we were no longer allowed to offer a degree program from outside the country.
While that would certainly move us forward in one way, I do have a concern, that being part of the University would change who we are as a distinct Christian College.  I guess time will tell how that might unfold.

This past week we welcomed a new student from Mozambique, which is predominantly Portugese.  So now we are trying to make arrangements to have someone come to assist them with their English.

I'm getting lots of opportunities to hone my preaching skills.  Last week I preached in our special chapel; today I was guest preacher at our Dean of Students' Church.  Then next Sunday I will be preaching at our Academic Dean's am getting lots of requests to speak throughout the area.

Time is running short here in Zimbabwe.  My time here is more than half over and I am looking forward to being home for Christmas.  I missed the Thanksgiving turkey and family time.

Well, enough rambling for now.  I have papers to mark and preparation for tomorrows class awaiting my attention.  Will finish this off tomorrow, include a couple of pictures and try to send it off before the month ends.
Next Day!  Finished for now.
Love and blessings to all.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

September 2nd, 2019
Greetings Family and Friends
Life has been full here in Zimbabwe.  I am crazy busy teaching five teaching Monday through Friday, non-stop.  I said, never again and Glen laughed at me and said "I've heard that story before".  However on the upside is that I am busy with not much time to be homesick for Canada, although I certainly miss everyone on that side.  I am fortunate to have Whattsapp as that has become my go-to way of connecting.  The phone lines seem to be intermittent and I have a hard time getting through.
We continue with the load shedding with power being available from 10:30 pm to 5:00 am, so everyone spends much time working through the night to take advantage of electricity when it is available.

On the upside our friends from Bulawayo, Frick and Lizette Muller came to Harare last week and came to my place for lunch.  We had a good visit and I plan to visit them in Bulawayo during our midterm break in mid-October.

This weekend, I hosted our two adopted young people while their mom was attending a funeral in Mutare.  Makanaka and Panache came and stayed overnight.  They both have August birthdays so we celebrated with cake and everything.

Inserting here a picture of the two of them taken at my house..

Makanaka is the young lady we are supporting with school fees and the likes.  Panache is her brother and he has just received a full scholarship to study architecture and design at the University of Algeria.  So now he is waiting for his passport and we are praying for that to come through quickly.  He first applied over a year ago.  Please join us in prayer for that to happen as passports are not a top priority for the government here.

 Imserted later when I resumed writing Sept. 29th.  Panache has been granted his passport so will be leaving for Algeria very soon...probably within the
WOW!!!! It is hard for me to believe I started this blog almost a month ago.  Tomorrow is the end of September already and I will try and send this off tomorrow.  So sorry for the long delay.  Things have been crazy busy here (if I said that before please excuse me but somedays I'm not sure if I'm coming or going).  Such is life for me here in Zimbabwe at PACC and often times in the morning, I have to check my schedule to see which course I am teaching at any particular time.  Perhaps it is just my age catching up with me but in reality I think it is just overload.  I am so looking forward to taking a break mid October while block courses are being offered. I have respectfully declined teaching any of those courses this time around as I felt I needed a break.  I am going to make a trip to Bulawayo to visit Frik and Lizette Muller.  Lizette is principal of a school for the underprivileged there in Bulawayo and she is off the same time, so will have a good visit.

There has been so much sadness in this country with many deaths of loved ones and much illness to add to the economic stresses. Medications are unavailable or out of reach pricewise.

The Jacaronda trees are just beginning to bloom and the purple flowers are so beautiful and add a bit of life to the otherwise dry surroundings.  There has been no rain so things are looking pretty dry.

The economy continues to worsen and prices go up every day. It is indeed a struggle for my friends and colleagues here. 

Enough for now.  Will finish off tomorrow and hopefully end on a positive note.  Goodnight for now.
Well, it is now October 1st, 2019 - long past time I should be sending this off.  So today I will do that without thinking of everything else I should be writing.

Yesterday the use of the US dollar was criminalized so not sure where things are heading.  Time alone will tell and we will trust in God to see us through.

Next week we are hosting a two day ACTEZ (Accreditation of Theological Education in Zimbabwe)  conference where our students, along with students from other theological colleges in Zimbabwe will compete in debate, preaching skills, sports and musical talents.  I am facilitating the debate portion and really looking forward to working with our students in that regard.  We have chosen ten students to participate and we will have a debate this Thursday.  From that debate our judges (made up of our faculty) will choose the top four debaters who will represnt our college at ACTEZ.  Our entire college is looking forward to a fun couple of days.  So all is not doom and gloom for us here.

These are just a few of my ramblings and the happenings here at PACC Harare in Zimbabwe.  Wnjoy the read.  Continue to pray for all of us here and the country that God will intervene and bring sbout a sense of stability and peace.

I wanted to send more pictures but having computer problems with downloading them from my phone so will, hopefully, send more next time around.

Love and blessings to all

Friday, 16 August 2019

August 16th, 2019

Greetings to all my family and friends in 'Blog' Country.

Where to begin?  I arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday, August 7th, having left Canada on August 5th.  I had a long layover in Dubai, which was very pleasant as Emerates Air supply a hotel room and meals on layover of more than 9 hours.  It certainly breaks up the long 'in-the-air' time and low and behold, I did not suffer from jetlag at all.  Indeed that was very fortunate as I arrived Wednesday evening and Thursday morning was off to Mutare to attend a three day PAOZ (Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe) National conference.  That was a four hour (more or less) drive but luckily I did not have to drive.  Conference was great!  One of my students hosted myself and the principal and his wife.  She and her husband were such gracious hosts and I enjoyed the oppiortunity to get to know them as ordinary people and not just as my student. Also learned a new recipe for sweet buns - easy to make - and cheap in these difficult economic times.

So, I have now been on the ground here in Zimbabwe for just over a week and am busy preparing for classes.  Our classes officially begin next week and I will be teaching five classes.  I teach Mondy through Thursday and then have Fridays off.  I will look forward to visiting with our friends in Bulawayo on one weekend and perhaps try to fit in a few other things just for a break from college.

The economy has certainly worsened since I was here last.  A while back the government banned all foreign currency and only the local currency is acceptable.  If US dollars are available, the banks will exchange for 7 to 10 times the amount.  But of course, the local people do not have access to US dollars and so only what is brought in benefits.  Most of the stores do not accept anything but local currency.  Prices have gone through the roof and a loaf of bread can cost anywhere from $7.00 to $10.00.  While prices have skyrocketed, salaries have remained the same and are paid in local currency. Eggs are sold individually at $.99 per egg.  Butter is $79.00 to $99.00.  Fuel is in short supply and people line up (Q-up) all day and perhaps even overnight.  Then it is possible when you get to the end of the line that perhaps there is no fuel left.  Electricity (Zesa - Zimbabwe Electrical Supply Association)  better known as Zimbabwe Electricity Weldom Available is living up to its name and for quite some time there has only been electricity for a few hours in the night mening people have to be up midnight and early morning to wash clothes, iron, etc., etc.,  Water is also a challenge as the water table is extremely low due to drought.  Kereba dam is nearly dry and said to be closing soon.  It is tough for Zimbabwains but they still manage to be joyful and celebrate life.
These are just a few of the many struggles my friends here in Zimbabwe have to deal with on a daily basis. I am so fortunate and truly blessed but therecomes for me with that, a feeling of guilt knowing I can still buy while my friends and colleagues cannot.  So, I simply do what I can to help and pray for God's guidance in how best to do that..

Not all is gloom and doom however, and our college is providing vegetables from our greenhouses to meet the needs of our staff and students, while hopefully, having some excess to be able to sell.  I toured the gardens and was quite impressed. We are growing cove, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, cabbage, spring onions, spinach and cauliflower.  We also are raising chickens to provide much needed meat for the college and hopefully to sell as well.  The attitude at the college is indeed hopeful and we are trusting God for adequate provision.

I have my young adopted daughter, Makanaka, here with me for a few days before my classes start.  She is home from boarding school where she is doing very well.  It is good to spend some time with her.  Tomorrow, being Saturdqay, I will pick up her mom and brother and bring them to my place for lunch and then drive them all home. 

Rhonda and Larry Allen, missionary friends from the US are home in the US currently and returning to Zimbabwe mid-September.  I really look forward to welcoming them back.

I brought with me tooth brushes, toothpaste and other tooth care items, compliments of Summerland Dental and my sister Patra's dentist office in Calgary.  I went to the Village of Hope orphanage and school yesterday where I met with the mom's and children to present these items to them.  There was such excitement as these things are a rare commodity at this time in Zimbabwe.  I took some pictures of the kids waving their tooth brushes and tooth paste high above their heads and would so love to share those with all of you but that is not permitted.

This has been kindof a snapshot of my thoughts of things to share and so I apologize if it is a bit jumbled.  I have not downloaded any pictures as yet so will include some next blog. Closing with a request for all of youthat side to hold all of us this side in prayer.

Love and Blessings

Monday, 28 January 2019

Greetings to all.
All of my previous blogs have been reports of happenings on the mission field of Zimbabwe which has very much become a big part of my life.
However, having said that, Glen (my husband) dcided that after spending the past five years or so on the mission field supporting me in my work, it was time for the two of us to take an actual holiday.  So he booked a trip to New Zealand for us and so here we are.

Why New Zealnd, you might very well ask.  Well, Glen has for a long time had a desire to visit New Zealand.  I had been once many years ago, but he had never been.
Long back, when my grandfather came to Canada, a bother of his went to New Zealand.  Nearly thirty years ago, I connected with the cousins and have once visited New Zealand (twenty-eight years ago).  Two of the cousins and their wives subsequently visited us in Canada...and now we are once again reconnecting.  It is quite delightful, actually, to spend time reconnecting and to meet some of those who have since come into the family.
Besides visiting, we are doing a fair amount of touring, much of it with the relatives, but also some on our own.  we have so far been on the North island and next week will be taking the ferry over to the south Island and have booked a bus tour to see that Island as well.  When I travelled years back, accompanying my parents so dad could meet his first cousins, we only toured the North Island as that's where all the relatives lived.
Reconnecting, meeting those I had not met previously, and spending time with relatives is, and has been, to this point, the very highlights of our tour.  We spend much time talking about our ancestors and chatting about the similarities we share.  Of course, we are also seeing and enjoying the many wonders of God's creation.

In my travels to numerous countries in the world, I have discovered that every place has its own beauty.  I have just inserted a couple of picures of the beauty we have discovered in New Zealand.

This next shot is one taken as we sat enjoying breakfast at a sidewalk cafe.  As you can see we had a visitor come and help us with our leftovers.
This was taken on our tour of the Cape on the very North end of New Zealand's North coast
I realize this is just a snipet of our tour of New Zealand's North Island.  More to come later, after, or during, our trip to the South Island.