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