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 Church...so 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.