Tuesday, 12 January 2021

 Greetings to all my friends and family in Canada and the US.

Well, I am on the journey to return to my second home...in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Interesting trip.  I flew from Kelowna to Calgary with WestJet.  Stayed at Best Western Hotle overnight then boarded Air Canada and flew to Toronto.  Had to get a Covid-19 test in Toronto and have to provide that before boarding Ethiopiuan Air and then also have to provide it to customs at arrival in Harare.  The Covid-19 test result took two days.  I arrived in Toronto on the 2nd and it is now the 4th.  I leave tomorrow morning (January 5th and will fly with a brief stopover (2 hours) in Addis, Ethiopia, arriving in Harare, Zimbabwe on Wednesday, the 6th.  

The world has certainly changed in 2020 and along with that, rules and regulations change nearly every day.  Lockdowns and the like affect everyone world wide.  I have been considered an essential service in Harare and so that kindof clears the path for me to go.  I received a personal phone call from Zimbabwe's  Presiding Bishop today just to touch base with me and let me know the situation in Zimbabwe at this particular time.  I assured him that the situation is pretty similar here in Canada, and that I'm really going on faith as I believe God has called me to be there.  Our Principal will be picking me up at the airport.  I am so looking forward to the last leg of this long journey and to discover for myself how things are on the ground at my home there.

Will update more after I arrive.

Me Again.  (And I know some of this is repetitious...but excuse my reminicing.  Indeed it took six days to get here, but arrived safe and sound on Jan. 6th,  Wow, left my BC home on January 1st.  Glen drove me to Kelowna and I flew via Westjet to Calgary.  Spent one night in hotel there, then flew AirCanada to Toronto on Jan. 2nd.  Spent 3 nights in hotel there while awaiting Covid-19 test results. Toronto is/was on lockdown.  No room service or the like at hotel, but thanks to my good friends, Elizabeth and Gaye Norrie who delivered care package of food and snacks to the hotel, I certainly did not suffer. I Departed Toronto via Ethiopian Air, with negative test results in hand, on Jan. 5th, heading for Harare, Zimbabwe.  Brief stop in Addis, Ethiopia to change planes, then straight to Harare.  Arrived in Harare on Jan. 6th.  Paperwork to complete there and of course, temperature taken at every stop...otherwise uneventful.  Cleared Customs without a hitch.  

I think the term 'social distancing' means different things to different people.  WestJet plane had every seat full.  AirCanda had a few seats empty but we were told to keep social distancing.  Not sure how that is supposed to happen with someone seated right next to you.  Toronto airport also seems to talk the talk but doesn't seem to walk the walk. Ethiopian Air was jam packed from Toronto to Addis,  then a little bit of breathing space from Addis to Harare.  I continue to believe I am here by faith and I thank God for His protection.  I am well, and so appreciate the prayers of so many for my health and safety.  🙏 Thank-you.

Rev. Munaki (Principal) and Rev. Muzenda (Dean of Students) met me at the airport and it was so good to see them.  Mask wearing is the order of the day.  Also, as I was enroute Zimbabwe imposed a temporary lockdown...but I was already enroute.  Did not need to quarantine on arrival, but basically have done that and in that respect, things are not much different from being at home in British Columbia.  

Churches and other gatherings are closed, while grocery stores are open...subject to temperature checks upon entrance and mask wearing being essential.  Small family groups can meet and on Sunday I was part of the family of our principal as six of us met for bible study in lieu of regular church services.  Also, thank to YouTube I was able to 'attend' my home church service from Bethel Church in Penticton and  also able to access church services or messages from the Park Drive Church in Oliver and Elam Church in Keremeos, both of which I am connected with and whose congregations support my mission here in Zimbabwe in various ways.  

Have been busy just getting settled, sorting out some details such as internet, telephone, electricity, banking and the like.  I have the same living accomodations as I had the last time I was here, so am on campus and it is good.  

There have been many changes while I was home in Canada, including staff changes and of course changes due to Covid-19.  I am reminded that the only constant is change.  

It is really hard to believe that Glen and I celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversay in October, 2020.  Amidst Covid-19 we celebrated with just the two of us but enjoyed calls from family and friends.  Just thought I would share that small detail with all of you and include a selfy we took on that day.  We thank God for health.

Please know that I am safe and keeping well.  And I thank God for that.  My prayer for all of you is that you stay healthy and stay safe.  

Until next time...Sending much love and blessings to all.  God is good.