Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Surprise, surprise

The first surprise is we have an addition to the family. This is Google our kitten. So called because of his googly eyes! He is hopefully going to keep the house and garden free of rats and mice.. He is very entertaining which is just as well as there is no sign of a telly out here!!

The second surprise is that after 43 years I have got Dave onto a marriage course. Praise the Lord!! Tap's leadership team gathered at his house on Saturday and we suddenly found out they were going through a marriage course so there was no escape!

The third surprise is that I'm (June) leading the lifegroup tonight. The whole church is using the Chronological Bible Storytelling programme which has been devised for communities that are not used to reading. I'm hoping to liven things up a bit with some drama, so we may be thrown out before long!

The fourth surprise is that Dave has got involved in a ladies hairdressing salon! He was hopeful of a hair piece but they only do black and it didn't look good! The two ladies running the salon are in our life group and need help in managing the business as they have run into financial difficulties, so we are hopeful that with some business training, and financial support we can turn it around.

Now a prayer request for Martha. The lady in the photograph of children at Hamara school last time. She and her husband were in a very serious accident on Monday. She has a lot of broken bones and spinal injuries for which she is having an op today. Her husband escaped with less serious injuries but is still in hospital.

Well, hopefully thats all of the surprises for now, but will keep you updated.....

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Making Progress

Thank you to all our followers. It is so encouraging to know that we are not forgotten! We often think about you all and miss you, although we are definitely beginning to feel part of the church here. Everyone is so friendly.

Last Friday we had a new experience. The Hamara church plant were having an all night prayer meeting. When they say all night they mean it!! We started at 8pm and went through until 4.30am. When I say we, that included children and babies! They were all lined up on the floor with their blankets and slept when they had had enough! What commitment. I'm pleased to say we managed to stay awake (the last hour was tough) and were really encouraged. There were about 150 there and many had travelled from Trenance by minibus and cars. We had 10 in ours.

Last week we also visited the Hamara School. This is a school that the church have taken over and are hoping to extend to include more year groups. At the moment it caters for grade 0 to grade 3, but they are all squashed into one building so they have a building project in progress. The school reminded us of our school days. Very formal and strict. (they use corporal punishment when required). The resources they have are non existent so it is all chalk and talk! The children seem to love it though. Here they are singing a song with actions in assembly.
This is the Grade 0 class (reception to us). They are squashed into this little room but were still full of life and smiles! The lady sitting at the back is Martha who is the main initiator behind getting the school functioning under the oversight of the church. We had a great time at the school and it gave us a good idea of the govenments expectations for these year groups. The elder of the Hamara church is Mike and his wife Smanga is the grade 1 teacher. She is a great character and is trying hard to liven things up!
Today we are trying to finalise our application for residency. They love bits of paper here so it has taken a while to gather it all together but we hope to submit it tomorrow.

The builders return to the church site today to start the plastering. Hooray... We hope the building will be ready to use for the church's 5th anniversary next month. What a celebration that will be!!!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

In the Lion's Den

Well here we are two weeks into our adventure. We can hardly believe its only two weeks as it seems much longer! But we are certainly glad to be missing the cold weather at home. We are sending you this photo to show you how Dave is suffering for the gospel but I can assure you that the lion, or was it a bear? came off a lot worse! He isn't called David for nothing. What a hero!! Life for us here is very different. We wake early to the sound of birds, crickets and frogs in the swimming pool and go to bed very early to the sound of generators as the electrity has gone off again and is often off for 7 hours at a time. Candlelit dinners lose their romance after a while but we are very grateful to have a gas cooker so we are able to eat. There's no fear of us fading away! Dave has begun to dig a veggie patch in the garden and is very proud of his 4 courgette plants. The house is very comfortable and we feel very at home now. All it needs is a dog to complete the picture. As you can see, it is in a lovely setting, a real thatched country cottage.
We have been meeting with the church leaders and a guy called Brad who is out here with the BMS as a suveyer has been helping us to plan the next steps in the development of the church site. The first building is almost finished as the plumbing is nearly complete and then the walls need plastering and rendering on the outside. The next step is a caretakers house to make the site more secure.

We have also met with a charity called Family Impact who work to educate men, women, children and young people in how to avoid aids, how to build a strong family life, parenting and health education among other things. So we are thinking of ways we might be able to link with them or make use of their resources. There are many good things going on out here so we are keen not to re-invent the wheel by starting up new projects when others have already prepared the ground.

Last Sunday we went to the city church as it was their tenth anniversary and Taps was asked to share about Thembalezizwe church. We knew a lot more of the songs as they were sung in English and afterwards there was lunch so it was nice to catch up with some people we had met on previous visits.

Next week we are planning to go out into the bush to a place called Kezi to see micro businesses amongst impoverished Zimbabweans. So will let you know how we get on next time. The rains still haven't come so please keep praying. We did have a thunderstorm the other night but it was nowhere near enough.

In closing I must confess that the above injuries were caused by an argument with some barbed wire sited too low over a gate but he's still my hero because he didn't even cry!