January 12th, 2010

My second journey to Zimbabwe was from September 22 through December 9. In the few weeks available I try to visit  as many congregations as possible. Some need teaching on basic doctrines and some on leadership, prayer, Christian growth.

  • October 20 : I had to make a trip to South Africa to purchase an alternator (24 volt) for one of our Aeolus 4-ton trucks.  The box was labeled 24 volts. I opened the box to examine the alternator – it was sealed in an opaque plastic bag. The man assured me it was a 24 volt.  When we opened it back in Ruwa to install it we discovered that it had a small label on it saying 12 volts! ! !  There was nothing to do except drive back to SA the next week to exchange it.  Then our oldest truck, a 4 ton Toyota, needed new shock absorbers and have the rear springs rebuilt, plus some other work on the clutch and to stop some oil leaks. Fortunately all these things were available in Zimbabwe.
  • November 4: Drove the 300 mile trip to Bulawayo to oversee the different things that needed to be done. The stub purlins needed to be welded in place to carry the remaining sheet of A/C roofing over the two gable ends, the sheeting put in place and masonry work to seal the gap.  The small roof for the front entrance must also be completed. I also helped attach the steel security screen doors that are now standard fittings on all buildings because of the high crime rate.

We had allowed a couple of men – who were members of the church – to stay on the church site in the portable huts we use at the different sites.  They were supposed to watch after the property and we paid them for doing odd jobs in the construction.  Several sheets of the Asbestos/Cement sheeting (12 feet long) along with some shorter sheets needed for the entrance verandah disappeared, and these men also disappeared!

  • November 7 : On Saturday afternoon with Zilawe I drove the next 250 miles Hwange to meet with and encourage the struggling congregation there.  Hwange collieries produce all the coal used in Zimbabwe and some is exported. It is both an underground and open cast mine.  The congregation there was started by Cossen Ncube some years ago. He died earlier in 09 of Tuberculosis. Since then the congregation has declined in numbers.
  • November 8: After the Sunday morning service I met with the men to answer some of their questions and difficulties and exhort and encourage them in the Lord.

In the afternoon we drove back to Bulawayo and Monday morning helped and directed the completion of the roof over the front entrance. Late in the afternoon we drove back to Ruwa.  There was still the need to fit doors to the Bulawayo building but could not find the right type. We needed 3 pairs of rebated double doors.  I had some new solid doors I had bought at auction many years ago. I had to cut the rebates in them and four of them had to be cut down to size as they were too wide.

  • November 21 : On Saturday afternoon  I had a 2 ½ hour meeting with the elders and deacons of the Harare area churches. Emphasized the shepherding work and duty of the elder.  It was a very fruitful meeting with questions and discussions and some were able to help others with their own experience.  These are good men who love the Lord. Pray for them and their wives and pray the Lord to raise up good men in those congregations which still lack such leadership.
  • November 29 was a long awaited milestone for the Mhondoro church – the dedication of their building. (50 miles from Ruwa). It is not a large congregation, 20 to 30.  Two of our preachers, bros. Chibura and Justice spent a week there doing visitation in the villages around about.  The building was packed with over 200, many of whom had come from our congregations in Harare for this special day.  For many years they had met under a “temporary” shelter. The members -mostly women – made and burnt the bricks needed.  The steel roof framing and support columns were made in my workshop and Zilawe and Michael erected them. The roof covering was Zimbabwe manufactured Asbestos/Cement sheeting.  Financing was from the Mbare church, the Board of Trustees and some from my mission funds.
  • Monday, November 30 we went back to Bulawayo to hang the doors and put a lean-to roof over the side entrance to protect the door from the weather. Returned to Ruwa Friday Dec 3.  We had also taken ten benches – which we made in our workshop at Ruwa – to replace the scaffolding planks the congregation had been using for pews.  There are only two major things needing to be done. (a) The floor finishing – which consists of a sand/cement mix troweled down about ½ to ¾ inch thick with a red/oxide pigment troweled to a smooth finish.  That is a major operation.  (b) The 2nd thing is fitting the louvre frames to the auditorium windows, fitting the glass to these frames and also glazing the other windows.
  • Tuesday December 8 caught the flight back to the USA to arrive Wed Dec 9.  The Christmas and New Year season has been so enjoyable as we have been able to be with most of our children and grandchildren – truly a blessing from the Lord.

I must send about $3,500 every 4 months  to buy diesel fuel for the mission and also other funds to keep the “mission” (our home) in Zimbabwe functioning.  Most of the time these days there is no electricity at Ruwa. There are repeated breakdowns in the supply infrastructure.  Thieves stealing power lines to sell for scrap, draining the cooling oil out of transformers and selling it for diesel with the result that the transformers overheat and burn out, and also what seems to be increasing incompetence in the part of authorities to repair the damage.

We have to take cold showers because the water heater is electrical.  We must run the generator about 12 hours a day to keep the fridge and  freezer going and to pump water from the well. It cannot operate the water heater. It costs about $10 a day to operate the generator.

Because of Joy’s arthritis and neuropathy she is unable to endure the air travel. That means I must maintain two homes, one in Zimbabwe and one in USA. This is simply is an appeal for prayer on our behalf.

LORD WILLING, I wish to return to Zimbabwe in March or April and stay about 3 ½ months.