Quick Links Quick Links

Voices from the Fields…

by Robert Garrett

I arrived back in Zimbabwe late Wednesday night March 24.  It was hard to leave Joy behind again but, although she is well, the neuropathy that affects her feet makes it impossible for her to make this long air journey.  She is willing for us to be apart for the Lord’s work.  I did enjoy the 32 months in the States with family and friends and the beautiful snow?

School  Leaver’s Camp over the long Easter weekend: This was a wonderful success in many ways. 118 girls and 100 boys. These are all young singles 18 years and above.  Some of these youth came from as far as 300 miles away.  They were a happy bunch of youngsters and really enjoyed this time of fellowship and Bible Study.  There were …………who came to Christ and were baptized.  Lessons were provided by a variety of teachers from the congregations and three of our Preachers. I taught two lessons. One concerning marriage -. And one (by request) the Bibles teaching on Dreams. In preparing the lesson I discovered that over a period of 4,000 years the Bible records that God communicated in dreams to only 14 people, eight of them were unbelievers and only six were believers!

Transport Logistics. Only about six of these youngsters have a car, the remaining 212 do not, so we must transport them from their respective church sites  (11 in Harare); and then take them home again when camp is over. Those campers who come from outside Harare must make their way via bus or train into the city and we pick them up from there. We have two 4-ton trucks with “bus” bodies plus one small pickup for this purpose.

We also have a third open 4-ton truck for ferrying building materials and other large things.

There were eleven women who came to do the cooking and chaperoning.  They must be collected early on Thursday afternoon to prepare the first meal for Thursday evening.  Then they must be taken back home on Monday afternoon.

Disaster: Daniel Kubvaruno was ferrying the cooks home in the pickup, and had – by the wonderful grace of God – just dropped the last cook off and had started back to Ruwa and was just turning a corner when the right rear wheel came adrift, half-shaft and all,  and went rolling off into the bushes. We thank God for His protection, the vehicle stopped without striking anything  He was able to phone for help and we had a breakdown recovery tow the pickup back home to Ruwa. As I write, Zilawe and Michael are working on the repairs and it should be ready soon. The parts to do the work are readily available and not too expensive.

Now this little Mazda pickup (like the Ford Ranger) is 14 years old and has done 373,563 kilometres – that is 232,561 miles.  It has been a good vehicle except for it’s one weak point, the transmission. The bearing on the fifth gear often collapses. – I think I have had it overhauled at least six times. And it is giving that same trouble again and this time not only needs some new bearings but also the fifth gear itself needs replacing.

This vehicle -we call it the Blue Truck- served as my personal transport for 8 years until I purchased a Mazda twin cab in 2004.  Since then it has served well in all kinds of things: Taking preachers to distant places for week-long Gospel meetings, Ferrying food for famine relief and General use around the mission.  Michael, our builder, bricklayer, must use this to go to distant sites such as Mhondoro-50 miles, Bulawayo-322 miles, Hwange-516 miles. He will stay there up to three weeks at a time and needs  a vehicle while he is there.

So while he is gone with the blue truck we are left here with only one small vehicle – my little 6 year old red twin cab. (“little” in comparison to the huge American “full-size” pickups. Now in case some might think I am complaining, let me hasten to tell you that I DO NOT want a “full-size” pickup).  I really love my red pickup (110,658 miles). Unfortunately it is suffering from a cracked cylinder head.  This was caused by a mechanic’s negligence. The first year I had a small accident that damaged the radiator and had to have a new radiator fitted. The people who did the work did not properly tighten the clamp that joins the hose onto the radiator.  I used the vehicle for some months before the fault was discovered.  Five years ago Alex and Ruth Wilson had come to visit Zimbabwe and we had driven over 600 miles to the Victoria Falls and then back to the Hwange Nature Reserve to view the wild life. It was while we were way out in the bush on a seldom traveled dirt road, far from civilization, crawling along in low gear, when steam and water came splashing out back onto the windscreen..

I immediately stopped and turned off the engine and discovered that the top radiator hose had come off the radiator due to an improperly secured clamp  (the clamp was still on the hose).  Alas, we had less than a pint of water with us.  We sat and waited for the engine to cool and I replaced the hose properly clamped.  About five miles back there was a rest point with water but we could not walk there because no one is allowed on foot in this area. It took us several hours in stages. I would drive a short distance and then stop to let the engine cool. Once we reached the rest point we were able to fill the radiator.

About six months later the radiator sprang a leak which was repaired and then every two months or so it would do it again. We suspected that the head gasket was leaking or there was a crack in the cylinder head which allowed the exhaust gasses to blow into the cooling system with excessive pressure.  Last year I took off the head and had it pressure tested and was told it was ok. We replaced the gasket but it is still doing the same thing. I have been told that likely it is because some cracks only open when the engine is hot, but when they pressure test a cylinder head it is cold and those kind of cracks do not show up.

Please PRAY for us in this. The red pick up needs a new cylinder head and it would be nice to replace the old blue pickup with a new truck. However, I do not want to ask for funds for this as I know that some of our supporting congregations and individuals are experiencing financial difficulties and PORTLAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL is in urgent need of funds to pay their teachers.  Let us take care of them first and not fail to petition the Throne of Grace.

Senior Camp begins Sunday afternoon April 11. This is for children ages 13 thru 17.   If you receive this letter in time please PRAY for them.

Tags: , ,




Leave a Reply

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4