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John & Martha Shaw

Still waiting to hear news of permanent residency.

Our love and greetings to you all. Our thanks to all those who faithfully write to us and pray for us. We appreciate your continued interest in us and the work here. We are beginning to realise that the weather here can be unpredictable too. After a hot to September, we had two inches of rain earlier this week, which certainly freshened everywhere and took everyone by surprise. The council 'started' to repair the road into Chegutu from Ameva about two months ago, but work was halted, and rumour has it that their machinery was impounded because of unpaid bills. They made a temporary road as a by-pass which soon became a dustbowl. With the first rain the temporary road became impossible, so it is a daily occurrence to see drivers removing the barriers so they can drive into Chegutu. One wonders when and if the road will ever have a tarmac surface. By the time you receive this letter, Martha will either be preparing to go to, or already be in Ireland for a holiday. She leaves at the beginning of October and will be away for six weeks. She has been less involved in the school recently and after six years of hard work is ready for a good rest. Martha finds the heat exhausting and since October is usually the hottest month, she will enjoy the cool Irish breezes. She is looking forward to spending time with her sisters. She flies direct from Amsterdam to Belfast so she will not be visiting England this time. Please pray for her, that she will be refreshed physically and equipped spiritually and in every way for whatever the has for us in the future I am still waiting to hear the outcome of my for permanent residency in the end, the application had to go through the regional Education Office and the education officer for mathematics came to the school to inspect my teaching.

His visit was delayed and when he eventually came, we were doing mid-year exams, so he had to be content with seeing my schemes exam papers and pupils exercise books. He is notoriously tough, but I think he was satisfied. Last term I was called out of a headmasters' meeting to see the District Education Officer.

I felt like a small boy being summoned to the head's office but I needn't have been concerned. I was told that the school had been chosen for the Permanent Secretary's 'Merit Award' in appreciation of the progress made by the school. This will mean another official ceremony next time.

Perhaps we fed them too well last time! Some of you will know that Bryn Vaughan, who has been at the school for 2 1/2 years, and set up the science department., will be leaving in December. His TEP expires then, and he has decided not to renew. He has done an excellent job at the school, and will be missed.

The search now begins for a local teacher to take his place. In some ways the last two months have been ordinary (if it is possible for Africa to be ordinary and routine, but the Lord has encouraged us in many ways. Our handing over of the work on some of the farms to Mr Chambo has seen a big increase in the numbers attending the meetings. The Lord has used Mr Chambo and he is greatly encouraged. Please continue to pray for him- especially regarding the future. He has asked me to visit them next Sunday afternoon. Hebenezer continues to be a faithful brother in the gospel and the Lord has blessed him and Lydia with a son after the tragic loss of their firstborn last year. We do pray for you all and value your prayers for the future. We want the Lords will to be done. Years ago, when I first started work, I went to a lunchtime Bible study every week. I cannot remember anything that was discussed, but I remember the little poem, that was on the wall:

Only one life

Twill soon be past

Only what's done-

For Jesus will last

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JOHN & MARTHA SHAW - ZIMBABWE The school is officially opened!

Last time we wrote we were in the throes of getting ready for the official opening of the school. Despite the rush and panic from the local education officers (I think they were more worried about the visit than we were) the actual day was excellent. The tent that was loaned to us by the Air Force was much smaller than we had been promised so most of the pupils had to sit in the open air. Our prayers for dry weather were answered and everyone rose to the occasion. The Africans do not suffer from stage-fright, in fact, they perform better in front of a crowd. The Minister of Education was a delightful man and made everyone, including me, feel very much at ease. He was very impressed with the school and commended the Christian influence and our endeavours to give the children practical skills. The fashion and fabrics department gave him two beautiful cushions and the woodwork department, which had only been functioning for about a month, made him a small coffee table. He was also given a Bible and the farm gave him a live sheep. As we waved him off the sheep was snugly lying in the back of his land cruiser. We were grateful to the Lord and to everyone else who had helped to make it such a successful day. The school holiday is now drawing to an end. We have had a quiet relaxing lime at home and enjoyed a few visits to Harare without having to meet deadlines. We also visited Isaiah, an ex-Bible student, at Matsai in the south-east of Zimbabwe. About three years ago I visited Matsai with Ebenezer and Kasbert and the Pastor Masuka asked if we could help him as he had such a large area to cover for the church. I said if he could find a suitable young man, I would arrange for him to be trained at Ameva Bible School. Isaiah was the young man and he has been at Ameva for two years and is now back helping brother Masuka. This time Martha came with me, along with Ebenezer and his wife Lydia. As it was such an isolated area with basic facilities, we took a tent with us, but when we arrived they had arranged for us to sleep in one of the teacher's houses at the local school. It was cooler than the tent would have been because, although the nights were cool, it was still hot in the day. Some of the people had walked for four hours to be with us. We had a full weekend of meetings and we all spoke. They were lovely people who really loved the Lord. Pastor Masuka had a real godly father who was greatly used of God. It was an inspiration to hear the stories he told. From the work at Matsai brother Masuka has seen three of his men become pastors. They have bought a plot of ground and have already dug the foundations for the church. Two years ago, they lost everything in the drought, but the Lord is blessing them again with a good harvest. Please pray for the work there at Matsai. (Isaiah wanted us to stay longer - perhaps the Lord will allow us to go again.) Pastor Masuka and Isaiah will be coming to the conference in June at Ameva, so we look forward to seeing them again.

Please pray for the Shelmires in Zimbabwe

HERE WE ARE STILL AT AMEVA! God has wonderfully answered prayer for Earlene and I as Earlene has been given an extended work permit for 28 more months to teach at Sir John Kennedy school in Kadoma. This will also enable Spencer to continue teaching at the Ameva Bible College until December 1998. AMEN! But after recent government legislation, it will now be impossible for new teachers to come from abroad to teach in government schools here in Zimbabwe. Please make this a matter of prayer as this will surely affect staffing here at Ameva! We have enrolled a new group of first year students and Spencer is busy helping to organise and co-ordinate their afternoon work programme, so that it will be meaning­ full work experience and useful in their fu­ture ministries. Besides teaching, Spencer is trying to organise more outreach oppor­tunities so students can get more practical experience in different types of outreach.

Spencer asked his first-year students write about any opportunities that they had over the Christmas holidays to serve Lord. I would like to share YUSUF's experiences with you:

"Each day we devoted our time to the Lord. I and pastor Rangarirai Chibanda (who graduated from Ameva Bible College last November) moved around the farms and communal lands and the town of Marondera, where I live. We preached the Gospel not only to farm employees, but to farmers as well. During all of my missionary journeys, pastor Rangarirai escorted me. He is a good co-worker for me in the ministry. Besides preaching and teaching, we prayed for the sick and by the grace of God, they were healed, and we even performed miracles in the Name of Jesus. I will never forget that day in December when while praying for a young man, he collapsed and seemed to die in my hands. What happened on that day confused me! This man had been ill for a long time and I as pastor at the Larkhill Es­tate used to visit him every day. But after praying for him in December, we were dis­cussing his illness with his parents. Sud­denly as I was holding him, his appearance just changed and his whole body started shaking! Eventually he collapsed into my arms and I heard his mother say "Don't trouble yourself anymore, he is finished". On that day I cried while looking up to heaven, and the Holy Ghost convinced me that he was not dead but sleeping. I told bis parents to only wait upon the Lord, and within thirty minutes be revived! I told them to prepare porridge for him to eat, which they did. The miracle of what happened to this man enabled his family to give their lives to Jesus. I praise God for the many others who gave their lives to Jesus as we held services in various places during the weeks of our college holidays. I thank God that the Bible says that

those who know their God shall be strong to do exploits. There were so many bless­ings that we experienced during the holiday, that we cannot record them all.

But the Spirit of God is my witness."

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We cannot let Christmas come and go without sending greetings to you all. At Ameva there is a paradise fly catcher, I have only seen him once this season. He has a peacock-blue crest and shirt and a coat of fire with two long trailing tail plumes, 3 times the length of his body. He flips and twists mid-air snapping up butterflies and insects. He is a lovely sight. We have the fiery-red flamboyant tree in full bloom now and Chegutu has a number of these. To borrow another writer's description the flamboyant throws discretion to the winds and smothers every branch and twig in a foam­ ing mass of scarlet blossom. There are two of these at Ameva.

Our lives here are fairly sober because there is sadness in the air Ebenezer and Lydia lost their baby Tapiwa na She with no apparent cause of death. The name means “Gift of God" and God gave and He took away and like Job in ancient times Ebenezer is still praising God. Both he and Lydia recovered from their grief in an amazing way. From sorrow to joy.

More recently, last Saturday 2nd November we were honoured along with John and Celia and Bryn and Sue to attend the wedding of 'Guide' and 'Forgiveness' which took place in the C.M.C. church in Chitungwiza. The high temperatures, 35C in the shade, did not encourage us for the long drive to the place, but Bryn and John Ernest shared the driving while the blast through the open windows wrecked our smart hair styles. It was a delightful day, the bride being truly lovely and even relaxed. Mr. Kadhani conducted the service, Mr. Gobvu, the C.M.C. bishop performed the official and religious duties and that was followed by an address by John Valentine. He preached about marriage to Christ. Everything was dignified and yet enjoyable. People relaxed when bottles of coke were distributed and music, which was not too loud, was played. The bridal party danced to slow tempo in measured steps from the front, right down the hall a very entertaining sight. After that some older women ex­ pressed their joy, dancing and singing. They displayed their gift with total lack of self-consciousness in their African way. They seemed to be able to move, constantly surprising us with the next antic. At one point the heat in the place was over-powering and Sue and I decided we should present our gift and leave early. The four of us presented ourselves to the bride and groom and said we were going to go but they said "Oh no, you must stay and eat. “So we said, "Yes" and once more abandoned to whatever ensued, realising it was good manners. Soon a meal was served for everyone, a table for the bridal party and guests like ourselves on the platform. We were strengthened by the chicken and rice and rain­ bow ice-cream. At the end of the meal a little lad, one of the bridal party, sat next to me, enquiring if I bad enjoyed the meal. We had a nice conversation.

Some of you may wonder if I am still doing the women's work. I haven't gone to M'kute for three weeks and will discontinue at present in this hot season. Mr. and Mrs.I Chambo will soon be moving there and they will make a fresh start. They are excited about the prospect. For the moment I am looking after the Seaton family and have plenty to do. { I Julian and Eve are busy getting their house ready down at the Secondary School. If the rain holds off they will make progress. In other quarters rain is needed badly.

Louise Harper said goodbye to us all on Sunday and she read a verse from Isaiah which I took to heart. "And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought, and make your bones fat, and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." (Isaiah 58vl1).

Memories of our holiday in the UK are still fresh and precious in our minds and we are thankful to the Lord for that time. We are so grateful for your love and prayers for us.

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