Greetings from distant Africa. At times it feels that we are living just round the corner from Eltham as we have so many English here at the moment. The weather is hot, blue skies and green grass in places. There was little rain before we arrived, but we need more and there are plenty of spiders! We are both well, although Terry is still feeling the effects in his hand after a scorpion bite last Monday at 2.30 a.m. precisely! He was awakened by a sharp needle effect in his hand and by the morning the latter was quite swollen. He was out all day and when he returned, I was concerned that the swelling had extended. The result was a drive to Kadoma to see a doctor. We have now discovered that the scorpion, which was small, two and a half inches long and black, was not the lethal type and as long as Terry did not have bad reactions in 20 hours. he would be O.K. Today he is alive and well and we are on the chase to catch 'Fred' and his mate and make sure they go back home!
We have been here 5 days now and it seems much longer than that. Over the weekend we were involved with the Bible School's Graduation ceremony. Bishop Philip and his wife were honoured guests, and we were seated at a table set out with a meal of chicken and rice and jelly and cake. There were speeches and reports, the Bishop spoke followed by Terry (plus lots of singing of course). After this there was a short leavers' presentation and I was asked to give out the certificates and the prizes of course!) On Sunday, after the meeting in town, we had the Primary School Prize Giving. This was two and a half hours of singing and speeches and I was again asked to give out the prizes - only this time when a child came forward the adults came too and danced and clapped and swung the child up in the air - a bit
different from the usual! There have been extensive talks regarding the changeover of administration for Ameva to Liverpool and these have been very profitable. Otherwise we have been involved in school assemblies, visits to Kadoma, and Harare - the latter to negotiate the release of the container which is held in Beira, in shopping for our household of 5 plus and in sorting out the practical work in which we shall be involved. It was lovely to see Crystal after a month away. She is very happy here and fits in almost like an African!
We live together in one of the bungalows plus another girl called Rachel who is connected with “Tear Fund”. She is a lovely girl and came with a lad called Jim who also eats with us.
Jim Bailey and Peter Moffatt also pop in and out and will be eating with us from Saturday as Celia is away for 10 days with Grace who is having her tonsils out. Jim is busy filming all the events. He is very professional and is pleased with the work so far. He has also been on the outreaches and in assemblies.
It is now Thursday and I am up and writing at 6 a.m. - trying to get some letters to Colette who is leaving for England tomorrow. Today I am helping sort out rooms with Celia as she has a family of 6 corning on Saturday (The Arsenaults from Maforga). We shall be having a "Goodbye" for Colette - coffee and cake. Terry will study for speaking at the Youth Weekend which starts Friday evening. We have a treat when we, that includes Jim, Pete and Colette, have been invited to Ian and Elsie's for a swim and a supper - civilization! (and no
creepy crawlies!). Next week Martin and Marion are away and we shall be looking after their house and dogs. Crystal and Rachel have begged us to let them take the dogs for their daily walk as this means a chance to walk to the dam and sunbathe! Fran Greenall has written and is corning over for two weeks from mid-December till after Christmas. We have sent a fax to Rachel to see if she can spare the time to come over as well, although she has just had a break for a couple of weeks. Jim returns on 15 December so I shall write again. We love you all and think of Eltham all the time because you are in our hearts. It is now Christmas 1992 and we wish you a very happy Christmas and love and greetings from us both on this sunny day in Ameva. It has been just over a week since we last wrote but a lot has happened.
Fortunately, Jim is returning home so we can send news without having to rely on the somewhat erratic postal system here.
This weekend we are about to begin a Youth Weekend here. About 150 youngsters gathered in the Bible School building, on Friday night, singing, dancing and generally enjoying themselves. John Valentine gave a very strong sobering message on purity and coming for the Lord and not boy-friends or girl-friends and about the spread of Aids, as 1/3 of the population are dying from the disease On the Saturday morning Peter Moffatt and Jim Bailey spoke - and that was two messages before 10.00 a.m.! (plus all the singing and dancing!) and there was a time of worship where the presence of the Lord was felt with depth and seriousness, it was lovely. All the youngsters carried on through the day whilst us oldies had a break and then in the evening Terry spoke and challenged them on what was going to happen at the end of their lives. We decided to stay until the end but gave up at 10.30pm exhausted with 3 hours of "go". (I really felt the aches and pains in the morning!)
The weekend finished with a meeting in the town on Sunday morning by which time the humidity had built up to such an extent it affected some people's breathing and for the first time I experienced a sudden draining of 'all energy - a peculiar feeling. It wasn't long before there was a tremendous downpour of rain which was such a delight to everyone. This happened to coincide with one of the trucks breaking down and I have a lovely picture of Crystal, plus what seemed like 30 young people of all ages, soaked to the skin and pushing the truck to get it started again! Terry and I were asked to two of the outreaches on Sunday afternoon. They were both held outside under a tree. We realise the need to speak quite simply so they can understand us but not to treat them as children. They do have quite an understanding of the things of God and they are taught very well here. Through these outreaches to the farms people have been added to the church. Terry used two illustrations one on birds and the other on trees and gates. I was asked to give a testimony on both occasions. They always ask us to come back. During the week we have continued with Terry has had the usual difficult work find we have a leak which will have our work on the bathroom.
of plumbing and we still have to be sorted out soon. Fran arrived at the beginning: of the week and is staying until the 26 December. Rachel wasn't able to come over break but Jim and Peter went for a day trip as she has had a to the border to see her and Dave Fothergill and then Rachel them in Mutare.spent the day with John Miles, from Riverside Church in
Birmingham also came over from Mozambique for a few days to see the Ameva situation and talk about the link between Ameva and Mozambique. (you will remember that his church have taken over practical support work for Maforga) .
Lastly, concerning new people, the Arsenault family who originated from St. Catherine’s, Canada and worked for six months in Ameva before going to live in Maforga, have returned for one month as Joel is supervising the building of the straw church here. So, you can get some idea of the family we should have here for Christmas. Counting our "family" plus the Valentine's and Shaws, and those I have mentioned, will be 21. We shall all eat at John and Celia's on Christmas Day and then Terry and I will entertain everyone on Boxing Day at Martin and Marians' - who will be away and we shall be looking after their house. We have much to thank the Lord for. We have had 4 inches rain so far but keep praying because the dam hasn't started to fill up yet. We have had opportunities to speak and fellowship and helping out with the work and :have kept reasonably well. Although. I do have an infection in my gums which is stopping me from chewing except with my front teeth like a rabbit! Hopefully, this will right itself as the dental treatment needed would be very time consuming and costly. Today, after the morning meeting in town we came back to Ameva for a baptismal service. About 50 were baptised as a result of the outreaches. Terry and John Shaw stood in the settling tank which is about 8' high and 20' across and 5’ of water so a ladder was put up to the top and another down the inside so the candidates could get in! It was a great time of rejoicing and singing. There must have been about 150 spectators.
Lastly, the good news is that a scorpion was found outside the office and subsequently killed and put in a jar and given as a birthday present to young Jim! Obviously, we are hoping it was our lodger but we are still on the lookout! Pest wise we mostly have the chongolulus (oversized black millipedes) who come in from the wet, trot around the house and either get trodden on by mistake or put out (using a dustpan and brush!) There are still a few snakes around and a python was caught outside the chicken sheds during the week. However, I have found that, to some extent, I have gotten used to the creepy crawlies unless they actually come into contact with me. We think of you every day. Thank you again all who have and for your prayers and concerns for us. The Lord is in control of us all as we move in Him. Much love to everyone.