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Issue 40: March 1997

JOHN & MARTHA SHAW - ZIMBABWE


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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