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."