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Issue 42: December 1997

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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