What a tremendous privilege it was to visit Zimbabwewhen eight of us, that is Jim Bailey, Michelle Bailey, Rachel Snow, Frances Greenall, Donald Mackenzie, Alan Edwards, Philip and myself set out on Saturday afternoon 6th February to fly, via Lusaka, to Harare. We had so much luggage you would have thought we were going for a couple of years! - for apart from our own personal things we had tools, a milk recording jar for the dairy, thermostats for fridges, tyres for bikes, pistons for a Mercedes Benz and various other parts for the Peugeot 404 which were both off the road. Apparently, Africans don't notice little lights that shine to say that they are out of water or oil and very easily burn out engines.
The Lord was certainly with us as we booked it in for the flight and negotiated it through the customs at the other end and to register it would probably have taken 6 months for it to get through the country. The Ameva Bible School is a thrilling opportunity the Lord has opened up for John and Celia Valentine who have sold themselves out to bring theGospel to Africa.The Bible School has 20 students from various denominations who are being trainedas pastors and evangelist for a period of two years. The Primary School, with Celia Valentine as Headmistress, has nearly 400 children. Each morningat Assembly opportunity is given to speak of the Lord. The Farm, set in 3,600 acres, has many activities. 8,000 chickens and all the eggs that come with them! - 62 dairy cattle and quite a good beef herd with calves and goats etc. They also grow acres of maize, sunflowers, and, of course, hay for the cattle in winter. One of the great miraclesthis year was that it rained when we arrived. We were greetedwith the sad news thatthe crops were nearing the end of their abilityto grow, as it hadn'trained for some weeks. Early on in the yearthe dam was nearly empty and things weren't lookingvery positive but as we arrivedit began to rainand did it rain! In fact,it rained so hard that in one hour 3 inches of waterfell and for two and a half weeks we enjoyedthe English climate - not all werevery pleased about that but, I suppose, for them it was good. The dam was full, it holds a hundred million gallonsof water, and everything was so wet that even a couple of hippos came out of the river, which is probably about eight miles away,and got into the dam, which was quite exciting for everybody to see these hipposwith just a couple of ears sticking out of thewater. Some of us were involved in building the new school block and our project was to put the roof on,which took a couple of weeks, and after that there were the pits to be dug for a toilet block. We also started to build a bathroom, dividing a room up, putting in doors, windows, walls and all the fittings - a bathroom suite Celia had brought from London 5 years ago! and as we hadhad a little experience of that we were enjoying the planning etc. We were unable to finish it but left it confidently trusting that Alan Turnbull wouldbe able to finish it when he went out with Mr. North in March.
Because spares are so scarce, we had to use all bits and pieces to add to some of the fittings and the cold and water tank is a converted old oil drum. Zimbabwe is running out of so much that it a takes a day to find even a piece of waste pipe and is then the price ten times that of the same in England.
I was mainlyoccupied in the Bible Schooland speaking at various meetings. Takingthe tractor and trailer with 30 or so on board was one of the highlights of our evangelism in the week leading up to the Youth Conference, held over a weekendwhere I was privileged to share the platform with Norman Meeten. Another highlight of the trip was a visit to a Boarding School at Moleli where 500 students,14 -19 years old, attend. The Lord worked so powerfully, and in a recent letter from the teacher who invited us,he said they were still living in the blessing of that time. Nearly three quarters of the school responded to the invitation to give their lives to Him.
As regards further involvement we are considering either, buying the trucks here and shipping them or perhaps, take them by road across the desert. I know it has been done before, and if it be the will of the Lord, we can do it again. A new vehicle in Botswana would cost the farm £15,000.
We have come home with a list of things we would love to send including a video recorder, a T.V.set, tape recorders for the Bible Students, knitting machines, sewing machines, clothesfor the school children, in winter they shiver in their thin clothes, sports equipment, art equipment, musical equipment, a tea urn, overhead projector, blankets, small tools, small electrical equipment, good Christian books and tapes.