It has been an interesting couple of weeks since we last communicated. As most of you know one of the men that Jeff works with has been dealing with swollen prostate glands and infected kidneys. We have spent a lot of time at the hospital with him. We praise God that he is looking and feeling a lot better but we haven’t heard from the Dr. yet and today or tomorrow they will do a needle biopsy to make sure it isn’t cancer. Hopefully he will be released by the weekend.
Rebecca has been working quite a bit in the library on campus. A Bible school in the States donated 2500 books to our library. She has learned the program for entering the new books into the system and works on it for a 3-4 hours nearly every day. Labels have to be attached to the outside of the books, and in most cases new pockets and circulation cards are added. There are a few hundred books already shelved.
Earlier this week we had another close call when another one of our men was trying to pull some weeds that were tangled around the front wheel of the lawn mower and got his fingers too close to the blade and cut the ends of two fingers. It was very close and while it was a pretty bad cut it could have been a lot worse. This makes me shudder every time I think about it. We praise God that it wasn’t worse. Our Heavenly Father is taking care of us in a very wonderful and real way.
Our brother, Mundreck, is still in the hospital but seems to be doing better. It seems that his system is responding to the antibiotics and medication. We appreciate your continued prayers. It is such an encouragement to us and to him when I tell him that people on the other side of the world are praying for him.
The children at Archbold Evangelical Church raised funds this past summer at Vacation Bible School to purchase flannel graph sets for the children of Africa. We brought 5 kits of them with us. Rebecca has been instrumental at getting them ready to distribute. Two of the kits have been cut apart, sorted and put into a filing system of ZipLoc bags. (There are close to 500 pieces for each kit to cut out and sort.) Two of the recipient churches provided lots of help to cut and sort all the felt figures. Jeff made display boards that can stand on a table, covered with flannel, to place the felt pieces on, to teach the children 182 Bible stories. The remaining 3 kits will be distributed to rural churches throughout the country. Already there was one kit that the team brought last January that is being shared by 5 different churches. I imagine these 3 kits will be similarly distributed. The 3rd of 5 kits is almost ready to go.
We ask for prayers concerning the financial situation here in Zimbabwe. They have changed over to their own currency and the banks don’t have very much in US dollars left. They have only put out one and two dollar notes so far so it is hard to get cash to do business. The banks are severely limiting how much cash you can withdraw each day. Sometimes only $30 can be taken out. And the lines at the banks are horrendously long. We’ve heard of people standing in line for 3 hours or longer, only to be able to get such a small amount. And then it’s not uncommon to get it all in coins. Needless to say the business community is suffering a lot. If you have a card to swipe at the stores, it works like a debit card that we would have at home. We have been trying to get one of those swipe cards since we got back here. At first, the bank was out of them, then they said once they got some more, they didn’t work. For the last couple weeks we’ve not heard anything about it.
The rains continue to fall and the ground soaks it up quickly. Temperatures have been cooler than usual which is welcome relief. One drawback is that we have no way to control temperatures/humidity in the house except to open and close doors and windows as needed, and put on warmer clothes when the temperature dips. The humidity has been high with the rains that we’ve been having. Some nights when we go to bed, everything feels damp and cool. It reminds me of those camping trips when you crawl into bed and it just feels wettish. (I’m sure that’s a word, because I used it in a complete sentence.) So, it’s been somewhat uncomfortable on several nights, but at least we aren’t having to shovel snow like our friends at home.
A new thing we have started to do recently is to pray for the world, one country at a time. The idea came out of our reading of Radical by David Platt. If you Google “Operation World”, it will bring up a calendar of sorts, with the country of the day. The page will give a map to show where the country is along with many statistics, suggestions of what to pray for the people, etc. It’s interesting to see how God’s sense of humor shines through in the little things. I missed this part of the Radical book the first time we read it a few years ago, probably because I didn’t want to take The Radical Experiment (See chapter 9). Anyway, it talks about the book, Operation World. Two weeks ago it didn’t make a lick of sense to me, I wouldn’t have known the book if it jumped out in front of me. BUT since I have been working in the library, I saw it on a stack of books and recognized it right away! That is God’s sense of humor, don’t you think? He puts me in the exact position to notice something that I otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with, and it’s exactly what was laid on our hearts to be doing. God is so Awesome!!!! For your information, Dec 24 and 25 are days to pray for the country of Zimbabwe. We just finished 5 days of prayer for the United States.
The evil one would love to discourage us and all of Zimbabwe but we are renewed daily by the power of His Spirit and our joy is increased beyond measure as we reflect His Glory which is seen best in the cross of Jesus Christ. Time is short and we feel a real sense of urgency to reflect God’s Glory to a lost and dying world. We want to run hard toward the finish line so as to finish strong.
With that, we are signing off, and wishing you all a great week as you ready yourselves for Christmas day. Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season!
Love and blessings,
Jeff and Rebecca