January, 18, 2017
Compliments of the New Year to you all!
That is how we’ve been greeted since January 1, instead of Happy New Year, like we would say at home.
I know I’ve asked you to pray for rain . . . well your prayers have been answered in a mighty way. It has rained almost every day for several weeks now. Sometimes it’s a light but long duration gentle rain and other days it’s been pouring, pouring, pouring! The song that the Gaithers do, “Build an Ark”, comes to mind often these days. We’re about ready to. On Sunday, someone said we’ve had 49” of rain since the 1st of November. Now it is Wednesday and I have no idea how much more we’ve gotten, but I’ll tell you this. . . I’m glad it isn’t snow!!
We’ve also asked for prayers for Mondreck who was hospitalized for a whole month. He’s been home for a few weeks now and just went back to the doctor’s to do some blood work. Hopefully, all will be restored in his body and he can maintain his health for a good long time. He looks great! Thanks for all your prayers!
February 1, 2017
Well, that month went by really fast. We have been busy in January! Getting ready for Pastors/Wives conference, working on dorm #2, sewing, birthday parties, etc.
Most of January was spent getting ready for the Pastors’ Conference which was held at PACC on January 24-26. At first they talked about having it somewhere else in the city, at one of the bigger churches, but before too long it was decided to have here on campus, as it was last year. With so many coming from out of town on public transportation, to make it easier for them, it was decided that if the conference was on campus here, there was plenty of space for many of them to stay right here in the dorms, thus saving the issues of transportation to get them from here to wherever else they may have held it. So the two weeks before the conference were spent largely on sprucing up the grounds, and completing enough work in the second dorm to make it presentable and more comfortable for those who would be staying there.
Now we are still in the midst of the rainy season, and it’s been a very wet one. I believe the skies are making up for lost time, all the dry weather Zimbabwe has experienced the last few years. There was more than one day, and more than one worker who was cutting the grass in the rain. It had to get done! At least it wasn’t raining too hard. We’ve had a few days that were like a fine mist that fell all day. I was reminded of a trip to Arizona where, at the pool of the resort, there were misters that would spray a fine mist on anyone who was sitting or basking in the sun underneath them. Not enough to really make you wet, but more, just enough to cool your skin a bit from the searing sun’s heat. So we had some days like that, where it was a fine mist all day. I’ve really never experienced that before.
The work in the dorm had barely gotten started when it was decided to use it for the visitors coming. That meant painting needed to be completed, lights fixed or replaced with new bulbs, the bathroom plumbing overhauled to make sure toilets were in good working order, sinks had hot and cold running water and showers were properly working. Fortunately, last time we were here, we had installed a solar water tank on the roof, so there was hot water available. The sinks needed some work. We ended up removing 2 of them that weren’t working properly (They each had only one spigot, one sink had cold water only, the other was hooked up to the hot water only.) Don’t ask me why they were hooked up like that, but that’s what we found. The 2 sinks that remained were much nicer, and we made each of them to have hot and cold running water, without leaks. Two out of three toilets only needed minor repairs to make them usable, so those were repaired and the third one’s door was wired closed and out of use until such time as repairs can be made. The dorm has 4 bedrooms and then a small apartment at one end of the building. Our focus was to get the 4 bedrooms ready enough that pastors could stay in those rooms if necessary. The men were successful in getting those bedrooms ready for visitors, and several stayed in them.
We made curtains for those bedrooms as well. At least the 4 bedrooms are done. There are still several (mostly smaller) windows in the hallway to finish, and then all the windows in the attached apartment need coverings as well.
The conference went very well. Many of the pastors commented favorably on how well the campus is looking these days. They marvel at the work being done in the various buildings and the transformation that is happening here. And that is largely due to your generous donations! Thank you so much for your part in our work. We could not be here if it weren’t for your support!
As of January 1, 2017, there has been a change of leadership on the campus. A very positive change. A much needed change. The Turn-Around-Committee (TAC) that had met for a year or so made some drastic decisions concerning the future operations of PACC. Those ideas and plans are now being fulfilled with fresh leaders, whom I cannot say enough about. We have a new principal, Rev. Tawanda Munaki, A new dean of Students, Pastor Craig Ndoro, and a new dean of students, Pastor Tich Chiwashira. All three are energetic and taking the “bull by the horns”, so to speak. They have all agreed to a voluntary term of one year to get things back on track for the school. That’s right, these 3 gentlemen are donating a year of their time to get this school back on track. In addition to the responsibilities they have taken on here, they are pastors with preaching duties at their own churches and all the responsibilities to their church families. They come in with fresh ideas. It’s like a breath of fresh air! A year ago we said that we believe God has sent us here for a reason. That He wouldn’t have sent us here just to make this school fail, although there were times we questioned what we were doing. But now, God in His graciousness is beginning to show us the next phase of the future of PACC, and we couldn’t be more excited! They have plans. Big plans. In August, the school will be switching from 3 terms/year to 2 semesters, like other colleges and universities. They are advertising for the school now, because debts/fines have been paid. They are taking applications for international students to come here to be trained as ministers. Already, they have applicants from 3 other African Countries. We are praying for 100 students to begin classes in August.
We have a lot to do to be ready for even 60 students to live on campus. Of course, it’s very doubtful that all students will live in the dorms. Many will come from right here in Harare and will live at home and take classes here. Did I mention how excited we are?
February 20, 2017
The shelves in the library continue to fill up. New shelving units have been made, varnished and filled with books. There’s been other work done in the library as well. Besides books filling the shelves, the whole building was given a good, thorough cleaning in January. The floor fairly sparkles, restrooms have been painted, repaired and decorated a little. A lot of the clutter that has been stacking up has been thrown out.
The maintenance department has been receiving compliments from others besides us as to their hard work in keeping the campus looking and operating nice. They do so much behind the scenes and just kind of blend into the scenery, which is so typical, are don’t receive the recognition that we all long for. So it’s very nice to see they are being appreciated for all their hard work. So often they are called into duty after the normal work day to fix emergency problems. They do it all with a smile and humbleness and so willing to help whenever needed. And these are men who, until recently worked for virtually no pay for the last few years.
In the past we had a morning devotion and prayer time with the maintenance guys and whoever else wanted to join in. It started with just Jeff and 2 guys two years ago. Over our time here it has grown to include other staff members, until sometimes we’ve had 15-18 people in our circle. Mostly Jeff brought a word to us, but several others have taken a day here and there, which we naturally found encouraging. In January, we were invited to join the students each morning in their prayer time. So now, the students, faculty, staff, cook, maintenance men, and Jeff and I participate in a ½ hour prayer time together before class starts for the day. We are getting to know each other better. It’s gone a long way to create the spirit of unity within the whole campus experience.
I’ve been working on this newsletter for nearly a month. I am going to send it on its way. I think I could start a new one right now to catch you up on more of what is happening. Soon.
Jeff and Rebecca