Headed Back Again

Hi folks,
We have been home for about 3 months, since mid June, visiting and catching up with family and friends and doing some fundraising. It has been a whirlwind time for us, flying by, for sure! And now, it’s almost time for us to return to Zimbabwe and continue the work that God would have for us.
We will be leaving from Detroit Airport on Sunday, October 9, late in the evening. We have mixed feelings about all of it. We don’t like leaving our family here in the states, but we look forward to seeing our family in Zimbabwe; friends that have become as close to us as family.
We are asking for your prayers for safe travels as we go and that all of our luggage makes it to Harare at the same time we do.
I am hoping to be more diligent about posting updates and filling you in on what we are doing. So much of the time it feels like business as usual for us, nothing exciting or even noteworthy, but we’ve been told otherwise, that many people would like to see more posts, more often. So we will try very hard to comply with those wishes.
If we weren’t able to get to your neighborhood while we were home, we will certainly try to do that next time. In the meantime pray for us, and as always, we will be lifting you up in our prayers.
Until the next posting we remain
In His grip!
Jeff and Rebecca

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Part 2

Rebecca is really making great strides with the women who are learning to sew and make a business with it.  We have two potential business opportunities for them to sew for other businesses and make a profit.  They are also looking into ways to market the items they are making.  She has introduced them to the basics of quilting.  Each woman has made twelve different quilt blocks and are now in the process of putting together their very first sampler quilt.  For some of them, this exercise was enough, but for a few, well, they are catching the fever.  They have enjoyed the process, working with various shapes, etc. and want to do more. Soon, we will be doing some embroidery.  That will be a definite marketing skill they can add to the items they make.

The flu has hit this area hard the last couple months.  Rebecca was down and sick in bed for nearly 2 full weeks.  It completely stole her energy levels.  She made a slow recovery, but is doing fine now.  Thankfully, Jeff didn’t get it.

Please keep praying for us.  Satan would like to render us ineffective by discouraging us and attacking us.  We need to make sure we recognize where it is coming from and that we keep the armor of God on at all times.  We need to keep in God’s word and on our knees to keep our eyes focused on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We will be coming home again in June for some time with our grandchildren and our children.  We also will continue to do more fundraising for the work that God is doing here in Zimbabwe.  Thank you all for partnering with us and being a very important part of our team. With the projects costing as much as they do, there is no way we could do this without the support of each one of you.   God has shown us in many ways that this is exactly what He wants us to do with this part of our lives.  We are humbled.

A couple prayer concerns is that we can finish up the next 6 weeks in getting the projects completed that we spoke of earlier before the funds run out.  It promises to be a tight finish!   There are also several new relationships that we’ve begun that need lots of nurturing and prayer.  Pray, also that the sewing group will keep motivated while we are gone and keep pursuing markets.  Some of them have a difficult time with attention to detail.  That will be one big area that could cause defeat if they get lackadaisical and don’t check their work carefully.

I think that covers about everything.  Again, we apologize for not writing sooner and more often.  Blessings to all of you!

Jeff and Rebecca

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Finally, a Posting!!

Hello to all our friends and family!!

WOW! What a whirlwind of activity over the last three months. First of all, we need to apologize for not having written sooner.  We have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, so to speak.

The much anticipated visit from our team from the States came and went before we knew it.  A team of fifteen descended on us in mid-January and were here until mid-February.  There were several initiatives that they were involved with, coming and going at different times.   We had a great time with them but it went by all too quickly.  I think next year, we will be better prepared to host them.  Of course, we are open to anyone who would like to come over and visit, or lend your many skills and talents to the work that God is doing here.

Most recently, we have been focusing our efforts on the water system here.  We are so blessed to have the new borehole (well) in for almost a year now and that has solved a lot of the water problems.  We are now working on a storage system that will feed most of the campus from three 1500 liter tanks that will be on a stand five and a half meters (about 18 feet) in the air.  The gravity will push the water all the way up to the solar water heaters we are mounting on the roofs of each dorm (just like the one we put on the kitchen). We were able to purchase the steel needed for the tank stand and start building that. We discovered that one of our faculty members learned to weld from his father and is doing the welding for us.  We bought a welder that has come in very handy and is just right for the job we are doing.  Our welder, Tawanda, is the computer instructor on campus and is multi-talented.  His father visited us and was impressed and very proud of his son.

Tawanda was also able to make burglar bars and install them in the library windows.  That is another item we were able to check off our list.

We recently bought another lawn mower and a weed eater.  With the summer heat here and the recent rains, they were necessary to help keep ahead of the tall grass that seems to grow too quickly.   There is so much ground to cover here, a riding lawn mower is really what we need, but this way, 3 guys are able to work on mowing at the same time.

We have also started work on the second dorm. Water heaters here are called Geezers.  I told them that in our country a geezer is an old man and they started calling me geezer.  We installed one heater on another men’s dorm and will be putting one on the ladies dorm so all the students will be able to have a warm shower.  By the end of May it will be winter here and they will appreciate not having to take a cold shower.

God has blessed us with so many opportunities to encourage students and staff members as well as vendors that we deal with on a daily basis.  One incredible time was when I was getting some work done on the car and met a man in the business and started talking with him and found out that he was there looking for a job and so I asked if I could pray with him and he said yes.  I got a text two weeks ago telling me he got the job and we praise God with him and promised to keep in touch.  Our morning Bible study and prayer time has been a big blessing to us also.  God is developing a leader in our group that will be ready to take over when we come home this summer.

 

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It’s almost Christmas!!

December 17, 2015
It’s almost Christmas!!
Season’s greetings to you all!
We went to a Christmas lighting ceremony last weekend. It was nice to see all the pretty lights Even though we are sweating so much of the time, it made it feel a little more like Christmas. Otherwise, there isn’t very much hoopla, lights or decorations to display. Oh, they sell them but they are so expensive. We priced a small fake tree. Cost too much for even me to enjoy.
I have to share this cute story with you. Half of our windows do not have screens on them, so Jeff and I usually keep those closed. We do not like the flying insects that plague us at night!! There is a woman who helps me two days a week. As she is cleaning, shaking out rugs and generally going in and out of the house as she works, she is forever leaving the screen doors open, and she opens windows to let in the fresh air. All the windows. If I am home, I’ll close the doors at least a couple times to keep the bugs out. Yesterday, I came from sewing and the doors were both closed. So I complimented her on closing them herself. She even had them latched so they wouldn’t blow open. Of course, I’m thinking to myself, “She finally gets it!” But then she said, “With it raining so much the snakes will be out. I keep them out.” Yikes!
Work on the bathroom addition to the dorm is going smoothly.
The plumbing inside is being worked on this week, even as I write this.
That is all for now. I’m not sure how these pictures will travel and download for you. In my next posting, I will cover the sewing group and what is happening there. More pictures to come.
For now, thanks for your prayers and support. If you have never given to our ministry, but feel God is leading you to do that before year end, we will welcome donations of any amount. There is much more going on here than some building renovations and some women learning how to sew. Lives are being changed and impacted for Jesus Christ. Please send your check to Partners World Wide at 6139 Tahoe Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Please add “PACC” to the memo line and it will get into our account.
You can see the date above is Dec 17. Well, I actually started it on the 16th, finished on the 17th, and now we finally have electricity and internet, allowing me to send it out. YAY for internet!!!!
In His Grip!
Jeff and Rebecca

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

Greetings to you on this Thanksgiving week!

Jeff and I are very thankful for your support in prayers and giving!  Let me make it very clear that we could not be here doing God’s work if it weren’t for your precious donations!  As it is, things are happening here!!!

The rains have begun!  After months of very dry weather, it has rained 3 times this week.  Today, it began as we were walking to our car after Sunday Worship services.  Almost 5 hours later it is still coming down!  A beautiful spring rain!  Just what is needed to raise the water tables and give the plants a deep drink of water!  Praise God for this provision!

We have begun the addition of a restroom facility to the Dormitory that we were working on when we left here in August.  So far a sewer line has been moved over about 3 feet so that it wouldn’t be in the way of the new foundation.  The footers were poured earlier this week, a brick foundation laid on that and yesterday, the main floor was poured.  This week the walls will be going up!

Our prayer for all of you this week is that you have a very blessed holiday on Thursday, feasting, playing, watching football or whatever is your family tradition.  Maybe even sledding for some of you.  We heard there was plenty of snow this weekend.  We plan to do a special meal on Thursday if possible.  But it is just another work day here.

Blessings to you all!

Love, Jeff and Rebecca

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Thank you to you!

November 12, 2015

Jeff and I want to extend a heartfelt “THANK YOU” to all of you who have extended warm hospitality to us while we were home recently.  You have welcomed us home, you’ve opened your homes and Sunday school classes to us.  You’ve listened to our stories, looked at all our pictures, and bought handmade items from the women we are helping in Zimbabwe. You have caught the vision of what we are trying to accomplish at the Pan African Christian College.  You are supporting our efforts with your prayers and resources. And we thank you! Each one of you!  You may think to yourself that your prayers  or your donation to Partners World Wide don’t make a difference to what we are doing here, but I have to tell you, each prayer you pray on our behalf and each dollar you send makes the difference between us being here or not! We cannot do anything without God and He is using you!

While we were speaking to a class one Sunday, we were asked “How do you feel the prayers that are prayed for you?  What does that mean?”  We feel your prayers when we are feeling discouraged, like we aren’t accomplishing anything, or when it seems nothing is going how we think it should and then the Holy Spirit whispers to us about the good things that are happening that we fail to notice.  We are reminded about an encouraging word we shared with someone, or that we took the time to listen to someone’s pains, or we stopped and prayed with someone. Those are just a few of the times when we feel lifted up.  Some days we feel like all we did was put out “fires” all day.  Sometimes a task seems to take hours longer to accomplish than what it really should have.  There are days when we just can’t seem to beat the heat.  Some days feel like nothing but interruptions use up all our time. But at the end of the day, when we talk over our day with each other, we can both recall the relationships that were built or deepened.  We may have been blessed by someone we met at the store.  We may have been a blessing that someone needed today.  And then we realize that the work IS getting done in spite of our “interruptions”. A trench was dug, some pipe was laid, or some deliveries were made for the new building. We had a productive meeting. We placed an order for bunkbeds. The laundry got washed and ironed.  Some emails were sent. Every day we pray that God will be in charge of our schedules and that we will give way to His “TO DO” list.  We still struggle to keep on target with Him, minute by minute, but we strive to keep our focus on Him and not get bogged down with what is going on around us.

Two quick stories to share with you about how God blessed us on our journey here last week.  We were told that extra luggage was going to be $285.00 per bag over the 2 we were allowed.  We each had a 3rd bag to check on the plane.  We were looking at $570.00 for the 2 extra pieces.  We had an angel looking out for us at Detroit airport while checking in.  She told us that as missionaries, we could get a waiver and be allowed an extra bag.  But it had to be done ahead of time and be listed on the reservation at the time of booking.  Long story short, she did some checking and was able to get us a severely reduced cost for our extra baggage. Praise God! And on top of that, friends from our church family stepped up and helped us with that cost.

Second story.  We were a little (okay, maybe more than a little) nervous about getting to Harare and having to fill out the paperwork for visas and go through customs. We never had to do that by ourselves. But again, God intervened and made the pathway clear for us.  It really didn’t take too long, and even with the gifts and new items we brought in, we didn’t owe anything for duty.  Halleluiah!!  Praise His name! And our friends were there to greet us and bring us to our home here. At 2:00 AM.

Next time I will fill you in on some of the things we’ve been doing since we’ve been back.

If you would like to partner with us, please send your donations to Partners World Wide, 6139 Tahoe Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI  49546.  Put “PACC-ZIM” on the memo line of your check and it will get into our account.  Thank you for your interest in God’s work in Zimbabwe.

We remain faithfully yours,

Jeff and Rebecca

 

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Mancino’s Fundraiser, October 12, 2015

Hi folks, Jeff and I are keeping extremely busy these days. In less than one month we will be headed back to our other home in Harare, Zimbabwe.
I wanted to let you all know that on Columbus Day, October 12, next Monday, we will be having a fundraiser at Mancino’s In Archbold. We will receive a portion of the sales for the entire day, so come on out for some great Italian food. Eat in, take out, drive thru…it all works.
Thanks for your continued support of our mission in Zimbabwe. And when I say “our” I mean all of you! We could not do what we are doing if not for you and your generous support.
Hope to see you there!!
Rebecca and Jeff

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Our new blog!

We are currently at home in the states.  It’s been a very busy time the last few weeks reconnecting with family and friends, meeting new ones and recounting our adventures with several groups that we’ve been speaking to.

For our friends in the Archbold, OH area, there will be a fundraising event at Mancino’s on S. Defiance St. on Columbus Day, October 12 all day.  Be sure to stop by, get a bite to eat, and say “Hi!”.  We will receive 10% of the profits for the whole day.  Hope to see you there.

 

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This is a post!

Writing from Virginia, which is nowhere near Zimbabwe.  Fooled you!

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