News from St Andrew's Zimbabwe

Dear Margaret and Lyle Kirk,

 

Greetings from Zimbabwe! I hope that I find you all well and safe during this strange time in world history. We continue to be praying for you and the life and work of Lyle Kirk during this time. Here is an upate of what has been happening in our world...

 

Lockdown:

The 30 March lockdown saw the whole country of Zimbabwe going into lockdown mode, including churches because no gatherings were allowed at all. We are now at a relaxed form of the lockdown. We have also been allowed to open churches for public worship with a limit of 50 people per worship space. The Zimbabwe Coronavirus numbers are at 7000 cases and 5000 recoveries, which is a pretty high recovery rate, and 222 deaths so far. This mortality rate is obviously way lower than the figures in other parts of the world, and we are thankful for that.

 

Zimbabwe Context:

Things continue to be difficult in Zimbabwe. The economy is depressed, the politics is in disarray, the three-year semi drought has increased the hunger, the social uncertainty and impact on family relations is sad. What the Coronavirus did was to add another layer of suffering especially with lockdown conditions that saw a loss of income to already poor people. As you can imagine, there is much ministry to be done in this context.

 

Re-opening of St Andrew's for Public Worship:

During the 5 months of April to August St Andrew's was online via Whatsapp, receiving a sermon every Sunday plus Bible Studies every week. St Andrew's opened up again for public worship last Sunday 6 September. We expected a low turnout, but got a very good turnout. It appears that members were really missing the fellowship together again. Churches have been allowed to meet again provided they meet 6 conditions: masks at all times, temperature checks at the entrance, hand sanitizing at the entrance, social distanced seating, disinfecting of the church before and after the service, and no tea and fellowship before or after the servive. 

 

Donation for School Children:

Your donation towards school children was gratefully received because we were able to assist with school fees as well as to buy much needed textbooks for the children so that they could keep up with their studies during the lockdown months. I have attached some photos of the kids receiving their textbooks with their Sunday School teacher Dagmar. We want to express heartfelt thanks for his thoughtful gift.

 

Prayer Requests:

1. For our Session Clerk, Sheilagh, who lost her husband Andy during the lockdown. Fortunately, the restrictions on gatherings had been relaxed and we were able to do a funeral at the church for him.

2. For myself as I have taken on the new role of CWM Moderator. We have not started any travel yet, so I have been chairing the CWM Board Meetings and other events via Zoom. I look forward to the day when Coronavirus shall give us a break and I can get to actually meet the board members in person.

3. For the state of the country and the resultant suffering of the Zimbabwean people.

4. For the old members of St Andrew's who are especially a vulnerable group and so they have had to continue to live in lockdown conditions for their own safety.

 

We too are keeping you all in prayer, and especially for your minister as he too does ministry in this new normal.

 

Warm regards,

 

Lydia - on behalf of St Andrew's Congregation