Greetings from a now warm Zimbabwe! I hope that you're doing well and continuing to cope in these strange coronavirus times. On this side of the world, I'm just grateful to still be alive especially after having watched Paul suffer and survive Covid-19, and after having lost people we know. Each day is a gift. 

 

My family and I are doing very well - Paul is busy with the church farm and businesses, and they are now doing fish pond farming at Vimridge, in addition to the crops. From 2022 he will be the Pastor for Sustainable Development full time and is very excited about that because he finds this development and poverty eradication work very stimulating. The Presbytery's central fund has been able to pay the Presbytery ministers' and evangelists' 50% of their stipends for the last 15 months due to the work of the church businesses. This means that the congregations are contributing the other 50%. We are so thankful for this because it is a miracle that the central fund was able to achieve this in such difficult times and with such a poor economy. Despite the challenges and obstacles faced by the businesses, we plough on in faith, and so far God has proved faithful. 

 

Our sons are doing well too. TC is still in Denver working and studying so that he can eventually finish his degree. Melusi is home with us and is enjoying Form 5. He is also in the business of growing tall such that he's now taller than Paul - well, taller than everyone in this home, and he's very proud of it:)

 

I also bring you greetings from St Andrew's and would love to share some news to Lyle Kirk on behalf of the congregation. We re-opened for physical services on the first Sunday of October. The attendance is at about 50% as some of our members are still not yet comfortable to be in a church crowd. During church services we follow the 5 pronged requirement of sanitizing hands, masking up at all times, social distanced seating, disinfecting the church before the service and also after after attendance. We do not have to check vaccinations at this stage until the government changes the requirements.

 

Vaccinations continue to be administered to the citizens with the hope of reaching herd immunity. We have a choice between 5 types of vaccines, but the public clinics have the Synovac type from China. At first people were suspicious of it and some believed theories like you will turn into a Chineseman if you get that jab and other similarly crazy theories. The scepticism around vaccines is easing up slowly.

 

When we returned back to church God gave us as the St Andrew's leadership the theme of Mission and Evangelism to focus on. It may seem like a strange theme to follow in these restricted times, but we decided to go with what God laid on our hearts. So our sermons, teachings and activities are around the Great Commission. So far, the members are welcoming the theme and we are praying that they will feel led to desire to share the gospel more.

 

One of the most interesting things that has happened is that we now have more children from the neighbourhood at church than ever before. This last Sunday I was reminding the St Andrew's members that our congregation started as a result of a big Sunday School ministry which eventually attracted the parents to church. Who knows what God has in store for St Andrew's this time? But in the meantime, we are happy to have so many children joining us.

 

Like everyone else, St Andrew's has had its share of financial strain especially during the lockdowns when there were no church services for almost 6 months this year. Now that we are back to church, we pray for a more positive financial trajectory. The Board has done wonders with the Love Baskets Ministry which assists the poor and the aged of our church as well as of the community with basic groceries each month. While things have been difficult financially, the church has been blessed with many donations towards the Love Baskets Ministry.

 

I feel like I could go on and on, but I'll save some news for another email. How is Lyle Kirk doing with the new minister? We would love to hear some news from your side.

 

Much love,

 

Lydia