Missions: Fudges in Zimbabwe
April 18, 2016
Life and work are becoming more routine, which is a good thing for us, but not good for writing newsletters.
The rains seem to have stopped, and the weather has warmed up a little bit. The days are sunny and pleasantly warm, with low humidity and nice cool breezes. Nights are wonderfully cool and refreshing. By the beginning of May we should find the air getting cooler and by June it will be winter.
It was decided that Saturday was not a good day for having another class, so Melonie’s cooking class debut has been rescheduled forMonday (the 18th). The school does not have classes on Monday, so it is a free day for everyone. (If students travel home or to an out-of-town church for the weekend they need Monday for travel time to get back to Harare. Very few people have cars, relatively speaking. Taking multiple buses and “taxis” any distance becomes an all-day effort.)
Update: Cooking class took place this morning, with 16 students (including students and staff). Melonie did a good job and there was a lot of enthusiasm. They know chicken and peanut butter already, but today they learned chicken salad and peanut butter/oatmeal drop cookies.
People to the House for Fellowship
Over the past week we have had students or others to the house for snacks or dinner three different times. As much fun as we have visiting and listening, these occasions are very serious business for us. Jesus did much of his ministry over the dinner table. We trust God is always ahead of us and directing the conversations, building relationships, and accomplishing His will.
We seem to have gotten over a hurdle in our class, and it seems all (or most) of the students are now on the same track with me. They had expected a class on leadership techniques – how to control and exercise authority. I have been leading them on a journey of heart transformation and focus – becoming a servant and a follower. This week they began to make the connections and decided I am not crazy. (On Wednesday I said to them “I know you are telling each other that Fudge is crazy – this class is supposed to be about leadership and we have not talked about it at all.” They began to laugh, because they were having that conversation!)
Sunday Preaching – and Christian Witch Doctors
Last Sunday two different churches wanted us to come visit and speak to them, but transportation could not be arranged. Today we visited with a church on the west side of Harare called Budarira Church of Christ. Looked like about 120 people there, plus a whole bunch of little kids. I spoke about God being primarily a God of love, not a God of power, and that we bring Him glory by our lives of love and service more than by demonstrations of power and miracles. The message was well received.
It seems that almost every preacher in this country (in many denominations) has declared himself to be a prophet and capable of mighty works. (God bless the ones who are genuine!) The people here have very difficult lives and many so-called prophets are captivating them with “signs and miracles” and very shallow Bible teaching (if any Bible at all).
The “prophet” will advertise that by attending his church, going through a ceremony, and purchasing his holy water, holy oil, or whatever it happens to be, any problem will be solved – lost love, removing a curse, failure to have a baby, loss of a job, sickness …. If it works, the “prophet” receives the credit and if it does not work, the supplicant did not have enough faith.
This is very similar to their traditional witch doctors, who are still very numerous and active. On a visit to the witch doctor, one confesses his problem, the witch doctor goes through a ceremony, the supplicant purchases herbal medicine and the problem is supposed to be solved. The only real difference between the witch doctor and the “prophet” is the name of the spirit being invoked. Many of the “prophets” are simply Christian witch doctors.
We are both stronger now than we were a week ago. I (Paul), especially, can see significant improvement in my physical strength and stamina. I can also tell that if I stopped taking the Prednisone I would relapse quickly and severely.
Thank you for your prayers. God is always at work.
Thursday, March 24, 2016 9:32 AM
We got to Harare Wednesday night local time (around 11 AM Florida time). We were greeted at the airport by Sidyne and Concellia Mavodza (he’s the Principal of the Zimbabwe Christian College) with whom we became quite close on our last trip. Our flight was uneventful (that’s how you want a plane trip) and the 21 hours in Dubai gave us a chance to rest and freshen up before the final ten hour flight to Harare.
The house on campus was waiting for us, but there is some work getting it personalized for us again. (The school provides us with a “guest cottage,” which is 1/2 of a duplex, the other half of which is home to another instructor and his family.)
We have been invited to visit with one of the local churches this Sunday for me to preach. Classes begin (for me, that is – the semester started in early February) next Tuesday.
We are both tired, of course, but feeling good. We will get more rest as our bodies get acclimated to the 7 hour time difference.
What we are here to do cannot be done without the Spirit of God at work. Thank you for supporting us in your prayers.
We intend to keep you updated with current news and prayer needs, but promise not to inundate your inbox. We will link to our blog from time to time for longer missives. If you want to email us, the address is email@example.com.
- That God will go ahead of us to prepare encounters and hearts (ours and theirs) to accomplish His purposes
- Provision for and guidance for Zimbabwe Christian College
- That God will knit the students and staff together in love
- That God will keep us healthy and strong
- For good health
- For safe trip and joyful reunion