Many of you will already have seen this, but what follows is a letter I’ve written to friends and family on behalf of a friend of mine who works as a pastor in Zimbabwe. Feel free to get in touch if you are interested.
Dear friends and family,
Greetings, I hope that Spring is progressing nicely wherever you find yourself this year. Here in Vancouver the cherry blossoms have just come out on the trees. I think that it’s my favorite time of year. At the moment, my only time to appreciate the cherry blossoms comes as I make my way back and forth from school. Carolyn and I are finishing up our last full semester at Regent College in Vancouver. We’ll still have a few credits lingering after this spring, but for the most part we’ll be finished; these two years have gone too fast.
My primary reason for writing is to let you know that I’m sending asupport check to Noah in Zimbabwe within the month. I’ve distilled and summarized the latest news that I’ve gotten from Noah below. He always passes on many thanks for the support that we send him. He remains tremendously busy these days and the state of his country
makes it increasingly difficult for anyone to maintain a stable existence. Noah’s commitment to serve the people around him is commendable, read a bit further to hear more about what he’s up to these days. In addition to his, I want to pass along my own gratitude; the consistent support we’ve sent over the last three years has made Noah’s family and his church an island of coherence and sanity in a whole sea of unrest.
You may have seen Zimbabwe in the news lately. It continues to be a harsh and hostile place to live. Morgan Tsvangerai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was arrested at a prayer meeting
last week, taken to prison and beaten fairly severely. This is the only opposition political party in the country – for all its problems, it is the sole voice of dissent. Yet its organization is forced by the government to exist underground and without any funding. Zimbabwe’s democracy is superficial at best. The government forces breaking into this prayer meeting shot and killed one of the people attending. Granted that the prayer meeting was not an entirely apolitical event; many of the figures in attendance are significant persons in Zimbabwean politics. However, with the present condition of the nation, an explicitly peaceful “Save Our Country” prayer meeting is not out of order. Zimbabwe still has the highest inflation rate in the world. My friend who helps to run an ostrich farm in Zimbabwe says that her family often pays their workers in food because the currencyis so unstable that its practically worthless. Here (and here) are a few of the latest news stories if you are interested:
This is the context for Noah’s life and ministry. Not an easy place to
work – so much is uncertain. I wrote in the last support letter of
some personal uncertainties regarding Noah’s health. The good news is
that he was able to travel to South Africa and receive treatment for
his stomach ulcers. He still has not heard anything about the doctor’s
suspicion that he might have cancer. He feels fine these days but is
still understandably worried about the diagnosis. He’s been asked to
return to South Africa for another meeting with the doctor. Beyond
that, I don’t know anything more at the moment.
Yet in the midst of this, Noah is working hard to live out the calling
God has given him. The church in the Mkoba district where Noah lives
is strong. He often writes to tell me of another round of revival
meetings. When I lived with him a few years ago, I was struck with the
way that the church stands at the social center of the community’s
life. Four or five nights a week you can see people from the
neighborhood coming to the church for a service, for a class, or for
various meetings. In times of unrest, the church is also the safety
net for the people most precariously balanced on the edge of disaster.
The church distributes food and looks after widows and orphans in the
Lately, the biggest news is that Noah and the church have begun to
plant a second congregation on the other side of Gweru. Apparently in
Zimbabwe, this begins by establishing a “preaching point” where he or
someone from his congregation will come to lead a short service
weekly. Eventually this preaching point will coalesce into a more
In addition to all this work, Noah continues to teach courses at the
seminary in Bulawayo.
The two oldest of his nephews are now taking courses at the local
university. His youngest nephew Chengerai must be in middle school by
now. His son Franklin just began kindergarten this year, and his
daughter Kaylihle is two years old.
As I said, I’m planning on sending a support check mid-April. If you
are interested in joining me in supporting Noah’s family, church, and
ministry, I’d be very grateful. Please reply to this email and let me
know that you are interested. You can send a check to me and I’ll include it in the Western Union conglomeration. [Rather than post my address on the internet (not that you couldn’t find it anyway…) I’m going to put up my email – firstname.lastname@example.org]
God’s peace be with all of you.