Zimbabwe 14 - No. 3
Kathryn Witte, ABC, RCC
... it was in God's "divine forbearance he had passed over former sins."
In simple terms forbearance differs from forgiveness in that it means "I'll give you more time."
The long trip and our relationships on this trip will no doubt call up a need for forbearance. We pray for that forbearance for all as we learn about each other's cultures, make a few mistakes and ask for pardon and grace.
The long flight
Linda Louderback and I amusingly called it the lost day, and that's how it feels. We sat in the Dulles airport for four hours before boarding and then waiting another two hours or so on the tarmac. One manages the long plane ride as best one can and then you get off and you realize a day has gone by (or more).
In the small world category, I ran into Christie House, the editor for "New World Outlook" for the General Board of Global Ministries heading for the Congo.
The hospitality begins
We were greeted at the airport by Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa and others in the partnership ... Simon, Austern (sp), Patience and more of whom I hope to make better acquaintance. All our gear was packed into two vehicles and we were packed into several as well. In another chance meeting I found the Rev. Maidstone Mulenga assisting Bishop Nhiwatwa. I met him at a United Methodist Communications meeting when he represented the Baltimore-Washington Conference. It is a small world. Once we landed we were quickly processed through a line to individually purchase our visas.
I was surprised by the quickness of the process. All of the airport staff were very friendly and helpful. With the exception of the one that looked at me like I was crazy when I slipped and fell :). But then, I would have responded the same way.
It was moving to see old friends embrace and the eagerness for which everyone is anticipating the Ebeneezer convention which now is estimated to attract about 75,000 people. District partners are also eager to visit their Zimbabwe district partners in the days that follow the convention.
For those who appreciate my clumsiness ... so far today ... I fell at the check through counter as we hurried to our gate in order to not miss our Harare connection. My flip flops are slick on the bottom and I wiped out ... embarrassing. Then I lost my camera ... how does that happen? I suspect the fall as the last time I remember taking a photo was from the South African international flight as we were landing. Then as we are standing in the lobby at the hotel, I managed to trip over red striped tape applied to the floor ... evidently enough adhesive was showing to stick to my foot. I'm so embarrassed for me ... no harm done, I've achieved exceptional humility.
My colleagues are worried about my travel worthiness, but they don't understand that falling down and tripping is just a normal day at the office for me. And the camera ... I'm just going through a bad patch (it was my personal camera BTW).
Tomorrow begins our true work here. I look forward to meeting more of our partner members and learning more about how the partnerships work.
Mark Conard will be a great help in coaching me through the nuances and history of the Chibadza partnership.
I've also learned there is an orphanage started by a group in Omaha many years ago. There will be no shortage of stories here, only time to write and tell them. My best to my team at home as I know all the work at home continues while we are here.
Chali is providing us great leadership and if you'd be so kind please keep us all in your prayers. The group includes:
Dave Brant, Chali Kalaba, Chris Cochran, Mark Conard, Miranda Giessel, Bryce Hansen, Keather Hansen, Richard Lewis, Linda Louderback, Kim Martin, Lance Patterson, Kip Ryherd, Charles (Luke) Stephens and me.
Blessings and forbearance to all.