Zimbabwe 14 - No. 12


The last day in Zimbabwe paradise

Friday was to be a day of shopping for some and a meeting with the Zimbabwe Area cabinet for others. One group of shoppers ended up in a car accident bruising Richard Lewis’ ribs and arm significantly. Kim Martin also was banged around the vehicle hitting his head and getting bruised. Luke Stephens has a sore wrist and knee and Miranda Giesel was shaken up. Lewis is the only one that went to the hospital where x-rays were taken and he was released. He is very sore and is dreading the long flight home.

Others did get in their day of shopping while the Rev. Mark Conard, the Rev. Kalaba Chali, the Rev. Linda Louderback and Kathryn Witte attended the Zimbabwe Area cabinet meeting to discuss partnership topics.

The agenda included explaining structures and protocol for participating conferences. Time was spent determining how communication between partnership churches and district could be enhanced.

The Zimbabwe leaders are pleased with the Great Plains approach to Chabadza in terms of working with Zimbabwe churches rather than prescribing what they need. Identifying needs of local churches and then helping the congregations achieve its goals is of primary importance to the success of partnerships.

Chali talked about fairness and the need for justice acts alongside mission work. He said partnership churches should be looking for ways for mutual accountability. He said he looks forwards to the expansion of the partnership and that both Areas will be evaluating how to make participation available to all churches regardless of conference alignment (Zimbabwe East and West). To date the former Kansas West and Zimbabwe East have been the engaged conferences in Chabadza.

The Zimbabwe chair of finance and administration and a member of the trustees presented a proposal showing a new Zimbabwe East conference center and asked for support for the construction.

More discussion of improved communication came up again when camera kits brought by the Great Plains team were distributed to seven districts, with one being kept by the Chabadza project coordinator Austern Chiperi. The meeting closed with Louderback offering the closing prayer.

A Zimbabwe United Methodist supporter and host family prepared a farewell dinner and evening for the Great Plains team and three people from an UMCOR team.  The Rev. Simon Mafunda was “master of ceremonies” and led songs and the evening’s proceedings. Most of the host families, a few district superintendents and other acquaintances and friends attended, about 60 people in all.

We plan to meet in the hotel lobby at 10 a.m. tomorrow and begin our journey home with our flight scheduled for 1:55 p.m. We'll miss the fabulous people we've met, the mission work begun and the incredible climate.

A mid-morning accident put a damper on the mission team’s day before it got started. Richard Lewis went to the hospital but was released with bruised ribs and arm, both very painful. Kim Martin, Luke Stephens and Miranda Giesel also experienced bumps, bruises and were shaken up.

The Rev. Linda Louderback looks on as the Rev. Dr. Z. Marewangepo acted on behalf of Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa during the cabinet meeting.

The Rev. Kalaba Chali talks about fine tuning the partnership to better meet the needs of Zimbabwe churches and provide more accountability for U.S. partners.  He also said that the Great Plains Conference is growing into its new structure.

Dinner attendees received Zimbabwe-made tote bags as farewell gifts. (From left) Miranda Giesel, Keather  and Bryce Hansen, Chris Cochran and Lance Patterson share a smile for the camera after receiving their gift.