I wrote this email home this morning between unpacking and repacking… seemed might be a good way to catch everyone up.
Hello Friends and Family!
Just wanted to send a quick email before we head off again…
Jeff survived the week but is pretty exhausted. It was Science and Technology week at Claire and Carter’s school. Claire and her group built a bridge and snuck some Lego “dudes” out of the house this morning for the final display. Carter supposedly learned about wind but he has no recollection of it. Both the kids are healthy after passing an upper respiratory infection back and forth for a week or so (and our pediatrician is sending more antibiotics to us through a friend visiting in a few weeks). Carter has been glued to my side since I got home, professing his love to me every few minutes. It’s nice be missed. Jeff has been equally affectionate. ;-)
Zimbabwe was a great experience. While the United Methodist Church here in Malawi is barely 20 years old, it is 100 years old in Zimbabwe. They are very well established, organized and impressive – over 300 clergy and 100,000 members. Despite the economic disaster over the past 3 years and a 40-year dictator, the country seems to be recovering, but there is still a long way to go. Even with all its troubles, it is still much further advanced as a country (economic and infrastructure) than Malawi.
The first set of meetings I attended was at Africa University, a long-standing United Methodist University in Mutare, which serves students from over 21 African nations. It’s a beautiful campus like any you would come across in the midwest; the students are equally impressive. Steve Bryant (from General Board of Discipleship) and I had the privilege of meeting with the Theology Faculty and 3rd Year Theology students to discuss the GBOD publishing plan to begin producing African resources for the church, written by African authors. The facutly was thrilled by the idea; many have manuscripts just sitting in their computers but without any way to pubish them. We discussed Bible Studies, books on church Polity, a theological reflection on Reconciliation, stewardship of the environment and many more. The students will then serve as translators, as well as submit book proposals.
I also got to visit with the 7 students attending AU from Malawi. It was great to see them, hear that they are thriving and that they will all be home for Christmas in early December!
Steve Bryant teaching
Kara with Conference Communicators, Chinayi and Priscilla
Then Steve and I traveled to Harare to meet with Bishop Nhiwatiwa, the District (Regional) Superintendents, clergy and laity. There were about 70 people there in all. The Bishop would like to initiate a push for spiritual formation throughout the church in Zimbabwe and wanted to hear from the GBOD about what resources are available and how Zimbabwe can partner with the GBOD to produce relevant and affordable resources. I have met Bishop Nhiwatiwa before, but continue to be impressed by his candor, humor, depth and leadership. We were welcomed warmly and the meetings seem to go very well. We met in a beautiful retreat center, much like the one where our home church will be retreating this weekend – it was bittersweet to be there and think of the retreat we are missing this year.
Chapel at Resthaven Retreat Center
This afternoon we leave for two more circuit (regional) visits to churches in the very north of the country. This will make visits 4 and 5 of the 22 we hope to make. The kids have this week off for fall break so it’s a great chance to trek north. We’ll be staying in an Anglican Retreat House in Mzuzu and be the guests of a doctor and his wife in Livingstonia. We will visit the churches, some farming projects and orphanages, as well as do some teaching and preaching (probably spontaneously and on the spot).
THEN we head to Lake Malawi!!! We have rented a family cottage right on the lake for Fri – Sun. The cost includes all our meals, paddle boats, boat rides out to an island, and snorkeling. We are all looking forward to some time to relax and just hang out as a family. Carter will surely still wake us at 5am, but it will be a vacation nonetheless.
When we return to Blantyre, my friend and editor, Robin Pippin, will have already arrived. She and I will spend the week editing some resources that the Malawi Publications Committee has been working on, get printing estimates from local publishers and do some writing and editing training with local authors.
THEN on October 31, Robin and I will fly to Nairobi, Kenya for an international Writer’s Conference. And I will return on November 6.
whew! I feel breathless just typing it all, but also excited about all that the next three weeks hold. Please pray for safe travel and family harmony – the Rav 4 is tight quarters for five people on these long trips. We miss you all! I think we will have internet connection during most of our trip, so we’ll try to email, facebook, and even Skype while we’re gone.
love you all,
Read Full Post »