The same yesterday and today

The same yesterday and today

The Bible days, which normally would have taken place in August, had to be cancelled this year because of the Covid pandemic. In spite of the measures in place, we managed to hold the programme in December 2020. Once again, Clara Boer was in Zimbabwe for the programme, and here is her report of those days.

Salibonani! The enthusiastic greeting came from the lips of around 950 children that we took in for the Bible days in December. Because of the group size being limited to 100 children a day at most, the volume was lower this time, but that did not detract from the cordiality of the greeting.

By God’s grace, we were able to convey His Word to eleven villages by means of four Bible stories. The core text to be learned was Hebrews 13:8, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’

Every Bible day is organised according to a schedule. This year, name registration and hand disinfection have been added to the list to run through. After the opening and the recitation of the psalm and text that were to be learned, one of the Sabbath school teachers told the first Bible story of the man born blind. Many teachers find it a challenge to tell a story in narrative form, so they endeavour to do it by means of questions and answers.

Tea time! A bucket of water for the washing of hands, another full of lemonade, and a box of biscuits are neatly lined up. The children already know what to expect. ‘In line, in line!’, they are told. Yet it is not always easy to keep queuing patiently, when you are hungry from having travelled such a distance.

Once the children had topped up their energy with the snacks, it was usually necessary to call ‘Hatshi, hatshi!’ (Subside!) a few times to restore order in the group. To this end, it helps to sing the psalm (in our case, 146) and recite the text, especially when the children know that if they can do it by heart correctly, they will get a bouncing ball as their reward!

The second story, about Lazarus, was told by a staff member or by Keith, the catechist. After this, it was time to colour in drawings. This activity had an enthralling effect and our young guests could hardly stop. Oddly enough, black turned out to be the favourite colour this year. After looking around a bit, I discovered that the reason for the colour’s popularity was that the children wanted to top off the heads of the characters on their pages with frizzy black hair.

In the third story, the children listened to the healing of the ten lepers. This story was of felt relevance to the children, as it could be linked to the contagious coronavirus of the present day.

Now it was time for lunch. However, it appeared the sadza (maize porridge) was not ready yet, so we deviated from the programme and told the fourth story: ‘Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not.’ And, yes, on some the sadza took so long to cook that we went outside first to start the afternoon games. Skipping and football are still favourites. The parachute game and the Dutch game ‘Twister’, however, were very popular too, and even the adults enjoyed joining in. We had reason for gratitude that it did not rain on a single day, even though it was the rainy season. Playing makes one hungry, so the sadza with bean sauce tasted wonderful! The locals relish salty food, but sometimes even they found it a little over-salted, and an additional bucket of water was needed to quench their thirst.

To conclude the day, we played a quiz. The group that scored the most points would win a prize, so the motivation was strong. It turned out that the children had remembered the stories well, for they gave the right answers to the questions, which were not always easy. The catechist, Mr Ncube, concluded the day with a prayer of thanksgiving. We trust the Lord that this programme will not just have been an enjoyable day, but that the seed sown might grow up to yield the fruits of grace in the children’s hearts.

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious

Unto you therefore which believe he is precious

A meeting with Mr. James Mpofu

By Keith Mpata (Mbuma)

We read in Job 12 verse 12 that “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.” John Gill commenting on these words observes concerning aged believers “that men well advanced in years are wise; that as they have lived long in the world, they have learned much by observation and experience, and have attained to a considerable share of wisdom and knowledge in things natural, civil and religious,” and this is overwhelmingly true of the man who is the subject of this article; Mr James Mpofu. It is my hope to all the readers of this article that they would get a feeling of what my fellow brethren and I felt upon visiting this very elderly and yet God-fearing man as well as to experience a sense of being in the presence of a man who loves Christ and to whom “Christ is all, and in all.” I write this article prayerfully, asking for the Lord to bless to us this faithful witness and that his life may be an example to us all in living for the glory of Christ all the days of our life which the Lord would have been pleased to give us, so that when the time comes for us to leave this world, it would be a departure to be with Christ, “which,” as the Apostle Paul says “is far better.”

On Tuesday the 5th of January 2021, Mr N. Maseko (Elder in the Mbuma Congregation), Clara Boer and I travelled to Nkayi District to visit one of the oldest living members of the FP Church in Zimbabwe, Mr. James Mpofu. At the time of writing this article Mr. Mpofu who was born on the 26th of September 1930 is 90 years and 4 months old. Several qualities of his character shine forth brightly and yet perhaps the most fitting description which could compound them all and be afforded him is that which is used in the English circles as “a man in full.” By that it is meant an elderly man who shows the proven qualities of strength, courage and graciousness amongst many, and upon arrival at Mr. Mpofu’s homestead we were welcomed with much graciousness and open arms into his home. That which was immediately striking for us all concerning him was his sharp memory because as we were all walking together into his home after being warmly welcomed outside, Mr Mpofu directly and accurately told us the last time he once was with both Mr Maseko and I and the very conversations we had with him! For instance the last time I was with Mr Mpofu was in 2017 in Bulawayo at the annual Men’s Theological Conference and he recited word for word precisely some of the questions and contributions I made on that day as well as all the papers presented by our Ministers. The reason that makes all of this striking and to be more the marvelous is not only the capability of being able to recollect considering the reality of his advanced age but the additional fact that Mr. Mpofu is a blind man, and yet in spite of this he is able recognize an individual by his or her voice and is capable of recognizing every voice of every person he has ever interacted with without difficulty. Already this is a testimony of the grace of God upon his life.

Immediately upon settling down, Mr Mpofu expressed to us his condolences concerning the sudden and unexpected death of Reverend. N. Sibanda as well as the deaths of the many brethren in our congregations and said to us “The Almighty does as He pleases, at the time He pleases; we are only His creation and we must accept and submit to all that God wills.” The last sermon Mr Mpofu recalled Rev Sibanda preaching was at the weekly prayer meeting at his congregation in Nkayi on Psalm 40. He said the Reverend preached a moving sermon on the Psalm and that he preached Christ through and through lifting Him up as the Saviour of sinners. Upon hearing this I was moved to point out in response to how touching it was to hear this because two months before Rev Sibanda died he had said to me “soon I shall be gone and I will be one of those Ministers who just came and went; all I ever want to be remembered for is preaching the Gospel.”

Our discussion shifted to focus upon Mr. Mpofu himself and his life’s labours; firstly upon his work history for the mission and secondly regarding some of his memorable experiences of the Lord’s kindness to his soul as one who is journeying to eternity. Therefore in giving this account of his life, I will use the twofold division given above for the rest of the article below starting firstly with a history of his work for the mission.

Labours for the mission

In the year 1949 Mr Mpofu graduated in his learning from Standard 6 which is the modern day equivalent of the Ordinary Level of education in Zimbabwe (commonly known as O’Level). After graduating, he immediately entered the teaching profession and taught at Mathetshaneni primary school which is right across his homestead. After a year of teaching, he went back to school to train as a carpenter for two years and soon after finishing his carpentry course he went back to the school at Mathetshaneni to teach for yet another year when preparations were being made for him by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland to teach woodwork at Zenka Primary School. In the year 1953, he then started teaching as Woodwork teacher at Zenka for 19 years after which he transferred to work at the then John Tallach Secondary School (now John Tallach High School) in the year 1972. Mr Mpofu continued to work at John Tallach as a Woodwork teacher however, during his tenure of work at John Tallach Mr. Mpofu not only had the duty of being a Woodwork teacher but upon being observed by Mr. J Nicholson and Reverend. A. Ndebele for his faithfulness and diligence in his work as well as strictness and discipline with the children, he was approached to consider the additional duty of being a Boarding Master for John Tallach and he accepted the duty in the year 1974. Thus, Mr Mpofu labored filigently as both Woodwork Teacher and Boarding Master until the year 1995 when he retired from teaching at John Tallach.

During the process of his retirement, Mr. Mpofu received a letter from Mr. James Tallach in Scotland informing him of how difficult it had been for the Church in its operations since the death of Mr. David Ndlovu who was the then Transport and Building Manager for the Mission. Thus, the letter requested for him to kindly consider taking up the position. He accepted the position and worked until the point when his eyesight was failing him slowly leading him to becoming blind. Therefore because of his fear of being involved in an accident or that of endangering the lives of others by his growing disability; he formally tendered in his resignation in August of 2005. One can observe that since the days of his youth Mr. Mpofu worked diligently and wholeheartedly for the mission for a total period of 44 years. In his own words Mr Mpofu expressed his personal feelings regarding working in the Mission by saying “It was very satisfying to not only experience a righteous working environment with good working conditions but to work with brethren in Christ.”

When giving this informative account of his labours, Mr Mpofu expressed thankfulness for the Lord’s goodness upon his life and that the only weakness he is experiencing is with blindness but with regards to his whole body he has no other disability or ailment and he marveled at the wonder of God’s grace in preserving his life and keeping his body strong till this very age.

The Lord’s kindness

Mr. Mpofu was full of praise for the Lord’s kindness upon him in revealing Christ to his soul for salvation. He expressed how the Lord Sovereignly worked upon his heart by the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Word of God to see with the eye of faith Christ as his personal Savior and therefore being permanently and eternally healed of the spiritual blindness of his soul. He recalled a sermon once preached by the Reverend Donald Ross on the Prodigal son on how the love of God in Christ is shown by the Father’s willingness to forgive a repentant and broken hearted sinner, throwing himself or herself upon the mercy of God alone for pardon. He recalled another sermon from Reverend Ndebele concerning Hebrews 9:27, and how he was touched by his sobering appeal to all who were present that day that death is a reality but more of a reality beyond death is the judgement thereafter and the question was put forth “do you have Christ as your Advocate and as your Redeemer?”

Clara went on to ask Mr. Mpofu which text from the Word of God has touched him the most to which Mr Mpofu responded with a very warm smile followed by a response in a joyful tone “I have two.” The first text which he said he treasures deeply is Ecclesiastes 12:1 “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them…” To him, the reality dawned more and more upon his soul throughout his entire 90 years of life in this world that most blessed people in this world are those who have the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and walk daily with Him by faith, “this,” said Mr Mpofu “is what it truly means to Remember your Creator, and far more profitable it is to remember the Lord whilst you have strength, whilst you have you mental faculties, whilst you have life in this world.” The second text to which Mr. Mpofu referred to was Luke 24:29 “But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.” He spoke on how the Lord’s people are as these men on the road to Emmaus, that a true believers heart burns in love towards Christ when hearing His word and walking with him in this life and that like the disciples, a believers eyes can only be opened by God the Holy Spirit to see Christ. Mr Mpofu expressed how he often prays for believers in the Church to see how precious the Lord Jesus is so that they love Him more. He further went on to share how he has a special concern for the many who could be in the church and yet unknown to us are hypocrites, he prays for their repentance and that their blind eyes would see how willing Christ is to cleanse them from their iniquity, only if they repent and confess their sins.

Every moment spent with Mr Mpofu was precious thus we found it difficult to depart from his presence because we were being fed with his knowlegde concerning the things of this life to which he applied spiritual wisdom which I feel we shall never forget and I hope that to the best of my abilities have tried to share with you dear reader in this article. Much more could be said which has been left out nevertheless I hope what has been written will show us that “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious…” 1st Peter 2:7

What Queen Victoria did not know (2)

What Queen Victoria did not know (2)

Two young black men were standing on a rain-soaked street in Edinburgh. Their names were John Radasi and James Saki. They were strangers from a foreign land, looking for people who feared the Lord. Which direction should they go in? While they were standing there, depressed and not knowing what to do, something was stirring in a house on the other side of the street.

“Mother, look at this! It feels like being back in Africa!” “What can you see, my boy?“ “Well, come and have a look.”

Mrs Sinclair got up with an effort and her aged eyes peered down the busy Edinburgh street. There, across, she made out two young black men. They were looking around and were at a loss where to go. While she looked at the men, these words came into the old lady’s heart: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.“ Thus speaks the Word of God in Hebrews 13:2 and this godly woman acted accordingly.

“Please go and ask them if they are looking for something,” Mrs Sinclair said to her son. He was glad to. After all, he had been in Africa for a few years and spoke a little Zulu. “Sizakubona, Nkulu.” (Good afternoon, gentlemen.) The men turned their heads around with a jerk. What was that they were hearing? Here, in the capital of Scotland, thousands of miles away from their native soil, they were hearing their own language being spoken!

“Sizakubona, Nkulu,” he repeated, “linjani ukupila kwake?” (How are you?) Amazement was plain to see in their faces when they shook the white hand that was reached out to them. “We live there,” said the kind white man, gesturing with his finger. “My mother saw you standing there looking lonely. She thought you might be cold and might be strangers in Edinburgh…” He hospitably invited them to come in.

After the strangers had been introduced to his mother, she made tea for them. She asked John Radasi to give thanks first, in the Scots custom. It was not the excellent English of the young man’s prayer that moved the heart of Mrs Sinclair, a woman who feared the Lord, but the knowledge he had of himself and of Christ! They began to speak from heart to heart. He told her the outline of his life story. It was as follows:

“My name is John Boyana Radasi. I was born in South Africa and belong to the Fingo tribe. My father sent me to a missionary school. There I learned not only to read, write and speak good English, but I also became familiar with the Bible. Many of my fellow tribesmen lacked this privilege and are still living in heathen darkness. After my schooling, at around twenty years of age, I became a member of a big choir. In those days, I wasn’t seeking the Lord. No, I thought I could profit from the world with all its enjoyments, especially when I and the other black singers received an invitation to give performances in America in honour of the British Queen Victoria, whom we called the Great White Queen.”

“However” — and here John Radasi paused for a moment — “the Lord in His wise providence so ruled my life that the world did not win my heart, but that I came under the Gospel in the USA. I knew the Bible in my mind, but it was then that I came to know with my heart who the Lord is and who I myself am. This changed my whole life. I couldn’t take part in the worldly choir any longer. I had to break with sin. Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4). These truths I embraced in my heart.” There in America, I started looking for different things and other friends.”

“And there I met this friend,” he says, pointing to James Saki. “We were told that there were many serious Christians in England, that big, far-off country of white people. We wanted to go there before our return to Africa. We didn’t have the money to pay for that long voyage, so we pretended to be sailors to get on board. After an exhausting, lonely voyage, we arrived in the great city of London. Although we didn’t know anyone or any address, we were hopeful. Here we would surely meet Christians. But instead, we saw so much gross ungodliness and superficial Christianity that we felt even more lonely and sad than ever before. Someone said to us: ‘If you

are looking for people who are so strict in religion, you have to go to Scotland!’ Again, we embarked as sailors for a voyage from London to Scotland. Oh, how depressed we felt on that cold North Sea. While we stood shuddering in our thin clothes, there on the corner of that busy street, I wondered if there would be anyone among all those white people in that big city who felt like a pilgrim and stranger in this world, just as we did.”

Miss Sinclair and her son listened to him with amazement. Suddenly, she realised these men had not crossed her path by chance. Had not Rev. Neil Cameron already long had an urgent desire to start missionary work? Might this be the answer to his prayers? The same day, she sent a telegram to Rev. Cameron. It was just a very brief message: “I have found the missionary you seek.” Rev. Cameron responded by telegram: “Send him.” John Radasi and James Saki, who on the morning of that same day had felt so abandoned by God and man, now once again were able to believe: “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15) Thus comforted, they travelled to Glasgow.

John Radasi entered Rev. Cameron’s manse and was introduced to him. From that day onwards, a close spiritual connection was forged between Rev. Cameron and John Radasi that would last until their death. (James Saki remained with them for four years, but in 1900 he left the Free Presbyterian Church.)

The Lord was pleased to strengthen John Radasi in his faith and to prepare him for the responsible task he was to take on: to preach the Gospel to the heathen. In December 1904, he commenced work as a missionary in Bulawayo, in the south of what is now Zimbabwe

What Queen Victoria did not know (2)

What Queen Victoria did not know (Part 1)

There has probably never been a woman in the whole of world history as powerful and highly honoured as Queen Victoria. Her nearly 64-year-long reign coincided with Britain’s period as the most powerful nation on the face of the earth. And what providence God showed in her reign, just as in the reign of Caesar Augustus! That Roman emperor had his own purposes in mind when he ordered a census to be taken of the whole world, but through his order God accomplished His own purposes. The Lord is still the same today.

The year was 1897. Queen Victoria marked two great occasions that year: her Diamond Jubilee, marking sixty years on the throne, and her diamond wedding anniversary. Her Diamond Jubilee was being commemorated that year not just in the British Isles but in many other lands around the world.

That year, a very small church denomination was developing. It had come into being just four years previously. Two ministers who could no longer accept the tendencies and the synodal decisions of the Free Church of Scotland had come out of that body. With a small number of likeminded believers spread across the whole of Scotland, they formed the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. They were not wealthy; they had no church buildings, no manses, almost nothing.

And also in 1897, in the Transkei in South Africa, a young black man was wonderfully converted. His name was John Radasi. He was not a heathen; he had grown up in a Christian household, but under the sound of a rather superficial religion. Something happened, though, while John was growing up: free grace triumphed in his heart. It is worth retelling how.

John was an excellent singer; he was a member of a choir. This choir — nothing happens by chance; all is subject to the Lord’s will — received an invitation, one that was a very great honour, to come and sing in America to mark Queen Victoria’s sixty years on the throne. “This is my chance,” thought John, who was nearly twenty, “and it will probably never come again in my lifetime. Now I can discover the world.”

Yet how differently did things turn out than he had intended. The Lord shot one of His arrows into John’s heart; he lost all confidence in his earthly existence and came to experience the agony of facing the certainty of death knowing that his condemnation would follow. His soul was tormented and in all his travels through America, he could find no-one who could explain to him what his inmost being was going through.

However, there was at least one fellow chorister to whom he could make himself understood; a man who shared his spiritual apprehension. Realising that they were in the same predicament, the men decided not to return to South Africa but to take a ship to Britain instead.

They disembarked in London after their long voyage and began seeking counsel in that capital of the Empire. Their search was in vain. They did encounter much godlessness, and much superficial, outward religion, but there was no solution here for the urgent questions of their souls. The only pointer they were given (and even this was probably meant mockingly) was, “You won’t find what you’re after here; you need to get up to Scotland, where such people are still found.”

And so it was that John Radasi and his friend James Saki arrived in Edinburgh late in 1897. What were they looking for? They did not even know themselves. They started walking around the city; it was cold and raining. Where to stay? They might well have been thinking to themselves that day, “We have made a dreadful mistake; we should never have come here; why did we not stay in South Africa?”

(To be continued)

This article is an edited form of the Dutch children’s story told at the annual meeting of Mbuma Zending in 1994 by L.M.P. Scholten. Mr Scholten died on 29 November last year at the age of 81. He was a member of Mbuma Zending board for many years and often spoke at the annual meeting.

Thembiso Children`s Home

Thembiso Children`s Home

Rev. J. B. Jardine

An important part of the work of the Mission in Zimbabwe is to provide for orphans and abandoned children, according to Psalm 146:9: “The Lord preserveth the strangers; He relieveth the fatherless and widow”.

Thembiso Children’s Home is situated in the district of Luveve on the outskirts of Bulawayo. It was founded in the 1970s, through the instrumentality of Mr Jan van Woerden, with funding from Holland. It is a privately registered children’s home, owned and operated solely by the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It can house 54 orphaned and vulnerable children from birth to 16 years of age. A new Youth House, for young people between the ages of 16 to 18, is now connected to the Children’s Home. There are currently 33 children in the Home. Both are able to cater for those with disabilities. The Home is under the direct supervision of the Home superintendent, Mr Maphala, an elder in the Church.

Accommodation in the Home is in family units, in full compliance with the Zimbabwean Child Care and Residential Standards. Originally there were five separate houses, using the maximum capacity for residents. However, due to downsizing as a result of financial constraints, this has now been reduced to three houses plus a Youth House. Each house has two caregivers, who take care of at least 9 children. Each house has three or four bedrooms with bunk beds and fitted wardrobes. Boys and girls have separate bedrooms and share with others of a similar age. The caregivers have their own ensuite bedrooms. Each house has its own kitchen and a lounge area in each house with two sofas. Each house has a boy’s bathroom and a girl’s bathroom. There is also a comfortable dining room in each house for meals and for studying.

Connected to each house is an area where the different family groups can keep chickens and grow a variety of vegetables for their own use or for sale locally. These activities are a useful tool, passing on useful life-skills to the children. Members of the local community, acting in a voluntary capacity, help to maintain the garden. “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy” (Ps 82:3).

The Youth House has been established in recent years to accommodate children who are over 16 years of age and are too old for the Children’s Home. Some will still be at school and others will have nowhere else to go. Their time in the Youth House prepares them for further education or some other career path. The time is also used to reintegrate them with their own communities, families and relatives. Currently six young people are staying in the Youth House. It has its own separate projects such as poultry management, baking and selling, and each youth has his or her own garden, which all help to teach them useful skills in self-reliance. The Former Thembiso Residents Trust has recently been set up to provide guidance and support for when the young people leave the Home. This includes regular social contact, help with getting to and from church services, home visits, opportunities to visit former “family” members at Thembiso, reunions, day trips and measured (in amount and duration) financial assistance for educational fees, clothing, travel and housing (either renting or assistance with construction).

There is a library building on site stocked with a good variety of books. The building is used each weekday evening after school and three or four times a week during school holidays. There is a stock of dolls and toys for the younger children to play with. A carpentry workshop allows children over 13 to learn carpentry for a couple of hours each week. Classes in computer literacy also take place on a Saturday for the older children.

There is a good recreational area with a netball pitch, and play equipment for the children, such as swings and a roundabout. The House Mother supervises the children’s play in this area.

Everyone receives three meals a day and attends family worship morning and evening. The Home has its own bus for taking the children to church for the services every Sabbath, and for the prayer meeting. The children regularly attend Sabbath school. The younger children attend the local Primary School, also run by the Church, and follow the Bible Knowledge course provided there. The bus is also used to take the children on day trips. The Department of Social Welfare provide an Assisted Medical Treatment Order for any children that become sick, to ensure that they receive medical care. Everything is done to ensure that the children receive as ordinary an upbringing as possible in a Christian environment. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (Jas 1:27).

New couple for Mbuma

New couple for Mbuma

After several years of an open vacancy for a second doctor at Mbuma Mission Hospital, the Hospital is delighted to announce that the post has been filled. God willing, engineer Sjoerd Janse and his wife, tropical doctor Carolien, will be moving to Zimbabwe in January 2021 with their two sons, Ruben and Floris. We are glad to introduce them to readers.

This will not be the first time that you have lived abroad. Could you tell us more about your past experiences?
We lived in inland Sierra Leone for six months in 2018, when Carolien was working in a rural hospital there to complete her specialist training in tropical medicine. Sjoerd was working for a local electricity company and conducted research into small-scale electricity generation there for his thesis. We very consciously viewed our time in Sierra Leone as a trial period, to discover as a family what it is to live and work in an African environment. We cherish our memories of that time and became aware that the Lord had been using it to prepare us.

The needs of the world are great; help is needed in so many places. How have you ended up at Mbuma?
Carolien was interviewed in the spring of 2019 for the Reformatorisch Dagblad newspaper about the funding of training for tropical doctors. Via Gilia van Wijngaarden, we came into contact with Anneke Snoek, who told us about the unfilled vacancy at Mbuma Mission Hospital. Zimbabwe already had a special place in our hearts, because Carolien had done a tropical medicine internship there before our marriage. Praying and searching for God’s will and His way, in time we felt called to Zimbabwe. The Lord placed the need of the Zimbabwean people on our hearts. In November 2019, we went to Scotland to apply to the Free Presbyterian Church, and we were accepted.

Your departure has been postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the delay in receiving your work permit for the same reason. How do you feel about that?
It has been a very uncertain time for us. However, we do realise that the Covid pandemic has brought worries to so many, each in their own different circumstances. We had gained the desire to go to Zimbabwe and then had to wait. This demanded a great deal of patience and flexibility on our part. It has been an uncertain time for our families, too, as our date of departure kept being postponed. Yet we have experienced that God’s timing is the best timing. The Lord used this time to loosen our attachments to the Netherlands, our possessions, our house and all the things we took for granted. On the other hand, we are now yearning even more for “our” place at Mbuma. We have learned anew each day to put our trust in God. A medical metaphor used by our minister, “God’s waiting-room is His treatment-room too”, has often come to mind. We have experienced that indeed: God has made us ready to leave.

After all the preparations, the time to say goodbye to family, friends, work and your church congregation is now impending. How hard is that?
Yes, we find the farewells hard, especially having young, growing children. We see the distance from our family, and in a way from our friends and church, as a sacrifice we must make. But this is a sacrifice we are willing to make in obedience to the path that God is leading us on. We are grateful for the various online ways to keep in touch with each other and we look forward to welcoming relatives and friends to visit us in Zimbabwe at some time in future.

So, you hope to leave in January. What are you looking forward to most?
Our desire to live and work in the tropics — more particularly in Zimbabwe — will finally come true! Gladly and obediently, we wish to follow God’s leading and thus serve in His Kingdom. We are looking forward to doing the job we have trained for and which our hearts are set upon. We also hope and pray that we, as a family, will have a good “landing” at the mission post and that Ruben and Floris will feel at home there. Without a doubt, it will give us a measure of rest to be in the place to which God has called us, after all the troubles of the preparations