The McKillop's Newsletter: September 2020 - October 2020
Ladies Teaching Sessions
The COVID 19 pandemic has had consequences for the "normal" intensive 2020 annual teaching program at Nyangombe. Government closed down all teaching centres until September. When a date was announced for the opening of schools, plans were immediately made to begin teaching at Nyangombe. Following a one week course for Sunday School Teachers, all maintaining the social distancing regulations with hand washing facilities laid on, we gained some confidence that we could manage a bigger influx of ladies a few days later!!
Due to short notice, we had expected 50 or so ladies attending the 7 day conference. These expectations were shattered when the first truck arrived from 100 kms north of Nyangombe and 45 climbed down! Ladies from their twenties through to their seventies clamored over the side capes of the trucks and lowered themselves gently to the ground. Plans went into disarray as the ladies run from one to another hugging and greeting friends they hadn't seen in at least a year. The anticipation of a good week together was tangible as they chatted, laughed and hugged each other..
The ladies who come are free of their intense daily chores in their distant villages and this is as much of a "holiday" as they will get in any year. They therefore come excited about hearing and learning together from God's Word and we must admit that our plans of Covid compliance went somewhat 'out the window'! It is such a great opportunity when 120 ladies meet together since they are both mothers and grandmothers themselves. A conservative estimate is that these ladies will, on their return, exert influence over around 3,000 children and grandchildren in their wider families which makes it a challenging and very worthwhile opportunity for teachers. Like in many parts of the world, the more recent songs sung did not resonate in the same way with many of the older ladies. How sensitive were the younger ladies when they suggested that the older ladies lead the singing of older hymns and teach others why they were still so meaningful to them.
Bible School for Leaders and Wives
On the day before the Bible School it is usually a day of preparation, making sure that everything is in order to receive students as our guests. Sybil was taking one of our oldest trustees at Nyangombe to hospital when she had a puncture. We were able to fit a spare tyre but the awful roads split the spare tyre and required that we return to Nyangombe and fit two new tyres and then get back to the hospital for Sybil's return trip with the patient. Whilst at the hospital we learned by phone that a teacher coming from Loloma had broken down 93 miles from Nyangombe. By the time we got away it was already afternoon and we didn't arrive back at Nyangombe until 11:30 pm towing the vehicle on a rope in thick dust over bad bush roads. We were both scheduled to begin teaching at 09:00am next morning.
Once again we were surprised by the numbers who had arrived which we were told on arrival were already over 100 and still some more expected early next day. A total of 125 arrived and once again it was hard to keep to Covid-19 rules although we tried very hard indeed. The teaching was very much appreciated and folks were seated and ready to begin every session on time. You will recall the years we were dragged through the Zambian Courts when others fought to own and control Nyangombe? One of the 'highlights' was the good number of visitors from the group who had taken us to court. They attended Bible School with some commented how much they must have missed over the years! We are praying that ongoing healing will continue to take place in future years and that Christ centred fellowship will result. Multiple discussion groups are held after teaching when questions are presented and each group given the opportunity to look at their Bibles to search out good responses
Shoulder to the Wheel
Nyangombe staff managed to keep much of the general training going over the past six months which is great. Work on building and many other fronts goes on apace. Yesterday we spent three hours recovering the new Police Land Cruiser from a broken bridge with a drop that would have crushed the new vehicle. They sent in a delegation today to say thanks... and then the grinding mill stopped working! We keep at it and see the Lord?s gracious help daily.
Thank you for your prayer and support,
Gordon & Sybil
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