News from Geoff and Erica Saunders, Zimbabwe - June 2021
We are happy that we have had our 2 Covid vaccinations. In the national as a whole, the number of cases (average 37 new cases a day) remains relatively low.
At our school we have been conducting online lessons since the middle of January and a month ago we resumed face-to-face learning with the whole school. Our school is well resourced and able to conduct lessons in classrooms with appropriate spacing and ventilation.
Amongst other restrictions, the government banned church services following a spike in cases in January. In March the number of cases and deaths were much reduced and churches were allowed to start services again in April following certain protocols including a maximum attendance of fifty people. Our Prospect Church and Emerald Hill Church led by Erica have been meeting. Erica took on another church in Eastview where she preaches there once a month. While churches are able to meet, restrictions on movement, outdoor events and meetings in homes have restricted church activities and outreach events.
We look forward to Covid restrictions being further relaxed so that we can open our church building for more activities and resume outreach events. Online Cell group meetings are still going on at Emerald Hill Assembly weekly and occasional prayer sessions. More people attend these than physical church meetings
We are being blessed with the Academy Class led by Mark Stone Mondays on Zoom.
This year, Pious Munembe, retires after many years serving as the churches General Overseer. We wish him a long a long restful retirement. A team has been set up to prepare a short list of three potential successors in readiness for an election at our AGM in November. Please pray for this team of pastors and elders and for the whole process that will bring in a new Overseer in November to lead the Church forward.
Joseph continues to work in a care home in London while he looks for a job in sports coaching or administration. We are delighted that last weekend he became engaged to his girlfriend, Joanna, who is midwife from Fareham.
We thank God that, a friend paid for Elizabeth to come home for a visit after three years away studying in Germany. Completing all the different Covid protocols for her flights from Berlin with changes in Amsterdam and Nairobi was quite an organisational challenge. We had a great time with her for three weeks and she has now returned to Berlin to complete the final semester of her degree.
Weeks into May, we were saddened to learn of Pastor Riyo’s death following a stroke. Tom,. a man with a powerful cvangelistic gift came from Uganda to Zimbabwe with his wife, as missionary teachers in the 1980’s. He made an indelible mark on the Elim Churches in Zimbabwe through his powerful ministry and Godly example. He is survived by a son and daughter in Uganda and another son in the UK.
Elizabeth’s visit – it was wonderful to spend time together after three years apart
The mercifully low incidence of Covid -19 in Zimbabwe
Tom Riyo’s life and ministry
more about the Saunders
Joseph and Joanna as they plan for their wedding and beyond.
Elizabeht as she completes her course and degree thesis in the next two months.
Pray for the Churches to fully function so that outreaches can be done
Continued protection from Covid in Zimbabwe
God’s man to lead the church as our General Overseer