News from Geoff and Erica Saunders, Zimbabwe - April 2022

Winter in UK

Picture1Time flies, it seems only yesterday we got back from the UK. We spent two hectic months, firstly in quarantine at my brother’s home in Swindon. Then in Fareham for Joseph’s wedding to Joanna on the 28 November. That was a lovely day, though biting cold for the wedding photos.

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Very happy despite the cold

We then spent time visiting family and friends in Lockerbie, Coventry, Northolt, Leicester, Isle of Wight, finally spending Christmas with Joanna’s family in Fareham. During our stay we also managed to spend a lovely couple of days getting to know folks at Elim HQ, though Iain Hesketh, our Missions Director was isolating at home with Covid.

We returned to Zimbabwe early in January but without Elizabeth, who came down with Covid just before we left the UK. We were blessed by friends in the Waypoint Church who looked after Elizabeth until she was free from Covid and able to fly to join us a week later. It was great to have her with us for a month before she returned to Berlin to take a job in architectural firm.

Summer in Zimbabwe

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Elizabeth had a chance to feed a rhino during her visit

We arrived to find that the opening of schools for the new school year was postponed for a week giving us time to prepared bundles of books for parents to take home as we returned to online learning for the start of the year. Very soon we received the Cambridge exam results, our students had been able to do written exams in November. We praise God that the results were amongst the best we have ever had. After three weeks of online learning, schools opened for face-to-face lessons (actually, mask-to-mask lessons) with daily temperature checks and lesson-by-lesson hand sanitisation.

We have been able to resume our full programme of academic activities, clubs and sports though only a very few matches against other schools have been possible. Because of the variations to the calendar in first term, we are now looking forward to a very long second term that will include our winter sports and fixtures against other schools.

Shortly after our return to Zimbabwe Geoff met with the leaders of our Prospect Church to discuss whether or not he should retire from being the pastor of the church. The leaders insisted that it would be best for the church for him to continue as its pastor.

Busy Fingers

Erica resigned as pastor of Elim Emerald Hill assembly to focus on establishing Busy Fingers, a ministry to young girls, married women, widows and female pastors and pastor’s wives. In Harare we have had two meetings with these groups considering etiquette, fashion, appropriate attire and personal grooming. During the Covid pandemic we have had more women left widows. Erica with her young sister Paida who is a widow herself, have been visiting woman to woman offering grief counselling and financial support to start and to help them maintain their small businesses for self-reliance. We thank God for Jack Rien for his assistance to help Erica with fuel to move around encouraging widows and praying with them.

Easter

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Worship in Tanda

Erica with three others and a small PA system, went to Tanda to encourage Mrs Winnie Satuku and the church there during the Easter Weekend, which was a great success. Erica will travel to Mutare on 29 April to take part in the Elim Women’s Conference to conduct Group Counselling, comforting those in grief and teaching on inheritance.

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Sunday school presentation at the
Easter conference

Our Harare churches had a successful Easter Conference in which, Geoff’s small part was to lead the closing communion service.

We are looking forward to Joseph coming to Zimbabwe to show off his wife to family and friends here and to give Joanna the chance to see where Joseph came from.

As I write, we have had three days of heavy rainfall, good for the dam levels but too late to rescue a poor cropping season.

The Future’s Visit

Shortly before Easter, the handover between Dr Munembe and his successor as General Overseer, Pastor Andrew Mautsa, was completed. Pastor Mautsa was for many years our Evangelism Coordinator and we pray for him and his team as they chart the way forward for the Elim churches in Zimbabwe in these challenging times. We trust Dr Munembe will have a long a peaceful retirement.

Thanksgiving

  • Joseph and Joanna’s wedding.
  • That Covid restrictions were lifted in time for us be at Joseph’s wedding.
  • The gradual easing of Covid regulations in Zimbabwe allowing churches to conduct services and reach out into homes and the community.
  • Elizabeth securing a good job in Berlin

Prayer Pointers

  • Dr Munembe for a peaceful and contented retirement
  • Pastor Mautsa and his team as they lead the church forward, especially
  • Joseph and Joanna’s visit to Zimbabwe.
  • The Prospect Church as we shake off the constraints of the Covid pandemic.
  • Busy Fingers Women’s Ministry at the Women’s Conference and their outreach programmes for the coming months.
 more about the Saunders

  elimmissions.co.uk/latest

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