After waiting on the border keeping an eye on the political and security situation in Zimbabwe we finally took the plunge and flew to Harare to see how the Zimbabwe and East Ohio Annual Conferences could partner in ministry. We met and toured with the East Ohio Annual Conference team of Rev. Russ Ham, Rev. Howard Pippin, and Kay Panovec who were sent to learn more about the establishment of classrooms in Zimbabwe. We were wonderfully hosted by Rev. Lloyd Nyarota who is the Area Projects and Communications Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Annual Conference. We witnessed schools, Home of Hope, a ministry which cares for orphans by supporting them in their village or extended family, new church starts, Africa University, worship, and the property in the Kensington area where the Emsizini School is to be built. We stayed in people's homes as well as in hotels. We shared many meals with pastors, laity, and Conference leadership. Danny and Kathy learned much about how the global UMC works.
Pray for Zimbabwe and their elections at the end of June. The economy is in shambles with a million percent inflation; which means that flour could cost one price today and tomorrow it would be doubled and your salary remains the same. A newspaper costs 200 million Zimbabwe dollars, but the price changes daily! We carried our own fuel in huge containers because it is difficult to find full gas stations on the road. The people we met do what they can to survive, are peaceful, and hopeful. Bishop Nhiwatiwa preached to a large congregation about keeping peace, dialoguing with people who have different opinions, and telling people he expected that they would not be violent. He reminded people of the global situation with people in China who are in greater need than they are. It was really an amazing service.
The money situation in Zimbabwe, we were billionaires for a week!
We are now onto Malawi where we are visiting with a malaria study connection here with Michigan State University. Next week we will be meeting with folks from Ohio who have a project with World Relief International in Mozambique. Right now we are waiting on Danny's lost luggage to reappear from our flight out of Harare to Lilongwe!