By all accounts the new ministers, Rev S Khumalo in Bulawayo and Rev M Mlyoi in Zenka, have settled down well in their pastorates. It is heartening that the numbers attending the services in Bulawayo on Sabbaths and weekdays have been increasing.
The revision of the Ndebele translation of the Bible by Mr Teus Benschop and Miss C M MacAulay is progressing. Mr Benschop and his wife Janette have returned to Zimbabwe with their baby daughter Hannah and now reside in Bulawayo. He has two Ndebele language assistants, and they all work at present in our mission office in Bulawayo. They will be moving soon to a house which has been purchased as both a home for the Benschop family, and an office for this work. “Mbuma Zending kindly gave support to the work,” says Mr Benschop, “by donating a considerable amount of books and equipment needed for the translation work. Also the Gereformeerde Bijbelstichting [the Reformed Bible Society in Holland] supports the work and pays the language assistants in Zimbabwe.”
There is still a grave shortage of staff at Mbuma Hospital, but the situation has been eased somewhat by temporary assistance for some months from our Kenya Mission nurses – first Sister Ringleberg and then Sister van de Ridder. The matron, Sister Jessie Coote, who has been supervising the Hospital since the resignation of Dr Janette Benschop, is due to return to Scotland this month. Dr Benschop’s resignation leaves a gap at the hospital which is sorely felt, and there is great need of it being filled. The Foreign Mission Committee would be very glad to hear from any suitable qualified persons who have a mind to offer themselves for medical missionary work at Mbuma.
Miss Coote had a traumatic experience some weeks ago in Bulawayo. Outside our mission office in Robertson Street she was accosted by two robbers, one of whom wielded a knife with which she was wounded after she ran into the mission compound and tried to keep the gate shut against them. They fled with her bag, and she was taken to hospital. Mercifully the wound was not deep and she was sent home after treatment.
The John Tallach Secondary School at Ingwenya continues to maintain its good reputation under its capable acting Head, Mr B Ncube, and his staff. The Deputy Head, Miss Norma MacLean, is presently enjoying her well-earned leave in Scotland.
A number of additional computers in the school’s department for computer studies have been commissioned by Mr James Macleod of Leverburgh F P Manse, who was there in September for this purpose. Having first repaired a number of old computers that had been donated a few years ago, he turned his attention to the newly-arrived 40 computers purchased by the Church, and got them also set up and running. Although the machines are second hand they can do everything that the school needs. He says that he “was delighted to get permission from Microsoft to use some of their software programs without charge”. He was also able to connect up the school office computers as a local network so that they can share resources. A new teacher of computing studies has been appointed and it is hoped that, following Mr Macleod’s commissioning of the systems, the department will go from strength to strength.
In Kenya the excellent attendances at the services in Sengera are being maintained, and a public address system has been installed to cater for those who, when the church is full, have to remain outside under the verandah.
The Rev Keith Watkins, Mission Superintendent, and his wife Elizabeth, are now in this country on a much-needed furlough, especially as he has been unwell lately because of yet another attack of malaria. A week before he left Kenya he was glad to welcome back Mr Hugh MacKenzie, Mission Administrator, and his wife Cathie, who had been on furlough in Scotland. The informative and interesting illustrated talks about the Kenya Mission, given by Mr MacKenzie in Glasgow and other places during his leave, have been greatly appreciated by those who heard them.
Mr Watkins was assisted, until he left for the UK, by Mr Nedson Banda from Malawi. Mr Banda, who continues working at Sengera, has been joined by his wife and three of his children.
In concluding this article, we think of our mission ministers and their fellow workers facing difficulties and disappointments frequently in their work, and sometimes even dangers, but we also remember this sure word of encouragement: “Your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).