Zimbabwe Mission: The shortage of suitable nursing staff is of great concern to Mission staff, especially in Mbuma Mission Hospital, and to our Foreign Mission Committee (FMC). At the request of the Zimbabwe Mission Field Committee, the hospital matron, Miss Margaret Macaskill, has written “to bring to the attention of those who have a prayerful interest in the work here the need for Christian nurses. We do not know what the divine purposes are but, as we seek to bring this matter to the throne of grace, we desire that others may do so also, so that we may be directed according to His will.” Miss Macaskill’s article follows in quotation marks:
“The cry, among true believers, is the same everywhere: few ministers and Christian workers; sin increasing with shameless arrogance; indifference, if not open opposition, to the Scriptures. Yet when we have to face the reality of all this, what a great mercy it is that there is One to whom we may cry, and upon whom we may cast our burdens – God who cares for His people!
“Without doubt, our greatest burden should be the needs of our own souls and the souls of others. Having such a burden for souls, Rev J B Radasi began preaching the gospel in this country at the beginning of the last century, and since then many congregations have been established. Where the gospel is received, blessings will flow even for this life. A school was built at Ingwenya, and a hospital at Mbuma. Generations of children and adults over the century have greatly benefited from the services that have been offered, and many people still benefit today.
“Behind the provision of these institutions lay the desire that those who came to them, hearing the reading of the Scriptures and the preaching of the gospel, would repent, believe and be saved. Those who are involved in the day-to-day running of the schools and hospital need grace, in the face of the ever-pressing outward needs of our fellow beings, to remember this principal purpose of our being here. However, there is a great need at the hospital that we wish to bring to your attention through this article.
“At the beginning of 2001, humanly speaking, the prospects of this hospital having even the basic minimum number of Christian nurses is bleak. At present the staff consists of one doctor (presently on leave), three qualified nurse/midwives, and 41 ancillary workers. The hospital serves a population of approximately 18 000. During the two months of October and November 2000, there were 5023 attendances at the outpatients department, 408 admissions (including general and maternity), and 151 deliveries. Some other aspects of the work are: antenatal and child welfare clinics, mobile immunisation sessions, health-care workshops for the community, and caring for, and counselling of, Aids patients. Our biggest concern arises from the fact that two of the qualified nurses expect to leave soon, God willing, and replacements are urgently needed.
“We are bringing this serious situation before all prayerful readers of this magazine, so that they may bring it to the throne of grace. Life in Zimbabwe is certainly not without its difficulties and frustrations, but there is a wonderful opportunity to help others who have never had the benefits we have enjoyed. Not only is there the satisfaction of relieving the sick and injured, but the work can still be carried out in an environment where each day begins and ends with the reading of the Scriptures and prayer. Sadly, there is little evidence at present of patients being brought from darkness to light, but we cannot tell how much fruit there has been in the past or how much there will yet be in the future.
“Nurses are in very short supply in Zimbabwe (hundreds of vacant posts exist in central and district hospitals), and we know that in our congregations in Zimbabwe and elsewhere there are few nurses. But the pressing need still remains – nurses are urgently required to support the work done here at Mbuma, whether they come from Zimbabwe or elsewhere. There are plenty opportunities for those who are willing to help in a demanding but very worthwhile work!”
We trust that the above appeal will result in many going to the throne of grace to plead for the help that only God can give, and that some will be led to offer themselves for this important work on our Mission.
The Rev Keith Watkins, sent out by the FMC as a deputy to visit our African Missions, arrived safely in Bulawayo on Thursday, December 7, along with his wife. He proceeded to the New Canaan Mission to assist the minister there, Rev Z Mwazabo, at the Chiedza communion, where there were good attendances – more than 300 at the Saturday service, says Mr Jake van Praag in a private newsletter. The following week Mr Watkins returned to Bulawayo to assist Rev A Ndebele at the communion in the Lobengula church there. As Mr Ndebele’s health was more fragile than usual, Mr Watkins conducted all the services. We pray that there will be fruit following “and the end everlasting life”.
Miss Marion Graham is now retired from being Head Teacher of the John Tallach Secondary School, Ingwenya, after 39 years of dedicated service on the Mission. The FMC accepted her resignation with regret and expressed its great gratitude for all her hard and good work on their behalf since she first went out to Ingwenya in 1961. During her headship the growth of the school and the consistently good results demonstrated the high quality of her work and that of her staff. Staff, pupils and former pupils expressed their appreciation of her dedication when they met together at the farewell gathering held in her honour.
The new Head Teacher is Mr Bonakele Ncube, and the Deputy Head Teacher is Miss Norma MacLean. The contract of Miss Sheena Ross, who taught Science and Bible Knowledge in the school for two years, is now at an end, and she is not renewing it at present. Miss Katie Mary MacAulay has had to resume teaching duties. Having a very competent knowledge of the Ndebele language, she is also supervising the revision of the Ndebele Bible. In this exacting work she continues to have the assistance of two of the Ingwenya elders, Mr Paul Moyo, and Mr Isaiah Manzini as well as that of Mr Teus Benschop in Mbuma.
Kenya Mission: The Church is indebted to Mr Calum Gunn, an elder from Ness in the Isle of Lewis, for acting as Administrator of the Sengera Mission for six months (at the time of writing, he was expected to return before the end of January). He also had the responsibility of conducting all the church services on the Mission. One of several maintenance tasks he has been supervising was the repair and extension of the perimeter security fence on the compound.
He was accompanied by his wife Agnes, who was of great assistance in some aspects of the work there. Sister Truus Ringelberg has returned from a well-earned holiday in her native Holland to rejoin her colleagues at the Outpatients Clinic – Sisters Peta van der Ridder and Celia Renes.
Mr Gunn says that “numbers are still flocking to church, particularly for the [Sabbath] morning service. . . There are some who appear genuinely interested.” He was very glad to welcome the Rev K M Watkins and his wife, who arrived at Sengera at the end of December. Mr Watkins launched into the work awaiting him, but had a setback when he caught malaria. We are thankful that he recovered quite quickly. At the New Year’s Day service he preached to more than 400 Kisii people. May there be a flocking not only to church services, but also to Him who is the great head of the Church. “Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Gen 49:10).