IT is to be feared that some have become rather complacent in regard to supporting our missionary work in Africa – now almost entirely confined to Zimbabwe and this is written in order to draw attention to the fact that we are at present finding it difficult to make ends meet. Notwithstanding generous support from Holland some of our mission work has had to be curtailed on account of lack of funding. This was one of the principal reasons for closing down our mission station and hospital in Kenya and it has even led to our having to restrict our activities in Zimbabwe. There are certain matters which are crying for attention and which the Foreign Missions Committee would attend to without delay were the means placed at its disposal.
At Ingwenya, for instance, we have at present over 500 boarding pupils who are on the premises for up to three months at a time. They have not only to be educated; they have to be supervised, fed and cared for to the best of our mission’s ability and in this connection we fear that the work and labour of our teachers at Ingwenya is not appreciated as much as it ought to be. It must be evident to anyone with any experience of dealing with teenagers that the difficulties encountered are formidable and one way in which the work of those concerned would be lightened would be through the provision of better sleeping accommodation for the pupils. At present, the girls’ dormitories are so cramped that the individual pupil has little or no privacy and the Foreign Missions Committee (and the teachers) would dearly love to provide more suitable accommodation for them. The Committee is, however, inhibited from doing so through lack of funds and it would, therefore, welcome any contributions made towards the cost of building new and more spacious dormitories. The houses in which our European members of staff live – those who complain least – are also in need of renovation.
At Ingwenya also there is always a problem with regard to the provision of an adequate water supply. To supplement the borehole, and at great cost, we decided to lay a pipeline from a reservoir about one and a half miles from our mission and by means of a pump draw water to the compound. However, because the pipe was laid in a rather shallow trench people living along the pipeline route decided to help themselves by digging down and puncturing the pipe at their location! The only solution seems to be the laying of the pipe at a deeper level but this requires a further outlay of capital.
The incidence of AIDS is, sadly, on the increase as the doctor and nurses witness daily at Mbuma Hospital. The patients are commonly young men and women with children dependent on them. The medicines which are making such a difference in developed countries are simply not available in Zimbabwe. Much however can be done to alleviate symptoms and cure secondary infections and the Mbuma staff would like to do more by way of follow-up in the patient’s home. Again money – or the lack of it – prevents them from doing so.
It may not be well known throughout the Church that we maintain a Children’s Home near Bulawayo. There, at Thembiso, children in our care are looked after and shown that love and affection which they would normally have experienced from parents had not death prematurely cut them off or, sad to say, in some cases, had they not been unnaturally abandoned by them. If it should come to our having to close, the question would arise: what are we to do with them? Recently it was found necessary to renew the roof timbers of the main building and this involved capital expenditure which we could barely afford but it had to be done.
These are only some of the things which cause us concern. We think our people should be made aware of their existence. If any readers feel disposed to contribute towards the work of the Foreign Missions Committee, and the projects mentioned in particular, any such contributions would be greatly appreciated. The address of the General Treasurer is found inside the front cover of the magazine.
“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it,” Proverbs 3:27.
Rev. John MacLeod, Convener of the Foreign Missions Committee