December has been a month filled with joy, foremost because we’re still here in Zim! As our initial 6-month visa came to an end, and we had not yet received a response about the appeal for our work permits, we thought we would have to exit the country for a few weeks. However, God is good, and after some helpful communication with the immigration office, we were allowed to stay for another month! And what a month, we wouldn’t have wanted to miss this one…
It all kicked off with our first Zimbabwean wedding! Brilliant (yes, that’s his name), one of the Ebenezer chaps that Joe’s mentoring, got married to fellow Ebenezer graduate Sta (short for Stabisiso). It was a fun day with an interesting mix of Western and African culture. We were fortunate not just to see the main event, but also some of the personal family ceremony afterwards, as we were the couple’s chauffeurs.
Joe with Brilliant & Sta
After most of the guests had gone home – including lots of the local children who had come for the food – we went to Brilliant’s family homestead. Sta was made to wait outside whilst the women from Brilliant’s family came and got her. There was singing, dancing and money being exchanged, until eventually Sta’s family allowed her into the homestead. She was then made to sit outside the door of their home amid more bargaining between the elders of the two families. Eventually, she was taken into the house where family elders and community members gave the newlyweds some in-depth marriage advice. As we waited outside we aren’t sure what was being said, but around 40 minutes later they both emerged looking a bit shell shocked! We then took the happy couple into Bulawayo so they could start their honeymoon. It was a great day and it was such a privilege to be part of it.
Sta waiting to go in with the community into the house
Lois waiting with the ladies for Brilliant and Sta to come out following marriage advice
The following day we headed back out to the Matopos for Edge Adventure Camp. Lois had been a leader at an earlier camp in September and was very glad to be around for the opportunity again in December. A group of 30 teenagers, aged 13-18 years old, from a variety of churches in Bulawayo, headed out for 5 days of adventure, including: abseiling; water-sports (a rare treat in this landlocked country); and a great time learning more about our amazing God! It was an incredible 5 days – it was so exciting to see fears conquered, to make new friends and get to know God better.
Boys enjoying watersport at Edge camp
December also saw the next group of graduates pass through Ebenezer and the end of this term’s Crochet Club! The apprentices did really well, with several of them having completed blankets and hats. One of the apprentices, Melani, loves his hat and wears it constantly!
The apprentices proudly displaying their handiwork at the end of 8 crochet lessons
Being here for December means that we get to have Christmas here too. It’s hard to feel Christmassy at more than 30°C, but Christmas parcels from home and our attempt at a tree are just about doing the trick. We’re hosting 6 friends here on Christmas day and it’s bound to be a merry affair with homemade crackers, giant sprouts (i.e. baby cabbages), a churkey (i.e. a big chicken) and lots of Christmas music!
We hope you all have an amazing Christmas, we’re sad not to be celebrating with you all, but are SO happy to here!
Big Christmas sized hugs,
Lois and Joe