We began our last newsletter by observing, “Wherever we have gone, whatever we have done, we have always found that there are extra jobs to be done. There are always things that come up in addition to the task one first had in mind.” It has happened again. Unexpected events have come up.
But before we tell you about that, let us update you on the food situation in Timbutini, which we mentioned last time. Three significant things have happened regarding the needy people at Timbutini.
1. A congregation in Ohio is taking up a collection to help us with the purchase of food for the time being. This is only a stop-gap measure while we work toward a more sustainable long-term solution, but it is of critical importance. One cannot just hand a hoe and a package of seed to a hungry person and say, “Plant the seed and in a few weeks you will harvest a crop.” The person must be fed while awaiting that crop. With the help we are expecting to receive soon, we should be able to do that.
2. A member of the congregation, who had a fairly large piece of land that he could not cultivate on his own, has offered to let the church members use that land and share the produce. This brother is a fairly new Christian, baptised about two years ago. This is a very encouraging development.
3. A couple in Indiana has made a sizable donation, a part of which will be used to help us to develop that land.
a. Some seed and some tools will be needed. We are considering a rototiller to be included among the tools but have not yet decided if that will be a good investment. Drip irrigation lines are also under consideration.
b. The land must be fenced to keep the stray cows and goats out.
c. One young brother in the congregation operates a tractor for his uncle. The uncle is not a member, but he will allow his tractor and plough to be used at a rate of 500 Emalangeni per hour. We estimate that two to three hours should be enough time to plough the property. If we are correct, the ploughing will cost less than $100 ($1 currently = 17.5 Emalangeni).
d. We hope to plant some maize (corn) and beans so that something is grown right away. We are seeking expert advice so that the long-term use of the land is handled as wisely as possible. Brother Peter Setimela (Ph.D University of Nebraska), is our main resource for advice.
The New Unexpected Events
The first unexpected event is a small one – a hail storm. The car was in the carport, but the hail came down at an angle and took out the back window and the taillights. Long-term, it is just one of the little annoyances of life that we must face. It was not just our car, by the way. Our landlord has major damage all over the place – broken windows and guttering that looks like it was made of Swiss-cheese.
The second unexpected event is more of a big deal, for Thayer at least. He has wanted to teach an occasional class at one of the schools to stay in touch with students and to be reminded of what life is like for a teacher in Africa. Daybreak Bible College in Zambia invited him to teach a class several months ago, but that had to be delayed until next year – because of Thayer’s surgery.
African Christian College, which is just down the road from us, is a place where he did not expect to be asked to teach. But it has happened. The brother assigned to teach church history withdrew less than two weeks before the class was due to begin. Thayer received an “emergency teaching request” on October 12 asking him to begin teaching a class he has never taught before on October 23. Starting that soon proved impossible but the class did begin today, October 30.
It is stressful, but it has already proven beneficial in certain interesting ways. It has been exactly twenty years since Thayer taught at that school on a regular basis. The truth has not changed; but certain things about the classrooms and the students have changed. It is good to have a chance to catch up on those changes. The students will learn from his class. What he learns in teaching this class will help us refine future textbooks.