As I write this I am in an airport in Zimbabwe. We left Africa University behind five hours ago. I am sitting here recalling a multitude of memories. I want to share many things, and I will over time, but right now there is one thing in particular that I want to tell you. The people that I have met are top notch.
The people of Asbury UMC in Bettendorf welcomed us with open arms. I had small relationships with many of the team prior to this adventure, but those have grown over the last two weeks. Our group included three people from Trinity UMC in Waverly, and my family and I have grown very close with them. Lauren, Dawn and Sue have become like extended family to me. I am sure that we will stay connected with these special ladies.
Larry and Jane Kies and their children Carly (sp?) are a gem of a family that live at Africa University. Larry has been an advisor at AU for as many years as there has been an AU and a missionary in Africa even longer. Larry is a native of Iowa and a graduate of Iowa State. He and his family opened their house up to our group shortly after we arrived for an afternoon tea. He was a great help throughout the week, and even invited my family to dinner one night. I hope that they have become lifelong friends.
Another gift from heaven is my friend Reverend Ivan Milosi. Ivan was our liaison at AU, he is an amazing man. For those of you that know my wife, you know that she can be a bit “motherly” with her advice, it did not take Ivan long to take to calling Beth Mom. She ate it up and continued to mother him. On an outing to a grocery store we stocked Ivan up with personal care needs and cleaning supplies, officially making him “ours.”
Our church family, family and friends helped us to raise funds for our trip to Africa. In fact we raised more than we needed to raise. After much prayer and reflection, the three of us decided that the best use for this money was to help make a difference with it at Africa University. We did this by purchasing three laptop computers and taking them with us on the trip. We were not sure how to best distribute them, but as always, God spoke loud and clear to us.
Ivan is a graduate student whose computer had broken three months ago. We were more than honored to share one of the computers with him. He was almost in tears, as were we when we presented it to him.
The other two computers were presented to the Farm and to the Faculty of Agriculture. The computer at the farm will be used by the farm manager and his staff for better and more accurate record keeping. The other will be used for making presentations by those in the Faculty of Agriculture. These two computers were received by the Dean and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture who took time from their busy schedules to acknowledge and receive these gifts. Again God spoke loud and clear.
More to come but for now
I am because we are