Becky Sedgwick has provided a reflection as the conferences close and tells us they ended with great aplomb.
The Sunday school teachers learned some games and how to teach the Bible to children, and had two hours of the wonderful Fi teaching them about how to support children with trauma. The clergy heard more from Bishop Joseph, had another two hours with Fi – what Fi has taught them has already had such an impact on them – and then together constructed a vision for the way forward. The clergy, who had looked so tired and worn down when they arrived were visibly more relaxed and had an air of optimism about them – the impact not just of three days away from the great needs of their parishes, but of fellowship, good food and a revitalised belief in themselves and their mission.
The closing ceremony took place in the chapel where the clergy had been meeting, with speeches, singing and the presentation of certificates. All the delegates, clergy and Sunday school teachers, had been given a new Bible – a great gift here. Phones were given to ten pastors, spread strategically across the four areas they work in, to enable them to keep in touch with the bishop.
During the day, Caroline met with Edward Mika, clinic director. They had a very encouraging and constructive meeting about the clinic and its future. He’s gone away to produce a five-year vision, draw up staff contracts and to immediately purchase some vital pieces of equipment, such as a steriliser. We gave him a motorbike, laptop and phone, as well as a water filter and the money to build a tukul – at the moment he is camping in one of the rooms in the clinic. Caroline also met with an IT support man who will install a router into the office and clinic and work two days a week in the office until all IT is up to standard.
Then to Joseph and Yango’s house to share family prayers and a wonderful meal. Some fifty people were crammed into the smallest space – the family (there are eleven children!), pastors and friends. Family prayers were led by Godfrey, the oldest son, and the preacher was his daughter Sylvia. We all sang and danced to three or four songs with actions. Sylvia (seventeen) now challenged us as to whether we had set New Years goals and were we seeking the face of the Lord. The service lasted for 30 minutes and then we tucked into a well-cooked and delicious meal after receiving a cake, which Caroline cut, followed by a huge amount of cheering and clapping. We had to eat cake before the meal! We left, pretty exhausted, at 8.45pm.
Tomorrow morning, Fi will meet with some of the pastors individually before we set off to Moyo, another long journey, for the CRESS family day, where we’ll see many of the sponsored children and give them their gifts from the sponsors. Much celebration will ensue, while Becky and Francis play with the children.