mgpcpastor's blog

To Africa… And Adelaide

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Over the next month mgpc are supporting two different trips, with similar objectives but in very different locations.
Here’s the piece I wrote for the September edition of our monthly church newsletter.

I know that Africa holds a special place in the memories of many of our longer term members here. I’ve been told of the many tales that Albert Harvey recounted during his time as pastor here. [During 1984-1994]
Through his skill with words many felt transported away to unseen plains in a distant land.
I don’t even have the benefit of having heard Albert’s stories. So to say I’m preparing to travel to Zimbabwe in just over a week [flying out Monday, September 3] is something of an overstatement.
I’ve got no idea what to expect, and am holding very loosely onto expectations about whatever it is that we may end up doing.
My experience of going on similar trips for the first time is that the reason why you’re going emerges once you’re there.
Even when we’ve sent others from MGPC on trips away, sometimes I’ve been told that folk aren’t certain why they’re going. I tell them they’ll know once they get there, and everytime, upon their return, they’ve known this is true.
So, by sending Jeroen [one of mgpc’s elders] and me, MGPC is going to Africa. We’re going to meet the Highfields Reformed Church in Harare, Zimbabwe; we’re going to get to know the leadership there, particularly their pastor, Isaac Pandasvika.
We’ll spend two Sundays with the Highfields Church, and I may be involved in some aspect of the Services. The invitation we received mentions that during September the church are engaging in evangelism within and outside their Congregation and we are welcome to participate in this program.
We’ll also be visiting Victoria Falls, because if you go to Zimbabwe, apparently you just have to go to see them. It must be like visiting Mount Gambier and seeing the Blue Lake, I guess.
Ralios [a member of mgpc who is from Zimbabwe] also seems pretty keen on us seeing some wildlife, as well.
All my vaccinations are current.
Jeroen and I will go, we’ll listen, try to ask sensible questions (take a lot of photos and video) and then think about the possibilities of any form of partnership between our two churches.
What a blessing it will be for two of us to go and observe and be able to reflect on our experiences together.

It’s not as far away as Africa, or as exotic. But the spiritual need of Adelaide is a great concern to us.
In October we’re taking a bus-load of us up to visit Para Hills Presbyterian Church. It’s hard to express what sort of encouragement that our visit will be to these folk as they seek to carry our their ministry and mission in very trying circumstances.
The visit will allow us to put names and faces together; to have pictures in our minds as we pray for a church and a local area; to better visualize the difference other forms of support we may be offer will make.
There are still places available. As I have said, go on this trip and you’ll be able to say you’re a short term missionary. If you really can’t go, perhaps you’d like to pay for a seat anyway to help with costs. We appreciate your prayerful support.

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