By: Kent Ira Groff
As many of you know, I got back from South Africa and Zimbabwe Ash Wednesday Mar 5. I’ve downloaded a few photos for Facebook. Thank you for all your prayers and love. Folks ask how was it? I say, “Amazing–challenging and rewarding and everything in between.”
South Africa seems advanced (one week there in Johannesburg and then Cape Town where I went to Robben Island and saw the cell where Nelson Mandela spent 17 out of his 27 years in prison), arranged by my former Lancaster Seminary student Thulani Ndlazi, who had me lead two retreats.
Zimbabwe’s people are resilient and welcoming in the face of high unemployment and inferior infrastructure (five weeks there). I was stationed at Mhondoro Presbyterian High School (90 miles southwest of Harare on a “road that is no road” as my host Chaplain Staben Maenda would say), without Internet access. I framed my time there as “walking” with students and teachers: I would sit at an outdoor stone table and kids would gather around, ask questions, converse and pray; or I’d sit in the faculty staff room and the same thing would happen. I preached four out of five Sundays and led four Bible Studies for the staff and teachers. Their Gospel singing is something to be experienced! Wow.