Greetings from the lake in Indiana! Pat and I are both well and very blessed. It has been hectic so far in our visitation program but there is more ahead. At least, we have the advantage of a quiet, peaceful lake outside the window of our borrowed home to provide a bit of tranquility.
Northview Christian Church has been our home church and we have always looked forward to being there. This was no exception. Their minister, Jeff Bream, and his wife welcomed us as did the congregation. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, talked with old friends and made new ones! A buffet dinner really added icing on the cake. Afterwards, the Snyders took us for a tool out on the chain of lakes, which really made us lazy. Northview has been an active supporting church ever since its foundation and even prior to that. We are so very thankful for their prayers and assistance with funding, Bibles, books and labor when the Containers needed to be loaded.
Before our Sunday program in Indiana, the South African Christian Mission Board met at Stroh on Saturday. Nearly every member was there and it was thrilling to see everyone. Pat and I were given the floor to bring everybody up to speed and there were a number of suggestions flowing from the discussions. One of them involved the Container project. Bob Snyder had been actively collecting boxes and boxes of books from every conceivable source, packing them away and storing them on his property in a large shed. His report of all these activities really surprised a lot of people—no one really realized that there were enough boxes for almost TWO Container loads. The urgency was to find storage space in Cape Town for sorting, distribution and stacking. I immediate felt the pressure to hit the ground with my feet in motion once Pat and I returned to South Africa!
That evening, Pat and I visited the first session of the VBS of the Lake Area Christian Church in a local park. The kids really listened to my story of how I’d left America when I was 12 and found myself in a foreign country. I enjoy speaking to kids when they are so enthusiastic about different lands.
One of Bob’s ideas was followed up that very week. Dave and Mattie McLaughlin, Bob and Roberta Snyder, Pat and I made an appointment with IDES (International Disaster Emergency Services) in Kempton (IN) to see if they could assist us with the Container shipments. We met with Dave Shelton and spent the morning explaining our needs. We discovered that IDES might also assist with new office equipment for the Translator’s Office in Cape Town. Once I got back to the lake, I immediately made written applications to IDES. It would be a tremendous boost if we could get financial aid of some sort.
It was back to Michigan! Pat and I drove up to Grand Rapids and bunked with my sister and her husband. We arrived on Thursday night and the very next day, were meeting the folks at Jenison Christian Church. They had organized a ‘braai” (BBQ) for us and we spent a wonderful time getting to know the Mission Committee and their plans to make a field trip in 2006. Saturday, we were at the church and had an ice cream party with more people. Each time we shared the experiences of the Lord’s work in South Africa.
That Sunday, Pat and I spoke at both services, the Children’s Church and the combined adult Bible hour. There were so many questions to answer and it seemed that the Holy Spirit really kindled the people’s desire to know more about the gospel’s impact in Africa. We were sad to leave them.
A newly planted congregation, the Lake Area Christian Church, meets just across the Michigan border in Indiana. Pat and I were invited to the minister’s home on Saturday morning for breakfast and enjoyed their hospitality. Jim and Shirley Neuenschwander hosted a big feast for an enormous tableful of guests afterwards!
That evening, Bob and Roberta Snyder met Bob’s brother, Ed, in Fort Wayne. Ed Snyder had organized a speaking date at Northside Christian Church and we enjoyed the informal service and the people’s interest in the mission work. New faces are always a good because for the first time, perhaps, they hear of something new. (Thanks, Ed!)
No, not the African country north of South Africa, but the church in Indiana! During the week, Pat and I were hosted by two different sets of people: Danise and Dave Tuckey of Quincy took us to a wonderful restaurant somewhere on the back roads of Michigan – the food was wonderful and the fellowship warm. Then, Saturday evening, Roberta Snyder threw a big party for the folks at Northview as well as their friends. We had a great time with them – Pat and I were set on chairs in front of everybody and questions were fired from the hip from all sides. What a great way to spend an evening with Christian friends!
Sunday saw us at Angola Christian Church. Again, this is a church, which has been a long time supporter of the mission. Pat and I spoke at the combined adult Bible hour as well as the main worship service. The church has a huge pipe organ and wonderful wood interior that I remember from my childhood when my folks visited frequently. Again, there were old friends and new faces, all of whom welcomed us warmly. Afterwards, we drove out to Lake James Christian Assembly and shared a potluck.
Sunday evening, the Snyders drove us to Waldron (MI). It is a small church but they had invited Christians from Hillsdale, Montgomery and surrounds for a combined evening of fellowship. During a previous furlough, Pat had made friends with the ladies at Waldron and their ladies group regularly sends support to the mission. Again, we spoke and shared treats in the basement afterwards. It was good fellowship.
It doesn’t seem like three months has gone by already. Pat and I are thinking about packing and boxing some of the books and personal items we’d collected on our wanderings! And we have so many people to thank for their help and provisions.
The peaceful rest of the lake in Stroh became increasingly important. It was a haven of quiet and we took every advantage of it. Pat would rise early in the morning, sit her in favorite chair next to the big picture window and we’d share the first cup of coffee there in the morning. We would be sad to leave it.
Again, our heartfelt thanks to many people, named and unnamed, who hosted us and provided food and fellowship. We ask the Lord’s blessings on you for your generosity and kindness.
Steve and Pat Zimmerman
S.A. Christian Mission