Monday, April 27, 2009

Update from Kathy McCarty: "Hey" from Chidamoyo

Here is a Mission Update from our dear missionary, Kathy McCarty.  Please pray for Kathy and the people of Zimbabwe. 

Grace and Peace,
Coram Deo!!!


From: Kathy McCarty []
Sent: Saturday, April 25, 2009 5:25 AM

This week Major and I spent some time thinking about how crazy we are living in Zimbabwe during these desperate times and came up with some funny ways that we live our life here that you might see some humor in too.  Humor is what keeps us going because we live in such bizarre times if we don't see how funny things are we would cry!

Top Ten ways to know you live in Zimbabwe:

10.  When you open a bottle of medicine you take out the cotton and save it to use for cotton swabs for giving injections/starting IVs at the hospital.  We actually open our ART medicine and take the cotton out before dispensing to the patient!  Even though we are a country that used to export quality cotton, it is now all exported to China to pay for the cheap things they send here (airplanes, tractors, buses) and so there is no cotton available here.  So we find ways to get our own!

9.  Patients are so happy when you read their X-ray and say they have TB—they actually clap and ululate!  They now know they will get admitted, have 3 meals of good food and 1 tea a day—more than they can ever think of getting at home.  Over 85% of Zimbabweans do not have enough food supplies to feed themselves adequately each day.  I assume the 15% who do have are government ministers now in power.

8.  When we see a teacher at the hospital we stand and give them a standing ovation and offer them to be seen first in the queue because they are now an endangered species. We have also decided to offer free treatment to all teachers and their family.  With 70,000 teachers not reporting for work last term and more leaving each week, most schools are grossly understaffed.  Some of our schools have 1 teacher present out of 25.  What kind of education children will receive is of grave concern by all parents. A teacher (and all civil servants) makes $100 US month and bus fare from Chidamoyo to get that salary from their bank in Karoi is $8 for one round trip.  What do they live on for the month?  We remember when teaching was a proud profession that people looked up to with respect—now they look at you like you are stupid to be working for so little.

7.  The doctor, Major and I have a running bet each day to see how many scotch carts can fit into our scotch-cart parking area at the hospital.  Scotch carts are ox or donkey drawn 2 wheel carts that are now coming 2-3 days walk to the hospital with patients since there is limited bus service and the cost of buses is so prohibitive.  Most people don't have the foreign currency to pay for the bus in the rural areas.

6.  Every night we wait anxiously for news in the progress in the unity government.  We turn on the radio and listed to the jammed and banned VOA newscasts for the true news.  Seems like most days the news is fighting over the Mercedes Benz cars that Members of Parliament should take or not take!

5.  We all have ZESA anxiety.  ZESA stands for our electricity company (Zimbabwe Electricity Sometimes Available).  When it comes on and when it will go off we are never sure.  Should we start to bake a loaf of bread in our bread maker or will it go off before the 3 hours needed? Should I cook beans, can I do a load of laundry before the electricity goes out.  Maybe we can do X-rays sometime this week without starting our generator.  And then once it goes out when will it come back on? We are thankful that we do get it sometime each day—even if it is during the night.

4.  Every day you have to spend time deciding: what am I going to eat that will use up the least amount of food I have and do I have gas to cook it if there is no electricity.  If there is no electricity and I have gas I don't  want to use a lot of it—so I wouldn't cook beans with gas—only things that need a short amount of time.  We are coming up with "meals in 1 minute" to save on gas and get it done before the electricity may go off.  I try to save my meat or canned food for when I have electricity and eat eggs in 101 different ways to save gas and food!  It is always a challenge each day to plan so that I don't have to cook outside with wood!

3.  This week we got our monthly salary deposited into our banks in Zim dollars.  For 4 months now there is no place in the country that will accept this money (Zim dollars) for payment—so essentially we have had no salary in 4 months.  Officially this month the Zim dollar was made non-existent for 1 year and cannot be used for legal tender—so we got paid in money that has been banned  from use!  We did get a $100US in retention bonus that is given to you whether you are a doctor or a sweeper in the hospital.  So we have finally reached socialism!

2.  We recently had a problem with our electricity not working.  We sent our driver in 4 times to take the ZESA people out to find the fault and each time they "thought" maybe they had found the problem and fixed it and when our driver returned home—still no electricity!  Finally on Day 13 without power they found the problem and fixed it and we got so excited when it came on.  Two hours later it was turned off for "load shedding" after we had saved them power for 13 days straight—go figure!

1.  The number one answer to know you live in Zimbabwe is come to our hospital on any day of the week and see people coming with bags (black garbage bag size) of peanuts, maize, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, soy beans, or pumpkins.  This is now the form of payment for our services at the hospital!  We also take goats, chickens, pigs and turkeys!  We haven't bought any food for the hospital in 6 months because of this new barter system!  We literally are providing medical services for peanuts!

Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts.  Kathy

Monday, April 13, 2009

ECHOES OF GRACE NEWSLETTER - by Dr. George E. Bloomquist April 2009

Let me introduce you to a dear friend, Brother in Christ, and a wonderful mentor to me. I'm referring to Dr. George E. Bloomquist who writes and teaches from the Word of God on his website named Echoes of Grace. I am always encouraged and challenged when I read his newsletters. I'm pleased to see Dr. Bloomquist take a visit to essential doctrines. Below is a sample of what you will find on this month's newsletter. The Doctrine of God is extremely important to the church, and it is somewhat ironic that many of Evangelical churches have "stiff-armed" or have turn their backs on any kind of focus on such important truths. They have often said they don't want any kind of creed or catechism or confessions because they only want Jesus. They say they've had enough creeds, we need to be more about deeds. The funny thing is... I don't think you've ever had to worry about getting people to do "deeds". Especially in America. We are always about doing something, and we don't like sitting still and feeding on the Word and dwelling and marvelling at these great truths about God. I remember several years ago asking a church leader about leading people in their church through the various doctrines (I didn't even use the word catechism) and they guy responded "we don't want to start doing catechims." Then here they are several years later and they have been doing a children's AWANA program which is basically a fun version of catechisms and scripture memorization.
I guess as long as you don't call it that catechism word then it is acceptable. Of course, that seems to be the way of Evangelical churches. The method becomes sovereign and not so much the content of what is being preached or taught. On one hand we say we want to become "Intimate with Jesus" (yuk) or "Experiencing God" but on the other hand we act like we don't want to do any of that "book learning" to know more about the God who gives us Grace.

I hope you will visit Echoes of Grace and leave him a note and let him know you stopped by.

Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!

A Biblical Newsletter by Dr. George E. Bloomquist April 2009

Lessons in Christian Doctrine
Part I: “The Doctrine of God”
I recently shared a poll by the Barna Group with our Sunday night Bible study family.
Barna listed five essentials to having a biblical worldview. The alarming part of the poll was that
only 19% of evangelicals (those who are supposed to believe the Word and have had a personal
encounter with Christ) subscribed to all five essentials.
It’s obvious from the poll and from what is heard in church circles, that people today are
woefully ignorant of the essentials of the faith. Thus, in the next few months I will be departing
from our usual study of various books of the Bible, to focus on some of the basic truths of the faith
that we continually need to repeat. Our first focus will be on the nature of God and comes from
Paul’s sermon in Acts 17:22‐31. Paul had come, in his journey, to the city of Athens. In that city
he went to the synagogue and reasoned from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus was the
Christ. However, he also preached to the Greeks in the marketplace and on Mars Hill where some
of the Epicureans and Stoic philosophers spent hours discussing ideas.
Since the apostle was never hesitant to speak up for Christ, he stood in the middle of that
band of philosophers and began to witness to them. He began speak by pointing to their
“religious practices” (17:22 and the many objects of worship filling the city. He noted they even
had an altar inscribed with the words, “To the Unknown God.” From that vantage point, Paul
began to preach the truth that is in Christ.
Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill is one of the clearest and most basic sermons on God ever
preached. Knowing who God is and what He is like determines our theology and the direction of
our life. To fail to understand the nature of God hampers any real growth in the likeness of Christ.
Thus, it is essential to our understanding of the Christian faith to know something of His divine
Paul begins by stating that there is but one God. Further, God is One, manifested in three
persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 18:18‐20). All the attributes, in Scripture, that
describe God the Father are also descriptive of the Son and the Spirit.
C. S. Lewis noted that the Godhead (Trinity in theological wording) is like a mind with its
capacity to think, plan, and execute the plan in our body. While there is a mystery to the totality
of God’s being there is no doubt in Scripture that there is but One God. He commands us to use
the name of all three persons in discipling and baptizing believers. The Ten Commandments in
Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 point to the unity of God. Genesis speaks of “making man in Our
image…” as it refers to the creating work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.