Jenkins Reflecting on 2019
Dear Friends and Family
We would like to wish you a very happy Christmas, and may 2020 be a wonderful year for you.
With love and blessings from
Peter and Vivian
2019 started with us looking out from Boyes Drive at the fireworks over the Cape Flats, having just fetched Jonathan, Jessie and Jessie’s sister Laurie from the airport. They had spent Christmas with the Carlson family in the States. Jessie’s Father, Eric, and brother Ethan joined them a couple of months later for a first ever African holiday. Amongst other things, they went paragliding, joined by Viv, who loved it!
For Vivian, rewriting the Sunrise Readers continues to be a major focus. Pearson Africa held an in-house marketing seminar, and Viv and Chrissie Lewis were asked to make a presentation on the new edition of the books. This was followed by ongoing editing and re-writing, starting briefly in our home, but continuing online through most of the year after Chrissie returned to Australia. Books 1-5 are already available; 6 and 7 are about to go to the printers; and Books 8-10 are with various artist. Book sales in Zimbabwe are stagnant, but marketing is taking place in a number of African countries, so we hope sales will begin to take off in 2020.
Viv continues to enjoy leading Women’s Bible Studies. These have been really effective and popular with the ladies. Her Mum still enjoys attending and stays for lunch on Saturdays after Bible Study. Apart from the usual medical and dental visits, Mum has been well, but deteriorating hearing had begun to cause her to withdraw from a range of interactions. So, Viv recently took her for tests, and she now has a hearing aid that has made a huge difference, restoring her connectivity to life.
David, Sarah and the boys spent their Easter break from Hazlegrove School with the rest of the family in Fish Hoek. David and Daniel had surfing lessons, and now brave the British waves. They are all settling in well after two years in Somerset, and the school offers a great range of sporting and cultural opportunities for the boys.
Shortly after our “British family” left I flew up to Zimbabwe to visit Heynie Liebenberg, our friend and partner in building Midlands Christian School. His wife, our good friend Valda, had recently died following a lengthy battle with cancer. Heynie was reaching the end of his own struggle, and seemed not to have much time left. We had the chance over the last few years to watch their faith, courage and composure as they drew strength from God daily. I was so thankful to have spent those days with Heynie (before he too entered his final rest, after a life well-lived for Jesus.)
Because of my retirement at the end of last year, our travels in Africa didn’t include the usual Zimbabwe and Zambia church conferences. But we were invited by Mike and Dilys Green to conduct a staff retreat in June at Rapale School in Nampula, Mozambique. We were able to spend time at the coast with the Greens, and also to catch up with Peter and Tanya Watt and a number of MCS and MCTC folk now teaching there. It was wonderful to see the progress in this Christian school that is making a real impact in the community.
Returning from this ten-day trip, I then went on to spend two weeks in Kinshasa, DR Congo, where I taught in the Bible college and spoke at the conference. It was gratifying to see former Bible College graduates now busy planting new congregations in and around Kinshasa, which I had not visited for five years.
Viv and I travelled again at the end of October to attend a meeting in Lusaka of church leaders from different Southern African countries. Having missed our usual conference connection time, it was really special to get a feel for how things are going in the different countries where we have worked for more than thirty years. In every case there were stories of growth, but we were saddened by the reports of the dire state of affairs and the plight of ordinary people in Zimbabwe.
Viv flew home after two days, while I went to visit church building projects in Mufulira (Copperbelt) and in Western Zambia. I am still involved in these projects, and wanted to see how they were progressing. It has been amazing to see the co-operation of our Zambian pastors with mission organizations like Reaching a Generation (RAG) and Judea Harvest. Instead of things slowing down with my retirement, it seems that new ideas and projects are flourishing. Three “Hope Centres” have been built for rural teenage girls by RAG, and run in co-operation with our church leaders. Four new church buildings are nearing completion as well. So there is a feeling of progress and excitement in the West of Zambia.
Returning to Fish Hoek, I stopped off in Johannesburg to attend a Pastors’ Seminar which was attended by so many of the leaders we have been associated with for decades. It was special to see Brendan Munro and Graeme Hotter, who both started their journeys in Zimbabwe, but have ended up in the UK and New Zealand respectively.
This year, in addition to the various ministry trips, Viv got inspired to visit Turkey. Having studied the Churches of Revelation in her women’s Bible Study, an advert in Joy Magazine caught her eye, and she set to work to convince me that this was a great idea. The more I thought about it the more I realized that this was a significant country in Ancient History, Biblical History, and in modern times. So, for ten days in August we did a fascinating tour of this strategic country. I have been trying to straighten out my history of the region ever since. Meanwhile Erdogan is trying to re-write it again before I’ve even begun to master the last 6000 years!
Viv really loved Ephesus, especially the tradition concerning John and Mary. We also did some frivolous stuff like a hot air balloon ride, getting stuck in the tunnels in Goreme, eating amazing food, visiting a Turkish carpet factory, the markets etc.
Living in Fish Hoek we have enjoyed so many special friends and relatives from all over the world, coming to Cape Town on holiday, and popping in to visit. Most recently, we were amazed when Mum’s Sister Joan and brother-in-law Nigel, both in their mid-80s, flew from Vancouver to spend a week with Mum. We got to act as chauffer and tour guide and benefitted from visiting some of Cape Town’s best sights and restaurants, which we don’t usually do when we are just “at home!”
In addition to the holiday visitors, we also host a weekly church “Home Group”. We have had more time – and fewer outside responsibilities – so that we have been able to attend church leadership meetings and team-building weekends. I have preached quite a bit in our local church, and ran a discipleship group in Masiphumelele Township for a number of months, assisted by David Handyside and Peter and Ellen Doyle.
With our love and very best wishes for a blessed 2020.
Peter and Vivian
Great. Always nice to hear news. Pray that 2020 is awesome. Lots of love to you all and Aunty Peggy ?
Mum joins me in sending love and prayers for a blessed 2020 for you too.