All the Church of Scotland Mission Partners and their families based in Malawi and Zambia recently met together at a lodge outside Livingstone for a three day Retreat – a wonderful time of contemplation, conversation and celebration. A number of us are ecumenical appointments shared by both the Church of Scotland and Methodists. This event was well-planned and organized by Jennie and George, the African and Caribbean Secretary and outgoing Africa Committee Convenor at World Mission.
We arrived from all the airpots on the Thursday afternoon at the venue situated in Mopani forest, a few miles inland from the Victoria Falls, a quiet, idyllic and restful spot. Though, saying that, we were woken each morning by the roars of the lions from the neighbouring plot where lions are being bred for later reintroduction to the wild.
This time out was reminiscent of that time we read of in the Bible, when the early Church just after Pentecost enjoyed a special time of fellowship and sharing, teaching and the breaking of bread together. We were able to get to know each other better and support and encourage one another, a time of both stimulation and refreshment. Despite the age range there was a good family atmosphere.
There were good times where we ministered to each other during twice daily devotions, Church on Sunday and an intimate family Communion Service where we felt very close to God and one another. We are now used to worship in the vernacular so it was good to have this time in English only.
There were good social times as well, a meal out, visiting the local game-park together and the Victoria Falls (Mosi-oa-Tunya – the smoke that thunders). The highlights were seeing the rhinos with the ZAWA Scouts and all getting soaked at the Falls.
The retreat ended all too quickly on the Monday morning but all were convinced of its value and wanted a similar event again in the future.