Jonathan and Isabel Hill

Jonathan and Isabel Hill are our mission partners in Zimbabwe. Jonathan has been based at Thekwane Mission for over 30 years and teaches Maths in Thekwane High School, a boarding school run by the Methodist Church in Matebeleland. Isabel is a Childcare Co-ordinator.

Much of Isabel's work is with orphans & other vulnerable children, many of them AIDS orphans & often HIV positive themselves. She oversees the care in the local communities of over 2,000 orphans currently on the books of the nine (mostly rural) Methodist circuits.

Jonathan and Isabel's blog:

We arrived at Mzinyathi while their Sunday service was still in progress, so we were ushered in and we sat near the front of the church, with a small table in front of us. We hadn't been there very long when I detected a small scuffling at my feet. It was a chicken and it had been brought as part of the offering, and it was not alone.

Jonathan Hill

 Read Jonathan & Isabel's newsletter:
• May 2017

Newsletter Archive:
• April 2016
• August 2015

• February 2010

Q & A's with Jonathan and Isabel

Jonathan, in a paragraph, how would you summarise the work you are doing as a mission partner?

I am teaching at a Methodist rural boarding high school. I am involved in a small-scale food relief programme for children aged about 5 to 8 years. I am a Sunday School superintendent. I am a Circuit Steward. I conduct training programmes within the church. I am part of a team trying to provide a home for orphaned children within our Methodist District.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Trying to find a balance between the need to fit in to the society where I am working and the imperative to stand out as a good example. In other words to be "in the world, but not of the world" (John 17).

What impact do you feel you have made?

Over a period of 25 years of working with thousands of children, youths and even adults, I think it is impossible to say what exactly has been the impact. Much of the work is like planting seeds; you can't keep digging them up to see how well they were planted. Many of my former pupils contact me and express appreciation for what I contributed to their education; many have done well in various fields; quite a number of my former pupils are now my colleagues, both in school work and in the wider work of the church. Nevertheless, any person's education involves inputs from many different teachers and other influences, so it is impossible to say in general what is my share of the impact made upon the lives of so many people. I hope that I have been a useful part of God's plan of preparing them for their future challenges.

How do you think God is guiding you in your work?

It is becoming clearer all the time that my whole life has been a preparation in one way or another for whatever challenges are now facing me in my work. I believe this has been God's careful planning and guidance, that life's earlier experiences only make sense in the context of how they are helping me to cope with my current situation.

What has surprised you most of all?

The resilience and resourcefulness of people in Zimbabwe. Their generosity and hospitality.

Isabel, in a paragraph, how would you summarise the work you are doing as a mission partner?

As Bulawayo East District Child Care Coordinator, I mobilise resources for orphans and vulnerable children, visiting our 9 circuits to give psychosocial support to the children and to issue stationery and clothes. Organising holiday camps for orphans and vulnerable children and supervising Kids Clubs in our circuits. I am also Branch Chairwoman of the Hillside Manyano (Women's Fellowship).

What has been your greatest challenge?

We are facing an increase in the number of orphans in our district, but because of the lack of adequate resources we can't accommodate them all. We don't have an active donor, but we rely on well-wishers.

What impact do you feel you have made?

Some children who had dropped out of school because of lack of funds are now attending school again.

How do you think God is guiding you in your work?

We work as a team and we are blessed by a wealth of experience and skills. God has brought us together to complement each other and in that way He guides us as we support one another. I have also gained much from the part-time Women's Ministries course that I have been following at the Theological College of Zimbabwe.

What has surprised you most of all?

There is a great difference between the rural and urban situations. We find that orphans in the rural areas are suffering much more, lacking even the basics, such as sufficient food and clothes.



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