September 2020 Zimpeto Bible School Update
From the beginning of the second quarter, 2020 has been a year of many changes caused by the recent global pandemic of COVID-19 that has affected not only Mozambique and Africa but also the whole world.
All educational institutions in the country had to stop on-site classes, and our students and teachers had to adapt to be able to adjust to this new reality. We have adopted distance learning classes by using well known digital platforms.
Many of our students did not have the ability or experience to work on digital platforms. The school board sought to guide them and use the simplest and most common resources used by most young people. It was possible to create teacher and student groups using WhatsApp, whereby work could be passed between them. Both our first-level and third-level students managed this way.
Students with difficulties could bring their work to our school reception area where it would be passed to the appropriate teacher to correct the work and offer suggestions and then passed back to the students the same way. Even a student from Inhambane province who had no cell phone could attend the course by using a phone borrowed from a relative.
This year there have been many challenges that have led to changes. We will highlight two major ones. First, our graduations now take place only once a year; and second, we have no internal students registered. Students from distant areas stay with family members in the vicinity of the school, attend school in the morning and return home at the end of the day.
2020 has been a year where we can clearly see the resulting impact of the work that has been done, not only at our bible school but in other places at the national level as well. There is a wave in Mozambique of the creation of many new evangelical groups. Many of the young people who graduated from this college went out and planted churches and these churches have proliferated at the national level.
The opening of new religious institutions and religious educational institutions caught the attention of our policymakers in such a way that the government felt the need to enact a law that will regulate the registration of new religious institutions in Mozambique. It is a positive thing although there is a foreshadowing that this comes to hinder the emergence of new institutions by placing barriers in terms of membership numbers and other requirements.
We are looking forward with great expectation for the coming months of the resumption of religious services and on-site classes in these coming months. We are all preparing to obey all prevention measures to avoid the spread of the virus, including 1.5 meters distancing between students, wearing of masks by students while in the classroom and wearing of visors by the teachers, hand-washing constantly using soap, ash, alcohol or other kinds of sanitizers, and taking everyone's temperature before entering class.
This will make it possible that at the end of this year we may have one more fourth-level student graduation. Even with the pandemic, there is great expectation from students and we hope that there will be cooperation on the part of all those involved in this process.
Graduation of fourth-level students is always a time of great excitement and great joy. There is a sense of accomplishment in which the student feels prepared to enter the battlefield and put into practice everything they have been learning since the first-level of this course.
[Pastor Jose speaking at a former graduation celebration.]
[The former class of fourth-level graduates.]
[One happy graduate from another province.]