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We visited Ameva in July 1993. It was only for 3 weeks but we seemed to fit a lot in. Prior to going we had been packing and sending boxes of stuff on the containers that went from The Cumming Farm for some time and it was interesting that one of the tasks we did whilst at Ameva was so sort out that very same stuff to enable it to be distributed. We went armed with lots of green cardigans which the ladies in the church at Bracknell had knitted for the school children and we soon realised why there was a need. I (Gill) sat outside the classrooms in the open air and listened to the children read their books and yes, it was cool. I was well wrapped up, but they had only thin school dresses on. I think I returned home with renewed vigour to get more knitted to send.

One of the major tasks I undertook was to cover the textbooks with cut up corn sacks to protect them as they were in short supply and therefore needed to be protected. We also spoke at the assemblies and Pete shared in the Bible school and took a couple of lessons in the secondary school. One of the highlights was the arrival one night of the 2 land-rovers which had been driven out from England. We had been at the conference at Rora when the "Lads" had shared their vision to take these out and it was so special to be there as they arrived. Joshua and Caleb, they were called. While we were there a bore hole was being drilled, bricks were being made on the site, and there was a feeding program for the children of a bowl of sadza daily.

Another "highlight" was the appearance of a boomslang snake on John's patio, which was quickly dispatched. We stayed with Martin and Marian Williams in the first house, and further down the line was John and Martha Shaw and at the end John and Celia. The land-rover team stayed in the house next to Martin when they arrived, I think with the Vaughans. One of Martin's hobbies was goats and he had enrolled the students to help look after them, we did enjoy a delicious goat stew while we were there. On Sunday we went to the church in Chegutu, then on to Sable farm to witness a Sunday school meeting for the children there, taken by Ebeneezer and the Bible students. It is only looking back I realise there was much we did see but also much we didn't, but it was a real insight into the work that had gone on and is still going on there.

When I joined Ameva Bible College in 1985 I was the youngest student. I was very poor in English. Mrs Martin Williams from the U.K helped me to learn good English. I had no money for school fees. Each time before school starts I would work on the farm for fees. My greatest prayer at the college was to preach the word of God to other countries.

Afterwards I went into the field. As a young Pastor I was challenged by the elders of the Church. The little money they gave me was not enough for rent and food. Being faithful to God I continued fasting and praying. I knew God would answer me Jeremiah 33:3.

Now I am a changed leader. My prayer to other countries to extend God's Kingdom was fulfilled. God is picking willing people to support me financially while working in his garden. Air tickets are expensive but God is able. Now I am hoping to helping the old people to get enough food. l am fasting and praying for God to open doors for them.

I have spent time at Ameva off three occasions, the first being in 1987 when I was only 18 years old and after hearing about the work at a Christian conference immediately bought a one way ticket. I spent a wonderful four months working there with John and Celia and was inspired by the work, which by then was more that just a farm, but included schools for the children, a Bible College for training pastors and a strong outreach program to the local area. I saw firsthand how John & Celia’s dedication, over many years and with tremendous help from some beautiful people had created a co-operative community which brought blessing and enrichment to everyone involved. I returned to the UK inspired and planned to return soon.

It was to be over 20 years before I returned, and although the country and political situation had changed dramatically with a huge increase in challenges, the foundation laid in those early years had proven strong and I was thrilled to see the work continuing to impact a new generation for Christ and fill new families with hope.

As long as there are people willing to become seed, and cast themselves into this fertile soil, this will always be a work that produces ‘much fruit’. I wish John and Celia strength in this season, and courage to continue to follow their path.

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