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Issue 34: November 1994

John Valentine Reports Greetings of love, joy and peace in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Firstly I would like to thank all who have prayed for us and supported us over the past year, a year which has seen us make firm and steady progress in the various projects we are involved in and I am sure as you read this Update you will also rejoice with us at the faithfulness of the Lord. Amen.

Last month I was able to visit Simon Siachami one of our former students who was from the Tonga tribe. This was the tribe that was displaced when the Kariba dam was made, the tribe lived in the Zambezi Valley and a lot of it was flooded to take the Kariba dam. However, since he went back to Siabuwa, one of the villages there, God has blessed him mightily and he has a church spread over hundreds of miles and from time to time brings his elders and leaders in for a seminar. It was to this seminar that I was invited. What a privilege, to be able to share with them and teach them about the things of God. Men and women who had walked many kilometres to get to the meetings and to just campout in the open under the stars and be prepared to listen and to learn of God. Again, as we lay under the stars I was thrilled at the wonders of God, it is a beautiful place with the mountains around and the stars shining so brightly in the heavens. Hallelujah. In the testimonies one woman said how she had been chased by an elephant and the elephant tried to grab at her and almost got hold of her baby, but it succeeded in pulling away its shawl and while playing with this it had given her time to escape. It made me realise just how these people are living out in the elements and eke out a living as the elephants often destroy the crops which have been planted. Praise the Lord it was a wonderful time and really exciting to see how the Gospel is reaching out into these poor and undeveloped areas. Although they might be poor in a material sense, you can see that God was blessing them spiritually and in the things that Will count in eternity. Amen. THE BIBLE SCHOOL There are some good young men in training and we a e confident that many of them will go out into the Country into the Lord's vineyard and bring forth fruit. But even there we are in a state of transition with the imminent departure of Martin and Marian who have been asked to leave by immigration. They have done a tremendous job in the Bible School over the past years so we are really having to look to the Lord to see how we will carry on. If you really believe from the Lord that you have teaching ministry or if any elders or leaders of the different Fellowships feel that they could spend a month or two teaching and feel they have something to offer then don’t hesitate to contact me CELIA VALENTINE AMEY A PRIMARY SCHOOL ZIMBABWE THE HISTORY OF THE Primary SCHOOL Started in 1983 by volunteer,1ohn Ashcroft from U.K., who was taking a year off between school and university. Some children came to our kitchen door asking us to start a school as there was nothing in the area. They had to walk 5 miles from our farm and further from other farms to get to the nearest primary school in Chegutu town. It began in a small, thatched hall in our workers' village. There were about 40 children to start with. 1984. John and Martha Shaw from Walsall, U.K. takeover the school. The school increases and two local school leavers are taken on and paid for by the farm. (One has since trained as a teacher and is now working in Ameva Secondary School). After two years John and Martha Shaw must return to England. 1986 October First block of school buildings on existing site completed. These buildings were originally a dairy which was gutted, extended, and converted. School officially registered by Zimbabwe Ministry of' Education and Culture. 1987 August. Second block finished with the help of a team, from Eltham Green Fellowship. 1989 November. School officially opened by Regional Director, Ministry of Education. The managing Director of College Press - parent company Macmillans, U.I( - donated text books to the School. 1994 May. We have 374children in the school and 9 classes. There are 7 Grades. We have two extra classes because there were a lot of children in the area who had never been to school, and we needed a double class in two Grades to cope with them. The average age of children has as a result been high with some children leaving this primary school as old as l7, but now the age is dropping and many leave at 13 or14. We don't usually encourage children to come until they are 6 as they can't seem to concentrate wen before that age. We teach in Shona (the local language) {or 4 years and then in English. Many children have an added problem in that their parents originally come from Malawi or Mozambique so they speak a different language at home. Most parents don't speak English and can't read or write. Most of the Children that come to the School have never held a pencil or had a story read to them. There are 384 Children in the school at present. Eventually we hope numbers will drop to about 300 and we shall have just 7 classes. There are 9 teachers paid for by the Government, one for each class. A fellowship in Bracknell pays for two teaching assistants, one of which has been at the school since it opened. The parents pay less than a pound in fees per term. At the end of their time in primary school the children take a State exam in Maths, English, Shona and a General paper. Last year we were 7th in the Chegutu table of results for these exams. Tl;!.ere are over forty schools jn the Chegutu District and we even beat quite a few in the actual town! Thanks for the jumpers especially the green ones sent by Bracknell. I expect to give out a 'woolly' to all the children in the school this term as it is our winter. The children wear them 24 hours a day when it is co}.d, so very often they are full of holes by the next year. Underwear (or the teenage girls. white and grey socks, any plimsolls are also appreciated. Please address any articles specifically for the Primary School to me personally. In February our senior girls came first in the athletics meet for Chegutu Primary Schools. We are all ready for a new term starting next week but we do need your prayers, there have been several serious strikes in the last few weeks because galloping inflation has meant a drastic reduction in the standard of living of most people. It is widely expected that the teachers will go on strike and if this happens, I will have to close the school although l may consider teaching Grade 7 myself as they have exams soon. We can see this country has some difficult times ahead and the Government needs real wisdom. We thank God for the children in the school who have given their lives to the Lord and for the teachers all of whom are sympathetic most being church members of one sort or another. Thank you for your holp and support. JOHN & MARTHA SHAW AMEVA SECONDARYSCHOOL-ZIMBABWE The arrival of the container at the end of April With so much school furniture and other items gives us the opportunity to say a "big thank you" to all who have helped to equip the school. We are grateful to the Lord for the continued interest shown by so many of His people. All the first formers now have proper desks, and the staff room and office are adequately furnished from items sent in the container. We have also been able to organise a small library in the staff room. There are now 190 pupils, and we anticipate the total rising to about 250 next January. On the building side we need to build a science laboratory in time to accommodate the additional class. This year will also see the original pupils of the study group leaving us in December. One is aware that our responsibility does not finish when they have completed their schooling and we hope to be able to place some of them into jobs on the farm. Kate Hutton has this week started teaching some of the senior girls typing. With the unemployment situation being quite desperate we want to be able to give these pupils some practical skills. Once we have electricity installed at the school the workshops could then be built and developed. The new staff are settling well and one of them Shepherd Ziramba is now deputy head. He is a fine Christian young man and is temporarily living in one of the Bible School houses with his family until he has built his house in Chegutu. He is a great help and is able to take some of his responsibilities. Alice Mann who was one of the early teachers in the primary school before getting a place at Teachers Training College is now with us teaching fashion and fabrics. Tribute to Martin & Marian Williams It was a sad and yet in some ways an exciting day on the 5th June as we all met in the Bible School hall to say our farewells to Martin, Marian and Joanna Williams. A poster on the wall from the Bible Students testified to the fact that Martin and Marian had become a mother and father to them over the years. The Sunday School, Youth Choir, Bible Students, and various individuals testified to how their lives had been blessed and touched by the example set by Marlin and Marian. Martin has proved himself to be a very able preacher and teacher over the years and we will all miss his tremendous spiritual input into the Bible School and the life of the church here. Marian is a talented musician and has taught the Bible School students and has led the worship in the church. She has been a nurse to the students, school children and the compound people whenever they have fallen sick. I was reminded by the Lord, that seed is taken and distributed further afield by birds, or as in the case of other seed such as the sycamore, il is caught up by the wind and cast further out. Also, with coconuts the water carries the seed and plants il in another environment. All of these things the wind, water and the birds speak to us of the Holy Spirit. We just pray now that the Spirit will take Martin, Marian and Joanne and plant them further afield as trees of righteous­ ness. the planting of the Lord, that the Lord's name will be glorified. We will sorely miss them and their tremendous . contribution here, but we do believe that the Lord has all things in His hands and has a greater use for them. MARTIN & MARIA WILLIAMS


How can we cram nearly six years of work, impressions, prayers, meetings, tears, laughter into a few lines?


Ameva has been just wonderful, our home and the place from which Joanne passed ten "O" levels, and more latterly, her Zimbabwean driving test! We left on 11th June and our hearts arc still there as we write this in England. We thank and honour those with whom we have worked. Most of all, we thank the Lord for sending and enabling us. Our farewell meetings said it all. What a wonderful thing it is to be in others' hearts - the Primary School farewell for Marion, when each presented a poem, song or play; the thirty Bible Students who gave testimony and sang; the Youth Choir and Sunday School who did their bit; the eulogies from the brethren (could they really be speaking of us?); the good-byes said in various homes...


What next? We intend to appeal again to the relevant Zimbabwean authorities, so perhaps in the future we may return. In the meantime, it looks as though the Lord may well be opening the way for us to work in Malawi. Please pray for us that all may be according to His will


CHARLIE & RUTH FOSTER


Ruth and I have now been at Ameva for over 12 months. Ruth has just completed her first term with a new Grade I class at the Primary School in nearby Kadoma where she. teaches (the same school that Neil and Abigail Valentine attend). I have just returned to the same tasks that T did when I first arrived (making maize silage and preparing land for irrigated grass pastures over the coming dry season). The. rains this year started well but came to a premature close. I notice much less grazing available on the farm now than this time last year. The new dam which was full when we arrived last year1snow little more than a muddy puddle. Thankfully we should have sufficient water in the old dam to carry us through.


The last year has been an exciting one for both of us, not least because of the news that Ruth is pregnant, and we expect a baby in October.


We have been encouraged by a small but faithful number of people who meet with us weekly for prayer and Bible study These arc all folk who live in Chegutu town and worship with us on Sundays in Chegutu’s Scout Hut.


Every week I am terrified by the opportunity to take a Sunday evening 1nf9rmal service for over 100 Primary School boarders at Chegutu’s main Primary School Thankfully Ruth with her teaching experience finds this weekly routine less alarming than myself. It is a tremendous opportunity for sharing the Gospel with young children and ago a great opportunity to expose the Bible School students to children's work. Between 4 and 6 Bible students regularly accompany us and frequently conduct the whole programme.


The farm has b.ad its ups and downs. The downs have been mainly associated with mechanical breakdowns. My veterinary training is quite satisfactory for coping with diseases of cattle; however it has been found woefully

inadequate when it comes to the internal anatomy and ailments of the Massey-Ferguson tractor. I thought it prudent to invest in a new oxcart and we shall shortly embark on . training a new pair of oxen (the farm has been without any trained oxen for 2 years). Hopefully these will cause us fewer problems. Meanwhile please pray that our water will suffice and that the rye grass harvesting machine will survive until December without succumbing to a fatal illness.


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