JOHN & CELIA VALENTINE-ZIMBABWE write I suppose this year, one of the major events, in the country, was a call for farmers to meet and pray for rain. We expected about 50 farmers to attend. I was asked to bring a display and advertise that we were running a Bible School and would train young Pastors and Evangelists, who would be prepared to go out into the farms and rural districts to preach the gospel. I printed about 50 handouts, explaining what we were doing. To our surprise, over 700 farmers arrived at the Agricultural Research Department Hall, on a farm in Harare, to pray for rain. Hallelujah! Some of these men are big tobacco farmers, some with a couple of acres of land, but all united realising, that the only one who could save them, was the Lord, and what a day it was. Praise God! Now that we have had rain I have talked to one of the organisers and we are now going to have another meeting to thank God for this great provision. That is on the physical side, but the spiritual; results are far reaching. One farmer on the committee which is now called "Farmers for Jesus" asked if it would be possible to prepare 200 Pastors to take up positions in the farms around Zimbabwe. We have been able to provide one group of farmers with 7 Pastors! Another farmer, who is one of the leading authorities, in the country, and who has a big farm, employing thousands of people at Bindura, asked for a Pastor. I realised we had to send a mature Pastor, a faithful man, who has proved himself Over many years he has been a faithful brother and Pastor. He has taken up this great opportunity on that farm. over many years. So, we sent Mr Magaya, who has been Celia's assistant in the Primary School This has brought about the promotion of our house-girl Rebecca, to assist Celia in the school. Two farmers have now sent 2 men to be trained, in the Bible School as Pastors. So, we believe this is the start of a great awareness amongst the farmers, that they have a responsibility to their work force. One third of the employable people in Zimbabwe are working on farms. We have the task of reaching these people for Jesus, many of whom have never heard the Gospel Hallelujah! In January this year we accepted 16 new students into the first year Bible School. This means we have 31 students in total,15 of whom are in their 2nd and final year. It is quite a challenge to handle 16 new Students, as they come from quite a variety of different denominations. Some of them are Pentecostals, United Meth odists, Apostolic Faith and Christian Marching Church amongst others. The first month or two is a tremendous time, as we really teach them the things of God. Often some of them are not born again, but it's a real blessing to see the change that takes place in their lives, as the Gospel dawns upon them and the Spirit takes The Bible School is like nursery where we nurture the plants. I are often reminded of the verse in Isaiah that we are to become "Trees of righteousness the planting of the Lord" that His name might be glorified. We do trust that when these men leave here, they will be planted throughout Zimbabwe to take root and to bring forth fruit unto God. I am sure that some will move out into the other surrounding countries as well We have already sent one man back to Kenya. A couple have gone back to Malawi, some to Mozambique and some to South Africa. We really are seeing these men planted around the continent of Africa. Praise God, at midnight on 25th January 1996, the waters spilled over our new dam and was filling the second dam. Two days later both our dams were overflowing. Praise God! A double portion of blessing, grace upon grace, from glory to glory. Hallelujah! It is probably hard in England where there is quite an abundance of water, to appreciate how we enthuse over the provision of it However we had no rain from the beginning of January 1995 till November 1995, over ten months without any rain! Our dams were dry, our crops failed, there was only death and bareness in the land. But praise God, now we know we have life, for at least another year. It makes you realise how dependent we are on the Lord, how the scriptures come to life, when Jesus says, "He is the living water". We realise that except God had provided this water, the whole country would have been in jeopardy, but we thank God, He has provided. He has brought us from a drought to abundance and we thank Him. Amen! Another significant event of last year was the sending of a work force from the UK to help us start to build new accommodation for our employees. They worked really hard and within the space of about 3 weeks, built the structure for a block of 8 workers' houses. The houses were built using a new concept in housing, which is blocks, made from com pressed earth by a machine attached to the back of a tractor. This machine was provided by Chris French through the "International Missionary Project". We were able to produce 500 blocks a day. A block is equivalent to about 3 standard bricks. So, it was a tremendous help and has provided all the bricks needed to complete these houses. We do thank everyone who contributed to the provision of this machine, and of course to the building team for a tremendous effort. Amen. PRIMARY SCHOOL Well last year ended as it began - hectic! It is not many schools even in Zimbabwe that can boast of a visit from the Honourable minister for Education and Culture. She was accompanied by capfuls of other notables; the local MP the Mayor and Mayoress of Chegutu, the Regional Director, District Officer and his men. Was I a bag of nerves? The visit lasted for about five minutes but the preceding forty eight hours were a blur of frenzied activity. Gardens appeared out of nothing, the library had a facelift, my office got cleaned. What we do for important visitors! Well, I like to tell the children that Jesus is the most important visitor of all and our lives have to be tip top, spick and span for Him to live in us. What a privilege! No Minister, President, or King can compare with that. The books you sent are now in the library shelves, we have handed on the tattered, torn and dirty to less fortunate schools. I managed by gifts you sent to purchase a safe for the school and hope in the next couple of months to build two large storage cupboards. We are grateful. THANK YOU EVERYONE. PS. You may remember Raymond who I wrote about two years ago. Well he is now in the Secondary School. He still has a lump on his face but tests and X-rays have shown nothing, and it hasn’t got any bigger so he lives with his disfigurement. I often see him walking up or down to school THE FEEDING PROGRAMME In November TEAR FUND UK sent us £2,500 for a Supplementary Feeding programme for children in the area. The Chegutu district had been particularly badly hit by drought last year and inflation had caused real suffering as the families were unable to grow their own maize (the staple diet). A wonderful development is that parent representatives on the different farms in the area “have taken responsibility in giving out the food especially during the Christmas holidays. Some come to our Church Meetings, and some go to other Churches but it has been great to see them working together and doing a very good job. THANK YOU TEAR FUND! THANK YOU, PARENTS. THE WOMEN'S PROJECT The ladies are still really keen and after a break for Christmas we have started up again. Watch out Gill and Bracknell there is a lot of crochet coming to sell just now. The knitting has also started again with eleven new pupils sent by organisations in Chegutu. Rebecca is now helping full time in the school and with these groups and enjoying every minute. The ladies' sessions are particularly jolly and as I type this, I can hear gales of laughter in the next classroom. Some of these women have such a hard life it is great to see them learn useful and profitable employment as well as use the opportunity to preach Hope and life. SPENCER & EARLENE SHELMIRE - ZIMBABWE Teaching at the Bible School here at Ameva has been a challenge for me during the last 16 months. But I guess the greatest challenge has been the students themselves. Yes they are willing to learn but, likesome of us, lack discipline. They think that Jesus' words in Matt.16:24 are for someone else. "I£ any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." Now one of my self-appointed tasks here at the Bible School is to monitor students' outreach by having them periodically turn in weekly reports containing <let.ails of what they did on outreach, and a summary of the message they taught or preached. I curve found this very effective in keeping a track of what they are doing as well as their personal feelings about what happened. They feel that they can tell me in confidence what they are frustrated about or how an outreach can be made more effective. Valuable feedback indeed! I decided that first year students should be asked to write an outreach report for their 5 weeks of Christmas holidays. All the students brought these back to me (miracles still do happen!) and I was re ally blessed in reading them.
Maybe all the teaching was not in vain! I would like to share one of these reports with you: Thomas's Pastor in Harare sent him to preach at a small mission church out in the communal lands in Hurungwe. He arrived on the 8th December and started conducting nightly services. He found it hard going with only a few coming to Christ but continued praying for a break-through. Then on the 15th night of services, Thomas preached on John3:3and said to those who gathered, "It matters not if you are a leader of the wizards or a town leader, if you do not know Christ, you will never see the Kingdom of God. "On that night when he gave the invitation, a man came up and said that he was a witch doctor, but wanted to follow Christ from then onwards! Next day he brought a bag full of magic charms which he used in black magic and asked Thomas to burn them. This was the break-through that he had been praying for. Everyone knew that the powerful magician had been converted. During the remaining week of meetings, many came under conviction and repented of their sins and came to Christ including the witch doctor's family. Now they are attending church with a real hunger for God. Praise the Lord that he is using our students. Let me tell you a little bit about what I am doing in Kadoma. I continue to teach primary children at Sir John Kennedy school. Because our Renault Clio was badly damaged on the 30th August and still hasn't been repaired, I have to board at school This has given me more contact with staff and pupils and a great opportunity to share Christ. Besides teaching primary children with leaming difficulties, I am responsible for the school library. I would like to make a plea for nearly new Christian books to be sent to me. These will be read by many children! If you can spare any, please send them surface mail to Earlene Shelmire Ameva and please put on the customs declaration "used books of no commercial value" also there are five Bible School students who are having difficulty finding money to pay their fees at £22 per term. Agrippa, one of our best second year students lost four of his relatives in a car accident over the holidays and besides all of this, his church has stopped paying his school fees. If you could help in supplying funds for our bible students' education, please send your gifts to Jim Bailey and marked "Ameva Bible School Student Fees" and he will forward them to us. Matthew 25:4-0
JOHN & MARTHA SHAW - ZIMBABWE
We are now and settled back into life at Ameva after our enjoyable, although all too brief, visit to Britain. In the end we were not able to visit Ireland all the people we wanted to see but it was good to see many friends at Rora Conference and to make new friends at Red Cross. We found both the conferences a blessing and were strengthened and encouraged in the Lord. The fellowship in different churches and in individual homes was also precious. There is nothing to compare with belonging to God's family. We returned to very warm weather and since being back the temperature continues to rise and one begins to anticipate the rain. The amateur forecasters are predicting normal rains this year, but we trust the Lord to give us what we need.
On the domestic front we are sharing our home with Julian, Eve, Heather and Gideon for the school until a house at the school is ready for them. Julian will not start teaching at the school until January, so it gives him time to get his house and workshop ready.
This is the term when the public examinations for schools are held in Zimbabwe. The fourth formers take their 'O' levels, and the second formers write the Zimbabwe Junior Certificate. Both were due to start mid-October and we had planned the official opening the school on 22 November Just over a week ago the press reported that the ZJC exams were to be delayed because of gross printing errors in some exam papers. (:We have already received the papers at the school.) These reports have now been officially confirmed and several of the ZJC papers have to be reprinted and the exams now take place (guess when.? from 22November to 29 November. So, the official opening is to be postponed until next March. I personally see this as the Lord's goodness as there was too much going on to prepare properly. Hopefully now we will also have the library and workshop completed and in use for next term.
For a long time, we have been involved in outreach to some of the local farms. I have always realised the need for African brother’s co-pastor the churches. Ebenezer has been faith fully caring for the church at Sable Park and Petra farms for a couple of years but there has been no-one to look after San Fernando and Mkute farms. Recently the owner of San Fernando has asked if we could find a couple who could live at the farm, run the farm store and be a pastor for their people. We are thrilled with this and trust a suitable couple will be avail able. We have someone in mind but will wait to see if the farmer thinks he is suitable. We will continue to support the outreach at these farms but will look to the Lord to see if He may even redirect our involvement. It is the Lord's work and we must simply be led of Him in all our ways. We value your prayers that the love and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ may be faithfully proclaimed herein Zimbabwe. The latest figures to be released state 1 million people have A.IDS and 3 out of every10 babies are born HIV-positive. Last month I was at the funeral of one of our last year’s pupils. He achieved the best results academically, gaining 5 'O' levels, but died after trying to help a friend when a Primus stove went on fire. His father has also buried his wife and another’s on this year. I was asked to say a few words on behalf of the school at the funeral How one needs the wisdom of the Lord in such situations. W:>rds can be very cheap. When Jesus was at the tomb of Lazarus the people saw Him weeping and said, “See how He loved Him. “May we ever bring the love of the Lord int◊ these situations.