I first felt God’s calling to go to Zimbabwe when John Valentine came to speak at Eltham Green Fellowship. I had a skill I felt the Lord could use by fixing farm machinery and sharing the Lord with those I was working with. I was never a preacher but felt this was one way the Lord could work through me.
My first visit to Zimbabwe was with a party from EGF in 1989. This was to work on the tractors and to get the farm working more efficiently. We also took a team of people over to do some building work. I needed to plan for that. This was something worked out in the way the Lord showed me in praying and seeking him before going. My main reason was to see people saved, moving on and encouraged in the Lord.
On my return there was a void and Zimbabwe was on my heart to return. So the following year we went over for 5 months which meant in turn I had to give up my job and follow what the Lord had asked of me to step out in faith. We also knew that our finances would not reach the 5 months. I felt again the Lord asking me to get alongside the people I was working with and making the farm work towards building a bigger and better bible school and working on the building of the schools which John and Martha Shaw were involved in alongside John and Celia Valentine. Over this period, we had lots to work on. One of these was to rebuild the Ford tractor engine and to keep the other farm equipment working. Farming is harsh on its equipment. But over this time, I found my faith, and walk with God, much stronger and felt God had given me a purpose for this work.
I felt as a family it was also a great learning time for us. The girls had to be home schooled by Ruth, my wife, and living on a farm was an exceptionally valuable experience for them and us and it was God's plan that helped us as a family and our walk closer with God.
As I mentioned before we did not have all the funds to see us to the end of this visit, but this was part of the increase in faith and trust in God. He did provide the family with a gift from the church in Eltham and this was provided without the knowledge that we needed more money God's great provision.
On my return to the Uk, I found the country in recession and that I was out of work. This again was in the Lord's hands. Not only did he find me work but he found me a job that paid me much more money than the job I lost. What a good and faithful God we have. This opened another testing ground in my walk with God. The job that he gave me took a lot of my time, this included travelling around the world and spending late nights at work which gave me less time for God, but I could not see this, and he had to show me that he was not to be second in my life, and he brought this job to an end.
So, in September 1995 I went back to Zimbabwe, this time on my own to help out a very different Zimbabwe. The country was going through a hard time for the people who lived there, The Zimbabwe currency was worthless and using US dollars as the main currency. My role changed from a practical perspective to a provider of funds and advice to the farm requirements of mechanical repairers to the current equipment and finding parts/ repairs and funding the repairs to get the farm working more efficiently. God always finds new ways and things for us to do even when we get older, and our bodies are unable to do the heavy work anymore. One thing I found when I put the Lord first is that he will always have things for us to do that may be supporting others and that the Lord supports us in his endless forgiveness of our sins, we should always be first to forgive those who sin against us.
The Lord has laid Zimbabwe on my heart, and I have since been there twice more in March 2010 and September 2018