We arrived at Ameva, Zimbabwe, in August 1982; the rest of the party came over the next Couple of months.
The land was a tobacco growing farm but the barns were in ruins and the plan was to convert them into accommodation and classrooms for a future Bible School.
The other buildings were various states of disrepair showing evidence of the civil war that the country had just been through. Around the farm the neglect had attracted a lot of wildlife and there was an abundance of deadly snakes everywhere because the previous owner had an obsession with collecting them and putting them into his broken down snake pit. It was said that he had run away from Germany after its defeat in WW2 and had collected them to overcome his fear of vipers.
In view of the tremendous blessings and impact the project would have over the next four decades and counting, the work came under severe attack at its inception. This included bush fires, failed crops, and personal tragedy affecting almost every family in those early days. Witchcraft, racism (on both sides), extreme poverty and promiscuity was all around and one by one we saw the works of the wicked one recede.
We were part of a team of great people and our responsibility was to be the oversight of the small class of bible students and the various outreaches to local farms and communities. Over five years we saw the Bible School grow, its building complex built, hundreds of people saved, baptised in water and the Spirit, and students released into ministry.
There were many memorable events. The students from the Bible School were involved in Reinhart Bonnke's 1st "Cape to Cairo Crusade'' and the "Fire Conference" that accompanied it. His intercessor, Suzzette Hattinge held large intercessory meetings while he was preaching and her seminars on prayer changed our lives and ministry significantly.
In late 83 we went on furlough for 3 months and John launched a tent mission in Chegutu, (using Keith Kelly's old tent). The result was that when we returned from the UK many people had turned to the Lord and needed to be baptised in water. John hired the local swimming pool and we were all given a lane to baptise people in. I think I was given lane 3 and waiting at the end of each lane was a queue of people.
When we left in 1987 the ministry went from strength to strength. The farm expanded, schools were built, Churches pioneered and I would think thousands were saved.
As God arose through His earthen vessels, His enemies (powers of darkness) were scattered. I thank God for John and Celia and all the wonderful people I worked with but in the end , Only He deserves the glory, only He deserves the praise, Only He deserves the honour, So great are your ways.