Zimbabwe Report – Winter 2013
To my family, friends, and supporters. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and the sacrifices many of you made to help with feeding the primary school children in the Gwayi area of Zimbabwe this past winter and to purchase the second of two vehicles needed to keep this ministry functioning efficiently. Our field team was relatively small, but having the flatbed truck purchased during the last time I was in Zimbabwe made maize distribution activities relatively quicker and easier. The field team this year included: Henry & Natalia, the local boys: Cornwell, Fred, Adam, Washington, etc., and myself. In spite of some challenges with the pickup truck (soon to be replaced!) we managed to meet our goals within the time allotted.
Our goals included the usual plans to feed as many primary-school children as our funds would allow, and to purchase a second vehicle for maize distribution activities. We were blessed with enough support to collect and distribute 11 tons of grain for 5 primary schools in the Gwayi region. Essentially, the quantity donated will feed approximately 450 students for 2-3 months. This will go a long way to keep the children healthy and strong to learn and motivated to make the often long trek to school each day. We had a ton of fun with the students and teachers who were ecstatic when they realized what the Lord had provided through your gifts and donations. After each donation of maize, we gathered the students and teachers to praise God for his faithfulness and learn a little more about his loving and graceful nature.
Our other main goal this time was to purchase a second truck to help with grain hauling operations. In the past we have been plagued with vehicular challenges, mainly because the vehicles we have been using are ancient and/or falling to pieces, literally! Last year we bought a flatbed truck rated to haul 2.5 tons. We had to jump through many hoops due to changes in Zimbabwean vehicle requirements to make our flatbed roadworthy, but all was completed and we were able to put it to good use this time. Our intention is to only use the flatbed on relatively good dirt & asphalt roads and to buy a good bush vehicle to retrieve grain from the rural farmers who are often located well off the beaten path in 4x4- only areas. The flatbed worked well and even managed to navigate some areas deep in the bush as we did not have a good truck for this yet.
However, thanx to God, we will not have to push the limits of the flatbed again. Through a series of God-led connections we found ourselves in the good hands of a man known locally as “Cruiser Man.” He is in the business of buying 10-15 year old Toyota Defenders (tough bush vehicles), completely stripping them down to the frame and rebuilding them from the ground up. His price was within our budget and even included a suspension enhancement which should help with the heavy loads this truck will encounter. Andre, “Cruiser Man,” was moved so much by what our ministry is doing that he is allowing us to store our two ministry vehicles in his warehouse when not in use. This is a bigger blessing than you would think. In Bulawayo, where we would be leaving our trucks, vehicles are broken into and stolen regularly, especially Toyota Defenders.
Thanks to all of you who sacrificed your treasures through donations and time through prayer. This is always a team effort stretching from our homes here in the U.S. all the way to the field team in Zimbabwe. May our Lord bless you richly! Below are a few pictures from this outreach, including some of the flatbed truck in action.