Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Little More of March

Just wanted to post a few more pictures highlighting March

 6th of March

Mark and Doug working on the 2-ton trailer

hanging out in the office
 Brit needed a little help from dad ... 


 Jankie and Gladys came to stay the night on the 13th so they could go to Wednesday Bible study at the Isiaho's house.  The next morning over breakfast the conversation turned to the Word and discussion over baptism. 

Breakfast with Jankie and Gladys

On the 15th, Mark and I decided to use the money my sister and her husband gave us for Christmas for a date.  It has been too long and we really enjoyed ourselves.  I even wore a new dress my mom sent me! 

15th - Date Night

Kids Spring Break
 We moved our spring break, or guess I should really say fall break" to the week of the 18th -22nd.  This was the week we were in Zimbabwe and we figured it would be better for the kids to have a fun week while we were gone.  They spent time together with Julia and they also got to hangout with Cait and The Hixon kids.  They were able to enjoy a few fun things around Polokwane.  I think it helped the time go fast for them since we were gone for 7 nights. 


Bird and Snake park

Luke and Noah

they made breakfast burritos
  29th - Good Friday

 We started Good Friday with a service at CBC and then headed to the mission farm for tea, coffee and hot cross buns and of course fellowship.  It was a nice way to spend the morning and remembering what Jesus did on the cross for our sins!

Brit and Abby


Saturday, March 30th, we spent cleaning out our garage and organizing our ministry equipment. 


Heidi and Luke came to inspect our work ... 
Heidi thinks she is a lap dog
 Sunday, March 31st 
Easter Sunday ... we spent the morning at church celebrating the fact that our Lord and Savior has risen!  What a great day!!!!  After church we came home and had a little fun with an egg hunt and then enjoyed a nice lunch and time together as a family just relaxing and enjoying the day. 

not sure Brit was excited to hunt eggs :)

Even though they are getting older we still like to have a little fun.  It was close but the winner of the egg hunt was ... Brit with 28! 

 Most importantly we want to wish everyone a Very Happy Easter. 

"But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

"He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay."  Matthew 28:6


Friday, March 29, 2013

Trip to Zimbabwe Part 2 ... Our time in Chikombedzi

Wednesday morning we left Malipati and headed to Chikombedzi where we spent the rest of our week.

bridge we drove across - about 10 minutes from Chikombedzi
Once we arrived we were warmly welcomed by a few of the church members.   After a rest, we started to make a plan to unload and get "camp" set up.  The church building is still under construction and currently does not have a roof so they asked us to bring our large tent for shade. We started to unload William's bakkie first.  After several things were out Member climbed into William's bakkie and started moving things closer to those offloading.  The tent poles were one of the last things to take out.  They are really heavy and take several guys working together.  As they pulled them out further there was more room for people to hold onto.  Mark was on one end and as someone was about to grab in the middle all of the sudden several people started yelling and moving.  Then word moved quickly that there was a snake.  WHAT!!!! 

Mark decided he WAS NOT letting go of the poles!
It was mad and biting the poles
That was the end of that snake ...
Of course William said "Now, the rat population will increase!" Once all the excitement was over, we started working on the big tent.  Many hands make the work go fast. 

Mark connecting one of the three center poles
Once camp was set, we enjoyed a nice dinner prepared by the ladies in the church.  They fed us lunch and dinner each day and it consisted of sadza (pap), veggies, chicken and beef.  It was all delicious.  The conference started that evening with a service and Member preached and Masango translated. 

Member preaching in Shangaan and Masango translating to Shona
We originally thought we would have three days to teach and the guys had worked out a schedule of 3 sessions each day (9 total) including a question and answer session.  After talking with Pastor Simon we realized they were only able to do the teaching in  2 days.  The guys were able to combine a few things and make a plan. 

Simon opened the conference with a warm welcome to Samaria Mission.  He said that this area is often forgotten about and they often send uneducated pastors to this area.  He is very grateful for Samaria Mission who are to come and teach them.  

It is great to see the heart of Chikombedzi Baptist Church to reach out and invite other leaders from surrounding villages and even from other denominations.  Their desire is to see everyone come together to study the Word, grow in the knowledge and wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, and work together for the Kingdom.  Of course, there are a few differences which bring about many discussions, questions, searching scriptures, and preaching TRUTH. 

Thursday, Day One 
Session One
William started the first session teaching on the Old Testament Prophets and prophecy, its nature and accuracy as well as false prophets and consequences.

Session Two 
 Mark taught the second session on John the Baptist and Jesus the fulfillment of prophecy.

Session Three 
Brad taught the third session and his topic was "Who were prophets in the New Testament Church?" 

Friday, Day Two 
Session One 
Doug taught on New Testament Prophecy in the Church during the first session.

Session Two 
 Member taught on, "Has the office of prophet ceased? and Is Scripture complete?"

Session Three
Doug taught the finial session and his topic was False Prophets and False Teachers.

We had an evening service each night. 
 -Member preached on Wednesday evening.
-Brad preached on Thursday evening.
-We showed the Jesus film at the church on Friday evening.  Derrick preached a short message after the film.
-We also had an opportunity to show the Jesus film at one of the church members houses in a neighboring village.   Derrick preached a short message after the film.  

 Thursday evening, Jill and I went to see the ladies in the kitchen and visit with them while they were preparing dinner (since they speak English it is so much easier to build relationships with the women).  They were busy cooking and told us "tonight, we are having giraffe."  Yup you read that right.

pot full of giraffe meat
 They offered us a taste!  I must admit, I thought to myself ... is this really happening ... I am in Zimbabwe eating giraffe! 

it was so HOT to touch!
so tender and so tasty
After tasting the giraffe, it was time to make sadza and they asked me if I wanted to help.  Of course!  They poured it in the water and I stirred.  Not too bad until after a few minutes when the smoke was so intense my eyes were watering so bad.  I eventually turned my head and closed my eyes for a few minutes but I kept stirring.  The problem was I was stirring outside the pot!  Debbie was standing close by so I asked her to take over for me. 

standing back so far so my crocs don't melt! 

After the sessions on Friday, Pastor Simon, along with Karen and Memory, took us to "town" and then on to see the dam.

the guys were waiting for the ladies to finish at the shop
a few of the shops in town
restaurant and bakery
post office

Earlier in the week we were told that right outside of town there was a group of people gathering to see a "prophet" who arrived in town about 3 months ago. Some people have been waiting that long to see him. They have come from all over. We were told that they wear white because the "Holy Spirit" can't see the problem through the colors. We were also told that he will give them a stone and tell them to wait for three days and then come back. Then when they go back he will take the stone back and tell them their name, where they are from and other information about them. It was sad to see so many people put their hope in a man instead of the One true God!

We were also told that the health officials told the people waiting to see the prophet that because of a cholera outbreak they would need to disperse. It took a few days but by Sunday it looked like most people had left.

As we walked to the dam, we walked right past where they are "camping".  It is really hard to explain the sadness I felt as we walked past all of these people.  Who am I that my hope is in the Lord and yet there are so many people that have never experience that hope!  

we passed them on our way to the dam
the dam
  When we got back to the church they were busy putting up the screen for the Jesus film.

These kids were enjoying dancing during the evening service on Friday night before we watched the Jesus film.


Pastor Simon had planned a busy day for us on Saturday and we all enjoyed every part of it.  We started after breakfast moving 1000 bricks from the place where they made them to the church.  (I lost track but I think we managed to get them moved in 3 loads)  It was great to be able to serve alongside the church members. 

While waiting for the bakkie to return for another load I had a chance to ask Karen how they make the bricks. She said they have a mold they use and they mix water and sand/dirt and put it into the mold.  They leave them there for 2 to 3 days to dry.

Then they return and stack them like this.  Then they put wood in the holes (this stack has three holes) and let it burn for 2 to 3 days.  They will even put a little mud to help keep the heat in.  Once they dry they stack them in a neat stack and wait until they find a way to transport them to the work site.  Many people make bricks in this area.  She said that everyone respects each others work and does not steal from each others stacks.

Also, while we were waiting for the bakkie to return and be loaded again, Debbie asked Karen, Jill and I if we wanted to walk over and see the well.    When we got there a lady was busy getting water. 

We each took turns and helped the lady ... let me say it is hard work!

it is a good workout!
 While we were at the well, Emely, Pastor Simon's wife, came over to say hi.  She was at her house getting a few things taken care of.  (She had spent all day each day and also slept at the church each night since we arrived!) She told us to come to her house when we were finished.  After all the bricks were moved we loaded up and headed over to Pastor Simon and Emely's house.  

the guys gravitated to the "garage"
and the ladies got a tour of the house
 This house actually belongs to the church.  They have bought a piece of land not far from this where they have a personal garden and are in the process of building a house.  They have hopes to finish their house soon and then turn this into an children's home.

One thing we all noticed is the heart that Pastor Simon and Emely have, as well as the church body, to serve one another, to be community orientated and to care for orphans and widows.  We got to hear and witness first hand how this family as well as the church family live out James 1:27 "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world."

They walked us over to their stand they have purchased to show us their garden and their house they are building.  It is important to Simon to finish this home and have something for his children in the future.  A place to call "home".  Simon shared how their church body has worked together to help accomplish this construction. 

walking through their garden - we were able to pray with them too!
Emely gave us some peanuts!
After that we headed to the hospital.

 We ask that you take a few minutes and check out The Crawford's blog and take a "tour of the hospital" and read about the things we were able to learn, see and experience.

After our tour, Nelson, who is a nurse at the hospital and a member and leader in Chikombedzi Baptist Church, invited us to his house.  It was nice to sit down and rest and enjoy a nice glass of cold water.  He and his wife, Karen, provided such great hospitality.  Karen even turned on her tv for us to relax a little.

We even got to watch a little of Dr. Oz ...

After the hospital tour and visit with Nelson and Karen, we headed back to the church for lunch and then had a meeting with the church leaders.

Pastor - Simon
Chair Person - Violet
Vice Chair Person and Deacon - Nelson
Adviser and Chief Deacon - Kokwane Matukutela
Treasurer - Olivia
Secretary - Florence 
Deaconess - Memory & Karen

Nelson shared that their first priority as a prayer request is to do evangelism and church planting.  One of their big concerns is that there are not many baptist churches in their area.  He shared that poor people are vulnerable to false teaching - they are not protected by the word.  They desire to cover this area with truth - good roots.  Their target area is Chiredzi South.  They desire to start with cell groups - have preaching points all around.  Their prayer is to establish a "concrete" church in Chikombedzi that can withstand the time.   Pastor Simon added by saying "this is God's business not his.  The ministries are coming from the platform of the local church. 

Kokwane Matukutela shared that she is so happy that we came to Zimbabwe.  She said she is not happy with the situation with their environment.  She asked that we pray for them as well as the churches in Zimbabwe and the pastors.  She said that our coming encouraged them and strengthened them.  She also added to pray for their building, specifically the materials needed to put a roof on it.  She ended letting us know that they are praying for us as well.

Olivia shared an update on the Sunday School.  They have six classes ... 1 - 5 yr olds; 6 -11 yr olds; 12 -13 yr olds; 14 until married; adults, and new converts.  She said their biggest prayer request is for more literature at the different stages.

Pastor Simon shared some of the vision they have for the local church.   They desire to build a children's home for those who are orphans, vulnerable or neglected.  Besides reaching out to the surrounding areas, they also desire to start a Bible school to train leaders in the area.

Nelson ended this time by sharing that the truth is they have one challenge after another.  After the depression, it feels like they remain by themselves.  He told Samaria Mission that we were God sent people who came.  He asked us to please not forget them.  He ended saying, "Please, please when you set your eyes to the Lord, remember us.  As far as we exist, let's be friends forever."

William shared with the leaders how encouraged we are in Samaria Mission about what is going on in this church.  We can see that people in the church want to be involved and take on different responsibilities.  It shows that everyone wants to be apart of it, growing, learning and serving together for One purpose.  He explained that we are and will continue to prayerfully consider what The Lord wants our involvement in Zimbabwe to be.  He also asked for them to pray for their brothers and sisters in Mozambique as they are suffering right now since the flood in January.  He said that without sacrificing the work the Lord has allowed us to be involved with in Mozambique we also want to see what He would have us do in Zimbabwe.

praying with the church leaders
After our meeting we went to meet Hardlife's kokwane (grandmother).  Her name is Salina she is over 80 years old.  Hardlife is an orphan who lives with his grandmother but Pastor Simon and Emely have taken him in like one of their own.  Please take time to read this short post about Hardlife and his grandmother on The Crawford's post

Kokwane Salina
After leaving Kokwane Salina's house we headed down to the river to get some sand for future building at Simon's house.  While the guys worked we walked on the bridge admiring how beautiful it is. 

my friend Emely
the guys were busy loading
 On the way back to the church, the sand needed to be unloaded at Pastor Simon's house.  On the way we stopped to tell people that we were showing the Jesus film tonight at Patrick's house (he is a church member who lives in a neighboring village).

inviting people to see the Jesus film
We stopped to offload sand at Simon's house and afterward he told us that everyday before dark he goes to his new house and prays.  He asked us, since we are there around that same time, to pray with him.  What a sweet time. 

offloading the sand at Pastor Simon's house
setting up for the Jesus film
While setting up the Jesus film they noticed a problem with the projector.  While the guys were sorting out the problem, Jill, Debbie and I went to join the ladies singing and dancing ... worship with them under the moonlight!  Sweet, sweet time.

worship with the ladies
a new little friend
several people came to watch the film - Derrick preached afterwards

   We were asked to teach the different Sunday School classes during church on Sunday morning. 

  Debbie, Jill and I taught the primary kids. We shared with them the events before Jesus’ crucifixion concluding with his resurrection.

 Mark and Derrick took the youth to Pastor Simon's house. Mark taught on Daniel 3 (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). He encouraged them to stay strong no matter what peer pressures they face.

 The adults are going through a series on the covenants and Doug taught the lesson on the Abrahamic covenant.

Emely teaches the little ones each week.  When I looked over to see what they were doing she was having them take turns reciting their memory verse Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." 


Mark returning to the church after youth Sunday School.
During the first part of the service they picked three people to lead the congregation in a song.  Nelson me to be one of those people!  WHAT!  Mark and all my friends just smiled and laughed... they know I DON'T SING.  I had to think fast.  I saw Memory and went and asked her to be my voice.  She took me to the front and talked to Nikki explaining I needed them to be my voice.  They asked what song and all I could think of was the one the kids sang earlier ... Rejoice in the Lord.  It went well and I sang along and danced with them.  After it was finished, Nelson then asked me what song ...  I quickly explained that was my song and Nikki was my voice! :)

William preached that morning from Isaiah 6 - encouraging believers who have walked with the Lord a number of years to be reminded of what we are called to do.  He pointed out there are 4 things that must take place before believers can be effective in the Great Commission.  Member preached at another church down the road.  

After lunch we were enjoying time with the kids.  They had been busy coloring their color sheets for a long time at the table with Doug and Debbie.  One little boy came to sit by me and before I knew it others joined him.  Mark pulled out the camera and they were all squishing me to get in the picture! 

After lunch Pastor Simon and Nelson had arranged for us to go see another older couple from the church who lived on one of the farms outside of town and also go to see the farm that Kokwane Matukutela lives on.

 Our first stop was Farm 6 to meet Mr. and Mrs. Farai.  It was great to meet them, encourage them and pray with them.

After leaving their farm, we went to Kokwane's farm, Farm 5.  Before visiting with her, we drove further on her land to get a different kind of sand needed for building at the church.  Pastor Simon was telling us that they usually have to pay to rent a tractor and trailer and it costs them $75 (R750) for one load.  We were happy to help them collect a load with William's bakkie. 

guys loading the sand
 Let me just say we were really in the middle of the bush and just on the outside edge of a Game Park.  It was so pretty.

Nelson took a walk a short distance from the bakkie and came back with proof that elephants are in the area. 

After getting the sand, we headed back to Kokwane's house.  She was waiting for us and greeted us with a smile.  She wanted to sing a hymn before visiting.  Another one of those sweet moments while in Zimbabwe.  We were able to visit for a short while and she shared a few prayer requests for her family.  Then we ended our time there by praying with her.

Once we headed back to the church is was time to start packing up camp.  We took down the big tent and packed what we could.  Then it was time for dinner, photos, more time visiting, encouraging one another and praying for this body of believers. 

Let me quickly show you how fresh our food was for each meal ... 

Nikki bringing the chicken to the church

no more feathers ...

hot and ready to eat

next on our plates ... yummy
The night ended with lots of photos and good-byes
from right to left Florence, Memory, Olivia, Karen
Tombizodwa, Violet,  and Portia
Memory with her girls Lynette, Wynette and Michel
Olivia "Livy" with her children Tinayeshe and Takudzwa
Nikki with her children Susan and Solani
meeting tent and "our kitchen" - notice the dirt in the air!
Mark playing with this fun little girl
Thank you for praying for us during our time in Zimbabwe.  It was a great week and really hard to put it all down in a post.  The Lord is at work in and through this church and it was a blessing to be apart of it.  It is exciting to see how it functions and how most of all they want to serve the Lord, however that looks.  They are a light in the community of Chikombedzi.  We ask that you would join us in praying for Pastor Simon and his wife and children as they lead this church and pray for the church body, that they would continue to study, learn and grow as they serve one another, their community and most of all our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Simon and Emely
Their children ... Takunda "Prosper", Takudzwa, Tafadzwa and Hardlife

 Be sure to check out the Samaria Mission Facebook page for more photos.