September 2009 - Zehandi by monkey6

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									Firstly, we know this is a long newsletter, but please take 10 minutes to read
what God has done and is still doing.

Hello everybody

Can you remember the song that was sung often in church: “As the deer pants for
the water, so my soul longs after You.” ?

This is how it's now in Mufulira, Zambia.
The earth yearns for water and as you walk the dust rises up like Johson's & Jonhson's
baby powder. At any time it's between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius, but the trees are
budding and the first mangoes are are showing up. The locals say the warm month are still
ahead, October, but with it comes rains and life.
Who can choose the thougths of God ? Isn't He wonderful ?

Zehandi looks back at 2009 in Mufulira, Zambia.

We experience the grace and miracles of God as we travelled here with all the things that
happened in Livingston.

We see God's hand of grace in the people to whom He introduced us here so that we
won't be so lonely.

We say farewell to Danie with a song in our hearts and tears in our eyes since he's
relationship to God was restored. We adopt Patricia (a 21 year old orphan, and don't think
for one second the pain and spirit of abandonment is less since she's older.)

With our arrival GMI (Grace ministries International) expressed their wish that the projects
and church operates independently. By putting systems and structures in place in the first
few months here, we can say that the church, lodge, school and the feeding schemes are
now independent. Through this the church was able to identify problem areas themselves
and we were able to bring changes to the leadership. Amongst these are a new spirit filled
pastor that stepped in and we can already see the growth and change in the church
through he's example of service.

During our stay several people approached us to be a part of the dreams that lived in their
hearts. This is how we became involved in the “Ichtus farm” project. The need was to
establish a farm as a mission station to serve the community. And so our difficult task
began of clearing the bushes, building a relationship with the community and getting them
involved.
By the end of the year:
       We have been providing food for between 40 and 80 people.
       Daily bible study for between 40 and 80 women.
       Discipleship with the workers.
       Vegetable garden grown.
       People baptized and healed by God.
       People saved by God.
But the biggest goal was reached with the help of God, that people would realise that the
changes in their community would start with the transformation within themselves and as
they live out this transformation.

To see this process through we trained six people to operate independently and to stoke
the fire that was started. They will report to us and a local church leader.

One thing we realised is that the needs are so big in Zambia that if you take your eyes off
of your calling for a moment, you'll be busy with good works and not what God had
planned.
This is probably the most important lesson we learnt this year.

We spent almost all of August in Kabwe and attended three conferences.

Firstly we took the teachers of Grace ministries to a a teachers conference. They were so
excited that they asked this to become an annual event.

Secondly we attended the “Pro-Christo/OM Africa Mission Conference”. The people there
were excellent. We learnt alot and met many new people. We had the privilege of talking to
George Verwer (founder of OM). We definitely left as better people. We also realised that
there are so many social problems in the world and that God can use these issues to
reach people with His love and grace.

Thirdly we also attended Grace church's "first annual Church conference" and wow, the
nationals had to organize it themselves and it was a huge success. There were a few
logistical problems, but who could have guessed that more than 1000 people would come.
Their speaker was pastor Tim Heath from America. Through he's practical examples he
spoke into peoples lives. The kids really enjoyed it since at any given point there were 15
missionary children on the grounds. On tshe day before our departure Tim Heath took
some missionaries out for the day and equipped us with the word of God. What a stream
of living water.

In between all this we had the one meeting after another. It's like the girl who was asked
what her dad does. “He holds meetings”, was her reply.

In the weeks before the conference, we struggled with the thought of whether it was really
necessary to struggle on by ourselves. Could we not add more value if we didn't have to
deal with mountain of official government paperwork such as drivers permits etc. We also
realised that we need a sounding board and be part of a body. With these thoughts in our
hearts several speakers touched on these subjects. The speakers laid emphasis on the
fact that we should drop our nonsense and work together, because while were fighting
people are dying without God !

In this time Dan Moyer (Africa Director of GMI) approached us and asked us whether we
could work together again on the grounds of the work that we did in and around Mufulira
and the fact that Tim en Debbie (who was on a visit home and who's ministry we were
looking after) would be coming back on 17 October. And that GMI needs a family in Senga
Bay in Malawi to start a new ministry. So after lots of talks and prayer, Johan went on a
scouting mission to Malawi.
After he's return we spent a lot of time in prayer and talks with the sending team. With
Joshua 22:1-6 we realised that our pioneering work at Ichtus farm is finished and that
Ichtus ministries along with the disciples will be able to carry on the work that was started.
So we can move on.

Can you believe we're one month short of being here for a whole year ? We were so busy
that the time flew and we feel a little sad leaving this place, but are looking forward to the
visit to South Africa. We'll spend a lot of time with the support team on the plans forward as
well as reporting back.
If the Lord wills it we'll leave here on October 1 and return to Malawi to take hands with
GMI any time between 28 November and 7 December.
We'll be in Pretoria for two weeks to receive training in areas that we consider will better
our ministry.
So if anybody wants us to come to their home group, please contact:
Marikie Merifield - smjk@vodamail.co.za / Cell: 0824431571
Dirk vd Merwe - dirk@planalyst.co.za / Cell : 082 396 336


Please pray with us for:
Safety on the roads and at border posts.
Home and home group visits.
Finances for the trip and provisions for 2010.
That we can rest and visit friends and family.
Preparations for the new leg of the trip.


Blessings !!


PS Just a bit of humor:
Just before we left Kabwe I attended a women's conference that was hosted by a group of
Australian women. It was their first time here and didn't realise that things gets lost in
translation if you're not clear.
One of the woman said that she put a towel in the bathroom since she's trusting God for a
man to raise her 4 children with her to the whole congregation.
Only the translator said that she put a child in the bathroom as an act of faith.

								
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