Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pics from here....

  A dragon fly who happened to land in front of me at our house site the other day.
 One of the local community kids looking oh so serious for her photo.. it was all she could do to keep from smiling!
 More "serious" faces.. for some reason they were all trying to look serious!!
 Dwight, Andy, and Joao praying at a Mucombedze church as we prepared to hand over a plow and two cows to the Mucombedze SBF Pastor's association.
 There were tons of curious kids peeking in thru the windows.
 Group shot!
The official handshake to seal the deal! 

There you have it... pics from this week!
Please remember to keep us in your prayers there have been a few robberies at farms in our area lately. We will also be traveling to Beira on Thursday to drop off Dwight  and the SAM Ministries Executive director, Bill Green, at the airport and then Rick will going to visit a dentist there. Apparently its a really good Brazilian dentist so here's hoping the rumors are true!
The guys are continuing on the inside walls of the house, and one of the builders is even starting to plaster the outside walls! Woohoo!
Thanks again for your prayers, for our work, our safety, our financial needs, and our family!
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Things that make me happy!!!

These are a few things from the past week that have made me happy:

 Seeing Pastor Mariano reading scriptures with one of our Orphan children- and encouraging and helping him to read it aloud himself as well!

They were reading from Psalms, going over the memory verse the group would learn later that day!
 Paulo showing me his "photo frame" with photos of those who have visited him, or sent care packages to his family! We can never underestimate how much of an impact those visits etc have on the local people!
 Myself and Pastor Mariano look thru one of the newest Amigo Orphan Program children's schoolbooks.(She is doing quite well!)
 Bill Green from SAM Ministries Canada and Gina working together to pound Maize.
 Cuddling with babies and  posing with neighbor ladies at the Chitundo house.
Smiles on the faces of children now entered into the Amigo program.. guaranteeing them a fighting chance for a good education, health and a future full of promise!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Hey all- been busy around here these past few weeks! But busyness usually means things are getting accomplished, and that is always good. Some signs of progress seem to take longer to show up than others, but we are oh so glad when they do!

After a what feels like a very long time of planning and waiting, the Hangar for the airstrip was constructed! Even though Rick and I didnt have much to do with it, we know the amount of planning, sweat and labor that went into making it a reality! A team came from Michigan to help Mercy Air Mozambique (who partner with us here on the mission) get the Hangar put together in record time! Here it is, just waiting for the doors to go on, and the floor to be poured! (and for an airplane to come land once the airstrip is complete!!)

Tendai and I have started doing some Preschool-ish type activities each day, though her attention span is VERY short so right now its about 30 minutes of crafts or games and then she is off to play in the sandbox, mother a baby doll or take a break with one of the dogs!

 Right now we are working on counting to five- and trying to avoid watching Dora, who just confuses the situation with her spanish counting. As if its not bad enough Tendai is already exposed to English and Portuguese numbers! Today we made valentines for her friends at playgroup- she colored a "picture" and stuck a sticker on each one, while I did the writing. It is neat for me to see her progress and blossom as she discovers new things each day. 
 she is pretty pumped to give these to her friends tomorow!

an example of the "picture" she colored. :) (the sticks are those glow stick thingys)
We recently handed out some fabulous denim bags to our Amigo Orphan kids to use as school bags.  They were made and donated by some lovely ladies from South Africa, and the finishing touches were added by women in our Simukai Ladies Literacy program. The kids love the bags, and they work perfectly for school supplies. And, they are a much better option than the cheap backpacks from town with strange and not so nice sayings on them!

 ( here is some of the kids pictured with their bags, along with Alta who recieved the bags from South Africa and heads up the Simukai ladies who finished the bags off!)

The Amigo Orphan program continues to grow and we are excited to report that we are almost 100% sponsored for the kids currently in the program- which is fabulous news!  We are adding about six more children this week as there is never a shortage of families needing help, and will need to find sponsors for them now as well. Here are a few pictures from our first visit to the new homes.
 Seeds at one of the grannie's home. Some will be used in soups, etc, some will be used for planting.

 One of the grannies shows me her home and kitchen. Thats okra in the dish on the floor.

 Mathew and Tapiwa, one of the new children entering the Amigo orphan program.

 Pastor Mariano bows his head to pray for a family.

 LOVE this picture! Mae Joanna shows me her house.. after she swept the floor of course.

 Mae Joanna and Wengane. Wengane is her nephew, but he lives with her as both his parents passed away.
 Another one of the new homes has a beautiful view of Mount Chitundo.

 These ladies have so little to be happy about, by our standards, but they radiate joy!

 Matthew came along to help me today, since there were going to be lots of questions and sometimes its hard for me to get my point across or understand when its just me and Pastor Mariano.
  This granny is nearly blind and almost completly deaf. She was so excited that we came to visit her and help her granddaughters.
 She had pages from old schoolbooks plastering the walls of her small home.
Graca, Celina and their granny.

Work on our house has also continued. When we arrived home from South Africa they had certainly done ALOT of work on the house! Most of it was just how we wanted, a few minor hiccups (like they accidently made our doors well over two metres tall) but it was nothing we couldnt fix so we were very happy with the progress! The exterior walls are almost done, and the interior ones are well on their way. The center wall is going to have to be very high, so that will take quite a while to finish, especially since they will need to construct some scaffolding of sorts, and lift the heavy bricks all the way up there.
 looking from the porch into our bedroom and bathroom
 front verandah into the main room ( living area, kitchen, dining area, schoolroom, etc) The wall on the left that runs all the way to back of the house is the one that needs to go up to double the height it is now! Since we are using Eucalyptus poles instead of trusses, the wall has to be as high as the peak of our roof!
Back corner of the house. The left corner is the guest bath and bedroom, to the right is Rick's office, and in the right corner is Tendai's bedroom (or so she tells us).

The biggest news however is that the guys were able to dig the trench and lay the big thick wire down that goes from the Generator shed to our garage and house. This means that soon we can install a breaker box and have electricity down there! The guys will be very excited to have access to power for the tools, and happy they wont have to lug our little generator back and forth several times a day as well!
 The trench from one side of our driveway looking towards the garage.
 Other side of our driveway looking up towards the generator and machinery sheds.
 It took a lot of guys to unroll the heavy electrical wire!

Trying to get it organized again so it was easier to "roll". Normally this type of thing would be on a lovely spool so you could just literally unroll it, but the spool was not going to fit in our truck to get it back home to the farm so they used a special machine to coil it like this and we just stuck a stick thru. To get it into our truck they had to use a forklift, so that gives you an idea of how heavy it was!

It is so exciting to see things taking shape! We cant wait till we are able to move in, but we know it will be quite a while before we can even think about doing that!

We want to say thank you again for your prayers, since my last post we have all been pretty much healthy! We have also had safety travelling on not so good roads,  and even though it was a long wait at the border to get home, we didnt have any problems at all! We are also grateful for continued safety here on our farm, recently we know many who have been either injured, or in one case, lost a child in  an accident. Medical care is hard to come by here, and we live far from help. We are so thankful to those who pray for protection not only for us, but over the farm and our work here as well.
We also want to say thank you for your prayers for our finances! God has continued to work in peoples hearts, to meet our needs financially, and we are confident he will continue to do so! Please carry on praying for these items (health, safety and finances), as they are constant needs as we live and work here.

God Bless,
Rick, Heather & Tendai

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Full House!

Hey all, sorry its been nearly a month since my last post, but ive got good reason!! Aside from hosting four visitors for over a month, I also came down with the worst malaria Ive ever had and we have made another trip to SA to drop off visitors and run some errands as well as taking some time for a short family vacation with Rick's brother before he left! Its been busy, but its been good! Ill let the pictures do most of the talking, but I do want to let you know that although this past month has been CRAZY busy, its been a fabulous month for us! We were so blessed to have family visit us and work alongside us- its amazing how much more we value our family now that we "never" get to see them! 

My sister Brenda, her husband Justin and Rick's brother Kevin were such a blessing to us- Justin helped with so many projects around the farm and his knowledge of plumbing was sooooo needed! Brenda helped me out with orphan school supplies (including a very long afternoon of used clothing buying in a very hot and HUGE used clothing market!) and other things as well as helping Alta get some work done for the Ladies literacy groups. 

We were sad to see all of them go, but so thankful for the help, encouragement and support they brought! 
Heres a few ( ok.. a lot of) pics:

 Some of the clothes we sourced at the used clothing market... and bartered endlessly for! Along with the school supplies Brenda and Justin were able to bring with them (yey for good quality!!!!) and the rest of the items we purchased here!
 Putting together the bags of school supplies for each child in the Amigo Orphan Program.
 More donated items from brenda an Justin... balls, frisbees, skipping ropes, games, audio bibles, cars, ball pumps, flashcards...... etc.
 Handing out the clothes to the Amigo Orphan kids.. Farai got a special shirt from his sponsor... i might be a tad bit jealous!
Group shot!
 Gina made good friends with Colin pretty quick!
 The kids made foamy pictures for their sponsors. Hope to get those sent out sooner rather than later. 
 We went to visit the school on the first day of the new year! Colin was pretty much a rockstar celebrity instantaneously.... hes there in the middle of that picture.. I promise.
 Teachers from our school as well at the school in Pina with the balls and children's Bibles Brenda and Justin and a church from back home in New Brunswick donated.
 Brenda handing out the lunch meal to the preschool students.. and apparently their little sisters as well.
 Happy faces all around!
 Even those serving the VERY hot food in the VERY hot kitchen looked happy. :)
 My sister could NOT get over how Pastor Tome (our school chef) picked up a metal barrel that had been sitting in the fire over VERY hot coals for HOURS and moved it with his BARE hands. She wanted to inspect his hands since she couldn't believe he wasn't burnt.
Just one of the many children benifitting from the lunch feeding program at our school.
 My sister Brenda Faye, with Lovemore's wife, Flora and their baby girl, Emma Faye. I named Emma and obviously, used my sister's name, so it was really neat that Brenda got to meet her!
 One afternoon we visited the local "bakery" to pick up some FRESH bread... the kind that is almost to hot to hold still!
 Then we went home and got some FRESH bush honey... the kind where you just squeeze the honeycomb and it drips out! There are very few things in the world better than hot bread baked in a clay oven with fresh sqeezed honeycomb honey from your own bees on your own farm (well.. the mission's  bees & farm, but you get the idea). mmmmmm.
soooo good! 
Justin was kept pretty much busy all day every day and unfortunately I have very few pics to show for it!
Here he is trying to sort thru a whack of plumbing bits and pieces to see whether we have what we need to do the plumbing for our house. We didnt- thankfully he made a list so we managed to get a good chunk of it while we were here in SA.
 On this sunday I was SOOOO sick with Malaria, so I had to stay home, but everyone else went up to Honde to visit Pastor Paulo's church. Here they are waiting for the service to start.
 My sister Brenda, and Rick, praying for the sick, widows, and children.
 Work has also been continuing on our house. Rick and His brother Kevin put some time in helping to build the front wall, and Kevin and Justin helped to make bricks as well.
 Just some of the work! This picture is two weeks old, we have heard from the folks back at the farm that we will be AMAZED at how far they have gotten on the walls since we left.. I hope they are right!

 We drove to Beira to drop off Brenda and Justin and Colin at the Airport and spent an hour playing at the beach so they could at least say they touched the Indian Ocean....
And then drove with Kevin down to South Africa to run errands, have a few days of family vacation time with him, and then drop him off at the airport. In pretoria we stay at a guesthouse that has a lovely garden, Tendai loves to smell the hibiscus flowers that are nearly the size of her head!

Before I let you know some of our prayer requests and praises for this month, Im gonna show you a few more *yes, more* pictures. We often get asked if there are lots of wild animals on our farm or if we see lions every day. We dont have a lot of wild animals near us, and we dont see lions every day, but we do get to have some neat experiences with creatures that I thought might interest you.. sooo, here is a bunch of photos of creatures from the last month or so!
 Baby Colin, and Duiker Colin (Tendai named him after her cousin). At our house. We are in the process of letting him "go wild" so I have no idea if he will even be there when we get home.
 A very big and very cranky Chameleon Kevin found near our house construction site.
 A very tiny and curious chameleon Raymundo found and brought to us. 
 A very hungry giraffe we saw at a wildlife park tourist centre in South Africa with Kevin. And, yes, the giraffe is kissing me. (to be honest he just trying to get the food pellet I had for him) :)
 A very very curious lion we saw at the same wildlife park. First of all... I love this lion because he reminds me of Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia, and secondly.. I love this picture because the lion is seen three times, all various reflections!
 He was so curious that he stuck his claws into our tire and rolled our truck backwards with one paw. seriously. he also bit the back bumper...
see ... there is the scratch mark- I kid you not. Our truck was bitten by a lion. Im just glad it wasnt me. 

Now that you have had a laugh... Ill get down to the serious stuff!
Praise and Prayer Requests,

-For Family and the Encouragement they were to us! Having family visit us gave us that extra "oomph" we need when the going gets tough and it feels like everyone is so very very far away.
-For safety as we have travelled many many kilometres recently.
- That Brenda and Justin were able to have a good trip and positively impact so many people by being willing to help in any area they were asked to.
-That our house is progressing at a good rate, or so we have been told! We cant wait to get back and see how far along they have gotten in the 2 weeks we have been on the road!
-That other construction projects on the farm, like the Women's ministry craft & literacy centre and the Aviation ministry airplane hanger have progressed rapidly as well!
- That Ron's finger (hes our colleague who cut off his finger in early January) is making a good recovery, and the wound left from the finger that was lost is healing well.

- For safety and travelling mercies ( in particular border crossing mercies) as we travel back home to the farm on Saturday and Sunday. Parts of the road have been washed out by recent cyclones so your prayers will really be appreciated!
-For health for us as a family- Heather had the worst malaria shes ever had this past month, and Rick has been battling a stomach bug for weeks.
-For our finances, both for our house fund and our monthly needs. Please pray with us that our goals will be met and that the funds will come in on time so we wont need to stop building.
- For our ministry as we spend the next few months focusing on not only our house project but preparing for the seminars later this "spring" (north american spring that is) and expanding the involvement we have with the local orphan programs.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers- feel free to email us, or leave a comment on the blog, we love to hear from people!
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai