Monday, March 26, 2012

Ministry in many forms..

We've been busy the last few weeks- with many different kinds of ministry. One day we visited a local group of Pastors studying in our Faith Bible Seminary. Lately the missionaries have made it a point to visit local schools to encourage them and answer questions and concerns the pastors have. 

Rick learning the names of the pastors.
 While Rick visited with the men, I spent time with the Simukai group (our ladies literacy program) learning how to read a paragraph in Shona. I do not speak or understand Shona at ALL... but it was fun trying! I was certain we were reading a Bible verse, but later Mathew translated for me and it turns out I was learning how to make Sudza!

while her mother studied this little one played inside the church 
The Simukai group.

Another area of ministry I have been involved in quite a bit recently, is visiting sick and elderly widows. These particular widows are in our Amigo Orphan Progam, so I visit them every month anyway, but in Lynn's absence (she and Dwight are in Canada on furlough) I am also helping to ferry Celestino to and from  their homes to check on those who are sick, do health assesments etc.
 After visiting the Pastors group we were told this granny was ill, we decided to visit and pray for her. We were pretty sure after meeting with her, that she had suffered a stroke (in addition to being nearly completely blind and deaf).
The next day we brought Celestino with us, who did a full assesment- checked her pulse, respirations, blood pressure, etc.  Praise the Lord, she is improving each time we see her, although still unable to move one of her legs, her hand and arm are now much better!

Another area of ministry is making sure that the projects on the go around the farm keep GOING! Rick is one of the few guys here able to drive and use the Back-hoe, so he has been asked to assist and keep and eye on the the work going on at the airstrip. It was exciting for everyone when the BIG trucks arrived with the BIG machinery to level the airstrip- one step closer to being ready to use it!
 This was the first "big" truck loaded with HEAVY machinery to cross the bridge... we all held our breathe as it drove over but the solid timber beams handled the load.. no problem!
 The roller. It looks really big from this angle doesnt it!?
 I just thought this picture was funny. All four of them standing watching as the guys unloaded the machinery.
 Next the Bulldozer arrived. Everyone loves a bulldozer- even Tendai thought it was cool!

Digging up pea gravel to be used for leveling the runway and making sure it is "just so" so the water drains properly, and planes can land and take off.

Of course our major focus right now is our house! Its definetly a part of our ministry, since once we are into our new house our "survivability" out here will go up sooooo much! We are desperate to get into our new house, where Tendai will be able to sleep in a room rather than a "corner" and have a bit of space to play! It will be nice for us to have our own space- to relax, to refresh- and even to have our friends over to visit. We had a group of friends join us a few weeks ago and had to relocate to the campsite with all our food and chairs since there was NO way the two families were all going to fit in our tiny cottage!  We also have people waiting to move into our cottage, ( and out of a tent!) so our hope is to get out of here and into our own place ASAP. 
 marking the walls where the channel will need to be cut out
 Currently Rick is working to install the electrical conduit piping, so the guys can finish the tops of the walls.

 Once this center wall is at the correct height (about ten bricks higher than it is). We can start putting the roof on- IF we have enough funds to purchase all the supplies!  We had thought we had enough to purchase all the materials for the roof, but with the prices of things going up and several extra expenses we hadnt calculated for with the walls, we are a bit short. We have ordered all the truss beams, all the ceiling boards, etc, but still need to pay for the zinc sheets and small lumber strips to secure it to.
Unfortunately, due to the design of the house, we cant start the roof until ALL the supplies are here since they will have to go on one right after the other . Please pray that funds will come in for our house construction. Currently we have recieved half of what we need, for this project.
 Installing the piping down the center wall, where it will branch off into the various rooms.
The guys hard at work making supports for the beams that will have our lighting and some electrical wires crossing them.
 Tendai helps by coloring on the floor with sidewalk chalk.
 This weeks preschool-ish fun (parenting ministy!)- I made some colored rice for Tendai- so far its entertained her for about 5 hours and it took me maybe ten minutes to make! SO easy and well worth it! She loves the stuff!

 Praise Reports for this week-
- that the granny who had the stroke is improving each time we see her!
-that the allergic reaction Tendai had last week has gone away- PTL
-safety as we have driven back and forth quite a bit recently
-a new church has come on board to sponsor us monthly.
-for the opportunity to do a skype interview with a radio station back home in Canada- highlighting the need for Mosquito Nets for children in developing nations where Malaria and mosquito borne diseases are prevalent.

Prayer Requests
- for health and safety as we travel to and from town, visiting local homes etc.
-for protection for us, our home and the farm
-that we will continue to find new ways to fellowship with the friends we are making here. Having friends our age has greatly encouraged us in our lives here.
-that our monthly support needs will be met, as well as the funds for our house.

And, one final picture from this week- Jose, our guard, came by this morning to show me his teeth. Hes had them for a few months now, but I had not gotten a good picture of him SMILING yet- I asked him to come down and we would get a good one- and did we ever! We are so glad the mission and generous donors from Switzerland made it possible for Jose to smile again- with a mouth full of brand new teeth!
God Bless, Rick, Heather  & Tendai Neufeld

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sharing the Light...

This week Mariano and I had the honor of giving out two Solar Powered Shona New Testaments ( preloaded mp3 players) to two of the widow caregivers in the Amigo Orphan Program. Ive had the chance to visit both of these ladies in their homes over the last two weeks and have had a fabulous time getting to know them a little bit better. 
They were soooo excited to receive the audio new testaments, they actually walked to the farm on Monday, instead of waiting till Tuesday, which is the day they come each week to participate in the work for food program. They have to walk a pretty long way to get here, but they said once they knew the Bibles were ready for them "they couldnt wait.... not even one more day". Neither of these ladies can read, or even write their own names, so they having an audio Bible is a huge blessing for them. They are already sharing the Good News with their families and neighbors- When I visited Mae Lolieta today there was a group of kids listening under the shade of their mango trees!

 Gervais hanging out under the Mango trees. This is one of the nicest yards around- simply bc they had several big Mango trees that provided such lovely shade!
 Lolito showing me the Litchi tree he is caring for.
 Mae Lolieta prepared some Sudza, sweet corn and eggs for us.  I usually decline when they offer to make us food at the orphan homes, but she had already started so I decided to eat with them. Sudza has a consistency somewhere between mashed potatoes and mashed potatoes mixed with jello jigglers. It tastes very bland, so its not the flavour that I dont enjoy, but the consistency. I was so blessed though by her offering me such a lovely meal!
 She also showed me a picture from her wedding! Very rare for folks here to have photos of their family, let alone one from their wedding (especially since actual weddings are very rare!).
 The boys (Lolito and Gervais) raise these Guinea Pigs- which i thought were fairly cute, even though im not a super huge fan of rodents... then I found out they raise them so they can EAT them! Ack!
On our way to the house, Pastor Mariano insisted on walking the path in front of me as I drove the truck. He was checking for any pokey sticks that might be on the sides since the path had been widened by Mae Lolieta and her kids just so we could visit, even though I told them it was not neccesary! I felt terribly silly driving behind Pastor Mariano as he walked in front of me!
 Mae Farecia's place, that I visited last week. Her twin sons, Abel and Zachariah, and daughter Rimbudzai are all in our program as well. Here she is showing me her house, while Rimbudzai fed porridge to a nephew. This widow is amazing, she has each of the children working their own small garden area, raising animals (goats, pigs, chickens) and her kids have the highest marks and best attendance records at school of any of the children in our program. Its amazing, especially when you consider that Mae Farecia herself cannot read, or even make an x as a signature.

Mae Farecia's Saleiro and matchesa. (Salerio is a food storage area and a matchesa is an outdoor living area/kitchen)

I had a great time visiting these two ladies, getting to know them a bit better, and seeing where the kids live. It is such a blessing to be able to work with these children and minister to their families as well.

Thanks to all who are praying for us, we are all doing much better this week, after Rick and Tendai having Malaria last week, Rick having an infected tooth, minor surgery in his mouth, and all of us not sleeping due to us all being under the weather.
Its exciting to see the house work continuing, soon the plumbing basics will be installed in the walls, and the rest of the piping for the electrical outlets installed. In the next month we will be ordering the beams for the roof, ceiling boards and roofing sheets. The door frames for the house are almost complete so Ill be painting (putting a protective seal) on them soon! Please join with us in praying that the funds we need will continue to come in, and also for our health!
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld