Monday, December 19, 2011

Final Newsletter of 2011

~ Blessed Season Greetings ~

Year 2011 is drawing to a close with only 13 days left of this year, and as I reflect back my mind wonders back and forth between the challenges and the testimonies ! In summary the words which just keep coming to mind are “God is gracious”.
This year started with very little cash on hand and an awareness of the many needs of the people we assist through Our Neighbours, the babies of Isaiah’s and the staff who dedicate their days to serving, counseling and caring for the Bulawayo people. If I am honest, there were definitely times, early on in the year, when I questioned that surely as a Ministry doing God’s work there should be a more equal balance between actual income and income needed, often reflecting what was the purpose for these difficult times?
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven
Yes there was a purpose - during these times we needed to learn the practical lessons of trusting God for His provision - for God knows our every need !Today we look back and are thankful for the provision of everything we ever needed. The babies, toddlers and children of Isaiah’s are each an individual testimony, the joy of watching these babies grow into individual personalities is just amazing.
Allow me to thank each and everyone of you receiving this newsletter...
To all our friends, donors, sponsors, prayer warriors and volunteers, for all of you we are thankful, we would not be where we are today had each of you not played a specific part in the work we do here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
As the “festive season” is now upon us, we send greetings and pray that you will all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.
May it be all that you wish it to be.

Merry Christmas
from us all
at Our Neighbours Ministry

~ Ministry Highlights ~
Our Neighbours Ministry seeks to empower individuals and/or groups of people in running small businesses. Where appropriate we offer some skills training and management of these projects, and over time become less involved ultimately handing the business over to the group or individual. On occasion all that is needed to empower some individuals is a small start up capital or financial input.
Ephraim Sibanda and Todd Muzengere, aged 50+yrs, both contracted polio in the early 1960’s. Unfortunately as a result of this illness both became physically disabled. Ephraim’s condition was not too severe, and daily he fits a leg calliper to walk (some may recall a highlight of this last year when he received his new calliper). Todd, on the other hand was not as fortunate, he was paralysed from his waist down. Only later on in life was he given a wheelchair by a well-wisher to ease the challenges of his disability. Despite these factors both gents have set out to work and provide for their families and not be set back by their physical disabilities.
Along 6th Avenue (which is a main road leading out to one of the high density areas) is a special demarcated “vending” area for people with disabilities and there each person is allocated a bay of 3m square in which to set up a small vending stand. Here sales can be anything from clothing to shoes, suitcases, linen, kitchen utensils and children’s toys.
Ephraim came to see us in October seeking a short term loan to top up his finances for payment of his vending licence. The local Council had given the vendors 7 days to pay “licence fees” and unfortunately the stock he had on hand could not cover the full fee required. Confidently he made a commitment to pay back the loan over the next 2 months. Within a month Ephraim came back to settle his loan in full.
At this time Ephraim invited us to come see his “stand” and meet the people he vends with and here we met Todd. Speaking with these two gents it was evident that with Christmas approaching a small cash injection into their vending project would greatly help them to establish a more viable business. Many who have visited Zimbabwe and seen the local markets will know that in these each vendor has just about all the same goods for sale, all the way down the road, so we encouraged Todd and Ephraim to purchase a variety of items for resale, different to the other vendors. Todd has a valid passport and so he is able to travel cross-border where he can purchase cheaper and varied stock for himself and Ephraim.

Chit-chat with Matron Sister Maliki

What have you seen as the greatest achievements? - Since the children have started going out of the home on their various outings they have developed a very strong sense of belonging, and have become very protective of each other. In gatherings if any child senses mistreatment of one of their siblings by an “outsider” they become very defensive and can even gang up against the intruder.
We have seen an increase in their speech and vocabulary, it is a real joy to listen to the children communicate amongst themselves and to others.
We have noticed when new children from vulnerable situations are placed into the home, majority of the children sense their difficulties and become sensitive towards them. There is never a moment when a child can go off alone as there will always be another child following closely behind them. At the monthly clinic visits I have noticed their care when one child receives an injection they are quick to go and offer comfort.
The children are very aware of their surroundings – they notice when someone is sick or when someone has hurt themselves, and especially notice when one of the staff are not at work.

What do you think the children lack? People to sit and read them stories - the children need to be read to in order to encourage them to read later on in life. They need to be taught how to look after and take care of books from an early age. They need to learn to read and when you have a large group of children vying for attention it is difficult to do this one-on-one.

What is a typical start to your day at Isaiah’s? – The children are always up and about by the time I arrive at the Babies Home. Some children will be watching through the bedroom windows as the staff arrive for their duty whilst others will meet us at the kitchen door. When they see us arriving they shout out in excitement – mamma, aunty… calling the staff by name and then letting each staff member know where their designated child is. Then the reports begin of who has done what so far – from who wet the bed to who spent the night out! They say children see everything and will report… this is very true – especially of our children at Isaiah’s.

The children love to play outside and they do not like being confined to inside the house. The children are developing their self independence that at feeding times they prefer to try feeding themselves. They are so proud when they are done and get to take their plates back to the kitchen.
The downside to a large group – the children are less conscious and are more than happy to all go to the toilet at the same time, boys and girls in the same bathroom at any given point.
I think in a large group like this their survival instincts are more developed, the children will stand up for themselves and not allow people to walk all over them.
What can be disappointing? I can never understand how children can talk and tell you a whole story but then they fail to tell you when they need to go to the toilet.

So who is your favorite child? Oh, am I allowed to have a favorite child? Ok if you say I can then there are a few but honestly I really love them all. At one point in life you will always have to let a child go, our aim is for every child to be adopted so there are some I am learning to let go of. For this reason we have to be careful of having favourites.

Who is the naughtiest child? There are the noisy naughty ones but those who are quiet are the ones to be more careful of? We have a few who are naughty.

Who wants the most attention? There is a little boy who is always at the front of the queue, and close behind is a little girl.

Who cries the most? The babies cry when they are hungry or need changing but the two who always demand attention are the two who cry the most.

Who has the most energy? There is a little boy with an awesome smile who never stops moving around – turn your back on him and he will be up the fence or windowsill in a heartbeat.

When you think of each of the children what is the first thing which comes to mind…
Anesu – I’m lost and not sure who to trust right now – help me and show me the way.
Blessed – Give me love and acceptance and I will certainly love you back.
Blessing – An intelligent girl with a high level of concentration
Craig – A big brother who cares much about the other children
Christopher – Very observant young boy
Darlene – Very active but often seeking attention
Faith – Quiet but welcoming
Gugulethu – Loves to be held and given individual attention
Jessica – Big sister always willing to help and serve
Keith – Always out to discover and learn new things
Matthew – A strong and confident character
Mthandazo – Always full of laughter and mischief
Nobuhle – Strong willed with determination and willpower
Nomalanga – Responsible, loving and caring with a very good memory
Pride – A very humble child
Ruvarashe – Independent and Jovial
Samuel – Strong and sturdy
Tadiwa – Always ready to lead the group
Tendai – Gentle and passive
Thamsanqa – Quiet and reserved
Vimbai – Forever smiling

Sister Maliki’s Christmas message!
Wishing all our friends and team members a very good Christmas. Our wish for all the vulnerable children and communities across Zimbabwe is that they will receive the many blessings that we have received through-out this year. As Christian’s we must all gather together to pray for those people who are worse off than ourselves across the globe. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this year let us cast our thoughts to at least one under privileged child this Christmas.

Baby Count as at 17~12~11
Boys :- 10 Girls :- 11 Total 21 Beautiful Blessings from God

Pride, Mthandazo, Craig, Keith, Tadiwanashe, Christopher, Samuel, Anesu, Matthew, Thamsanqa
Nomalanga, Faith, Nobuhle, Blessing, Jessica, Blessed, Darlene, Ruvarashe, Vimba, Gugulethu, Tendai

Should you wish to see photographs – these have been posted onto Facebook.

Building of Volunteer Living Quarters has begun at the Babies Home.
Facebook has some of the first photographs taken of the building project in progress in Suburbs.
Currently we have sufficient funding to build only up to foundation level and we ask you
to pray with us for God’s continual provision for this building which will provide
long term/ short term accommodation for groups or individuals wishing to serve in the Ministry.
Should you be interested in partnering with us for the completion of this building,
please feel free to email us at or

Hope you have enjoyed reading the last quarter news and we look forward to posting more in 2012. May the Lord richly bless you all with a holy and happy Christmas - with enough joy inside to last you the whole year through.

Luv 'n' friendship in the Lord always

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Martin's December 2011 Newsletter

Dear friends,

I hope that this newsletter finds you well. I’m writing to you from a nice rainy Bulawayo. We are always thankful for rain for the many farmers.

I wanted to write to you before Christmas for two reasons. One to wish you a wonderful and blessed Christmas, from all of us. Two, to share with you a few quick updates from us, so you are all aware of a bit of ‘what’s happening’ this side, and so that you know a bit of all that you are helping to enable. And, I want to share some brief personal news at the end also.

Well, things for Our Neighbours Ministry (ONM) are going very well. We thank God for His provision in all ways for the ministries for this year. And we thank you. We have been blessed with an ‘easier’ year financially this year, and been able to meet all the needs we felt it was right for us to meet.

In terms of updates on the ministries, I wanted to focus on 2 areas of ONM particularly this time:
- APT, our latest group empowerment project; and
- Lighthouse Christian Academy.

Plus, I’ll add in a few other bits of info of course, but let me start with APT, Appropriate Paper-Based Technology. It’s been absolutely awesome to see APT being used to ‘transform lives’. But, let me go back a little to where we started.
We have been desiring to do another group empowerment project for people who we are assisting who are unemployed, in very difficult circumstances, and who desire to work hard to make a living. And in October God led Andy and Alison Fry to come to Bulawayo from the UK to train a group of people in APT, Appropriate Paper-Based Technology. How this happened is a great testimony, for another time.
APT uses used cardboard and newspaper (or other paper types), and a few other simple materials, to make basic furniture. And we all saw this as a great opportunity to empower people. Andy and Alison led an awesome week and a half training course, and we had a team of 6 people (and Addmore from our team, who is having a leadership role), receive training. In this training they produced bins and stools, and there are plans to make coffee tables and small tables and chairs in the very near future.

Aside from one of the above people who did the training, everyone since that time has been working full-time in making this new small business work. And, they made their first sale of 30 stools to a local pre-school the other day. It is awesome to see.
Three of the people doing this APT business stay in the squatter camp in Trenance. One is an orphan living with his grandmother there. Another lady used to sleep in an abandoned vehicle on the street during the week. I see transformed lives coming, and it’s so exciting.
God has been putting really ‘transformed lives’ on my heart quite a number of times over the last few months. I desire to see this, spiritually and economically. Andy and Alison also provided great teaching on God, business and ethics during the course, and we continue to offer discipleship for those who would like this.
Exciting hey! I could at this juncture share stories of people that we have been loving and serving for a while, and the transformation we are seeing in their lives, but I won’t just now (you’ll notice I speak Zimbabwean English now!).

Now I’ve just come back from a week of training on Accelerated Christian Education. We believe this is the curriculum God has led us to use for Lighthouse Christian Academy (LCA). This is the school that we run in partnership with Edge Foundation Australia (Edge also financially support LCA). At LCA we focus on providing quality Christian education to children who are in very difficult and vulnerable situations, aged 10 years and up, who have missed a significant period of their education. The ACE curriculum, and the extra-curricula activities, enable us to meet this mission. ACE provides an individualised education program for each child, according to the specific level that they are at, in each of the various subjects.
We started LCA because of the lack of decent options for kids in these difficult circumstances, and because we felt God leading us to provide this awesome vision, and greatly assist these precious kids to be all that they can be, and all that God would have them be.

At the end of term we had our ‘Awards Presentation’. The students (10 for the last term after a few kids we were assisting moved to new locations) did a number of excellent performances for us, and we celebrated each child’s achievements for the last term. It was a really special time for parents, guardians, students and us all.

We are currently assessing another 7 or so students to start next year with LCA, and we are so excited about the year ahead. We desire to take LCA to the next level. What an awesome opportunity to love and teach these children, about God, educationally and for their whole being, and to transform lives. We seek to equip students with skills that will enable them to succeed in life academically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and physically. All of our kids from North End Home attend LCA. We are currently seeking a permanent location to run LCA, please pray for this.

Now to a few bits of news in brief, so this isn’t too long for you:

- The building of the volunteers quarters at the Babies Home, for volunteers to come and stay in while they are serving in the various areas of Our Neighbours Ministry, has begun. Belinda will be sharing photos soon in her news. We have funding for these upto foundation level at this stage. If you’d be interested in supporting this project we’d love to hear from you.

- Progress is being made by Cosmos to begin a weekly mobile medical clinic in Trenance, the community that we’ve also been reaching out to. We will be partnering with them for this clinic, and assisting with a counselor each week, and in other ways.

- For me, as many of you will know, the Parable of the Good Samaritan really speaks to me. The other day a single mother was referred to me, in relation to her daughter’s condition. Her 7 month old daughter had a problem whereby she was only able to pass faeces through her vagina. She had had this situation since birth. She had been referred for an operation in Harare a few months ago, but they hadn’t been able to raise the funds to get them to Harare as yet. We were able to assist with transport and food, and the operation went well and the precious little one is recovering. We are so blessed to be in a position to be able to show God’s love to people like this, and we thank you.

- And, we’ve decided to change the name of the part of the ministry that runs the Soup Kitchen, the Health Information Service, Empowerment Projects, Outreach, Individual and Family Assistance, Discipleship and HIV Support Group. It used to be called ‘Our Neighbours’, but obviously this was getting confusing with the overall ministries being called ‘Our Neighbours Ministry’. So, we are now grouping the above areas under the name ‘Love and Serve’, or just ‘LnS’.

Well, I also just wanted to briefly share some personal news before I sign off. Mercy is pregnant! We are all very excited about our little one on the way. We had the first ultrasound and it was so exciting. It was just amazing to see this precious little baby being created by God in Mercy’s womb.

It’s been a long time, so I also thought I’d put at the bottom of this newsletter a photo of Mercy and I and our 3 boys Moses, Mqondisi and Joshua, (and 1 in the ‘tum’). We are all doing well.

Thank you for the part of Our Neighbours Ministry and our lives that you are, and for your friendship and support etc etc etc.

Love Martin

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Tapiwa Ngazimbi started working as a caregiver for Isaiah’s in January 2008. There were a number of children who came into the care of Isaiah’s however as Tapiwa had been the last staff member to join she had not yet been allocated an individual baby to bond with. In December 2008, Isaiah’s received 3 newborn baby girls, each of whom had been abandoned in separate incidents. One of these babies soon became Tapiwa’s special child.

Nobuhle was a seemingly healthy baby girl, however at 3 months old she developed a tumour caused by Tuberculosis. Tapiwa nursed Nobuhle most days and nights during her 1 and a half month stay in Mpilo Hospital Intensive Care Unit. Nobuhle has grown from strength to strength, having overcome a second bout of Tuberculosis she is now growing well. She is almost 3 years old and has a very strong character, one would never think that this same toddler had undergone major cardio-thoracic surgery and endured so much at just a few months old.

We are delighted to share the news that this same baby you prayed a miracle for in 2009 has been identified for fostering and adoption by her care-giver Tapiwa and her husband Ndabezinhle. It was during her stay at Mpilo Hospital that Ndaba also fell in love with this precious baby as he visited with her almost daily. Ndaba works at Mpilo Hospital as a Switchboard Operator.

Tapiwa shares that their compassion for Nobuhle grew into a passion for loving this child. They bonded with her as she grew and as a family they decided it was only fair that Nobuhle should be given a regular life with a mother and father to love and cherish her everyday – just as God does for us. We pray that this process of adoption will happen smoothly and that soon we will be able to give her our family name and in this she will no longer have a birth certificate without any details.

If you ask Nobuhle who is Ndaba – she very proudly says “that’s my daddy”! We know that Ndaba has an equal pride for this precious little miracle girl.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Meet Esther Mwale - Caregiver of Isaiah's Umuzi Wothando

Esther Mwale, aged 27, is the second born child in a family of 4. Her father tragically passed away in 1995 leaving behind her mother and 3 siblings. Her eldest sister later passed away in 2007 leaving behind 2 young children in the care of her mother. Two years after her sister had passed away her youngest niece also died. Her mother, aged 60, continues to seek employment however she has been unable to find work which will adequately support the needs of daily life. Esther’s brother, aged 25, is currently unemployed and her youngest sister will be completing her A. Levels at the end of this year. Thus Esther is the only working member of her family.

Esther began working at Isaiah’s Homes of Love when the vision to establish a halfway home for abandoned and orphaned babies began in 2004. Esther was an active member of the Bulawayo Baptist Church, working with the poorest of the poor in her community. It was her love and passion for these babies and the vulnerable children of Bulawayo that she became involved with the project visiting the babies who were at this time being housed at the local Hospital. Esther became one of our first care-givers at the home in Suburbs which now cares for these abandoned babies, orphans and vulnerable children.

Esther has been a precious care-mother to many children from newborn babies to toddlers. She has many treasured memories of the children who have come through Isaiah’s and some of these she still has regular contact with. Her memories are filled with both happy and sad moments, the happiest being the day Nomalanga walked and the saddest being the day Nomalanga’s twin sister died in her arms at the hospital. Nomalanga was a very small and vulnerable baby girl who lost both her mother and her twin sister within a month of each other. Many people doubted whether Nomalanga would survive, and one person even commented that she looked as though she had some physical disability. Esther recalls “that comment struck deeply into my heart so there was much excitement for me the day Nomalanga took her first steps.”

Esther believes that every child deserves to be loved so that they can develop to their full God-given potential. “Where there is love there is always a way and so I do what I do because I am able to love these children by the love and grace God has given me. I have seen children come to Isaiah’s with a look of emptiness and despair, as they settle in our Home of Love they grow to know God’s love and that here they are loved by the caring people around them. I would like to extend my appreciation to Grace Church for the support they have given to Isaiah’s Homes of Love, and in turn, their support for me. Your love, prayers and support help us to do what we are called to do for the Glory of God.”

Project Directors Newsletter : September 2011

Dear friends,
Finally I‟m getting to write a newsletter to you re all that has been happening at Our Neighbours Ministries. I‟m really sorry that I haven‟t done this much sooner than this.
I hope that this email finds you well, and I send greetings to you wherever you are from me and the Our Neighbours team here in Zimbabwe. Thank you for the part of the team that you are.
I‟d love to share with you this time an update on Lighthouse Christian Academy, some updates from the Individual and Family Assistance, staff news, our new baby, eeiissshhh as we say here, there is so much to share.
Overall Our Neighbours Ministry is going well, and we continue to be excited about what God is doing and where He is leading us, and the kids and people that we are privileged to care for, etc.
The last year has however been the most difficult year for me personally since Our Neighbours began. But I‟m so thankful for all that God has done, for His guidance, for His „good, pleasing and perfect will‟ (Romans 12:2). The challenges haven‟t been there all the time, but definitely at a number of times. I think both personally and as a ministry we have grown and learnt a lot during these challenges, which is great.
And, we had our first ever all-staff ministry retreat for one day recently. It was so great to enjoy time together, to learn, laugh and share together. It was a lovely day.
Now, I‟d like to share about some of the individuals who we‟ve been loving and assisting through the Individual and Family Assistance part of the ministries. Whilst we want to be aware of the many many needy situations that are in this community, and love and support as many people as possible, we feel a strong call to really focus on individuals and make sure that we love them as individuals as God would have us, and to do that well. We want to see individuals and families‟ lives transformed.
I thought to mention just 4 of the many many individuals and families that we‟ve recently been supporting, to give you a little more of a feel for this:
- We‟ve been counselling and supporting a precious young girl who is 9 years old, who has been the victim of sexual abuse on many many occasions. She lived with her grandmother and 10 other children, in horribly poor conditions in Trenance (near the squatter camps there that we work with). They all sleep in one tiny room, about 2 metres by 3 metres. And no, that‟s not a typo, though I can‟t quite fathom it either. As well as supporting her, we‟ve shared her situation with other appropriate organizations that we can partner with to assist her well, and the Department of Social Welfare. Unfortunately situations like this in Zimbabwe don‟t always get acted on as they should be, and part of our role in this case has been continuing to „push‟, and ultimately taking steps, to ensure the safety of this little one. She has now been placed with a good organization where she is being well cared for, and she is happy with this situation. Our team continues to support and love this precious girl through this difficult time, including court appearances. Can I share 2 times where I was really touched by this situation personally. Firstly, in a bad way, it was so hard seeing her respond with such fear, at one time where she thought she may have to go home with her Gogo, where the perpetrator also stays (it‟s a complicated situation, let me leave it at that!). Fortunately we were able to come up with another plan for that evening. The second time where I was emotionally touched by this situation was seeing this precious girl in a loving embrace with 2 of the team members (2 of the ladies, at different times). To see her being loved, and the smiles that started to come at times from her, was one of those times where you say, „yes, that‟s what it‟s about‟.
- David Moyo is one of the lovely „mdala‟s‟ (Ndebele for old man/father, but a complimentary term) that we have been assisting regularly with food parcels. David has also been coming to the Soup Kitchen for a long time. He is an ex-army person who still has a leg injury from that time, and he has to use crutches to walk. He has a wife, and his daughter and her kids also stay with them, though none have employment. He sometimes walks about 12 km to and from the Baptist Church to come to SK, with his limp. We will continue to seek long-term solutions with them.
- Soneni and her husband have 5 children and live in very poor conditions in Trenance (in 2 rooms). After giving birth about 3 years ago, without any medical assistance, Soneni became paralysed. They battle to survive, don‟t even have a bed to sleep on, and the husband needs to care for his wife because of her condition and their kids being aged between 3 and 10 years old. None of their kids attend school. Recently we were able to help with organizing a donated wheelchair for Soneni. We have also been assisting them with monthly food hampers and medical support, and will continue to see how God would have us love them going forward.
- We have assisted Howard, who suffers from a mental illness, over a long time period. Recently he was thanking me for all we have done for him. He said something like “what does the Bible say re assisting the people with food, people needing homes, those needing clothes …” I suggested if he meant the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46), and he said yes, that‟s the one. He said something like “you have done all these things for me, always, how can I ever say my thanks for this”. Today (when first written) I was chatting with Howard and speaking to him re selling solar powered lights as a way of him earning money (a project we are trialing at present to empower people). Please pray that this may be successful for Howard. Please also pray re a new group empowerment project we are starting in a couple of months (more info next newsletter).

When I see the loving supporting relationships that the team has with people, the community etc, I just think it is so awesome.

Now let me share with you some news re Lighthouse Christian Academy (LCA). There have been some changes since I last spoke to you. As discussions progressed re the plans for the school to move to Trenance under a new partnership, we realized that the visions were a bit different, and this caused us to pray and think re the way forward. The one thing that we really felt as a team was that God didn‟t want us to lose the vision that we felt He‟d given us, to provide a good education for vulnerable children who‟d missed a significant amount of school, and therefore had very little or no decent options in terms of education.
As the discussions progressed, we felt it would be best if we continued to run Lighthouse Christian Academy in partnership with Edge Foundation, and Children of Grace start a school in Trenance with their vision to start assisting vulnerable young children with quality education.
Some of the kids and teachers at the new Lighthouse Christian Academy location
So, we are running with the vision, and we see in 9 months to 1 year that we will have 30 vulnerable children attending LCA, aged 10 years and up, who fit the above mentioned circumstances. We are excited to provide quality education to kids who‟ve been very disadvantaged in this area, and that this will enable them to be empowered for their future. We have found a new place in North End (a house) to use for this purpose at the moment. We thank and acknowledge Edge Foundation for financially enabling Lighthouse Christian Academy to operate, and for the partnership and all the support they give.
Getting everything ready for classes to start at LCA
Now, time for a little staff news. We‟d been praying and looking for the right person to fill a need within the team for a little while now, to have a Pastoral role and leadership role in the Soup Kitchen, etc. I am so glad to say that Qondile Kumalo came forward and we believe he is this person and we welcome him to the team. Q has started with us on a permanent part-time arrangement. He is a great guy, has a theological degree and a deep love for God and people.
Now to a few bits of news in brief, so this isn‟t too long for you:
- Introducing our new baby, precious little Gugu. Belinda will introduce soon our other 2 adorable little girls who arrived about 2 months ago.
- We continue to have families come forward to foster and adopt babies from the babies home. However, it would be really good to have some more families come forward, so please pray for this;
- Currently we are helping the Cosmos team run various medical clinics in and around Bulawayo which are greatly assisting many;
- The North End Home kids have moved to a new house and this is going well. A little while ago Respect was placed in a family that is wanting to care for her and ideally foster her, and Wellington and Merry who we were assisting for a period at North End are just about to be placed in a "forever family home‟ with another organization. All are doing well;
- Shephard from North End Home and Lighthouse Christian Academy is currently doing one weeks work experience in a café which we are excited about;
- We‟d love to introduce to you Esther, one of our carers at the Babies Home, as a way of those from outside Zimbabwe getting to know some of the team in Zimbabwe. Please see the next posting for this.
- We continue to investigate a business to run alongside the ministries to help generate funds for these ministries. No news yet I‟m afraid but some exciting developments coming soon I believe; and
- We recently increased staff salaries by about 10% as we seek to continue to adjust for the increased cost of living in current day Zimbabwe.
Well, I think it‟s time for me to sign off for now.
Thank you for the part of Our Neighbours Ministry that so many of you are, and for your friendship and support etc etc.
Love Martin

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Month-end October Prayer newsletter


1. Isaiah’s Homes of Love

• Babies Home
Please pray for the team as our home is full and there are many adjustments to make for helping our new arrivals to feel loved and accepted.
Thank you for Matilda as she continues to recover from her operation
Thank you for Busi's improved health and her return to work
For Wisdom and understanding for the Team as they interact with the children.
For each of the Children to be fostered and adopted into loving homes
For Team spirit as we work together and shape the children's lives
Thank you for God's protection, provision and health for the children.

• Social Welfare Department
For the processing of Matthew's adoption
For Brandon's adoption to come through
For the completion of the fostering of Mthabisi, Bridget, Rachel
We praise God for our new addition Revival who has found a home

2. Our Neighbour's

For the mobile clinic that will start in Trenance on Mondays
For Trenance and their water problem that we may find a solution
For God provision for the Ministry
For all who make up the team, Staff and Volunteers that we serve the Lord faithfully and diligently
For the success of the APT empowerment project and training

3. The Northend Home

Thank God for Good health in the home.
For God's favour as we try to sort out identity documents for the Children
We Thank God for John and Trust who went home to their relatives
That the Children continue to work hard at their studies

4. Lighthouse Christian School

For Shepherd (the student) as he adapts to his work experience and balances it with his studies
For more permanent premises for the school
For the enrollment of new students in the New Year
Be with the Teachers as they grow in wisdom and understanding
Praise God for the provision of school material (Paces)

5. Administration

For Staff as they grow spiritually as they serve
Thank God for the Resources and Volunteers He provides
For Families going through the adoption process, for peace and understanding
For the Officials processing the adoption and fostering for efficiency and compassion

6. Special Focus

That God may receive all the glory for Our Neighbour's Ministry.
For the empowerment projects, and their success.
Income generation projects.


Praise God for his faithfulness
Thank you for the Volunteers that give selflessly to our ministries


1 Thessalonians 5 : 16 - 18 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing; 19 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Empowerment Projects News


Our Neighbours Ministry, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe seeks to show Christ’s love to people in need, specifically offering support, assistance, empowerment and discipleship. One area in which we endeavour to assist people is through the Empowerment Projects. Our vision of these projects is to empower individuals or a group of people to run successful small businesses through the provision of respective skills training. Our most recent Empowerment Project has been one of Appropriate Paper-Based Technology (APT), and in just a few words I could summarize this project as "a group of unemployed people working together to utilize and transform cardboard and used paper into furniture and other useful household objects".

The empowerment group consisting of 4 gents (Addmore, Eric, Mbekezeli and Yazininkosi) and 2 ladies (Sufficient and Catherine) recently completed 2-3 weeks of training conducted by a lovely Christian couple from United Kingdom, who felt God place this process of APT upon their hearts for the people of Bulawayo. The team learnt first how to make small stools and waste paper baskets, they have now begun making stock of their products for resale. Their next lot of products will be small coffee tables, side tables and even pre-school desks. This process has been further developed in other countries to make specific furniture for people with disabilities. We look forward to this project reaching that stage of manufacture.

The process of APT was first developed by Bevil Packer here in Bulawayo back in the 70’s. Thirty years later and it has been re-introduced to Zimbabwe, as a way to generate income and also provide the local community with such useful products “hand-made with loving care”.

The process starts out with collections of cardboard and waste paper. The cardboard is then sorted into sheets of similar size and texture, it is then laminated with a “flour and water” paste to make up the materials – these layers give strength to the product. They are pressed together and then the pattern is cut from these sheets. Layers of paper are used to fit the pieces of the product together and this is then decorated. It can be painted with plain water colors and decorated with different patterns and pictures. To get a wonderful rich brown finish, “earth paint” is made up from ground soil. The product is then sealed with lacquer varnish. Items can even be personalized by being decorated with family pictures or special designs.

Now I have made it all sound very simply but it is a process which takes time and dedication. This empowerment team has proved their commitment in this project and it has been exciting to see the project take off so well. It is lovely to be a part of a project which ultimately sees people working together, utilizing the gifts that God has given them, to help themselves and in turn also helping others within the community! We thank God for all those who have been a part of this project through their support, love and friendship, and we give Him the Glory.

If you would like to make a contribution in any way to this team, please feel free to contact Mbongeni Gumbo or Belinda Wilson on (09) 64474 or email us at or