|"GRACEVINE" Newsletter - June/July 2004|
After months of preparation, the time arrived to leave on our trip to Zimbabwe/Zambia to visit our Tonga projects on both sides of the mighty Zambezi River. The US team of 9 arrived late the evening on 31 May - without their luggage -, which had unfortunately been left behind in Amsterdam! Praise the Lord that after a long delay at the Johannesburg airport and a late start on June 1 (in order for the team to do some essential shopping) we left (the US team and our Regional Team) Pretoria in high spirits and full of excitement as to what God had in store for the next 10 days!
Victory Falls and our EHC Tongaland Projects: when visiting this area, a person's conscience concerning the Great Commission is challenged as one sees the footprints of one that left all the beauty of his homeland (David Livingstone) and fell in love with a savage people. As one author wrote, "little do many tourists who visit the Falls know, that few miles from this great wonder, lives a people who can barely afford the next meal. Civilization created a real pleasure and amusement centre for tourists in the Vic Falls, yet a people group still hides in the jungles of it's periphery who share no part in all that amuses millions expect for their river, the Zambezi and it's fish."
Richard Smith - USA Team Leader - In 2000 I made my first EHC mission trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia. Now in June 2004 we returned by riverboat up the Zambezi River. Four years earlier in the Chilila Village along Kariba Lake, I had gone ashore to witness door-to-door and I noticed a woman sitting on a roughly carved stool as she cooked her family's food. I wanted that stool for my grandson, Tyler. I asked the husband Titus, if I could buy the stool. They laughed! I gave double the price that Titus asked, wanting to bless him. We took a photo of him with me for my family and I asked how I could send him copies. Now, 4 years later (June 2004) Titus called for me from the shore. He had heard that our houseboat was docked in another village; he walked to the houseboat and called my name later into the night. He had received the photos of Tyler sitting on the stool, thousands of miles from his home! Unknown to me, Titus accepted Jesus as Savior at the Jesus film showing four years earlier. He started a church in his home, calling it 'Every Home for Christ Church'. They have a youth choir that ministers in more rural areas! God pulled back a curtain this year to bless me. I saw the results of Every Home for Christ's door-to-door ministry!
Bob Geabhart - Pastor, Forest Hill Community Church - Our recent mission's adventure with EHC in Africa was a very moving experience for me and the members of my church. God humbled us and taught us many lessons . We went with a heart to serve, give and help but we received so much in return. We also sensed the grip of materialism loosen on our American hearts as we reached out to help those who are in need in Africa. It is no exaggeration to say that we will never be the same again! Thank you for giving us this opportunity. I wholeheartedly believe in the ministry of EHC and count it a privilege to know men like Hennie Hanekom, Richard Smith and Cleopas Chitapa.
David Smith - We were blessed beyond description! Pastor Bob Geabhart's teaching was anointed; the music was great; the Spirit was there! My clothes were different because I borrowed female tops when my baggage never arrived! One great thrill for me was returning to the Tonga people again, seeing Jesus being enthroned and Satan being dethroned! The church has made progress - keep going brothers!
Todd Dietrich - Being in Africa, seeing and meeting the Tonga people, hearing them sing and praise the Lord, visiting their children at the school, hearing the pastors testimonies, and serving them by washing their feet - this all blessed me in ways I can't even yet fully express. My wife Cynthia prayed, "Lord, we want Todd to go to Africa". God answered our prayers (my health and finances)! I know that in His time, God will again open a window for me to return to Africa. I have a special burden to one day bring my son so that he can return something very special to a remarkable pastor in the Binga area. Until that day comes, please know that I continue to pray for you, Cleopas, and the Tongaland pastors.
Harriet Turk - (in the photo) - I understand now why people say Africa gets under your skin and into your heart. One highlight for me was meeting the school children in Binga. All the children were in mismatched, soiled, torn clothes, but they were so happy. There is something to the African spirit! Another highlight was the foot washing ceremony held one night, showing we were there to serve them. It was a very humbling, emotional experience. I will never forget how the Tonga people sang with such passion and how interested they were in our message. This trip was just amazing. Thank you so much for all your support - and so do the Tonga people!
Julie Reitan - It is my joy to live under such grace that God would allow me to experience His great work in Zimbabwe & Zambia. Participation in a US donor mission's effort through EHC was life changing for me! God raised up donors in my workplace to purchase 15 new bicycles for Tongland pastors! After the bicycle presentation and distribution at the Binga Conference, Pastor Frederick took my hand, his eyes penetrating mine, and sincerely proceeded to share his heart and tell me what I had not realized about these bicycles. He told me that one bicycle would contribute to bringing about 3 souls saved in one single day, which means 20 souls in a week. Multiply those 20 souls by a month and you will have 60 - 80 souls saved in one month! I stood there amazed at what I had just heard; it left me stunned. In my small vision, I had wanted to 'bless' a pastor by helping him to 'get off his feet'. But what I had not realized was that these bicycles went far beyond a personal blessing, but to the great work of salvation! Not just a few, but many people for the Kingdom of God would receive salvation for eternity! I am so thankful for Richard Smith and Hennie Hanekom's enthusiastic leadership role in the EHC cause in Africa! "Go" or "Give" - the blessing is all yours!
Chuck Croom - Thanks for your kindness and hospitality and particularly your leadership as well as care for those of us from the USA on our recent trip to Zimbabwe/Zambia. Visiting the fishing villages along Lake Kariba, meeting and fellowshipping with brothers and sisters in Christ, sharing a word of testimony or sharing the Gospel is always a highlight of the trip. Also, watching 21 or so of the attendees receive bicycles which will enable them to cover more territory as the distribute Gospel literature was fun!
Birthday Greetings for July 2004
Pieter de Villiers (July 28) - congratulations and have a wonderful day! May God bless you indeed!
We praise God that during the month of May our teams were able to distribute 74,862 pieces of Gospel literature to 54,183 homes within our Region! This resulted in 45,419 people accepting the Lord as their personal Savoir and we give God all the glory! As a result of our activities this month, 143 Christ Groups were formed. We salute our National Leaders, Focus leaders and workers (4968 pioneer missionaries were actively involved during the month) for their tremendous efforts in sharing a Gospel piece and/or Heart of Man presentation with these thousands of people!
April's prize goes to Nina Scheepers from our EHC South Africa office. We commend Nina for her excellent reporting to the Regional Office and for being so consistent in submitting monthly reports. Nina, thank you for your faithfulness - God bless you! May prize is as a result of EHC South Africa's prison ministry. A prisoner who was saved (Joe Grober) has now, under the supervision of an EHC SA coordinator, started a home group in the prison and is doing a wonderful work of ministry! The Anglo Africa Regional office are going to (through the SA office) send brother Joe a book to encourage him in what he is doing to reach prisoners with a clear Gospel presentation!
Closing thought:- Our vision should be people orientated, empowering, change oriented and unique! It should not only be indicative of an ideal future for our worldwide ministry, but foremost it is to inspire others in order to raise a supportive team to help our vision come to fruition! A special word of thanks to Richard Smith (EHCI) and the team from Forest Hill Community Church for being such a sharing and caring team during our Zimbabwe/Zambia trip. Our Region will never be the same; so many lives have been impacted for eternity through their generosity and passion for Africa! We salute these precious co-workers in the Harvest field - thank you for joining hands with our Anglo Africa team, instilling hope and a future into the lives of all those participating in Tongaland! To all our friends: if the Holy Spirit has spoken into your heart through these testimonies and you wish to be part of a mission trip to one of our project areas, or if you feel led to support us through praying for us and giving towards our programs covering 28 nations throughout the Continent, please feel free to communicate with our Regional Office!
Hennie Hanekom and the Regional Office team