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Dear friends,
 
Warm greetings to you all.I hope this email finds you well.
 
Thank you for your love, support, prayers and partnership with Our Neighbours Ministry and all that’s happening here in Bulawayo. You are greatly appreciated!
 
I had a few brief updates that I was wanting to share with you at this time:
  • In my last update I mentioned the new modified vision for Lighthouse Christian Academy we felt that God had led us to. This came fully into effect in the last school term of last year, with 20 of our students going into government schools or colleges (though still on Lighthouse scholarships and with our involvement and support), and 12 students remaining ‘in-house’. These ‘in-house’ students will get their foundations in education,be assisted with learning challenges and gaps, before being reintegrated to the public school system, or assisted in the move to vocational training or work experience.

    This has been going well overall. And now Lighthouse base has moved out to the Children of Grace property in Trenance Bulawayo, which will be great long-term given the space there, and the farming also being done on the property. I’ll attach a photo of Terrance Juma, who was one of the students reintegrated into a college, who’s been doing really well, and was recently made Vice Headboy. You can also see one of our newly renovated classrooms at the new location (more renovations to come, but that’ll happen step by step).

  • The last 18 months or so have been the most difficult financially in the history of ONM. This has been a real challenge for us to deal with. However, in the midst of this, we have seen God’s provision, and His leading. We’ve decreased costs in various ways, and there’s been a gradual improvement in our overall financial position over the last 6 months from when it was at its worst.
The financial situation is still significantly challenging though. An example of this is that we’ve paid only 36% of our February salaries as I write this on 1 March. Obviously having staff owed money is not a comfortable or good place to be in. Any support that people may want to give at this time would be greatly appreciated.

We continue to trust in God, and thank Him for all that He has done, is doing, and will do.

We have some thoughts on where God may be leading us for the second half of this year on this front. One of these is that we have been pursuing for a while the permissions and approvals required by the local city council to raise broiler chickens on a large scale at the Children of Grace property, as a way of generating profits for ONM in the future. We recently received the development approval to raise 4,000 chickens at any point in time, and are pursuing permission re building plans for the chicken coops (and have been speaking to some potential partners re assisting us to get started with this project).
  • Isaiah´s Babies Home currently has 23 children in our care. The youngest baby is Thandekile who came when she was just four weeks old, having been left late at night in town. She has grown so much over the past twelve weeks. I have attached her photos and I am sure you will be amazed at how much she has grown. Three of our children graduated from pre-school last year and are now in Grade 1. They enjoy their new school, and are still adapting to the curriculum.
  • I’m just about to start a 3 month sabbatical! This has been planned for a while, after various discussions, and coming to a place of recognising this is really important for me personally at this time, and wise for the long term. To be honest, the last six months have been up and down, with some times that have been incredibly difficult, where my mental health and stress levels have not been good, and where I´ve been run down emotionally and spiritually. I’m really looking forward to this time of rest, time with family and friends, and time with God.

    The Executive Committee are taking on the different roles I usually have during this period.

  • Our Hearts of Love team continues to do home visits for those in the communities of Mazwi and Trenance, as well as Vimbridge and Spring farm. These are very poor communities, with many widows and elderly folk caring for orphans, with very little support. The two pictures I’ve shown are of one of our long serving assistants at the Soup Kitchen, whom we love to call Khulu (Grandpa) David. In one picture is Khulu David at Soup Kitchen with his signature wave, and the other picture was taken at his son's home during a home visit that was done by the team, when we heard he was not feeling well (he is struggling with prostrate cancer).
 
So, I hope these updates give you some more information, and a few further snapshots of what you are part of!
 
We are so thankful that God has led us to love and serve in the various ways that Our Neighbours Ministry does. We are so thankful for the many many people who are part of all of this. And we are so thankful for all the relationships.
 
Love Martin
Thank you for your love, support, prayers and partnership
Lighthouse Classroom at New Premises
Students at new Lighthouse premises with voluntary team from Denmark Bible College
Terence from Lighthouse is the newly appointed Deputy Head-Boy of Foundation College
Baby Thandekile on arrival at Isaiah´s
Baby Thandekile growing well - Feb´17
12 of the Isaiah´s children now attend kindergarten and primary school
Enjoying the swing set at Isaiah´s
Khulu David, a regular at Soup Kitchen, gives us his signature wave!
Khulu David during a recent home visit, he is battling prostrate cancer
Sister Maliki talks to one of the patients attending the Tuesday Health Information Service
Global Development GroupOur Neighbours Ministry is proud to be a partner for Project J301N Our Neighbours Community Project - Zimbabwe with Global Development Group (ABN 57 102 400 993), an Australian NGO approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to carry out quality humanitarian projects with approved partners and provide aid to relieve poverty and ensure long term solutions.
 
No non-development activities (welfare, evangelism) are a part of the approved project. Evangelistic and welfare activities done by Our Neighbours Ministry are done outside of Project J301N.
Copyright © 2017 Our Neighbours Ministry, All rights reserved.


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