Greetings from Pastor Harold Twine, Wayne Twine, Bronwyn Marshall, Tamsyn Marshall, Gaillynne Marshall, Cora Mead, Jester Moyo, Micaela Boy, Danielle De La Rey, Felix Rohner and Grant Gerrits.
After a long trip, and God’s undeniable grace at the border and on the roads as we travelled, we arrived at Bulawayo Baptist Church at 20:30 on Friday night. We unpacked some grocery supplies from Dorcas Aid and much needed medicines sponsored by Gulf Drug Company. We then rushed off to our gracious hosts Pastor Jeff and Tammy, and Ron and Jan for some dinner and bed.
Saturday we visited 4 homes for children. First we visited Rehoboth (Gen. 26:22) run by Mark and Dorcas. They home young boys: Nkosi, Beki, Nklankla, Matthew, and James and Jacob the twins and daughter Precious . Mark and Dorcas also run a school feeding scheme in which they feed over 100 children lunch everyday in response to fainting children at the school. A sandwich and a sealed juice is provided for each one every day. I can’t imagine how they do this financially. One thing is for certain, this couple truly display trust and willingness to live under The Lords’ sufficiency and provision. After the boys had received their lego sets, bicycle, soccer balls, jerseys, sweets, sandwich spreads and cash towards the feeding scheme as well as other supplies; the boys recited scripture, prayed and recited the benediction together. This quickly thereafter led to a game of soccer on the lawn outside.
Our second stop for Saturday was at Isaiah’s Home for 22 orphaned babies. These children are abandoned, given-up or found. No child here is really over the age of about 4 years old. All the children were clingy and desperate for love and attention – not to mention also more than happy to play. Praise The Lord for the home that “Aunty Belinda” and “Mum Maria” head up. Without this safe haven who knows where these children may have ended up. Most of these small children are calling me “Aunty”, I couldn’t help but laugh at this. After having given Isaiah’s Home first aid kits, Nan baby formula, beanies, teddy bears, toys, sweets and other items too, we certainly came to realise the value that the children attach to time, play and love. Even if this meant that Cora had to wipe her phone clean and dust off all the cake crumbs from her clothes after spending time playing with the small children.
The third stop, after our lunch with hosts Pastor Jeff and his wife Tammy, was at Sandra Jones home for girls. This was most certainly the most heart wrenching stop, and in the same sentence, the stop that had us hearing testimonies and triumphs as people reach out in need and find Grace and Love. The home is an old hotel converted into a girls home. We all gathered in the common room upstairs where we shared songs, laughed during games, and cried during testimonies. All 27 of the girls have a sexually abused history. The Sandra Jones girls range in age from 4 to 18 years old. Some of the girls have small babies and one of the girls was pregnant. We presented Debbie (the main House Mother) and the girls with uniforms, Bibles, essential toiletry packs, sweets, and cash prizes as forfeits to the games that we played.
Our fourth and final stop for Saturday was at Thutuka (meaning: develop) for street children. Thutuka’s vision is that there will be no children on the street of Bulawayo. They host approximately 20 children, boys and girls, between the ages of 8 and 18. A donated bicycle was quickly off of the bakkie with a “tring-tring” from the bell as the boys raced along the driveway. Two other boys literally shouted for joy when receiving their soccer balls. Bronwyn and the 4 girls again shared songs in exchange for songs from the Thutuka choir. We handed over sweets, lego, blankets and essential toiletry packs amongst other items. Again we came to realise the needs (and gratitude) of such basic items that we so often take for granted.
On Sunday morning we joined the 8am early morning “bi-focals” service at Bulawayo Baptist Church. We were blessed with a message from Pastor Jeff on Gen. 11 and hymns sung from hymn books. We then attended the 10am service where Bronwyn officially handed over the holiday club material to the Bulawayo team as they prepare for the April holidays this year alongside a first aid kit in case of any injuries during the “SHINE” program. Something we had noticed during the service is the vast difference in the worship from the hymns at the 8am service, to the more contemporary and upbeat worship at the 10am service. After the hand-over we joined the children’s ministry for the rest of the service.
We were greeted with, waves, running-crashing hugs and displays of their new toys in motion.
We met again with some of the children from the previous day’s visits. We were greeted with, waves, running-crashing hugs and displays of their new toys in motion. During the coarse of the afternoon on Sunday we hosted a tea for the elderly where we handed over grocery parcels, emergency led lamps, water bottles and sweets after we shared a few songs. Tea with the old folk was concluded with Elder Jacob thanking us saying with reference to Matt. 25: “Thank you Honeyridge. We were hungry and you fed us, thirsty and you gave us a drink. We were naked and you clothed us, sick and you visited us.”
We can’t help but be humbled by how the family of this church has sought and extended and reached out to another church as well as the other needy organisations that we visited. We are grateful that we were able to witness the joy and relief that was brought through what was donated and given. We can also assure you that all that was given was received by very needing and very grateful hands.
I pray that as Pastor Harold prepares for the next trip in July to Harare, that the Lord would use our church again as stewards of His gifts, that He would exercise us to be outward looking, and that He would grant the team that follows the same traveling mercies as they go.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy.
Written by Grant Gerrits