Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 3

Bvumba Botanical Gardens

Arriving in Mutare was great as Stephen and I managed to spend some time with family while Sam and Marlene caught up with new friends who are very interested in Chronological Bible Storying.

The Bvumba was a lovely experience. The winding road, the plush green vegetation, the amazing variety of flowers, the cascading mountains and so on, was a refreshing experience. As soon as we arrived at Bvumba Botanical Gardens, both Stephen and I looked for the spot where Stephen proposed to me. He found it first. It sure is beautiful!

Walking through the gardens was so peaceful. I was tempted to lie under a shady tree and listen to the various sounds of insects while admiring my surroundings. The small streams and waterfalls are just pleasurable............especially when you stand on a small wooden bridge that overlooks the streams and waterfalls. The sound of the water “washes” away any stress or anxiety that you may be feeling and it’s easy to get lost in your own thoughts. Nature at its best! There were huge palm trees that caught our attention. As Sam and Marlene stood under them, well.........they looked minute. The trees were probably over 10 m tall. A small gazebo built in 1960 gave Stephen ideas of what he’d like to build at Crossroads. The walk in all was excellent
Stream at the Botanical Garden

Footpath in the Botanical Gardens

After the Botanical Gardens, we went to The Leopard Rock Hotel – an extremely beautiful & posh place known for its golf course which happens to be the second most difficult course in the world. Late Princess Diana visited Leopard Rock and so did the Queen of England. We walked through part of the Hotel and it was........NICE. I appreciated everything about the place. It comes highly recommended.

Entrance to the Leopard Rock Hotel

After seeing the beautiful sites, we decided to stop at “Tony’s” in the Bvumba for some tea and cake. We were blown away! Everything about Tony’s is wonderful – the setting, the service, the tea, the cake ‘is to die for’ etc. It is a place you’d easily recommend to anyone who is visiting the Eastern Highlands. We had a treat........

Tea at Tony’s – eat your heart out!

We had an excellent morning in the Bvumba. After Tea, we headed off to Nyanga which was our next destination – still in the Eastern Highlands.

Read more on our trip around Zimbabwe with the Poes....

By Molly Manhanga

Around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 2

Lake Mutirikwi

Visiting Lake Mutirikwi was wonderful. Water just reminds me of the magnificence of God especially during creation when He said “Let there be....” and there was. His power, strength, calmness, peacefulness, stillness, quietness and so on is reflected through water.

Dam Wall

Walking on the dam wall was excellent. We could feel the spray from the open floodgate at the bottom of the dam wall. The flora and fauna was lovely. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to walk up a hill to see St Andrews Chapel. Next time, I guess.

Some facts about Lake Mutirikwi:
1. Effective capacity of 1,378,000ml
2. The surface area is 9,105hectares
3. Maximum water depth is 57,10m
4. Catchment area is 3,990km
5. Height of wall is 63,1m
6. Construction dates is 1958 - 1960

Lake Mutirikwi – water flowing down to the Lowveld: South East Zimbabwe (Triangle, Chiredzi & Hippo Valley)

The journey to Mutare in the Eastern Highlands was good. We look forward to tomorrows site seeing of the Bvumba Botanical Gardens and passing through Leopard Rock Hotel. These should be amazing sites..........We will then proceed to Nyanga.

By Molly Manhanga

Around Zimbabwe with the Poes pt 1

Sam and Marlene Poe at The Hill Complex

It was really great deciding with Sam and Marlene that we would go on a trip together to Masvingo (my home town) and see the Zimbabwe Monument – formally known as the Zimbabwe Ruins, visit Mutare (Stephen’s birth place) and see the Bvumba Botanical Gardens which is very, very beautiful and dear to my heart as this is the place where Stephen proposed to me 14 years ago. From Mutare, we would visit Nyanga which is also beautiful and scenic. I love it!

We left Bulawayo and headed for Masvingo. The drive was smooth and Stephen and Sam had much to chat about while Marlene and I were enjoying the scenery and chatting about an upcoming Kidz Alive event for early January 2011. As we neared Masvingo, I felt such a love and warmth in my heart. I have such special and happy childhood memories. Seeing the home I grew up in was wonderful. I truly honour and thank God for my mum and dad. What a privilege to have had such loving parents!

We stopped at The Wimpy (fast foods outlet) and had lunch before we proceeded to The Zimbabwe Monument. I have been here countless times as I was growing up but, for the first time, I really felt like a “tourist” on this particular visit. The setting is just amazing. It was excellent climbing the Hill Complex – formally known as The Acropolis. I recalled the days when I was younger and used to run up the Hill Complex as a form of exercise. Now, climbing the steps on the Ancient Path was slow and interesting. Our guide did an excellent job of telling us the history of the place and how communication took place those years – a loud noise was made and it echoed through the hills and people knew that they were being summoned for a meeting. The Hill Complex was where the King lived together with other men. The Kings sister was the only female who lived on The Hill Complex as she was the “food taster” for the King. The King apparently had 200 wives (Rather much!! 199 too many) that would cook for him. Having many wives, children and cattle was a symbol of ones wealth. About 25, 000 people lived in that community of the Hill Complex and the Great Enclosure where the Queen and 199 wives lived.

Conical Tower

The scenery from the Hill Complex was stunning! Seeing Lake Mutirikwi – formally known as Lake Kyle, was wonderful. We then visited the Museum for more History – work people did, what they traded, religious beliefs, meaning of the birds and so on. Lastly, we visited The Great Enclosure where we saw the famous conical tower and were enlightened on the rituals that took place with the younger women. Oh yes, if any of the many wives “misbehaved”, they were disciplined by the Queen. That is so..................interesting!

Sam, Marlene, Stephen and I stayed at a place called “Lodge at The Ancient City”. It was beautiful and peaceful!

We head off to visit Lake Mutirikwi this morning, before proceeding on our journey to Mutare.

Lodge at The Ancient City

By Molly Manhanga

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thought for the day

Colossians 3:16 - 17

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,
teaching and admonishing one another
in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatever you do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the father through Him."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meet Andy Thorn

Andy Thorn
I had “met” Andy Thorn via emails earlier this year through a mutual friend from Bishopstortford. I missed Andy when he visited Zimbabwe and came to Ebenezer earlier this year and it was wonderful finally meeting him when he came to our home recently. When in Zimbabwe, Andy is linked to City Pentecostal Church in Bulawayo. This is what he said……

M.M: Tell me about your background?A.T: I was born on 24/8/1963 and brought up in a Christian home. I schooled to “O” level standard and trained in insurance - an industry that I have been now working in for 30 years. I had a very stable up-bringing and traditional English lifestyle.

M.M: How best would you describe your family life?A.T: I am married with 4 children (2 older girls and 2 younger boys) and family life is hectic and busy at times. However, two of my children are now grown up –Patsi, 20, and Corrie, 18, and the boys are less difficult to look after than when they were younger as they are now 15 (Alex) and 13 (Joshua). So life is calmer now.

My wife is Ruth and I love her so much. She is the foundation upon which our family is built (though you could be super-spiritual about that kind of thing if you want) and I am proud of myself to have chosen so well in choosing Ruth!

M.M: Love it! What are the highlights of your time in Zimbabwe?A.T: This is my ninth trip to Zimbabwe since 2004. Everything is a hi-light this time. The anointing and favour of God has been upon me. We have been able to purchase a much needed project vehicle which has been a great blessing. We have employed the best couple,( local, young, enthusiastic and with some experience in the work) you could imagine to spearhead the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) work in Cowdray Park. Everything I have touched has gone right, thank you Lord – I have completed all my tasks set before arrival and have been pushing further forward than I dreamt would be possible in the remaining time.

M.M: Praise God Andy! Any challenges you’ve faced?A.T: Road blocks! And being away from my wife and family for 7 weeks!

M.M: What is your favourite quote?A.T: (Typically long!) Roosevelt – “it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly.....who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails whilst daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have known neither victory nor defeat."

There, I have written it out and I am crying. It gets to me every time.

M.M: Who is your favourite Bible character?A.T: Too many to choose from! Perhaps David – violent, dangerous and fundamentally flawed – but stated as “a man after God’s own heart”. If you can sleep with your mate’s wife and then get your mate killed and marry the lady, and God doesn’t write you off, there’s hope for us all!

M.M: What is your favourite drink?A.T: In Zimbabwe? Got to be Coca Cola!! Followed closely by Mazoe Orange Crush.

M.M: What is your favourite meal?A.T: A good Indian curry – not too spicy hot, but hot enough.

M.M: What’s your favourite scripture?A.T: My favourite passage is Matthew 25:34 – 40 and my favourite verse is Matthew 25:40

M.M: Great chatting to you Andy. Enjoy the rest of your time in Zimbabwe.

By Molly Manhanga

Friday, December 3, 2010

Community Home Based Care Get-Together

I was invited to attend a Community Home Based Care get-together yesterday which was held at a Silozwe Primary School – a local school in the community. About 100 enthusiastic HBC people attended as well as the primary school children. The event was organised by ACET – AIDS Care Education and Training.

I thought the event would start late, which is pretty typical in the rural areas but, by the time I arrived, the programme was well under way, much to my embarrassment as a seat was reserved for me at the main table.

The MC – Mr Precious Ndlovu, did a brilliant job of keeping things moving. 5 HBC groups attended and a slot was allocated for each group to either sing a song on AIDS or a poem or do a skit. Unfortunately I missed the entertainment slot from the Silozwana group as the majority of HBC folk attend Crossroads Community Church. The two groups I did see sent out great messages: The group from Gwandaville village spoke on AIDS being no respector of persons….it doesn’t matter who you are, it kills….. and the group from Tombo (rock) did a drama on the use of male and female condoms. That was really hilarious as the drama involved showing a gogo (granny) who could barely see; how the condoms work in-case she was still sexually active. A “free for all” dance followed and that was such fun. Of course, I focused on the Crossroads ladies and had a good laugh. Some were bold enough to come to the main table where I was sitting and show their moves. Amazing! It was so good seeing them enjoying themselves.

A Field Monitor Mr Bhebhe, then addressed everyone and had an open Q & A time on the concerns and struggles faced by the HBC teams, some being that an HBC person cannot visit a homestead alone because they may be misquoted or get into trouble, some families hide the sick and say the a patient is sleeping. Mr Bhebhe said that in order to be effective and have an impact in the communities, HBC teams need to visit patients.

Competitive netball matches followed between the teams. That was really interesting as it brought out the competitive spirit in the teams.

It was a good morning and I enjoyed meeting the folk from ACET as well as local leaders.

By Molly Manhanga

Book Review: God's Stump by Nigel Measures

While Stephen and I were on a 2 week break recently, I read Nigel Measures book “God’s Stump” The Church in all it’s Glory. I really enjoyed it as it’s one of those “REAL” books in which Nigel tackles real issues head-on and humbly offers clear, practical advice on how to overcome some obstacles and bridge the gap between people of different cultures.

Building multi-cultural church is not easy. There are many challenges, joys and pain, laughter and heartache but, a diverse church brings glory to God. I enjoyed all the chapters particularly, “The Church in all its Glory”, “Building together”, “Cultural Tapestry”, “Breaking the Silence” and “As it is in Heaven.” There is so much that we don’t know about one another’s cultures and yet we can be so quick to make judgements. Going in as a learner is the best way forward. Reading through some of the stories made me think of my situation - living amongst the Ndebele people in the rural areas of Kezi. They are such an amazingly resilient people who have endured so much. Nigel did an awesome job on racism and prejudice in “Breaking the Silence.” It’s such a hot and painful topic which many Christians avoid talking about and yet it’s as real as it gets. May God help us as we build multi-cultural, multi-racial churches and cross economic, racial and social boundaries. Jesus is our perfect example.

I really enjoyed “Life from a Stump” Isaiah 11:1 says “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.” What is a stump? Here are some pointers from the chapter:
1. The stump was a prophetic picture of what was going to happen to the people of Judah if they did not respond to the voice of God.
2. The stump was to become a metaphor for both Isaiah’s ministry and the message that he preached. Just as people might so easily overlook a tree stump in the ground, so the people of Judah overlooked both Isaiah the messenger and the message that he preached.
3. The stump is the holy seed from which salvation will grow. This stump is a person insignificant in appearance, but who will be the salvation of the entire world.
4. The stump is Jesus! The God of heaven and earth, the giver of salvation would choose to reveal himself to us and appear to us as a stump!
5. Jesus came like a stump and died like a stump. He also became a stump. Like a mighty oak he was felled down, crucified, destroyed and seemingly chopped of all life, never to grow again. Yet death could not hold Jesus in the grave.
6. Isaiah continues by highlighting some of the evidence or fruit that will emerge from the stump with the coming kingdom inaugurated by Jesus. From the stump new life will shoot forth…………
7. New life in Jesus will reveal itself through the radical transformation of relationships. Isaiah prophesied that the fruit of Jesus ministry would be the formation of new and unusual relationships that stand in sharp contrast to what is generally witnessed in the world around us.
8. The stump, therefore, not only gives us a picture of unusual relationships, but also of togetherness, activity, unity and community displayed in those relationships.
9. The stump then points to radical, strange and new community found in Jesus and his coming kingdom.
10. Reconciled relationships across worldly divides made possible by the spirit of God, will give a vivid demonstration that God is alive.

“God’s Stump” is such an excellent book to read. Give it a bash!

By Molly Manhanga

The Five Family Values

As a Church we are going through the Five Family values again……nothing quite like repetition for folk to grasp and understand what is being said. We have covered Everyone in Family, Committed Couples and Valued Children. Sam Poe tackled Sexual Purity in the service today.

Stephen Manhanga did a fantastic job with Valued Children and had folk in tears as he shared the following story about a girl called Nyasha:

“Nyasha was a teenage girl aged 15 when she ran away from her rural home to go and live in the big city of Bulawayo. For many years her family did not hear from her and did not know if she was dead or alive.
She was ashamed to contact her family because she had got herself into trouble. Finally, with no money, no friends and now with HIV, she wrote home: “I’m sorry I left you. I am in trouble and living with HIV, but, I want to come home. I will catch the bus through the village next Sunday. If you will take me back, please put a white cloth on our mango tree. If I don’t see the white cloth, I will just keep on going.”

Imagine her feeling as the bus came near the village. And, what did she see? Not just one cloth – the whole mango tree was covered in white. Her parents and family were standing and waving. She was their lost child come home. She was precious to them. She was valued and she was welcomed home.”

Luke 15 tells the story of the prodigal son. To add to this, there are the stories of the lost sheep and the lost coin.
Children are a real blessing from God.

Read more on Sexual Purity……..

By Molly Manhanga

Experience at CCC and TLZ

Our Present Experience At Crossroads Church in Kezi and Thembalezizwe in Umguza

It has been our joy to be involved with two young churches here in Zimbabwe which both began by using Chronological Bible Storying as a primary way of sharing the Gospel with those being added into the churches. We often see that the stories being told have prophetic application to specific situations in the church. Very often, during post-story discussion, there will be personal stories shared that connect the truths contained in the story with daily life. What a joy to see the “light turn on” as people discover that they too, are included in God’s big salvation story.

By Sam Poe

How does Bible Storytelling affect worldview

Jesus nearly always taught through stories. The message of Jesus was challenging many wrong worldview assumptions. Through his parables Jesus intended to challenge the existing Jewish worldview and to provide an alternative picture of reality that he called “the kingdom of God”.

N.T. Wright says, in his book The New Testament and the People of God:

“Stories are, actually, peculiarly good at modifying or subverting other stories and their worldviews. Where head-on attack would certainly fail, the parable hides the wisdom of the serpent behind the innocence of the dove, gaining entrance and favour which can then be used to change assumptions which the hearer would otherwise keep hidden away for safety.” Wright goes on to say, “The only way of handling the clash between two stories is to tell yet another story explaining how the evidence for the challenging story is in fact deceptive”.

If stories anchor people’s existing perspective on the world, then the best thing
Christians can do in order to displace wrong beliefs about the world and our life in the world is to tell better stories, and we have them! The stories of the Bible provide answers to the essential questions of life. The more biblical stories people know and can fit into a single comprehensive story of God’s saving work, the more completely they are able to embrace a biblical worldview. By hearing the stories of God’s Word those who are prepared to listen and receive will experience change in their fundamental view of the world. This, in turn will influence a wide range of beliefs and practices that are not in accord with the life Jesus came to bring us into.

When preparing stories for telling in a particular culture it is important to seek to understand the worldview of that culture. Where there are worldview issues that are in conflict with the biblical worldview more stories should be told from the Bible that show God’s perspective on that issue. For example here in Zimbabwe there is a prevailing attitude that ancestral spirits have a great deal of influence on the living and therefore must be appeased. This worldview regarding the spirit world goes against the biblical revelation regarding those who have died. Therefore we have chosen some stories that particularly give a biblical perspective on those who have died. One good example is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Here are two men who have died. Lazarus goes to heaven and the Rich Man goes to hell. Neither of these men is allowed to go back and connect with the living. Abraham says in the story that if the living will not listen to the testimony of God’s written word they will not listen to those who have died and come back.

Compiled by Sam Poe

Why is the Chronological Bible Storying strategy so relevant to oral cultures?

About four billion people on earth, that is two thirds of the world’s population, are ‘oral learners’ (those who are either illiterate or functionally illiterate). About 70% of the ‘unreached people groups’ (those who have never had opportunity to hear the Good News about Christ’s Salvation) are oral learners.

Oral learners have a different learning style to literate learners. Those who learn by reading have a tendency to isolate their teachings out of a story, or give detailed explanations of the various parts of a story, often boiling the story down into a statement of principle. Print makes this possible because words take on visual presence and therefore can be more easily separated out from each other. For an oral learner words are sounds without visual presence and only make sense when they are linked together in a sentence or paragraph associated with a life event or a story. For this reason they do not tend to quickly isolate ‘teachings’ or principles out of a story, but rather they encounter the story and enter into its world.

An oral learner will tend to carry what he knows in the form of remembered stories, proverbs or mental pictures of life events.

Jesus ministered to such a world. In the time of his ministry it is estimated that about 5% of the population of Israel could read. Aramaic was the common language spoken and there was not a lot of printed material in Aramaic. The Jewish scholars could read Hebrew and most of their written material was in Hebrew. When Jesus taught he used stories. In fact, when we begin to look closely at the teaching that was given by the early Christians in general, it is clear that Biblical Storytelling was normative.

By Sam Poe

What is the Chronological Bible Storying Strategy by Sam Poe

The term ‘Chronological Bible Storying’ is a specialized term that not only involves telling the stories of the Bible in chronological order but it also involves a strategy for using these stories for evangelism, church planting and training up leaders to carry on the mission of leading the church and multiplying churches without making literacy a prerequisite for such leadership. Of course this approach also serves very well in bringing God’s Big Story to those who do learn by reading.

Oral learners (those who don’t read to learn, but learn by hearing) learn best through stories and they are usually quite good at remembering treasured stories very well. With CBS each story is bridged to the next story. This stitches the stories together to form the big story of the Bible. In this way an oral learner is able to remember many stories because each story contains a reminder of the coming story. In this way they will be able to share the Great Story with others. For those called to leadership and church planting they will be able to clearly bring sound biblical understanding to those they lead through this chronological storytelling approach.

What is Chronological Bible Storying by Sam Poe

At Crossroads, we have been doing Chronological Bible Storying and we have completed “The Evangelism Track” and “The Church Planting Track.”

What Is Chronological Bible Storying?

The Bible is not only made up of many different stories, the Bible IS A STORY. It is God’s Great Salvation Story. The best way to share a story is to start at the beginning and tell it through to the end. Jesus used this approach on the very day of his resurrection. He met two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, a village about ten kilometers from Jerusalem. As he joined them on their way they did not recognize him. The two were full of sorrow and confusion over the death of Jesus. Now, here is the newly resurrected Jesus walking along with them. He wants to show them who he actually is. It might have been expected that he would perform some amazing sign to show them that he had risen from the dead. But instead he begins to tell them God’s Great Salvation Story, starting at the very beginning with Genesis and taking them through to the end with the words of the prophets. Then he showed them how he stood at center stage in this great drama. (Luke 24:27)

If those we want to share Christ’s salvation with don’t catch the big picture they will be left with many gaps in their understanding of what Jesus has accomplished for us through his death, burial and resurrection. There are key stories they must hear from the Books of Genesis to Revelation in order to catch the full impact of what Jesus has done for us.