Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Movie Review - Soul Surfer

I really enjoyed watching this true story of Bethany Hamilton. She had a loving supportive christian family and her best friend was Alana Blanchard. They loved the ocean and when Bethany caught her first wave, she knew she wanted to be a surfer. It was her passion and her way of life. She worked real hard at surfing until tragedy struck - a shark attack where Bethany's arm was ripped off by a shark. The fact that she survived was a miracle in itself. Bethany had to learn to do things differently and held on to the scripture that she could do all things through Christ who strengthens her. Her courage and bravery are amazing. Her determination saw her get back on the surf board, enter and win competitions.

Lessons learnt:
1. It's hard to see things clearly when you are too close to a situation. Need to step back and get a new perspective.
2. Don't know why terrible things happen to us but we got to believe that something good will come out of it.
3. Love and support of family and friends can get you through anything.
4. Compassion moves us to do amazing things and gives us a new perspective.
5. There is more to life than what we may think. Bethany realised that surfing isn't the most important thing in the world.
6. Getting through difficulties can give others hope in their trying times.

As Bethany says: "Life is like surfing. You can get caught in the impact zone but you get right back up. You never know whats on the next wave. With faith, anything is possible."

It's an excellent movie for the whole family.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Growth taking place

Weaners from first litter

To weaners
It's quite exciting seeing the growth process of the piglets to weaners.
From Piglets

Monday, February 27, 2012

Traditional marriages in Kezi

I had such an interesting time on Sunday after the service listening to about 20 people of varying ages - 80 years to 24 years, speak about marriages of yester years. I called both men and women together because I wanted to find out how cultural or traditional marriages were conducted long ago in comparison to how they are today. Culture is dynamic and continually changing so I wanted to give the much older folk an opportunity to share and explain why traditional weddings were so important to them. I was the 'learner' and it really felt great. This is what I discovered........

1. A woman would only get married once she was 20 years and above - not before.
2. Young ladies were afraid to get touched (appropriate touching i.e the young man putting his arm over the young ladies shoulder) before they were married. This was seen as a "no, no" - No zone area.
3. If a young lady liked a young gentleman, she would indicate it to him by giving him a handkerchief a year later and the young man would give her something of worth in return.
4. If the couple felt that they wanted to get married, the young lady would go to her aunt and explain their intentions.
5. If the young lady's family were in agreement, the wedding would take place but if they didn't like the young man, he'd have to break off the relationship and find someone else. No questions were asked.
6. When weddings took place, both the young man and woman were virgins.
7. There were very few churches in the communities so church weddings weren't seen as crucial. A member in the family was chosen and he/she would get the proceedings/ceremony going.
8. Lobola or a dowry was paid first. The woman would then go to the man's home and choose a cow which would be slaughtered at the ceremony and the meat shared by all. If the bride didn't come from the area, some of the meat would be taken to her relatives. If the man was not originally from the community, he wouldn't change his culture in terms of marrying a young lady.
9. Ceremonies were done at the girls house first on one day before the ceremony moved to the man's house. The young lady would then stay at the young man's house.
10. Those marriages that have 'survived' 15 - 35 years or so is mainly because the ladies were told that whether the marriage was tough or nice, whether she was abused verbally, sexually or physically, she HAD to endure it and not tell anyone.
11. They felt that many young couples are not making it because the woman cannot endure hardship. After a domestic dispute, the young lady will go back to her parents and they will take her in.
12. The older folk felt that they liked the way traditional marriages took place because the changes are 'hurting' them in terms of young girls 11, 12 or 13 years becoming sexually active. Girls of 14 or 15 giving birth etc and they seriously disapproved of sex education being taught in schools.

I learnt alot from this discussion and it will be easier to pray into marriages in our community and to see how best to help those who ask for it.

Update on the Tuckshop

The Crossroads tuckshop is a hive of activity every Sunday after the service. Commodities that are selling pretty quickly at the moment are sugar, mealie meal, candles, matches and super cools seeing as it is so hot. The stock in the tuckshop is improving all the time and folk in the community are so grateful that they don't have to walk long distances to purchase small items for their homes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It was so encouraging listening to many people give testimonies of how God is working in their lives and how good He is to them. After singing the song "There is no one like Jesus", Stephen called on the church to give testimonies and people just stood up one by one to share of God's grace, love, provision etc in their lives.
Sometimes we think testimonies have to be earth-shaking or sea-parting or something extraordinary - they can be that, but we also see God's hand in the small ordinary things of our day to day lives and how He is working in the hearts and lives of folk.
How good it is to be a child of the LIVING God.
Psalm 91:1 - 2
He who dwells in the shelter of the
Most High
will rest in the shadow of the
I will say of the Lord, 'He is my
refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.'

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A "chicken" thing.....

It looks like a chicken thing is on at the moment. About 256 people gathered at Crossroads last Friday from Ward 16 (Mabaluwuni village, Silozwe, Natisa, Lushumbe and Gwandaville) Ezra Prescott and a guest speaker from Harare - Vitalis Gonesi came to Mablauwuni village to train and equip the villagers on Broiler chicken and Layer chicken management.

Vitalis shared on how to prepare chicken houses with excellence, make sure there is a good water source, being dedicated, and knowing what you are doing. Ezra spoke about the business side of chickens - the importance of having a market, record keeping, taking care of eggs and putting them in trays. Mxwayisi spoke about using Foundations for Farming principles with the chickens i.e. doing things on time, to standard, without wastage and with joy.

It was a good meeting and many people didn't know much on broiler and layer chickens as well as being able to apply the Foundations for Farming principles to chickens and everyday life. They appreciated the training.

Friday, February 17, 2012

All Night Prayer

Stephen and I had an amazing time at Hamara when we joined Thembalezizwe church in their All Night Prayer meeting. There were about 150 people in total including children. The worship was beautiful and Steve shared an excellent word which was followed by prayer. It was good catching up with friends during the tea break and really nice seeing David and June Dean who are originally from the U.K and are out here serving TLZ for the next 2 years.
Steve and I arrived home at 2:00am and the prayer was finishing at 4:30am. How wonderful it is to pray, individually and corporately.

Decision Time pt 2

Last Sunday Mxwayisi Dube, one of the emerging leaders working closely with Stephen Manhanga, shared brilliantly from 1 Kings 18:20 - 40. He was truly fired up as he shared this relevant message on not sitting on the fence and choosing between Baal or the living God. In our context it would be choosing between the ancestors or God.

Mxwayisi spoke about how the prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning to noon, they danced around the altar, slashed themselves until blood flowed, shouted louder until the evening. There was no response from Baal. Elijah had unwavering faith and belief in God. He prayed and v38 - 39 says "Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The Lord - he is God! The Lord - he is God!'"

We had a good time of prayer afterwards as folk wanted to serve God totally and give up their old practices.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Decision Time pt 1

Read - 1 Kings 18: 16 -40

Emphasis - 1 Kings 18:21 "Elijah went before the people and said, 'How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."

Have you ever pretended to think one thing while really believing something else? At one time or another most of us have tacitly agreed with the persuasive person simply by failing to disagree. Or we've looked the other way and nodded knowingly while the red flag went up in our minds. It's a difficult and even dangerous balancing act attempting to please people on both sides of a controversial fence. The only remedy for avoiding such a precarious position is to decide which side of the fence really matters and then get down from the fence and take a stand.

The prophet Elijah confronted the people of his day and demanded they choose whom they would serve - the true God of Israel or the false gods of the pagan nations surrounding them. He basically challenged them, "Get off the fence! You can't have it both ways. Either live your lives in a way that is pleasing to the one true God.......or not."

Most of us have never been put in a position in which we had to choose between worshipping the true God or bowing down to statues made of wood or stone. Yet we often find ourselves tempted to try that balancing act while living in a spiritually and morally bankrupt culture. We may compromise our lifestyles, going to places or doing things we really know we shouldn't. We may even justify our behaviour by saying we don't want to offend anyone. Or we neglect to say the things we know we should and then excuse ourselves by saying we will let our faith be seen in our actions rather than heard in our words. At times these may be legitimate claims, but at other times they may be nothing more than convenient excuses so we don't have to risk rejection.

Elijah wasn't concerned with rejection when he challenged the false prophets and called the people to serve the true God. He put it all on the line - even his life. The prophet refused to compromise or put himself in the precarious position of riding the fence; as a result, God vindicated him in the sight of his enemies. He was caught in the act of standing up for God. May this be said of us too!

Personalities pt 2

To what extent should one person control another, if at all? Interesting question! While it could be said that relationships are not democracies, neither are they dictatorships. It is important to seek a balance you're comfortable with within any relationship and to seek the ability to compromise, to tolerate, be flexible and give and take both ways is essential to healthy relationships.

Friendships and relationships are not built on who is in control but rather on mutual respect and listening to each other. This is something that controllers or manipulators find difficult. It is said that they are selfish at the core and pretty disrespectful. Controllers are also very jealous people who want to emotionally hurt you at every moment and attempt to sever your friendships - this is because they love attention or being at the centre of attention and having a grandiose image. Criticism comes spontaneously but if the same criticism is meted out to them, they have difficulty with it. Anyone bringing a complaint to or against a controller is likely to become the target of personal attack or character assassination. People who are not wise to their wiles may be manipulated into joining in on the attack, thinking they are joining in a just cause defending the controller against attacks of an enemy. Controllers and manipulators are masters of subtlety and get others to do their 'dirty work' thereby keeping their hands clean. It's like a 'Jeckyl and Hyde' personality. Ironically, the 'victim' knows that they are being illtreated and that there is a'gang mentality' at play.

The questions arises again, would anyone want this personality type to control them? To what extent should one person control another, if at all? Do these personality types exist in the church today? Yes, they do. It is said that controlling personalities cannot change. With God, ALL things are possible and He is able to change anyone at the core of their being. He did that for Saul in the Book of Acts and He can certainly do it for you and me.

Thought for the day

1 Peter 5:10 - 11
And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will Himself restore you and
make you strong, firm and steadfast.
To him be power for ever and ever.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mens Breakfast at Crossroads

Stephen sharing at the breakfast
Last Saturday there was a Men's Breakfast at Crossroads. The breakfast was a combined effort between Crossroads Community Church and Family Impact. 62 men gathered at the church, enjoyed breakfast, fellowship and discussing different issues.

Xolani Ndlovu, from Faithful Stewards Programme, led the first session and he asked the men what the community had done for itself in the last 10 years and what Non Governmental Organisations had done for the community in the last 10 years. The contributions were quite good. They also shared abit about Health as Xolani encouraged the men to build toilets by their homes. 70% of the people in Ward 16, which has approximately 4 500 people, don't have toilets. Xolani shared on Foundations for Farming. He encouraged the men that Foundations for Farming was not only in horticulture and maize, but also in animal husbandry. He told the men to use every opportunity that God has given them.

Men enjoying their breakfast

Stephen did the next session which was on male responsibility in the home. He encouraged the men to take care of their children and to love their wives. Abuse and domestic violence take place often and Steve encouraged the men to cherish the wife of their youth and build trust in their relationships.
He concluded by encouraging the men to look after their environment and plant trees - especially fruit trees by their homes to replace the ones that are being chopped down for firewood.

It seems like the men had a really good time and are pretty eager to meet again. The general consensus was that the women should also meet.........our meeting is planned for March 14th. Please pray for us!
It was wonderful having David Dean bring about 6 men from Thembalezizwe Church out to Kezi.

Finishing Strong

The death of Whitney Houston - one of the most successful female singers of all time, reminded me again that it is not so much how we start but how we finish that counts.

I recall when the singer was extremely popular in the 80's and 90's......I would sing her songs particularly "The Greatest Love Of All" and exercise to the beat of her music. I also enjoyed her films "The Bodyguard" and "The Preachers Wife". What stardom! What fame! Hers was "THE VOICE" of all time. Everything seemed so glamorous and wealthy on the outside yet life was rocking her boat on the inside. It took it's toll....bad choices and bad decisions.

Life can knock us down and we can get up again either on our own or with the help of a friend or loved one. As christians, we will face hard times but as 2 Corinthians 4:8 - 9 says "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." We are alive in Jesus.

To finish strong - to reach the end, we need a vision - a vision for what is really important. As Steve Farrar says in his book "Finishing Strong " (Absolutely loved reading it) "What does it mean to finish strong? It means you will come to the end of your life with a strong and close relationship to Christ."

Let's finish strong and avoid the ambushes of life.

By Molly Manhanga

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Community Newspaper

We have started a community newspaper recently called the 'Natisa News' and the first edition has been distributed in the Matobo community which includes Silozwe, Kezi, Mapisa, Natisa, Vulindlela etc, etc - basically Wards 16 and 17 which has approximately 9 thousand people.

The Natisa News has news about the Churches: Crossroads Community Church, New Life for All, United Pentecostal Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church, Ebenezer, Beyond Belief, Community, Operation Trumpet Call, Family Impact, Letter from the Editor, News from the Community Leaders or Chief, Technical farming side which is tomatoes at the moment etc. It's purpose is to spread relevant, accurate information within the communities, bring unity as well as being a tool to spread the gospel.

Articles are written in English and then translated and printed in the venacular - Ndebele. There has been such positive comments from folk in the community. I hope that this 'easy read' newspaper stimulates a reading culture amongst all age groups.

I feel quite privileged to be the Editor of this 'new' Newspaper and to serve the community in such a relevant, practical way.

By Molly Manhanga

Reciting scripture

It was wonderful listening to 9 children from Kidz Alive recite different scriptures that they have learnt. Some of the scriptures included John 14:14, Ephesians 6:1, Jeremiah 22:29, Psalm 23:1, Psalm 23:1 - 6 and Romans 10:17.
The Kidz have been doing extremely well reciting scripture and Stephen gave them a chance to lead the Sunday morning service. Delightful!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Personalities pt 1

I received several comments to the article on Deception. A friend told me that the article was a little too honest! I guess thats the whole point - honesty counteracts deception.
After reading Nigel Ring's articles on "Teams that work" and the various personalities, I was interested in finding out more on controlling personalities. In short, this is what I found out:

1. Controllers don't allow you to be yourself. They'd like to influence your behaviour.
2. They are moody and can use temper and bullying to get their way. In their minds, you are challenging their authority over you when you either disagree with them or don't comply to their wishes.
3. They assume that they understand how you think, even when they actually don't.
4. Positive comments or compliments are not sincere. They don't want you to feel good about yourself. They try to control the way you dress, speak and may criticize your opinion. If you are considered to be an attractive/beautiful person, controllers will attempt to attack your physical appearance.
5. They seem incapable of understanding or accepting the word 'no'. They will tend to insist until they wear you down and make you give in.
6. What happens when you want to be yourself and do your own thing? Controllers try to define your reality.
7. How does this person see difficult situations, mutual decision-making or issues of responsibility? Controlling people lack the ability to tolerate or accept differences between the two of you. They are seeking ways to change some part of your core traits or personality, reshaping you. Often they will demean or criticize others as a means of building themselves up and appearing superior and in control.
8. What about your other relationships? What happens to them? Controlling people often try to cause trouble between you and your friends, spreading rumours, attempting to create divisions (divide and conquer) and will tell lies/exaggerations about you to them or about them to you to try and break your attachment/relationship. The ultimate aim is to isolate you from others so that they can have you all to themselves, inside the reality they are trying to weave for you.
9. Controlling people are very manipulative. They will not like it when you try and stand up for yourself. Interestingly, in christian circles, when a woman stands up for herself or says no to something or has a different view point etc, she is considered as being unsubmissive.
10. Stay alert! Controlling relationships can be suffocating and very destructive if not handled well.

To what extent should one person control another, if at all? Read more and find out......

Thought for the day

God plans a wonderous future
1 Corinthians 2:9
No eye has seen
No ear has heard,
No mind has conceived
what God has prepared
for those who love him.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Culture at work - Tenela

Tenela means “Going Out!” The men in Mablauwuni village “tenelard” - went on a walk about for 3 days last week trying to appease the ancestors.......
Mablauwuni village hasn’t had rain for 5 weeks now and some of the crops are a sorry sight! The “elders” (older men and community leaders) of Mablauwuni held a meeting and concluded that the ancestors were angry with the villagers and are withholding the rain because Mablauwuni Village is dirty – the “earth” is dirty!
The women were not allowed to go anywhere and had to literally lock themselves in their homes. The children under 18 were allowed to go to school and the men carried sticks and walked around the village burning any bones they found and killing any animal in sight – this included tortoises and lizards. Trees that had been previously struck by lightning were also burnt. The men also went up small kopjes (hills) to apologise for dirtying the earth and pray to the ancestors to send the rain. The men would eventually gather at a pool in the community called “Blauwuni” pool where they would eat their killings! The “spoils” were roasted and eaten by the men.

After 3 days, one would consider this to be quite a mission and hope for results. Well, the rain DIDN’T come and the heat continued in Kezi!

God at work!
On Sunday just before the meeting ended, everyone stood up and spent some time in prayer – asking God to send us rain! The prayer was heartfelt and lasted about 15minutes. It didn’t take long after that for us to see a build up of clouds and down came the rain. It was a huge testimony especially to the ladies who were “locked” up in their homes that God does cause miracles to happen, that God is at work and hears our prayers. Some of the older men were rather sceptical......

We were just so pleased to have rain which cooled everything down.

By Molly Manhanga