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Updates from Ameva Farm and Bible College

2006 through 2008


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December 23, 2008

Dear All, Thank you for your concern for the suffering people here. The cholera outbreak here has subsided although people are still getting ill but not in the numbers of two weeks ago. MSF have been doing a wonderful job. The outbreak was mostly confined to one area of the high density area where the sewage system was compromised. Since there had been no water in the taps for some months, people had dug shallow wells & were, hence, drinking contaminated water. UNICEF have now set up clean water points, given out buckets, soap & water purification tablets in that area. The official figure has put the deaths at 128 which is a lot for a small town. I know the only NGO working in Chegutu is Catholic Relief Agency. I have tried to get food aid from them but they were directed by the government to work in a certain rural area, so we were denied. CRA are now working with those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, giving food aid. As far as I know no one is helping those recovering from cholera. I cannot describe the situation here. It has got so very bad in the last few weeks. I went round the supermarkets today. Two had nothing in them & one was selling in US. I went to buy eggs & potatoes for Christmas. I did not have enough money for either. It really brought home for me how hard it is for people here. I am seeing a lot of malnourished babies & old people. It is scary as in the last two weeks food can only be bought with US or rand so the majority of people are now unable to buy food or pay rent etc. We are not registered to distribute food aid, only the big guys are, so our work is very low key in that area. We are working mainly in the commercial farming area round Ameva but we do have contacts on the high density through the pastors & could use them. We also have a contact who has imported many tons of rice. Actually I am overwhelmed by the situation. Undoubtedly if something is not done on a large scale & very, very quickly many people are going to die. Considering the scale we are able to do very little but we can help some.


In His service, Celia & John Valentine


December 18, 2008

Zimbabwe: Chaos in New Cholera Outbreak

Click on the link here to read an article written in the "Doctors Without Borders" website:




December 13, 2008

Just to let you know that the cholera epidemic has reached Chegutu. There are over 60 deaths reported here in the last few days. We know of 2 deaths on farms near Ameva & another person sick. A "cholera camp" has been set up in Chegutu; no one is allowed in but I believe that conditions are pretty grim with bodies waiting for collection. The student Sebastian was taken there but thankfully recovered sufficiently to be allowed home. Thanks for your prayers. Frances has been treating many people at Ameva for diarrhea &, despite getting more supplies of oral rehydration salts from the Chegutu Environmental Health, ran out again & has had to make up sachets of sugar & salt. She has seen over 400 people in the last two weeks. If you have a strong stomach you can click on the link below to read the report of the pastor of a big church in Harare. The Bible School finished yesterday. Terry & Frances return to UK on Wednesday.


Love from, Celia & John




December 10, 2008

"Ask the Lord for rain. He will give them showers of rain, grass in the field for everyone." ~ Zephaniah 10:1 This was our Bible reading this morning & we took it as a sign. This afternoon the rain started, nice gentle rain that soaks in & doesn't leave pools of water for mosquitoes & cholera germs to breed in. The 50 acres we have planted on Ameva badly needed it. Thank you, Lord! Grace & her fiancé Bruce & his daughter Megan (Bruce is a widower) left for a 3 week visit to UK today. It's really nice they are going to see the relatives. The Bible School is progressing well & by Wednesday last week there were 13 students. Terry is enjoying teaching. However, one of the students went down with cholera yesterday which really brought home what is going on. The district hospital & the rural health clinic are both shut so they have set up a cholera camp in the high density in one of the halls. They only accept people who are too ill to walk; otherwise the sick are given a prescription & told to go home. We have had 65 cases of diarrhea last week & 40 so far this week at farm clinic but these people do not appear sick enough to have cholera. Generally the situation is getting worse by the day, & with poor sanitation, infrequent water supply & very few health facilities it doesn't look good. Many people are going to die.


Much love, Celia & John


December 2, 2008

You will have heard, if you keep up with news here, that Zimbabwe has a cholera epidemic. Four people have already died in Chegutu. The doctors & nurses are on strike in the hospital & the health clinic so without US or Rands to go private there is not much help. Terry & Frances Watson are with us, & it was great to have nurse Frances this morning at the clinic. There were over 80 patients, about 35 of which had diarrhea. Thankfully the Watsons had brought medical supplies including oral rehydration salts.


Terry is teaching in the second session of the Bible College in Chegutu. We have 6 students from the locality & they are all very keen. I am particularly pleased Frances has come - nice to have another female around. Ian & Elsie Gibson ( fellow elders in the church) are still in the UK. It seems that their return will be delayed until well into next year as Ian needs serious medical treatment. Many of you know them & you can contact them by e-mail or through Jim Bailey. Please excuse the haphazard nature of the "weeklies", they are becoming "monthlies" or "bimonthlies". Our phones go off for days at a time or the internet goes down or the server is having problems. I would be grateful if people didn't write although I love getting your e-mails. It is becoming just too difficult. As I write the phone had just gone again. I haven't been able to download my e-mails for 10 days. If there is anything urgent can you please send it through Jim - amevajim@aol.com Finally if you were thinking of sending us a Christmas card, it's too late. It will arrive in February & we will be in UK in February. If it's written, save it till next year & post EARLY!


Love from Celia & John


November 12, 2008

Yes, we are having communication problems. All lines outside Chegutu including the internet were down for over a week. Of course it always happens when you have a lot of business to do. If I owe you an e-mail, I do apologize & will try & catch up ASAP. If you are trying to contact us through Facebook or Tagged it isn't possible & any e-mail over 200KB we have to delete at the server so we never get to read it. Now you know - we live in caves here!


No resolve to the political stalemate & nothing in sight. There were some disturbances in Harare this week but they were quickly dealt with. It is extremely hot & we are hoping this is a sign that we will soon get rain. Not managed to get maize for our workers. We have been twice to the Grain Marketing Board in Harare but they say there is none in the country. What little there is, is being brought in privately from South Africa & is at an astronomical price. I don't really want to go on and on about the depressing situation here so I will stop. The church is rejoicing & send their love.


Love, Celia & John


October 31, 2008

We have just returned from a wonderful holiday in Namibia. Having reached another decade in my life & in our marriage, we decided to treat ourselves as it's a place I've always wanted to visit. Well worth the effort - I would rate it the best tourist destination in Africa - well organized but not commercialized!


And now back to Zimbabwe. Grace did a good job holding the fort. The food situation had greatly deteriorated in the three weeks we were away. There appears to be very little maize in the country - we were in Harare on Wednesday pleading for the workers & orphans but were told 'nothing - maybe next week'. On Ameva one lady fainted in the fields not having eaten properly for 4 days & the guard just taken on said he had been living on wild berries. Everyone was complaining of hunger so there was great rejoicing when we distributed food parcels yesterday. However, we still need to get maize or sorghum. Please pray.


We hear stories of people in the rural areas swapping their cattle for a few buckets of maize & in the south children, elderly & sick succumbing to hunger. In the towns it's not much better. We hear Chegutu Hospital has now discharged all its patients & they have no drugs even for AIDS patients. The town is without electricity & water for most of the time. In Harare, Chitungweza & Chinhoyi there have been cases of cholera reported. The money is worthless - you can only get Z$50,000 a day out of the bank (big queues) which won't even buy a loaf of bread & although I had some US currency I wasn't able to buy flour in Harare this week.


But here we are & with your help able to help some a little. Although you have never been in such a situation you give people hope that someone does care, that with God's help they will get through & there will be better days. Keep praying.


Lots of love, Celia & John


September 16, 2008

Zimbabwe in the headlines again! We are relieved at the recent developments but cautiously wait to see the outcome. Things are actually worse, if possible, with no basic food, difficulty getting fuel despite having coupons, & no electricity in the country for the past 24 hours. James our youth pastor has been working in Gweru recently & a couple of weeks ago, ahead of an MDC rally, people were being randomly picked up by the police. Those who protested were beaten. James, his uncle & a friend were detained but when the policeman tried to handcuff James to another man, the handcuff sprung open. After three attempts the policeman tried the empty handcuff & it worked perfectly. Suspecting witchcraft, the policeman in charge hurriedly told James & company that they could go. They went rejoicing..... People on the farms have been really suffering & I worried about our own workers while we could not help them with food. Just as things were getting really bad, a team arrived distributing cheap food parcels from the Government. Ameva was one of the few places to get them - they really filled the gap. Thanks for the prayers. Finally some really good news. Grace & Bruce have gotten engaged. The ring is being made in South Africa & we expect a wedding sometime next year.


Lots of love, Celia & John


August 28, 2008

Some of you know that our daughter Grace & her friend Bruce spent a night under detention at Selous police station. Thank you for your prayers. They had gone out to take coffee to a local farmer who had been thrown off his farm & was camping by the side of the road. The new "owner" pitched up with some police in tow. They accused Grace & Bruce of pointing a gun at them. Despite a thorough search, no gun was found. They were threatened but refused to go anywhere except the police station, where they were kept for the night - fortunately not in the cells. Bruce was in court last Tuesday accused of pointing a gun & of insulting the president (also an offence). The case was thrown out through lack of evidence. The Jouberts & Steyn family are still camped on the main Harare road. People of all races are showing them a lot of support. The Bible College went well. This weekend there is a women's conference on the farm. Edmore has now completed his course at Blackfordby Agriculture College & is now back managing the farm. He got a distinction in animal husbandry. Les starts this course next week. Unfortunately he injured his eye several months ago & has now had to have it removed. Please pray for him, his life is rather a mess.


Lots of love, Celia & John


August 18, 2008

Well we are still here - lots of ups & downs but nothing sorted as yet. The food/grocery situation is really bad. We are trying to help as we can but last time we went to Botswana, they were sold out with people coming over the border. The Reserve Bank have knocked ten zeros off the currency but the Zimbabwe dollar crashed again yesterday so we will be back to square one in no time. Coins are back & people have been digging in their gardens & the tips to look for any hordes that have been discarded. Shepherd took $23,000 in coins at the oil mill last week.


Over a hundred people are coming some days for medical help & we are running out of supplies. Thankfully we are expecting Tim Platt & friends to come & help in September. Lots of people with coughs & colds & with diarrhea. Lack of food, cold weather & trauma have resulted in a lot of sickness & people are walking miles to see us.


John, Ebenezer & Solomon started the Bible college again this week with 6 student from Chegutu & one from Masvingo. It is going well & everyone is keen.


Love from Celia & John


July 14, 2008

Thank you so much for your prayers over the last few weeks. We really felt divine protection. Thank you all those who wrote. Sorry I am not able to reply individually. Mike, Angela & Ben are now out of hospital. Ben is back on the farm & intends to go to Namibia on Wednesday to attend the SADC court. His recovery has been truly amazing. For Mike and Angela, being older, getting back to normal is taking a little longer. We heard that yesterday the police had recovered Mike's vehicle & arrested the main perpetrator of the attack.


Chegutu is now quiet & peaceful but we hear that other parts of the country are still suffering. We have not been able to get any food parcels although they may start again in two weeks. We were able to get some essentials for the pastors on our shopping trip to Botswana & John managed to get some maize for our workers & for the orphans. But there is NOTHING in the shops.


Thanks again,


Love from, Celia & John


July 4, 2008

Please pray for our young people. They have been so traumatized by the last three weeks prior to the elections. All under 30s had to attend 22 hour meetings. About 4 people on Ameva were severely beaten (it appears that these were not politically active but were reported because others bore grudges). John had to go to the farm on Sunday 22nd. They said they had report of us & wanted to re-educate John. He felt he had to go as he wanted to stop the beatings. I tried to phone Devy Rd (a church in England) & others for prayer but being a Sunday meeting time I got no response. You can imagine I did some serious knee work! When he got there the war vet in charge had gone to a meeting in Norton & the guy sent over to stand in was Humphrey, one of our past students (not a success as you can see but God was using him.) So there was good rapport & John did not get re-educated & the beating stopped on Ameva. Other farms around had a bad time however. Our young people had to run ten miles bare foot. They were doused with cold water ( & it's cold at the moment) & had to roll in the dust. They spent most time chanting slogans & singing revolutionary songs. I haven't heard of any of our girls being abused but I know it went on in other places. Of course people feared for their children so they vote. We were not able to go up to the farm at all last week. So we went to Botswana for 2 days shopping. I went up today for the first time but haven't been able to open the clinic again. Maybe next week? Campbells & Ben were abducted on Sunday. Grace was on the farm with Bruce, Ben, Laura & family at Bruce's house. They had a phone call from another farmer to say that a gang had attacked a neighboring farm & taken guns & were believed to be on their way to Mount Carmel Farm. Ben went over to warn the Campbells but was captured as well. They shot out his tires. Grace, Megan & Laura & family escaped by driving through the farm cutting fences to get out. Bruce followed the raiders but was ambushed & shot at so he had to retreat. By the time the armed police got there they had disappeared. The police were helpful which shows a change in policy. The victims were taken to a pungwe or night meeting, doused in cold water & the men were badly assaulted. Mike was pretty well unconscious for most of the time & doesn't remember anything. Ben kept saying "Jesus", Angela thought of the Cross & said, "Father forgive them." She got beaten for that. They were told they were going to be shot but were eventually thrown out at Kadoma. Ben managed to get to a house & ring his wife. Grace & Bruce went out & collected them, brought them to Chegutu Hospital where they were stabilized & then taken to Harare by private ambulance. Mike has a broken collar bone & 2 broken ribs; he has severe bruising on his head but no damage to his brain. Angela had her arm broken in two places & has had to have a pin put in; she also has a lot of facial bruising. Ben has a serious condition - he has bleeding behind the eye & must be operated on to relieve the pressure. They are waiting for the bleeding to stop - please pray. Only one man can do this operation in Zimbabwe & he has agreed to come out of retirement to do it (The same man operated on Sue Vaughan's back while she was here). The Campbell's, Ben's & Bruce's houses have all been looted. Campbell's have lost their car, a Prado. BUT such a miracle they weren't shot.


They have drafted in over a 100 extra police into Chegutu since the weekend & have made about 80 arrests so far. They have picked up 14 guns including Mike's, and also retrieved some of Angela's jewelry. Please pray that they get the big guys because it seems that the organizers of these crimes often get away with it as they have "protection". I had five dogs from their farm here for two days (some of them very large). I was also able to look after the children for a few hours - so glad to help; one feels so useless in these situations most of the time.


While Grace & Laura were escaping from the farm on Sunday she managed to phone us. John went round to the police who already knew & then went to the road to meet her. He got Shepherd Tshuma (the army chaplain) to go with him. All the white farmers turned up but as there were a lot of guns stolen they had to wait for back up & directions from the provincial command. This took about 2 hours. The farmers including John then guarded the roads out of Stockdale Farm where Bruce had followed his parents to. However they had already gone & they drew a blank. Anyway John is my hero so I thought I would let you know!


Grace has been involved in running round & helping Bruce & visiting the patients. She has been wonderful. So many people have helped in different ways.


Love, Celia


June 30, 2008

"The Campbells and Mr Freeth turned up shortly before midnight, dumped on a nearby farm. Angela had a broken arm." quote is taken from the online Times news in today's paper.


Jim Bailey of Eltham Green in the United Kingdom


June 29, 2008

Praise God, the three are safe, having been dumped in nearby town.




June 29, 2008

John has just rang, 21.19 Sunday 29 June and asked that we would pray for the situation local to them. Local farmer Mike and Angela Campbell and their son-in-law, Ben Freeth have been abducted from their farm. He went with police to search but darkness has made it difficult and they are now back home with their eldest daughter staying overnight.


Please pray that God would be overall in this situation.


Jim Bailey of Eltham Green in the United Kingdom


June 23, 2008

We seem to be in the world news everyday now - not for good reasons either. We were at a wedding today just along the road. It was an army wedding with the military band & a guard of honor. Ian said it was the safest place in Chegutu! Lawlessness abounds here. But we are well & resting in His protection. The Mukuru food parcels have been temporarily stopped this month. We hope to go to Botswana for a couple of days in the coming week to get some food for people but we will have see if it is advisable to travel.


Much love, Celia & John


June 9, 2008

Our news has been all negative as you will have seen from the media. I haven't felt like writing as I am sure you have had enough of Zimbabwe. All I can say is what you have seen is true & worse. Eb said in church today that this was our darkest hour but we must hold on to faith in God. At the beginning of last week £1 was worth 1 billion Zimbabwe dollars. Today it is posted on the internet as worth 5 billion. Where in the world do you get paid in billions? Well, people wear the t-shirts, sing the slogans, attend the non-stop meetings but, if allowed on the 27th, will vote with their conscience. Thank you for the food parcels; you are literally keeping some people alive. Keep praying.


Love, Celia & John


May 19, 2008

Thank you for your prayers. We had a wonderful time at the Pastors' Conference & all were so refreshed & encouraged. Forty-five pastors came as well as other church leaders. Great to see some graduates that we haven't seen for a long time. Les spoke on the Anointing at the evening meetings, Jim & Mickey took morning sessions in the week together with local speakers. It was a very moving time. Most didn't come until Tuesday as they doubted that with the situation as it is we would hold the conference but all went well. Les flew back to Singapore on Saturday. John, Mickey & Jim have gone to Mutare this week end to minister there. The two return to UK on Friday & then our son Niel is arriving Saturday for two weeks. All comings & goings.


There are disturbing reports of certain people being beaten up in Chegutu & the Rogers, white farmers, were viciously attacked. Law & order has completely broken down as the police are unwilling to intervene. However, we have seen no violence personally. Electricity cuts have returned with a vengeance the last couple of days - back to pre election black outs.


Love, Celia & John


May 3, 2008

Everything is quiet in Chegutu although there is a lot of fear especially among teachers who were election officers. We have had public meetings organized by army generals telling (or stronger) people how to vote in a presidential runoff. They are going round the country. People go but in the towns they say nothing.


Jim & Mickey arrived last week & Les Wheeldon arrives on Sunday & we are going ahead with the Pastors' Conference next week.


Electricity cuts have started again but not on the previous scale. I am having difficulty getting pet food for the 3 cats & Lucy the dog.


Love Celia & John


April 19, 2008

We made a flying visit to Durban last week to source some vehicles for the schools. It was a nice break away from the tension here. Still unclear what is going to happen. Some people in Chegutu have been beaten up, some of you may know one victim, Shelman from Ameva who now lives in town.


We are continuing to make preparations for the Pastors' Conference 5-10th May. All the pastors are looking forward to a "holiday" & it would be a real disappointment is we didn't go ahead. Of course we are reviewing the situation daily. Thank you for all the prayers. I was able to give out food parcels to the Chegutu pastors today - I wish you could realise what this means to them.


Love Celia & John


April 8, 2008

Zimbabwe is in limbo. No results for the presidential elections so we are all in a state of suspense. For the first few days after the elections we were moving from news channel to news channel to radio & internet to try & find out what was happening. And we still don't know...........


What we do know is that the country has remained peaceful despite provocation; that the country is united in wanting change & that includes the majority of the armed forces, the police, secret service & war vets. The recent farm invasions appear to be done by rent-a-mob.& hassle in the high density areas by recent recruits. There is some food in the shops in Harare but this morning when I visited our three supermarkets here there were rows & rows of empty shelves. I have never seen it so bad. Only one supermarket that had baked bread was doing any business at all.


Thank you for your prayers. It has made the difference & God is faithful to sort out once & for all this mess.


Love from, Celia & John


March 30, 2008

Election day here passed peacefully & quietly & we are now waiting for the results. There was a poling station at the shops opposite our house. Locally MDC has made a clean sweep in Chegutu urban & when John passed through the high density area this morning it looked like they were getting ready to celebrate. We are not sure about the farm which falls in the rural area. Please continue to pray for peace once the results are announced Monday or Tuesday.


Love, Celia & John


March 24, 2008

We sadly said good -bye to our visitors last week so it has been a quiet Easter. We were sent some extra food parcels so were able to give out supplies to Ameva workers. It was such a blessing to pass on these gifts to people who have not seen such food for many months. Elections in the country take place on Saturday & it is the first time we have seen all parties so actively & openly campaigning. However the situation is tense. Please pray for peace.


Much love, Celia & John 


February 25, 2008

Rather a busy week. Started off when I left the clinic keys in Chegutu when I went to the farm on Monday. As a result I had 92 patients on Wednesday - this must be a record! Wednesday afternoon the Primary School head phoned to say he was leaving the school on Friday to take up a scholarship in South Africa - rather a shock as we had no notion that he had applied for one. Morale in the schools is very low & even basic stationary is hard to obtain. Many teachers have left for South Africa so there is no one there who could take over. Please pray.


Nearly a month to go now before the elections, inflation continues at an alarming rate. Daphne & Margaret are going to Victoria Falls next week.


Much love, Celia & John


Recent news from Zimbabwe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7241353.stm


February 10, 2008

Sorry I haven't been in touch for the last month. We have had a lot of communication problems with the internet, the phone & the local phone exchange (goes down every time we have a power cut). In the end I just gave up! Anyway, Hallelujah, we have had electricity for nearly three days now so no excuses. Marg & Daphne arrived from UK on Friday so I don't know if that had anything to do with it. Nice to have Paul Evans down for the weekend as well. It's really an exciting time for us. Les, who is a friend of our son & Barnabas, have joined the farm management & John is all fired up to get things going again. Paul has been doing a wonderful job restructuring the Bible College & we have been really encouraged at the interest from friends in the UK to help. We hope to re-open in July this year on a two week block system. Please pray.


Love, Celia & John


November 25, 2007

Had some rain today which was wonderfully refreshing after the oppressive heat of the last few days. Everyone was wilting. Fortunately, electricity supply has been much better this week but can it last?


On Thursday Loveness & Absalom heard that there was mealie meal (maize) at the shop opposite. It had arrived but there was a ZANU meeting going on (elections next year), some shouting from the crowd that food should not be politicized. Everyone was told to come back at 8am on Friday. At 8am on Friday people were told to come back at 2pm as the shop owner was away. At 2pm the mealie meal was given out but Loveness & Absalom got nothing. The criteria for the distribution was not explained & again there was a lot of angry shouting which I could hear from my house. For the first time I thought, "This could turn nasty." It didn't but I think we are now on the edge. We have been unable to get mealie meal for the farm this month. We are trying again this week. Please pray.


Love, Celia & John


November 19, 2007

One of the worst things about the current inflation & food shortages is that it further weakens those with damaged immune systems. A healthy diet is very important. We have sadly had several deaths in the past months - Precious, Pastor Oswald, Christopher & Mrs. Madhombi. However, there has been a breakthrough in Ameva & surrounding farms as quite a few have gone for testing at the hospital. The machine for testing T cells in Kadoma is broken but with initial testing people can get counseling & medical help after a doctor's examination. ARVs are not always readily available ( & they do have horrible side effects) but early testing does mean that the patient has hope & can be monitored. I think that Mrs. Madhombi's death has had a big impact as people know she lived a good life.


We have had a severe outbreak of dysentery in Chegutu. I have personally heard of several young children dying when parents were asked by the hospital to buy drips & had no money to do so.


Caitlin & Shephan are here for a week. Shephan gave a good word in church today. John is off to Mutare tomorrow with Ebenezer, James & Solomon to do the Kairos Course with World Outreach. They return on Saturday. Grace is in South Africa trading. Rachel & Celia are at home.


Much love to you all, Celia & John


November 12, 2007

The electricity cuts have been particularly bad in the last few weeks (some days only 4 hour connection) & it's been very hot so everyone feels very weary.


Our first Mukuru food parcel has arrived for Pastor Edwin in Chegutu. If you would like to contribute to this scheme but not able to use the internet, you can pay through Ameva Project account. Contact Jim ay amevajim@aol.com If a number of you got together a parcel could be sent once a month. It would make a real difference!


Several local farmers have been in court for not getting off their farms.


Lots of love, Celia & John


October 22, 2007

Thank you for the kind e-mails. I (Celia) had some wonderful messages from past Bible college students encouraging me in the Lord after the farm house was burnt down. It was so sweet of them. I must confess I have been quite low since. All that block was cleared even where there was no fire - windows were smashed & cupboards forced. The result was that furniture apart we lost more through theft than fire. Nothing of consequence that was in the Chegutu house - but hurtful.


In the last week we have had almost constant electricity. This is due to a burn out in a major line serving Harare. Many inner suburbs have been blacked out for a week. We are benefiting!


Great to have Rachel Snow with us for three months to run the clinic. All the clinic things were saved so we have moved over to the guest house. No water but we are managing. I am so grateful for this provision especially as we are moving into the malaria season. I believe Tearfund is fundraising for starving people here.


Check out the "Mukuru" website. You can send a food parcel to someone here ( African diet). Any one want to do this I can provide you with a pastors name, ID & mobile phone number.


Much love, Celia & John


More pictures http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/7045068.stm


October 8, 2007

The fire started at 4:00 am on Wednesday morning & burned our thatch house on the farm. No one can say how it started. We lost some nice furniture but no one was hurt. I think that's all we can say really.


We had a good time in South Africa & the Conference gave us lots to think about. We also had a good shop.


A lot of farmers were again in court last week - this looks like an attempt at the final sweep. Still no food in the shops & massive power cuts continue. Grace is still not well.


Much love, Celia & John

(below is a recent photo of the Valentine farm house... )



September 22, 2007

We will be leaving for South Africa on Saturday to attend the World Outreach Conference. We will only be away about ten days but it is estimated that 1000 people are crossing the borders everyday to seek food & work in the surrounding countries. We opened the schools two weeks ago & three teachers did not show, they are thought to be in South Africa or Botswana, another three teachers are on permanent sick leave & two others are on study leave. And nobody wants to be a temporary teacher - the pay is too little. In the present circumstances our efforts seem very inadequate but we praise God that the schools are one area we can, with your help, really make a difference. Please pray for these children. It isn't easy for them. Lately we have had a lot of children drop out as they don't see the point of an education when there are no jobs. Orphans are particularly vulnerable as there is often no one at home to insist. Thanks on their behalf for all your help.


Some of you may remember Pastor Sweetman Luhanga. He passed away last week & was buried on Ameva farm this Tuesday. He was 89 & active for the Lord to the last.


Much love, Celia & John


September 18, 2007

We have been having 15 hour power cuts every day since Tuesday encompassing all the daylight hours & I have had to get up in the night to bake bread. We are told this is due to a major fault & hopefully we will soon be back soon to the more manageable outages.


Grace is still not well & she has now been diagnosed with glandular fever. I went up to the farm yesterday to give out the mealie meal to the orphans for her. One child, Malvin, looks really bad, he is recovering from TB but we need wisdom on how to help him.


Love from, Celia & John


September 10, 2007

It is dusk & there is another power cut so I am grateful for the laptop so I can write this. These days we don't often use the generator as fuel is in short supply & there is just the two of us. Winter is now over & the days are getting hotter & hotter. Please pray for peace here. Love Celia & John


For further reading: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6982183.stm


September 3, 2007

A mixed week for the Valentines. Grace has a bout of tic fever & I have been bitten by some nasty insect/spider, both resulting in visits to the doctor. We are still not right.


Dave & Sue & Cathy went to Victoria Falls & spoke again at church this morning; a great blessing, we will be sorry to see them go on Tuesday.


Still no goods in the shops - in fact it seems to be getting worse & there are few cars on the road outside Harare. It also appears that international calls are not getting through. We continue to do what we can on the farms. Sorry I haven't been replying to e-mails. Will try & do so next week.


In Him, Celia & John


PS Grace got the maize meal.


August 28, 2007

Having a good time with Dave & Sue, & Cathy Lathom, their daughter. They are really a blessing & encouragement wherever they go.


We are gradually settling back into life here. In England I was worried that we would not have food to feed everyone here but God has wonderfully supplied all our needs. Even the electricity has been on most of the time for past week. Grace is attempting to get more maize meal for the orphans this week, please pray as supplies are very scarce.


We see that the British Government think that the worsening economy could lead to chaos by the end of the year & they have asked the military to make contingency plans to evacuate the 22,000 UK nationals here. The plans appear to be - make your own way out of the country & meet up over the border. Such helpful people! Just glad we have a Higher Authority to rely on.


Much love, Celia & John


August 21, 2007

Arrived back in Zimbabwe on Thursday after a grueling flight - many delays & lost luggage but PTL all worked out in the end. We had a great time in UK seeing our family & friends. We had Enos Musonza, our retired primary school headmaster, with us for part of the time. He had such a wonderful time as everyone was so kind to him. He was particularly fascinated by the sea which he had never seen before. Dave & Sue Latham & Cathy have also come for a visit. It must be over 20 years since Dave & Sue were at Ameva. Cathy was born here but was very young when the family left. It's lovely to have them & such an encouragement for everyone.


After supermarkets with groaning shelves in UK, we have the other extreme here. It's difficult to explain & there is very little we can do. Everything is monitored & goods are often confiscated in transit. However, we survive as we have our friends & contacts but the poor are really suffering now. So wish we could do more........


Love, Celia & John


June 18, 2007

We had a difficult week with 14 hour electricity cuts everyday & no warning when they might be. However since this Friday the situation has radically improved with only 2 cuts of 2 hours each. Thanks for the prayers. The Government announced this week a 600% wage increase for doctors, nurses, teachers, police & armed services. Subsequently the Zimbabwe dollar went into free fall with its tenuous value halving against the pound in a week & it is still falling. One hears stories of people in petrol queues, ten cars from the pump, being told that from their car the price per liter will be an extra forty thousand. People are charging for water from their wells. I went to the Post Office Friday to pay for a TV/listeners license & was told I had to pay at the Police Camp. "Are you sure?" (surprised) "Yes, definitely" Went to Police Camp but "No we don't know anything about that, we haven't taken money since the price went up. Go to the PO." Went back to the PO & was told "Then there is nowhere to pay for a license so don't bother." The whole place is falling apart & it has been predicted that we will be bartering soon. However, with things so bad we know there must be changes soon. Please continue to pray that there will be righteous men who will uphold the rule of law & order here.


We fly to UK on Wednesday. It is often difficult to access our mweb address there so please write c/o Jim or use amevaval@hotmail.com


Love from Celia & John


June 11, 2007

If I was to try to describe the prevailing atmosphere in Zimbabwe, I think I would say "fed up". This week the electricity cuts have been extended - we are now mostly off for 12 - 14 hours a day, being switched off early in the morning & switched on late at night. No fuel, no sugar, milk, meat, bread beyond the reach of all but a few. 10 kg maize meal is now costing more than a lot of people earn in a month. Education & medical care facilities have fallen apart. The UN report says that starvation is a real possibility for 4 million in 2 months time. And no water. A whole country where the towns & cities have no water because the electricity can not pump it. People are digging wells where they can. Surely this is rock bottom. And it's so frustrating because however much one wants to help there will be corruption & bribery or the commodities are just not there.


We will be in UK in two week's time. Grace will be here holding the fort. Mr. Musonza, retired headmaster from Ameva Primary school will be with us, & anyone who wants to hear from him regarding Grace's orphan project (Nyasha) please contact Jim Bailey at amevajim@aol.com


Love from Celia & John


June 5, 2007

I'm afraid the Ameva weekly seems to be coming more like the Ameva Monthly. Everything seems to be such a hassle here these days, it seems that writing e-mails has become a low priority. Sorry I will try & do better from now on.


Well, we had a wonderful conference & over 60 pastors turned up which was amazing. I must confess I shed a few tears when they left - so brave & joyful in such difficult circumstances. Les left the following Monday for Malawi & Jim, Mickey, Mike & Pete visited the Revival Times Church in Mutare to take some meeting there. They returned home last week. It has been a good time & we have been encouraged to seriously think about re-opening the Bible College but in a different format. Still praying abut it but we hope that in January, God willing, it will be operational again.


Much love, Celia & John


May 9, 2007

Jim, Mickey, Mike & Peter arrived last Friday. Pastors' Conference starts next week with the pastors & Les Wheeldon arriving on Monday. The borehole has now been resurrected which means good water but both trucks are down, although we have been promised the T35 may be ready tomorrow. Please pray as it is desperately needed for the farm & the conference. Grace is working on her orphans project & we are trying to put together a school feeding program which is desperately needed now that the NGOs have pulled out. Thanks to those who keep in touch, sorry I have been so tardy in replying. Lots of love, Celia & John


April 27, 2007

This is a message to all past students - Ameva Pastors Conference is on 14th to 19th May. Please let Ebeniza know if you are coming. We are looking forward to a great time with Les Wheeldon, Jim Bailey, Mickey Wright, and Rod Talbot coming from outside the country as well as local speakers.


Just to catch up on things - we had good rain a couple of weeks ago but not enough to make the streams flow so no water in the dam. The sweet potatoes are ready to harvest - maybe we will get our garden back soon. We have visitors at the moment. John's sister & her friend are visiting for three week & we are off to Hwange Game Park & Victoria Falls next Wednesday for a few days.


Much love, Celia & John


April 2, 2007

Last night & this afternoon we have had some really good rain - the first of the season. Our garden is flooded so hopefully the dam on the farm should be starting to fill. It is a real miracle, usually there is no more rain after beginning of March.


We are experiencing daily power cut of 3 to 6 hours which is getting rather irritating especially as the borehole pump is affected & no water in the taps. However, we do now have a generator which should be installed shortly & a large tank for a water reservoir but that will take a little longer to put up. Everyone who can is getting bunkered down here as the country goes down hill. There is a two day stay away, Tuesday & Wednesday, organized by the Trade Unions for better pay. Please pray.


Some of you have met our Indian doctor friends, the Satyanathans. Their daughter Elsie is getting married on 11th so we are having a short break in Bulawayo next week before meeting John's sister Betty & her friend off the plane.


Love, Celia & John

Here is a link to recent news: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/31/wzim31.xml


March 19, 2007

Despite all the unpleasant news, this week has been quiet as usual for most Zimbabweans. World attention has passed most by as independent newspapers & satellite TV are too expensive for the majority. We were in Harare on Friday & it was business as usual.


Today we had a baptism service & over 40 young people were baptized. Each gave a clear testimony as to what God had done in their lives. Most came from the next door farm & we see this as a direct result of the crusade we had last year. Good news for a change! PTL!


Love, Celia & John


March 13, 2007

Still no rain in this area. Other parts of Zimbabwe have had plenty & Mozambique a few hundred miles away is in flood. One of the sad results of this & the economic situation is that we are now beginning to see infants suffering with malnutrition at the farm clinic. Because of restrictions here it is impossible to restart our feeding program & we can only help on a case by case assessment. We are living a little way out of the centre of Chegutu, opposite Chestgate shops. We are also opposite Club Octopus which, despite the countries dire circumstances, still seems to do good trade in night life at the weekends. Amazing - people still have money for beer. The church is doing well too - we have a baptism service for over 20 young people next week.


Much love, Celia & John


Here is a link to a recent BBC article on Zimbabwe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6439013.stm


March 8, 2007

We had a wonderful time in church this morning. It was full despite there no longer being Bible students. We have a choir of about ten young men who really sing their hearts out to the Lord. Apparently it's the same all over. With things crumbling round them & the political scene such a mess people are saying, "We must pray only God can save us."


When we came to Chegutu we thought we had left farming at Ameva but no such thing. The transformer on the farm is still not repaired & although they have run a line from our other source the current is not strong enough to run the pumps. With the drought & no irrigation there was a danger of losing the sweet potatoes so, guess what, at our house in Chegutu we now look out on all sides at a magnificent crop of sweet potatoes! Well it keeps the weeds down! We are grateful for a good borehole on our plot as there is no municipal water but we hope to install a storage tank & a generator as there are frequent power cuts. Still no significant rain, please pray.


Much love, Celia & John


February 28, 2007

Two issues for prayer this week: Firstly we have had very little rain in Chegutu this season. It's too late now for the crops, which are generally poor round here, but we still need rain to fill our dams for the next year. With the cyclone over Mozambique on Thursday we hoped that there would be a downpour in Zimbabwe as there was seven years ago. However, the storm blew itself out before it reached here. Another storm is coming in & there is a likelihood of good rain tomorrow (Monday).


Then, as I mentioned last month, prices are going up everyday. The government has taken price restrictions off the price of maize so from a price of Zim$2000 a 10kg bag of maize meal is now Zim$10,000. People are now quite angry, especially as the corruption is well reported but no action taken. Police & army are roaming the streets & in some areas there is an unofficial curfew. Altogether it's getting quite tense, especially in Harare.


We are fine. Lots of love, Celia & John


February 19, 2007

So sorry we have not been in touch - the usual problems with the phone & busy times at the farm. I (Celia) visit the farm three times a week & with the break down of the health service here a lot of people are coming for help. Since the beginning of this year we have had over 550 people come. As neither Loveness nor I are medically trained, there is not a lot we can do & it's great to have the pastors on hand to pray with these people. In the last week we have had many people walking 15 km to get help. On Monday a whole village of 36 people came; all had intestinal worms which is something I could thankfully treat. Some were in a bad way & I began to worry that there wouldn't be enough muti (medicine) to treat them. Well it was like the widow's cruse, we had just enough to the last drop. That day 85 people came for help - this is a record. General news is that all white farmers were told to be off their farms by 3rd February but as yet, although some have been hassled, none have been evicted. At the beginning of this month thirteen pastors were arrested by riot police in a church in Kadoma (next town) & held in police cells over the weekend. They had met with others to discuss how Christians could help sort out the countries problem. They were accused of holding an illegal meeting, trial set for 5th March.


John is feeling much better but has to still be careful not to lift anything.


Much love, Celia & John


January 16, 2007

This is the first general e-mail I have sent this New Year & the first I am sending from our house in Chegutu. In the end the move happened very quickly. After three weeks with no electricity on the farm & very little water, we decided “been there, done that”, time to move. (Well, I decided & John didn't take much persuading.) The Ameva transformer blew for a second time in a year & as there are quite a few to be repaired it won't be looked at for 6 weeks. The excuse for the problem is "zing zong" wire. However a low voltage has been restored to the farm but not enough to run pumps & workshop.


Inflation continues unabated. 10 kg Mealie meal (maize meal, staple food) was $350 before Christmas, $650 after Christmas & is now $2000. Basic farm wages are $9000, of which Government Employment Board takes $1000. People have been fined for paying above the gazetted wages as new farmers are not prepared to pay more. How long can this go on?


Thank you all for the cards & messages. I am sorry I haven't replied to most of you. We had a lovely Christmas with friends in Bulawayo. However, John was in hospital last week for a hernia repair. He is recovering well but still very sore.


Much love, Celia & John


December 21, 2006

We had a lovely time in the UK & enjoyed seeing friends & family, especially our children. It was a joy to see our Grace graduate. We returned here last Wednesday.


Meanwhile back on the farm things had not gone well. The theft of the cable & borehole engine have left us without water. No rain & both water dam pumps burnt out by our tenants, farm pick-up off the road, Grace's house had been broken into & a lot of her stuff stolen, electricity cuts nearly every day; & sadly one man here had committed suicide. So.... right now the UK looks very tempting. However, people, especially the church, were so pleased to see us back; it felt like we had been away three years, not three weeks. They are desperate that we stay on the farm but quite honestly I feel that I (Celia) have to get away from the constant knocking on the door. The garage at our house in Chegutu is near completion & we only need to fit a kitchen.


I have been meditating on Psalm 37 - "Rest in the Lord" & am endeavoring to put it into practice. May you know His Presence in your life, may you have a blessed Christmas & an even more blessed New Year.


Lots of love, Celia & John


November 17, 2006

Just a follow-up from our last weekly - A visit to Chegutu Hospital informed us that all the casualties from the bus accident a fortnight ago had been discharged & the Faith clinic has proved a wonderful means of outreach. We wonder why we didn't start it before but I suppose this is the right time.


Please pray for our neighbor. About two years ago several of our cattle wandered into his land. Since then he has repeatedly refused to give them back. We believe this farm & all in it is God's property and not ours so we have not felt to take legal action despite big financial loss. Last week he promised to give us our "mombies" back but again failed to do so. This man has recently been having a terrible time, please pray for him.


We are busy getting ready for our 3 week trip to UK. We fly on Wednesday. Grace graduates on 3rd December & we return home on 12th . So there will be no "weeklies" 'til then. Some rain this week. Hallelujah!


Love from Celia & John


October 30, 2006

On Thursday night around 8 pm John was reading the newspaper & I was doing a jigsaw puzzle when we heard a noisy vehicle go down the road & then rev & then stop. I thought it was a large truck from up the road picking up people but next thing our guard rushed in to say that the RTO bus had burst a tire & overturned a hundred meters from our entrance. Fearing the worst my hero John rushed off with blankets & first aid. It was a miracle. The bus had left the road at the only place in that area where there were no large trees. It had ploughed up the bank & then slid down & turned on its side. John took two of the injured & the ambulance came out to take another 4 & our truck took the rest (25); the doctor was at the hospital (another miracle). Only four were admitted.


We are starting our faith clinic this week to run along side the first aid clinic. Many people here are going to so-called prophets with their problems who take what little money they have & put fear & suspicion in their minds. Our pastors are now making themselves available three times a week for counseling & prayer free of charge! I believe God is going to bless this venture.


Much love, Celia & John


October 30, 2006

Fuel shortages in the country have restricted traveling, but two journeys we made this year have been very encouraging. In August the Christian Marching Church, the African church we work with, held their golden jubilee in Harare. Amazingly, members came from all over the country - it was a wonderful celebration. We were there for the last meeting. Over three thousand church members marched down the road in their uniforms to the hall. Bishop Katsande & his wife have done a great job bringing everyone together after 18 years of disunity. It was a real witness & a joyful time.


We have also been over to visit a church in Mutare. Although not big in numbers they have a big vision - to build a secondary school in a deprived area. They already have land & have received planning permission. Despite the terrible state of the economy & over 1500% inflation they are moving in faith.


The hot weather continues. Hope it will rain soon.


Love, Celia & John


October 23, 2006

Greetings form a very hot & sticky Chegutu! Hopefully this is the build up to rain. The Crusade on the football field finished last night & we had a great time. The Zimbabwe for Jesus Team did a wonderful job & it was so nice to have them around. One thing particularly encouraging was the numbers of young people who came & then responded to the messages. We were also thrilled to see quite a few people from our neighboring farm, Stewarts. There is so much ill health & death there due to the way those people live & now some came to church today for the first time!


Thanks for all your prayers.


Much love, Celia


October 16, 2006

Greeting for a hot & sticky Chegutu! It feels like rain is on the way & farmers are rushing to get the wheat crop in. Well we shall see. The Zimbabwe for Jesus Team are now back at Ameva to have a crusade at the farm for those on the road. All the young people are very excited & have been holding prayer meetings all last week. We know it will be a blessed time. The crusade in Chegutu town was wonderful - 5000 attending each night, over 500 people gave their names to be followed up by churches & thousands came forward for prayer. Many of the churches involved had pastors trained at Ameva so it was a real encouragement to us all. We are still on the farm & now do not plan to move until our return from UK at the beginning of December.


Much love, Celia & John


September 30, 2006

Statistics often give the facts, but fail to show the detail of the utter despair of people’s lives.  Mary, from Stewarts Farm, works in the Ameva vegetable garden. She is the only one working in a family of ten and has to support all of them from that one wage. The grandfather has to walk ten miles from Thistle Farm to Ameva to collect orphan aid from Ameva to look after his two granddaughters, Lizzy and Lissah. Anderson, a former bible school student with a real heart for prison work, has lost three sisters in their twenties over the last two years from Aids ... I could go on.


What can be done? Please pray for the hope givers, the Christians who have stayed to do all they can through the Gospel, through compassion and through practical help. They are bringing light into the darkness of this land. Please pray for the young pastors of Chegutu, following the crusade, that they would have the faith to continue the good work amongst people who are having to pay 50% more for their meali meal in the past week.


Jim and Margaret Bailey


September 23, 2006

Hello from Ameva on what is a really memorable occasion. This week has seen a crusade on the Chegutu township by the "Zimbabwe for Jesus" evangelistic team from Harare. Approximately four to five thousand people are attending the open air meetings and many are responding. Martin Tracey's grandson Trevor is one of the leaders of the team. You may remember Celia writing of Martin Tracey whose wife was murdered on their farm about seven years ago. It is wonderful to see Trevor taking his grandparents’ mantle in caring about the people, in spite of what happened to his grandmother. 


What was a real thrill for Margaret and I to see was how many gave their lives to Jesus at the meetings and how well organized everything was. Ten of the fifteen churches involved in bringing the crusade together (prepared and prayed for over a period of nine months) are pastored by former students of the Bible College. This alone is a great encouragement for John and Celia to see the fruit from their endeavors having such an effect. Praise God!


Jim and Margaret Bailey


September 15, 2006

Yesterday passed peacefully. There were no Workers' Marches as armed police arrested people as soon as they started assembling. That's the way things happen here but people are increasingly unhappy & now openly say things they never would before.


Chegutu Crusade starts on Monday until Saturday. It's wonderful to see such unity among the pastors. The "Zimbabwe for Jesus Team" arrives on Saturday & will be staying on the farm. There has been a lot of preparation & input by the Team over the last few months & all the churches have worked together under them. There is an air of expectancy in Chegutu. Jim & Margaret Bailey arrive on Sunday.


Grace had an accident in the car last night. She hit a donkey which had strayed on the main road. The donkey came off worse, the car had some body damage but (praise God) no person was injured.


Please pray for Anderson Veriano. He was converted in prison, came to the Bible College and is now working on the farm as our security officer. His desire for many years has been to return to the prisons to minister there. Getting permission is difficult & taking a long time.


Much love, Celia & John


September 8, 2006

Some of you who know Brian Molyneux from Warrington will be surprised to learn that his photograph is on the back cover of the local Gideon's magazine. No surprise really as while visiting in November he was blessed to go with fellow Gideon Ian Gibson to distribute Bibles in Chegutu schools. Zimbabwe may have multiple problems but there are no restrictions in giving New Testaments to the school children. In the next two years the local Gideon Camp are giving new testaments to every primary school child in their senior year. It is a mammoth task as many schools are in remote areas & many members have no transport. However, there are African buses! And the new testaments are treasured & read - quite a difference from the response one would get in some more "developed" countries.


We are still on the farm as there have been borehole problems at our house in Chegutu. Our son Paul arrives next week for a short visit. More telephone problems & electricity cuts, sorry we're not always able to keep in touch.


Please pray for

            - the Wednesday (15th Sept) "March against Poverty" in Harare organized by the Trade Unions

                     - no violence.

            - the Chegutu Crusade 18 - 23rd September


Much love, Celia & John


August 12, 2006

Despite inflation it has become normal for people in Zimbabwe to hold their money in cash because:


            1. several banks have collapsed & people have lost their money

            2. you always queue for several hours in the bank

            3. no retail businesses will accept cheques

            4. we need bricks of money to buy anything anyway


Now the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has knocked three zeros off the currency, devalued & declared all previous notes will be worthless by 21st August. It's an attempt to destroy the black market in foreign exchange. Cash is being confiscated & we haven't wanted to travel outside Chegutu because of all the road blocks & searches. Not that we have anything to hide, just the inconvenience. (See web pages below)


We are not in our house yet as we are waiting for the painter. Last Saturday we came back at 5 o'clock having been away four hours. In that time most of the farm had been on fire and with all the rain last year there was a lot of grass. The men were out fighting it but it kept starting up in different paddocks so it seems to have been arson. The fire burnt up to the security fence & sparks were flying over our thatched roof but Pastor Eb (off sick with tonsillitis) & Christopher got the hose pipes & saved our home. We thank God that our loan for more cattle was turned down as we still have enough grazing to carry our small herd through.


Lots of love, Celia & John






August 4, 2006

Animals featured much this week. Firstly there was the sad demise of our resident bush baby (see photo to right of a bush baby) that electrocuted himself on the wires outside our house. It was flattering to know he chose to live in our garden & we were sorry that it ended this way; but there will be no more unearthly cries to frighten the visitors. On Tuesday, while hunting wild pigs that are feeding of our market garden, one of our workers, George, was attacked by an angry porcupine (see photo at left of a porcupine, resulting in surgery to extract the needle points. Unfortunately for porcupines they make good eating. There must be a moral here. We are also seeing large troupes of hungry monkeys on the farm & even some antelope, surprising given the number of hungry people around.


The farm is doing well. 25 acres of green beans are being grown & 150 acres are being prepared to plant cotton. It's been very cold - snow in Johannesburg, the first time in 25 years.


Much love, Celia & John


July 26, 2006

I was just remarking to John that there doesn't seem to be a lot going on at present but he said this was a break we were getting before things heat up. Thank you Lord for the break! Next month we are on the move. Firstly after 23 years we are literally moving (or half moving) to our house in Chegutu. We will be coming up to the farm most days & sleeping here sometimes. Definitely still be involved with Ameva. However, being in town will mean that we are more central & assessable. With the crusade in Chegutu in September we feel this is the right time to go. Please continue to pray for the crusade 18-23 September. We know it is strategic for this town & even this country.


Much love, Celia & John


July 16, 2006

Further to my last e-mail, Joyce & Tashinga saw the heart specialist last week. Tashinga has been put on some new drugs & goes for review in six months time. The family feel more settled about his condition.


Our daughter Grace has been ill this week with malaria. She is slowly getting better but after taking 11 tablets in one day she felt the cure was as bad as the sickness. At the moment she is looking into setting up a project for orphans and vulnerable children in Chegutu. There is certainly a very big need.


We are now the proud owners of a Honda CR-V - a high ride, four wheel drive. It's second hand but in good shape. John is slowly getting used to driving it, although we have had a few embarrassing moments with the alarm system.


This week twenty-six young people (13 from Chegutu town) came to a special weekend on the farm. It's great to see the enthusiasm & commitment, in spite of all the difficulties. With guys like these, Zimbabwe must have a future.


Love from Celia & John


July 10, 2006

As things fall apart here, Chegutu has been experiencing daily power cuts of up to nine hours, there have again been fuel shortages & shops are empty because people simply don't have money. Last week we were told to increase our workers' wages by 400% backdated to May, so today Edmore is busy selling some cattle & we would have liked to have kept them.


And now for the good news: We've got a lot of new people coming to church. In Chegutu ten young men went to Sister Joyce’ house in the high density area & asked her to teach them about Jesus. At first she was frightened thinking they may be up to mischief but she invited them to the Bible study. They have been coming to the church, the Bible studies & the prayer meetings ever since. On Ameva some of the old women have started coming to the prayer meeting including the ex witch. I'm not sure how much they understand but it's so sweet to see them singing & clapping.


Please pray for Joyce & family. Her son, Tashinga (15), was recently diagnosed with heart failure; possibly the result of rheumatic fever. We are hoping to get an appointment soon with the heart specialist who treated our son.


Much love, Celia & John


June 30, 2006

Here is something that one of the little children said in church a couple of weeks ago. She had learnt it (in English at school. We were all touched.


        "My name is Natasha Tsuma

        I am a girl

        I am five years old

        When I grow up I want to be a doctor

        AIDS is our enemy

        I am a child, yes,

        But I don't want to be an orphan

        Oh team up Zimbabwe

        Better fight AIDS, AIDS kills."


Love, Celia & John


June 18, 2006

New moon brings out the Nhau dancers. I hadn't seen them for some time but last week they were out screaming & shouting, high on daga & home made beer. They wear masks & paint their bodies & run around naked. If they catch you watch out. It is an ugly reminder that despite a century of mission work the dark side is still very much alive & kicking.


It seems that the whole of Zimbabwe is under a cloud. Every conversation centers around how terrible things are & what is going to happen. You rarely see a smile, just a surly face at the till or a worried frown on a parent. I thank God for Loveness, who helps in my house, & sings as she works. It's comfort & inspiration to me.


Love, Celia & John


(The photo to the right is of Loveness and Grace)


June 11, 2006

Nice to have John back home! We all of a sudden seem very busy. "The Zimbabwe for Jesus" Team has had a meeting with Chegutu pastors this week to sort out the details for the September Crusade. Everyone is very excited & expecting great blessing. Less malaria around but with the winter weather many cases of flu. It is now very difficult to get inputs needed to farm, so we are seriously thinking of leasing the farm land. Please pray.


Love Celia & John


P.S. Our e-mail address is still ameva@mweb.co.zw


June 3, 2006

This weeks report is coming from Benin City, Nigeria where John was a speaker at the Mission to Africa Convention 2006, hosted by the Reverend Doctor Daniel Uwadiae. John was principle of the Miracle Centre Bible School. Benin between 1974 and 1980, “as a man sows” springs to mind when I witnessed the reception John received from everyone we met. Many of his former students, now in full time ministry, shared how much they owed to John and Celia for their ministry. For me the most significant remark came from His Royal Highness King Eze when he said “Benson Idahosa stand against occult activities and foundation of the Bible School, turned the Benin area into a mainly Christian environment”. John is now back with Celia at Ameva doing all they can to help the people. Please continue to pray for them.


May 17, 2006

John & Jim leave for Nigeria this Saturday & return Tuesday week. Please remember them in your prayers. You may have read or heard that the Zimbabwe Government is considering giving white farmers land again. However the case is that those white farmers that are left on farms are still being threatened with eviction. In Chegutu there has been trouble on Mount Carmel (Campbell's), Chigwell Estates (Beattie's) & our neighbors Dearlove's.


The following articles appeared in last week's Zimbabwe Independent.


"Fresh wave erodes investors confidence"



"Greed turns noble agrarian reform into racist enterprise"



"Despite assurances, land grab still on"



On the current inflation rate -



"Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." Proverbs 23:5


Love, Celia


May 15, 2006

John & Niel have left for UK today. John will be arranging another container for the schools & then on to Nigeria with Jim Bailey for a conference. He will be away three weeks. Niel has to get some serious work as he has a student loan to pay off. Please pray. Also for our other children, Grace, Paul & Abigail who are all sitting university exams. Grace is taking her final exams & will be returning to Zimbabwe in June. She needs to know God's leading for the next step. Hopefully, I will be able to catch up on neglected office work while John is away - I'm sure the ladies understand me!


Love, Celia


May 6, 2006

Thank you for your prayers - it has certainly made all the difference. There were two deaths on the farm this week. Firstly Robin Hurlston, a retired 79 year old, who came to this country in 1960s, passed away unexpectedly last Wednesday. He was an organist at St Edmunds Anglican Church & the Vicar took the funeral service many church members turned up & the church was full. Robin was buried at Ameva & again many present at the grave side especially from the farm. He was a fixture & will be greatly missed here. The second death is a tragic one. Our dairy supervisor, Tedious, was treated by me for malaria but showed no improvement. I gave him money to go to the hospital but he delayed. His condition then became critical & he died from complications 24 hours later. He was 34 & had a wife & two children 3 & a baby, 3 months. We have now treated nearly 300 people on the road for malaria & this is the first death. It was a tremendous shock to everyone but an opportunity to preach the gospel. It also led to the District Medical Officer today sending a team of nurses to Ameva to treat people. Better late than never, I suppose, but what happens tomorrow?


BBC commentator asked last week, "Does any good news come out of Zimbabwe? If you have some, let us know." Well here's some, Mr. BBC. John gave a lift to an old woman on the road last week. Her face was shining as she said, "I was a witch & traditional healer but I became a Christian at Ameva Easter Conference." 


Love from John & Celia


April 22, 2006

Despite the cooler weather there seems no let up in the malaria outbreak. For the last four weeks we have had on average eight people coming for treatment every day. We even woke up on Easter Sunday to find someone lying on our doorstep. Clinic fees are now a fifth of an agricultural worker's monthly wages so people are saying that without Ameva they would have died. As we've seen before, people have short memories but at the moment there seems to be great faith in my very limited medical knowledge & all the sick within walking distance seem to be arriving here. People seem intent on showing me bits of anatomy I would rather not view & discussing the most private symptoms. (lots of STDs) But when I've given them money to go to the clinic they have invariable brought me the receipts & the change - quiet a difference. Having said all this, we appreciate your prayers; we (my helper, Loveness & I) find the constant train of human misery that comes to our door every morning very depressing & we need extra grace & compassion to deal with it.


Our Chegutu Church had a wonderful conference over the Easter weekend. Another church joined us & the Bible college hall was full. So many joyful faces was a real tonic.


Much love, Celia & John


April 10, 2006

Car problems again! These roads are really giving our little car a hammering. The back shocks went this time so we had to make a quick trip to Botswana. But it was a nice excuse to call in & see our friends the Satyanathans in Bulawayo.


It's official - the World Health Organization has said that Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy in the world - 37 for men & 34 for women. We also lead the world with our inflation rate - 784% & rising ( Iraq comes next with a mere 40%). They really do print money here.


Sad news - Molly the dog died while we were away. Some kind of poisoning, either a snake bite or eaten a frog. Despite only having three legs ( lost one to a car) & being nothing to look at, she was game for anything ( even wild pigs) & always full of enthusiasm. As my friend Sue said - a real trouper! 


Love from John & Celia


March 29, 2006

This year we have had an unusually long rainy season - in fact it is still raining although not every day. Result - MALARIA! There's nothing like seeing nine or ten people plus crying babies lining up outside your door at 7 am to put a damper on the start of the day. I'm getting quite strict about people coming between 8 - 10 am but still four people came later today and it takes some doing to get 9 tablets down a sick person (as well as give them more for later). I thank God for Loveness, my househelp, who is such a dear & so willing to go the extra mile. Thank God too that only a couple of people on Ameva have so far been affected  - we sprayed all the houses at the beginning of the rains & the workers are taking a preventative. So this week my days have been pretty full with these problems. John & Niel & Ian Gibson have been busy moving the oil mill in Chegutu to new premises & now sorting out an application for finance to buy beef cattle. John & Ian had a good meeting yesterday with local pastors & the Zimbabwe for Jesus Team. They plan a week's crusade in Chegutu & a week's crusade on the farm for September.


Much love, Celia & John


March 1, 2006

Sorry we have been off-line for so long. There have been problems with the server and electricity cuts due to thunder storms and load shedding (our micro dish phones need electricity). We are still struggling but hopefully and prayerfully this will get through…


Such a lot has happened since we were last in touch but I will just mention the most important things. We had a team of ten come from UK for three weeks to help us. They sorted out the electrics in the Bible College & painted the hall there; they put new doors on the primary school classrooms; ran soccer coaching clinics in local schools; took school assemblies, preached at churches of former students, & ended with three wonderful days of crusade. They also tasted a bit of "real" Africa - the farm was without electricity for a week, the borehole pump packed up, & the road up to the farm is beyond description (our poor vehicles!). Well, it makes one appreciate home comforts!


Our son Niel, is with us for six months & our daughter Grace is with us for a few days. It is a wonderful encouragement to have our children here.


The economic situation continues to deteriorate & the price of maize is now Z$400,000 for 10kg - over a third of agricultural laborers monthly wages for a week's staple. We are endeavoring to get a feeding scheme for vulnerable groups through the Catholic Relief Services who have a warehouse in Chegutu. Please pray because the situation is critical.


Thank you everyone for cards, greeting, newsletters & e-mails. We are now so behind that we will not be able to answer personally. Please forgive us - we do appreciate your love.


Sincerely, Celia & John Valentine



A Letter of a Recent Trip to Ameva


Jim Bailey of Eltham Green in the United Kingdom went with a small team to help out at Ameva recently. This letter serves as an excellent update of the current situation there.


Dear Friends:


We have just returned from Ameva where we went with a small team for three weeks from 19th Jan - 10th February 2006. I haven't written a newsletter like this since I went out for the first time 17 years ago but what I've experienced I would like to share with all the friends who support, practically and prayerfully, Ameva.


My first encounter with Chegutu this year was a shock that a town could change so drastically in one year since I was last there. Shops had shut; there were a lot less people on the streets than normal when shops had food in; people were down to buying essentials only. The British pound to the Zimbabwe Dollar was £1 to Z$169,000 when we arrived; when we left it was £1 to Z$178,000. Going up to Ameva from the town, the roads had deteriorated terribly (as it was the rainy season the roads became worse while we were there).


It was lovely to be back at Ameva, but the situation in the country has affected the farm. People we know well looked thinner, and some of the children (remembering that they come from surrounding farms and Chegutu) were in rags with no shoes - a real backward step, but still better off than the other farms in the area. I went over to the primary school to see the children having some milk. One teacher pointed out children she knew that, by the look of them, were malnourished. 


I was involved in giving out clothes to orphans and their extended family mums, ladies and babies from the compound, and some secondary school boys who had no uniform for school. I cannot remember feeling so humble, especially when they were so grateful.


John and Celia are amazing - there are continue knocks on their front door. People are often coming for help - either food or medical help. They do what they can. They have to be careful what they do as they will be labeled as supporting the opposition party which is untrue as they are not involved in the politics at all. It is such a shame there is so much we could do but at this moment in time they are very wise and look to God in what they should be doing.


On the second week of our stay the transformer for the electricity was struck by lightening, causing the whole of Ameva to be without electricity for 6 days plus no drinking water in one of the houses we were using which was still the same when we left. We had borehole water filtered or boiled and friends from a neighboring farm and dear Ian and Elsie supplied us with churns of water. In a way I think it made us realize how folk in Africa have it so bad without water. For myself I think it was the first time I appreciated water so much and realized its importance, instead of taking it for granted. John went to Harare three days running and managed to get a temporary transformer while they repaired his (this is the job of the Electricity Board but there wasn't one in the country). We still had power cuts through the storms and when the electricity came on again we were absolutely delighted.


There are many things I could say about what we saw that was upsetting, but I bless God because spiritually it was a wonderful time. It was wonderful to go to the church in Chegutu on a Sunday morning and see the place packed out, remembering there are no students there at the present time; it was wonderful to be there. After that meeting we would go off to the township and speak in the churches of young ex-students from Ameva, who are now taking the responsibility of pastoring churches. It was a real privilege to be there.  In the afternoons a few of the team would go off to a local farm with Ebenezer, and they all came back blessed by being there. We had a three-evening crusade where people came up from Chegutu and surrounding farms. Micky Wright and Jim spoke and God really blessed and challenged us.


The three weeks went very quickly. The Bible College Hall was painted and new electricity was instilled by Brian Molyneaux from Warrington with the help of John Quigley from Tralee, south Ireland. The painting was done by Kenny Dixon, James Haley and Richard Wakeford from Eltham. Kenny also went around the schools, with James and Richard, coaching the boys football, at the end he had another competition with the schools, I am sorry to say Ameva came second, but the best team did win, Micky Wright and Mike Haley (Eltham) fitted about a dozen doors in the primary school plus other bits and pieces that came up. Jane Haley was in charge of the assemblies for both primary and secondary school, and most people on the team had an assembly to do. James and Richard enjoyed it immensely acting out roles from the Bible and the children enjoyed it even more. Jane and I helped with the cooking and tried to be available to Celia as best we could. Jim was involved with various churches, taking Bible studies plus lots of catching up with old friends and generally organizing activities and taking us shopping (which is a big thing with such a lot of money on you because of the exchange rate). Members of the team visited a youth reformatory in Kadoma and also a blind children’s home in Kadoma with Pastor Anderson, who is very involved in prison ministry. We are hoping he gets the support he needs to continue in this valuable work.


We were really encouraged by a conversation with the primary school headmaster who told us that teachers were keen to join Ameva because of the facilities made available from the two containers sent at the end of last year. Jim realized, as he spoke at the secondary school assembly on our last day, how much God had done in this district by providing a school where there was nothing. He encouraged the children not only to make it the best school in Chegutu, not only in Mashonaland, but in Zimbabwe. These schools have been such a tremendous testimony of Christianity in action.


Thank you, friends of Ameva, for your continued love and support. Please pray for Zimbabwe as a whole that God would come and turn the country around. We know that He is the only answer.


Much love,


Jim and Margaret


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