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Updates from Ameva Farm and Bible College

2009 through 2010


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John and Celia Valentine send out regular updates several times a month. We post them here, with the most recent shown first.


Click on the Ameva Update for the update from August, 2010.



December 19, 2010

We have had wonderful rains over the last week. The top dam on Ameva is already full & spilling & the bottom dam was three quarters full, when John went passed yesterday. Unfortunately, the Chakari Road has been washed away so we can only use the Ford Ranger to get up there. Fridays storm was particularly fierce with sheet rain coming from all directions but the sandveld meant the flood quickly subsided.


The Tuesday Bible Study group had a party this week - 20 of us sat down to rice & beef stew, coleslaw, butternut & tomato relish followed by sponge & custard. It was a good time.


John has had a busy time. He spoke at the carol service at Bryden School, he preached at the church of a former student the other side of Harare, & yesterday he preached at a wedding in Harare which was supposed to start at 10am but only got going at 1.30pm!


We are going to Troutbeck in the Eastern Highlands tomorrow with Eric & Ros Taylor Harare/Bracknell but will be back here on Christmas Day.


The church here join our brothers & sisters all over the world in declaring "O come let us adore Him".


Wishing you a Joyous Christmas & a blessed New Year.


Love from John & Celia


December 10, 2010

Dear Everyone,


Good rains last weekend - in fact it was torrential on Sunday & we had a difficult journey from Harare. Nothing since Tuesday but the ground is still wet & crops are beginning to show. It's been much cooler since the rain; fresh & pleasant. On the farm we had two trainers from Foundations for Farming, a Christian organization which was started in Zimbabwe by dispossessed white farmers but has now spread all over the Africa. They are connected to New Frontiers. They seek to teach people how to plant using the minimum of inputs. They supervised the planting of one of our fields & in the last week the maize seed has sprouted. If things work out & FF get the funding Ameva may become a teaching centre for this method. 


For the last three days we have had electricity in the day - in fact yesterday it only went of for a couple of hours in the evening. It feels very strange & I am so used to keeping milk, spread, cold meat etc in the freezer instead of the fridge, I've now found it frozen. We keep waiting for the cuts & I haven't quite got the courage to start Christmas baking yet; just in case.


The internet has been very slow recently & we would be grateful if people didn't send photos, e-card or the like. Broadband, now that is something I miss about UK  & apart from my children & friends not much else!


Lots of love, Celia & John


December 2, 2010

We have been back in Zimbabwe nearly three weeks & this is the first Weekly I have written. Trouble with the internet & massive electrical cuts have not made life easy. We have been "off" at least 15 hours a day (daylight hours) & two nights since Monday & it wasn't much better before that!  It wears you down. Running the generator is expensive but we are putting it on now to get water from the borehole.


Running a new session of the Bible College with Brian Rainford (Manchester) & Graham Davies (Epsom) helping. They have coped very well in spite of the difficulties & my cooking camp style. We are out to Elsie's for a meal tonight, that should be a feast.


Well, it's hot & humid here so all you snow bound people cannot begrudge us that.


Lastly good news. Our daughter Grace & son-in-law Bruce are expecting a baby in May. Grace will be coming to UK for the birth.


Much love, Celia & John


September 18, 2010

We are still in Zimbabwe but are now booked to fly on Kenya Airways early next week. We finally managed to get our refund from Air Zimbabwe which was a real answer to prayer. It has worked out well as there have been some hiccups on the farm, with the vehicles & the electricity supply. We have managed to sort these but generally the electricity cuts have been as bad as ever with the newspapers saying that they will continue like this until December. The hot weather is coming and I am glad that I have emptied my freezer.


Please continue to pray for Bruce & Grace as they have had more hassle on the farm but no violence. They have told the lands officer that he must produce some legal papers before they will consider leaving.


Look forward to seeing some of you in the next few weeks.


Much love, Celia & John


September 11, 2010

Well, I have finally boxed up the remaining clothes from the container. There are 13 boxes & one old typewriter to be collected by the church. The number of times I have unpacked & sorted some of these clothes, they should be old friends, but at the moment I quite honestly don't want to see any more for a long time & I think there must be a few people in UK who feel the same. However the effort has been worth it - a LOT of HAPPY PEOPLE.


We are due to fly to UK on Wednesday. Unfortunately Air Zimbabwe pilots are now on strike so we are not sure where we will be on that day.


Lots of love, Celia & John


September 4, 2010

Things are getting very hard for people here. The local factory "Whiteheads" had not paid their workers for 4 months. The municipality has not paid their workers for several months. Many people in the town have had their water & electricity cut off & food prices continue to rocket. Next door in Mozambique there have been serious food riots & seven people killed, four hundred by police bullets - live & rubber. In South Africa all the government employees are on strike & most of the Zimbabweans living there are to be sent back here at the year end. The whole region is affected by the present economic conditions, a lot of people are in desperate straits.


Much love, Celia & John


August 28, 2010

Nothing much has happened this week. I have been trying to catch up & sort out things before our trip to UK. Grace & Bruce had a letter from the headmaster on their farm telling them to vacate the house by the end of September as it was needed by the school. She took it to the District Education Office who acknowledged that the man had overstepped the mark & he would be spoken to. We wait to hear.


Love, Celia & John


August 20, 2010

Grace (our daughter) & husband Bruce have had a tough week. They were told that the Zionist Church ( they wear white robes - similar cults found all over Africa) want to take over the farm, build schools etc there. Bruce has been told he will have to move off with all his cattle. Bruce is already having to rent his own grazing from settlers & they could move cattle our side but they will lose the house. This has not been confirmed with a government order yet but please pray for them.


We had a good time at Antelope Park but it was very cold at night - minus 3*C! Bryn & Sue leave on Monday to spend some time with Eric & Ros.


Love from Celia & John


August 8, 2010

John is at present in Bulawayo taking a conference. He was a little unsure about this group but he went with Shepherd Tshuma, who found that his grandfather & the pastor's grandfather grew up in the same village - that effectively made them relatives so there was an instant bonding & the conference has gone well. PTL


We are nearing the end of the great clothing distribution. Grace & I will be giving blankets & clothes to the orphans - that will make over 500 people we have helped. What is left (all good stuff) we will give to the CMC, the church we work with, as they minister in very deprived rural areas. With rats, mice & white ants wanting their share of the goods, it is not wise to leave things in store in Africa. Actually it has been like the widow's cruse, going on & on, and when I thought there really wasn't enough to clothe that age group, we have just managed somehow with no one feeling left out.


Thank you everyone.

Love, Celia & John


July 31, 2010

This coming week John will be taking a five day conference in Bulawayo; Bryn, Ebenezer & Solomon will starting a two week Bible College block. There are 12 students from other parts of the country & this will be their final session. Please pray for these events & for safe travelling for all. Sue has seen over 100 people in the clinic, she is doing a brilliant job.


Love, Celia & John


P.S. One of the boxes in the container was marked "For Jackie - a duvet". Does anyone know who this is for? Thanks


July 18, 2010

Rather a hectic week. Monday gave out clothes to pastors, Tuesday Bible study & visit to senior citizens, Wednesday Harare to sort out vehicle parts for farm, Thursday Grace & I worked 10 hours straight unpacking boxes & sorting out clothes for the Ameva workers & families, Friday laid up with bad back but managed to do some shopping, Saturday sorted clothes & blankets for Ameva old people. John had to go to Harare on Thursday & Friday re vehicle - we are trying to sort out the farm vehicles but it is a big job. Unfortunately as the container arrived late we had to cancel our visit to Shephen & Caitlin in Mozambique & also our proposed holiday on the coast. In two days Bryn & Sue arrive so we will have some help. I am intending to distribute blankets to the workers next week & some clothes to others in our farm village. The week after it will be the turn of the school teachers & then the school children. Unfortunately there is so much jealousy & mistrust here that we are having to do all the distribution ourselves. So far we have managed to please everyone!


I enclose a picture of two old men.

Love from Celia & John


July 15, 2010
Dear Ameva Friends,

John & Celia will be in the UK from mid September for 2 months. During this time they will be taking a well earned break and visiting family. However they will have some time to visit the churches who prayerfully support them. If your church would like them to visit you would you please let us know at one of the following email addresses: terryandfran.info@ntlworld.comamevajim@aol.com  We will endeavor to arrange an itinerary for them to visit as many as is possible.

Please let us know as soon as you can.

Love to you all. Terry & Jim

July 13, 2010
The container finally arrived yesterday,
Saturday. John & Shepherd, the Secondary School headmaster, had a difficult day in Harare on Friday & in the end had to pay a lot of money. The shipping line even charged for time the container was delayed in Mozambique. However once it arrived this was the easiest to unpack that we have had. Everything was boxed & clearly labeled so we were able to distribute everything to the schools, Bible College, farm, clinic & storage for general distribution very quickly - six hours. Thanks to all those packers who did such a brilliant job & thanks for all the wonderful things inside. It is a great encouragement for everyone here, something we all needed. We will resume sorting the clothes & food on Monday.

In the meantime we are waiting on repairs to the truck. The church is now divided between two services for people in the town & those on the farm. It has actually led to more people taking part in the services & a freer atmosphere. But even so we will all be glad when we have transport again.

Love from, Celia & John

July 4, 2010
There have been so many dreadful road accidents round Chegutu lately. Last week three CID guys & a business man were killed a couple of km out of town. Coming back at night from a retirement party in Kadoma, they ran into a tractor & trailer with no lights. This morning we heard of another accident 20km the other side of Chegutu. Two buses filled with shoppers travelling from Botswana were racing each other early today. Both buses were involved when one ran into a stationary vehicle at high speed. A cousin of a church member who was an eye witness said the carnage was horrendous - we haven't heard how many killed but apparently it was a lot. So in the service this morning we all stood in a circle & prayed for safety on the roads especially round Chegutu. With potholes, drunk drivers & vehicles with no lights you really need angels when you travel here. John & I don't travel at night; we would rather stay in Harare than make the 100km journey to Chegutu in the dark.

Latest on the container. We heard that it was held up at the railway depot because the cranes were broken. On Friday the shipping agent phoned to say that the container is now at Manica container base. We have to confirm this with Manica (another trip to Harare?) on Monday & if customs agree to release it or to inspect it at Ameva the container may arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Much love, Celia & John

June 26, 2010
Encouraging news this week. The electricity supply has been much improved. Then the agent has told us that the customs on the container has been cleared & they are expecting it in their base on Tuesday or Wednesday. We wait to see.

None of the vehicles on the farm are working but we have the T35 (3 tonner) in a garage & a recommended mechanic to work on the tractors. Expensive but hopefully there will be progress. The roads are so bad it just shakes everything to bits. We now have road tolls on all the major roads but little to show for it so far.

Joyce Meyer had a conference/crusade two weeks ago. There were large posters everywhere & some of the meetings were on the TV. Whatever you think of JM she certainly has courage. Thousands turned out to the free evening meetings despite the cold & the dark and the transport difficulties. I think people are seeking a Better Answer to their problems than mere politics.

Lots of love, Celia & John


June 19, 2010
John & I have both been up to the farm this week trying to sort things out. I have sorted out the clinic, discarding out of date drugs & dressing & generally tidying things up. It was a job long overdue but neglected with the overwhelming number of patients that we had. John has been up to see the farm & sort out space for the container contents. They are asking for a new tractor but considering the expense & the fact that every vehicle up there has been wrecked & nothing is on the road .........well, you know the answer.

No news on the container, it is said to be somewhere in Harare but not in the agents' container base. We phone everyday & they promise to phone back but don't. Monday is another week.

We have just had news that Ben Freeth aka Mr. M & the White African the Younger has been awarded an MBE. I know many of you have seen the film & been moved by it so let's hope this award indicates the Government in UK takes the situation seriously.

We are both well & keeping warm as possible.

Love from, Celia & John

June 12, 2010
Hi. I am sitting here in front of the TV - England v USA - John is on form telling the ref his job, I am nervous about his bp! We enjoyed seeing the opening concert & ceremony. I am just hoping that South Africa do well, every one in Zimbabwe is rooting for them. We were told that there would be electricity to see most of the matches but later that was changed. Some of our scarce electricity is being exported to SA for this month. Today we have been without electricity for 15 hours.

Our primary school teams won all their matches against another school last week. A visit from nurses at the school on a vaccination exercise led them to comment how healthy our children were compared to other rural schools. Thanks for the feeding programme & vitamin pills. We have approached the World Food Programme to extend the scheme - waiting to hear from them.

Container is said to be somewhere between Beira & Harare - it was loaded on a train on 28th May.

Much love, Celia & John

June 6, 2010
It's been cold here. Not that you would probably find it cold but to us it is freezing. Wintertime, not too cold in the sun but once night comes ..... we even had a frost in Chegutu last week. Not that I am cold at the moment as I am sitting in front of a glowing log fire. So much nicer than gas or electricity. But speaking of electricity we continue to have major power cuts which make our lives miserable. 5 hours at night & 2 hours electricity in the day. It's gotten much worse these last 2 weeks. So difficult to cook & keep warm. With the cold weather the fridges seem to manage & we have not had to turn on the generator, saving a lot of money. I am cooking on a Calor gas ring but last week I just decided that I had had enough. The power cuts were not going to go away so we had better organise a more permanent alternative - buy a Calor gas cooker (this will mean reorganising my kitchen, that's okay) & buy a solar cooker to boil the kettle. It's taken 2 years to come to this decision - one keeps hoping things will improve, that they will go back to what they were but now that doesn't seem likely. We are in the middle of renovations any way - lifting the water tower to stop getting air-locks in the hot water system. There is intermittent cold water while this is being done, we need electricity to pump the borehole but it's only a temporary thing. Hopefully the builder can also start plastering our garden wall next week - it may fall down if we don't do something.

No news on the container despite several phone calls. Going to Harare again tomorrow to chase it up. We just hope it isn't lying somewhere in Harare base & we are going to be given a big bill for demurrage! These days nobody seems to bother much unless you pay them.

Love to you all, Celia & John

May 29, 2010
Our house seems quiet without visitors. We don't expect any more until August which is quite a break for us. The cooler weather has meant that one feels much more energetic. However, I have had to close the clinic as too many people were coming & I was finding it too stressful. I've not been sleeping well & been sick on & off for a few months. I do pray that another solution will be found for these poor people. Another thing - the container has been lost. We spent yesterday in Harare trying to find any information from the agent & then the shipping line. They think our container is still in Beira but has not been loaded on to the train. They can't be sure as communications are down. They will phone us when they know but we were told that last week. Finally please note the new dialing codes for our phones.

Much love, Celia & John
Landline +263 53 2362
Mobile/Cell +263 912 598738; +263 712 610711

May 19, 2010 - an update by Terry Watson

Frances & I together with Peter & Shelagh Gray and Peter & Sue Moffat have just returned from a very challenging yet profitable time with John & Celia Valentine and the work at the Ameva Bible College & Farm. We were immediately introduced to power cuts, which on many of the days, would be off from 5.45am to 10pm which made it extremely difficult to run a normal life. For us as visitors it is quite a change and not too off putting but for John & Celia it creates many on going difficulties. No water can be pumped, no lights during the hours of darkness, cooking on portable gas stoves and of course limited internet and email services. For those who may be used to a 20mb speed Zimbabwe still enjoys 28k per second.


May 22, 2010
I ought firstly to update you on the proposed Ameva Day to be held this Saturday. This has been postponed. John & Celia are due to be in the UK from the middle of September for two months and it seemed a better proposition to move the Saturday to the autumn so that they could attend. I have communicated with all who have emailed me personally but if you know of any who were just planning to turn up please pass this on.

Ameva Bible College
The Ameva Bible College has now trained over 400 students many who are now pastors of churches in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries. Peter Moffat, Peter Gray and I were involved in three of the modules of the Bible Training Centre for Pastors (BTCP) curriculum that forms the basis of the two year course. Due to the difficulties of buying food and being unable to travel, the two year Bible College programme has been divided up into 5 two week intakes over an 18 month period. Students complete all their assignments and these are marked in the UK and returned.

This year 11 students graduated and received certificates and prizes. The Pastors conference which preceded the graduation drew together over 80 delegates. Peter & Sue, Peter & Shelagh and Frances & I were all involved in the ministry which began at 8.30am in the morning and concluded at the end of the evening time around 9pm, not that we were all there during that time. Those of us who were involved in the morning training sessions were able to have sudza with meat or beans for our lunch (the basic food of the
Africans). John actually slaughtered one of his beef herd and I had the job of taking it to the butchers to be cut up.

On going training
Currently there are 13 National and 6 local students in training and they have completed 8 of the 10 modules. The final two, Teaching Principles and Methods and Church History will be completed in August. These students will be graduating next May subject to the completion of all 10 assignments. In November there will be a new intake of both National & Local students. Some of these current students are pastors’ wives who have graduated from the College. The BTCP programme covers the following courses.

No. 1 Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation Meaning and application of Bible text
No. 2 Old Testament Survey Overview of God’s self-revelation and redemption
No. 3 New Testament Survey Overview of NT books and how they relate
No. 4 Preaching Biblical Messages and Pastoral Ministry Skills for expository preaching and pastoring
No. 5 Bible Doctrine Survey Ten major doctrines to develop theological ability
No. 6 Personal Spiritual Life Concepts and principles for spiritual growth
No. 7 Church Ministry, Administration and Education Principles for the effective function of the church
No. 8 Teaching Principles and Methods Skills to effectively teach God’s Word
No. 9 Church History Survey How influences and events formed the church
No. 10 Missions, Evangelism and Discipleship Biblical principles of mission and evangelisation

Visiting Lecturers
We have been very encouraged by the number of brethren that have made themselves available to teach at the Ameva Bible College. Any who would feel that they would like to be included should contact me. The dates of these two week sessions are April, August & November each year. Due to very limited accommodation lecturers would spend about two and a half weeks in Chegutu which would normally cover three Sundays.

Church Ministry
With over 400 students graduating, many of them moving to establish their own churches, there are numerous opportunities for ministering on a Sunday. This year we were all privileged to be invited to a number of churches in the Chegutu area. Weekend trips are also arranged around the country.

Bible Studies
There are a number of weekly bible studies. Elsie Gibson holds one in her own home on a Tuesday morning. Some of the remaining white farmers and white teachers hold regular meetings in their own homes on a Tuesday evening.

College Library
We plan to refurbish the library that is situated at the Ameva Bible College site. We are hoping to arrange for books to be made available to the students to take home so as to continue their studies. If you have any good study books that would enable them to do this please let me know.

Due to our late arrival, the Volcanic Ash cloud delaying us 9 days, we only managed to open the clinic 3 times during our stay. The patients made the most of the time and we had an attendance of over 350 people in all. Fortunately we were able to take in extra medicines to cope with this number. This does present a difficulty for Celia in knowing how to manage these numbers in the future. There was a particular flu going round but still a number of general diseases as an on going need. Please pray for this and the need for medical assistance. The hospital in Chegutu is open again but with only one doctor who is recently qualified. We took one elderly man to hospital who came to the clinic for help. This was only possible because we paid his fees and transport. We were told that the doctor is busy today. For the rest we were able to give medicines ourselves. Although food is available to be purchased it is only in US$’s which many folk do not have. There are still signs of malnutrition amongst the elderly and children

There was a possibility that a new clinic could be built on the foundations of the burnt out farm house but the situation does not allow us to do that at the present time.

Food programme
Over the past two years food has moved from being totally unavailable (2008) to be available purchasable only with the introduction of the US$. During the middle to the end of 2008 inflation of the Z$ was 2.6 million%. Over this period we were purchasing food parcels from South Africa and distributing these to pastors and those who were starving. £25,000 was spent during this time. Buying food parcels was discontinued in June 2009. Now that the country has discontinued the Zimbabwean dollar and is using the US$ our food support has switched to distributing funds to those in need. Apart from the distribution of US$ our current food programme buys mealie meal (the Zimbabwean staple diet) and Mahewu (a high protein drink) that is provided for the children and orphans. Over the past 6 months £3500 has been made available for this support. If you have been sending regular support for food parcels please note the change in circumstances in the country.

There are over 150 orphans currently being supported by the Ameva Project. They receive daily food and have their school fees and exam costs paid. These fees currently cost US$2000 a term plus exam fees of US$250. The teachers receive US$150 per month from the government and are also supported by the Ameva Project which works out about US$500 per month. Transport is also provided to bring them from the town to the schools

The farm continues to tick over on a limited basis due to the difficulties facing all farmers. There are 150 beef and 25 dairy cows. A few acres of the 3500 acres are farmed so that it will not be taken away. It is now cheaper to buy mealie meal from South Africa than to grow it on the farm. None of the tractors work as there is a lack of spares and mechanics. John really needs a good local mechanic before he invests more money in the vehicles.

We will send on any further news as and when we receive it and thank you for your continuing prayerful and practical support. Much love.


April 10, 2010
It's been very stormy here but except for cotton growers, the late rains have been very welcome as there is a chance that the dams might fill. We had a fun time over Easter weekend at Antelope Park. Well, I was laid low with a tummy bug so it wasn't great fun for me but it was a good rest away.

The English pound continues to drop against the dollar which causes problems for us & probably UK missionaries all over the world. We have a lot of disgruntled teachers & they really upset me last week but there is very little that we can do practically to help them at the moment.

I have heard that the film (or parts of the film) "M & the White African" can be seen on U-Tube. It hasn't been widely distributed although some people are still trying to get it to show in their areas. Situation remains calm here but most people are struggling as prices are sky high.

Much love, Celia & John


March 28, 2010
Good news. The Electricity Company has replaced the transformer at the Secondary School which was hit by lightning nearly three years ago. And now we only have to replace the poles & wires to the borehole which were stolen to restore the water supply.

A couple of weeks ago a woman who has driven one of our dear friends off a farm up the road from Ameva came to the clinic. Her husband has caused many of the problems for the farmers in Chegutu. Mavis asked me to be helpful as the consequences could be bad for those on Ameva if I lost my temper. By God's grace I managed to be pleasant. She came again on Friday & I again found grace (not my own!) But I was shaking when she left. It's so unfair & hard. But His grace is sufficient!

Much love, Celia & John

March 22, 2010
The Ameva Primary School team came first in the district athletics competition last week! It was a major encouragement to everyone involved & the general consensus was that the feeding scheme had paid dividends!

We have John & Ruth Churcher with us at the moment. John is a much needed mechanic & started today on the line of vehicles needing to be fixed on the farm. We also have Sue Arsenault from Canada - formally at Ameva & Maforga, Mozambique. It seems this is a year of visitors.

Unfortunately there have been major electricity blackouts in the last two weeks but we are used to it now & have adapted. However, I do have on my shopping list a solar dish so that I can always have a kettle on the boil. A lot of tea gets drunk in this house.

Love, Celia & John


March 19, 2010
We are pleased to advise that a 40 foot container was loaded and dispatched on the 8th March 2010. It is now on its way to Ameva Farm and due to arrive by the end of April. The cold snowy weather had delayed the January date. The consignment represented 367 assorted lots weighing 5727 kgs. (over 5.6 tons). These lots contained men's, women's and children's clothing & shoes, linen & blankets, kitchen equipment, toys, cassette players, sewing machines, books, tyres, bicycles, stationery, chairs, torches, first aid equipment, educational and school materials, protective clothing, computers and computer equipment, a printer, farm machinery, tools & equipment, dried foodstuffs, OHP projectors, plus many other items.

We would like to thank everyone up and down the country who donated these items, spent many hours in sorting, packing, collecting, delivering and dispatching; Simon Rooksby of "Computers for Charities" for arranging the dispatch; Mickey Wright for collecting the goods and Stuart Cummins who provided the farm equipment. We are assured that these goods will be a tremendous blessing to our friends at Ameva. Please pray that that will be delivered safely. There are a couple of photos attached.






Love, Jim Bailey & Terry Watson

March 19, 2010
Dear Friends of Ameva,

An Ameva Day has been arranged for the 22nd May 2010 at Raglan Road Christian Fellowship, 70 Raglan Road, Smethwick, Birmingham, B66 3ND England. The purpose of the day is to update you all on the challenges that the work faces and all that is being accomplished. It will begin at 9.30am with coffee and the first meeting will start at 10am.

The programme for the day will include:-
* A general presentation of Ameva's work and its administration, covering the range of opportunities to support the work at Ameva.
* An Ameva Bible College update presentation, contributions and discussions on the teaching programme including marking of students
* An Ameva Bible College "Bible Training Course for Pastors" Teacher training session and an opportunity for those who wish to be involved in the teaching programme in the future and to see something of the course material.

There will be a break for lunch between 1pm and 2pm and the meeting will finish at 3.30pm with tea & coffee for a 4pm departure. A detailed programme will be sent at a later date. Please let me know, as soon as possible, if you would like to attend so we can make the appropriate arrangements at Birmingham.

Many thanks and much love,

Terry Watson

March 14, 2010
In my hall I have two large boxes of text books ready to go up to Ameva Primary School. They are large boxes but it still doesn't look much for US$1000. However I'm sure the pupils & teachers will be pleased. It's a little encouragement for them. It feels like an uphill battle with not much headway but I guess it will come right in the end. With the Lord it always does.

We had another meeting of pastors in our house on Friday - they are organising the Conference in May. It seems to be coming together alright. It's good that they are organising things themselves this year - makes it a lot easier for Ebenezer. We hear the container is on it's way. Thank you everyone for all your help.

Love from Celia & John


March 7, 2010
This week we did the tourist bit & took Margaret & Lynda to Victoria Falls. It was a long way - 800km & although the spray too much to get the whole view, it was a nice interlude. We hear the amount of water coming down is so much that they have opened the flood gates at Kariba so watch out Mozambique. There has been a delay in sending the container from UK. The collection company got the dates wrong. We hope it will be on its way next week.

I am quite worried about the schools. Urban schools are now collecting extra money from the parents to give more pay to the teachers. Our parents are very poor & many struggling to pay the school fees. With a complement 30 staff in both schools & the crèche, it is not possible for us to supplement more than we are doing at the moment. Result, we may lose all our qualified teachers.

Love, Celia & John

February 27, 2010
Another eventful week. Firstly all the teachers, civil servants etc went back to work without a pay rise - the strike became very political & certain people seemed to be using the disruption for their own purposes - Ameva Schools are now open again. We have had 25 Bible College students take the World Outreach Kairos Course which covers world missions. We had three facilitators from Botswana staying on the farm. It's been a wonderful time & a real blessing to all.

Some of you may remember that I wrote about the trouble in the Anglican Church. The local vicar, Godfrey, & his congregation have opted to stay in the Anglican Communion & not join the politically motivated break away group. Godfrey has again come under persecution & he & his congregation have now been locked out of the church - this is totally against a court ruling but the police, although sympathetic, say they have orders from headquarters. It's so mean.

In South Africa the appeal court has upheld a ruling from the SADC court that farm seizures in Zimbabwe are illegal & that farmers can gain compensation by taking property of the Zimbabwe Government in South Africa. The farmers are now asking the SADC court (a bit like the European Court) to fix the levels of compensation. Watch this space!

Thank you for your prayers. We have not had much rain in Chegutu this week but it looks promising.

Lots of love, Celia

February 20, 2010
Hi there! It's been raining this week & apart from wetting the ground, it has cooled things down, now only in the low 80s. It feels quite chilly sometimes & I have had to wear a cardigan in the mornings. It's been nice having Margaret from the Wirral & Lynda from Exeter with us. Lynda is staying with Elsie Gibson. We seem to be blessed with visitors this year.

One thing that hasn't been so nice is that five of the six generators at Hwange (the main power station) are broken, Kariba is running but we have had continuous electricity cuts. As I write this the lights have just gone out again - it's been a good day, we actually got 3 hours power in the daytime. Mostly we have been getting 5 hours power from 11pm to 4 am. We have a generator but it is expensive to run. I am trying to empty my freezer, Grace & Bruce gave us some meat for Christmas so it is beef most days. I amon the laptop so I do have some battery power left but my good intentions of answering all those e-mails are again thwarted - sorry!

The strike is still on; the teachers come in on a Monday to see what is happening but we don't see them for the rest of the week. The children have stopped coming to school altogether. There is nothing in the newspapers so we just carry on. Thank you for all your love & support & prayers. We know we are still here because of you.

Much love, Celia & John

February 14, 2010
We have had a good week with Paul & Lesley Evans. Paul was teaching in the Bible College, Lesley took a women's meeting on the farm & we had some nice fellowship together. They are returning to UK on Friday, having spent three months in Africa.

In Zimbabwe there is a potentially serious situation developing. All the civil servants, teachers & health workers are now on strike & there are rumors that the police are on go-slow. The publicity has been very low key but we are not sure what will happen
if this continues. Please pray.

With love, Celia & John


February 6, 2010
A few days ago we received what we hope is the last Christmas card (thank you Pete & Gill). This always happens but this year I put up last years cards & I will do the same next year. It's such a waste otherwise. Unfortunately we were not able to send any cards, there just weren't any in the shops & anyway we were not confident of the postal services. A few years ago we posted our cards from here & they never arrived - I think someone stole all the stamps off them. However, we must say in the last few weeks the postal services do seem to have improved. Overseas mail is taking less than two weeks to arrive & the Weekly Telegraph sent from South Africa has arrived within five days. So we are thankful for any improvement.

Lots of love, Celia & John

February 2, 2010
Some people are very difficult to help. One woman I've known since she was a teenager was one of the first knitters & she comes to the church. She has been very sick & I gave her money to go to the hospital for a blood test. She sent me a message the other day to say that she had been & it was negative. I know that's not true - she has been so sick & two of her children died in infancy. I know she hasn't been to see me because I would ask to see her medical book. Two weekends ago she had a stroke or something similar - now she can't talk or do anything. I sent money to take her to the hospital but the relatives took her to the "prophets".

Love from, Celia & John

January 27, 2010
You may have heard of the film on Zimbabwe on general release in UK called "M & the White African." It is listed for an Oscar in the documentary section. It chronicles the fight of Mike Campbell to keep his farm. Mike & Angela are parent-in-law to our daughter Grace. In fact you may get a glimpse of Grace at the clip of the SADC Tribunal. There have been previews in various newspapers, even in the Weekly Telegraph which we receive.

We do appreciate your continued prayers for this country. Things are not going smoothly for the Unity Government & it is becoming increasingly obvious that politicians are not able to sort the problems out.

Love, Celia & John


January 17, 2010
Everywhere is green but the rain is patchy & they say that Gweru & south is like a desert. Schools opened this week & it was good to see Ameva full of children again. Unfortunately the disruption of the last two years has seriously affected these children & some of the brighter ones have left to go to town schools. Our results for the national exams in the primary & secondary were very poor. This is reflected, we are told, country wide especially in the rural areas. However, we have some really keen teachers now, only the situation is not stable. The teachers, most with degrees, are only getting US$150 per month across the board as the Government say they can't afford more. It's not possible for one to pay rent, utilities, transport, school fees let alone food on such a wage & many have left, often to far flung places (I heard of one teacher from Chegutu who left for Afghanistan last month!) It's a great loss. First all the medical personnel & now the teachers. This was a first world country in the heart of Africa. Now we are paupers & our neighbors despise us.

But we are not without Hope, & Faith here is of a rugged nature.

Love from, Celia & John

January 10, 2010
We are very grateful for the rain that we have had the last few days. The roads here are now in an atrocious condition but we manage. Thank you too for your prayers. After treatment for tick fever I was still feeling washed out - further tests showed that I had some malaria parasite in my blood. After more treatment I am beginning to feel more myself. I am very grateful to God for that, too, as tick fever & malaria sound like a dangerous cocktail but other than weakness & insomnia I had no symptoms. I must be still needed here. It was great to hear so many in church today giving thanks for coming through the last year - most know what real hunger is!

Love to all, Celia & John


December 17, 2009

Today the doctor told me that I had proved positive for tic fever. It was a relief to know that there really was something wrong with me & it wasn't just "in the mind". I have felt incredibly tired but haven't been able to sleep well. Not sure how I got this but I suppose if you hang around Africa long enough you end up with something African in your blood.

Our puppy Sally now has another friend called Jackson living here, his former owner unable to look after him. Both small in size, large in mischief but a lot of fun - except if you're a cat.

We are off to Botswana tomorrow for a short break before the holidays.

May the True Meaning & Spirit of Christmas reign in your hearts,

Much love, Celia & John


November 30, 2009

Sorry I have been so long in writing. I have been lacking in motivation & we are both feeling quite exhausted. The heat, day to day problems of living here but mostly having to deal with so many tragic situations. Thanks for your prayers.


The feeding scheme in the schools is now off the ground providing a high protein drink & vitamin tablets, high protein porridge for the babies & beans for the elderly. At the moment we are supplying the latter through the clinic. With the long school holidays fast approaching we are going to distribute the food through the school representatives living on the farms on the Bay Horse Road. This feeding scheme was made possible through the kind gift from Bethel Baptist Church, Minneapolis. We have also dosed all the children for worms with some dramatic results (you wouldn't want to see them - some parents bring them in bottles!) We also questioned all the children regarding symptoms of bilharzias & have so far dosed 85 children from the primary school & 20 from the secondary school. Lack of protein is the main worry, especially with the under 5s, but we pray that we will see a major improvement in the health of these children in the next few months. The clinic continues with about 160 patients a week - many walking 7 miles plus one way to get to Ameva.


It's been lovely to have Ken & Brian with us from Warrington & the Bible School has gone well. Yesterday we had the memorial service for Ian Gibson who was an elder in the church here - he died in UK last month. It was a wonderful time of celebration. Elsie his widow has returned to this country & is praying over her future. Good to see at the service Eric & Ros Taylor, & Paul & Lesley Evans who are here & in Malawi for three months.


Chegutu seems to have been really hard hit by the continued disturbances on the farm. Now the numbers of white farmers still on their land can be counted on one hand. This week Thomas Beattie, the largest employer in the district was chased off his farm after much violence. At one point he was employing over a thousand people at the height of the fruit picking season. His daughter & son-in-law Sarah-Jane & Simon Keevil go to the Tuesday night Bible study taken by John. The son/brother Hamish died last month so it is a tragic time for them & they really need to know true Comfort.


Having said that, we must say from our own experience that it is the African workers who suffer most - they are left with nothing. Bruce our son-in -law has been paying the workers since they were chased off Mount Carmel Farm earlier in the year but now he is having to pay them off. It is a tragic situation.


The electricity has been very bad as maintenance work was done at Kariba - most days electricity only for 5 hours in the night - but after three weeks we are now back to normal cuts. Let's hope it stays that way!


Love to all, Celia & John


November 10, 2009

Well, it hasn't rained yet in Chegutu although it is very hot & sticky. The rains are late so we are thinking of reducing the area under crops on Ameva this year. Grace & Bruce are well. They didn't manage to get off all the equipment they hoped - a lot was stolen & the new occupiers & police were unhelpful but it was a small victory - the first Bruce has had. We have started the feeding program in the schools. And we are distributing high protein porridge to the babies through the clinic. Quite distressing to see so many malnourished. A tell-tale sign is the condition of the hair which should be thick & black but is often thin & brown. Another session of the Bible College starts next week & we are looking forward to seeing teachers Ken & Brian from Warrington.


On the wider scene there are a few hopeful signs that things are going to change here.


Lots of love, Celia & John


P.S 13 hour electricity cuts & server down - as they say on the BBC here - ONLY IN AFRICA!


October 31, 2009

As I write this the first drops of rain are falling, not a thunderstorm as normally starts the rainy season but gentle rain. But the sky is black & it "feels thundery" so let's hope. I'm sitting outside. Two reasons for this. Firstly it's cooler & secondly we have a new puppy that is not trained yet. Sally is very sweet & has even won over John, who is not normally an animal lover. She is a Jack Russell/Scottie cross & very naughty at the moment as puppies are wont to be. My shoes & my toes are constantly nipped & at times I am dragging this little growling black mutt round the garden as she hangs on to my shoe. Well, we do feel a lot better having her around.


Many of you will know that Ian went to his heavenly home last week. He has been away in UK receiving treatment for so long that I don't think the loss has hit us yet. So many in Chegutu are asking & expressing their sorrow. He was a well loved man.


Bruce our son-in-law had managed to move most of his beef cattle off Mont Carmel Farm two weeks ago but there were still eight dairy cows & some equipment still left. The new "owners" had made a list of what they wanted but there was still quite a lot left including furniture. Bruce & Grace were forbidden to collect it & the police also refused to cooperate. One of the dairy cows died from neglect. However, this week there has been a complete turn around with Bruce & Grace able to go on the farm - dairy cows & quite a lot of equipment are now off. Someone has been praying!


It's now stopped raining, please pray on.


Lots of love, Celia & John



October 11, 2009

It's so long since I wrote one of these..... sorry, been rather busy. To bring you up to date here is a resume of the last month.


30th August. Shell-shocked to hear our friend Sophie Hart had been murdered by intruders on their farm while her husband was out. John went over.


31st August. Ben & Laura Freeth's house on the farm was burnt down. All of their possessions lost but no one injured. Laura is our Grace's sister-in-law.


1st September. Mike & Angela Campbell's house burnt down on the farm. Although they were no longer allowed to live there, they had left all furniture etc there. A lot of valuable stuff lost, probably stolen before the fire. Mike & Angela are our Grace's parents-in -law.


4th September. John took the funeral of Sophie Hart. Her husband, Jan, is (understandably) very distressed & is at present staying with relatives in South Africa. Please pray for him.


5th September. The big day. The marriage of our daughter Grace to Bruce Campbell. Despite all we thank God for a wonderful day. So many have said how blessed they were.


Our personal guests - including our 3 other children, John's brother & his sister, Celia's sister; altogether 15 people from overseas plus Martin & Marian Williams from Malawi. Despite Celia's apprehensions, the wheel on the Honda breaking off in the remote bush, everything fell into place & we had a wonderful time together. The last visitor left on 30th September & we are gradually catching up with work & getting back to normal.


Just to let you know that Jim Bailey our UK organizer had a slight heart attack a couple of weeks ago & is convalescing - all correspondence should be sent to Terry at the above address.


Ian Gibson our beloved elder in the church here is now gravely ill. He is still with his son in Exeter UK. Please pray for all the family. Edna, the daughter & her husband have flown out to be there.


With much love, Celia & John


August 24, 2009
I had fifty hugs today! I spoke at the Women's Conference at the farm (quite unexpectedly) & received hugs all round. Sometimes I feel a bit taken for granted & then something like that happens - I feel well hugged/loved today!

On the way back from Botswana yesterday we saw a secretary bird on the side of the road - it was so special as we haven't seen one for many years. Isn't God good?

Sadly Anne Clark died last Sunday. Don is coping well at the loss of his wife of 59 years but needs prayer. He is assured that he will meet Anne again.

Much love, Celia & John

August 20, 2009
" Due to the worsening crisis in Zimbabwe we are hoping to send a container from Devon in October; amongst other things we want to send are as many blankets as possible plus clothing. We also anticipate sending mosquito nets; these have been offered at a discounted price. We have had an offer of bikes and will look into the possibility of sending them. If you feel you have something that would be of use to the school, farm or orphans, please let us know.

Please, before you send anything, contact both Terry Watson ( terryandfran.info@ntlworld.com )and myself. I will be in Zimbabwe till mid September. Transport has become quite expensive and we would like to keep cost to the minimum as we anticipate the container costing more than £7000.

Rora Fellowship have kindly offered us space at Rora to store supplies as they come in. We hope to send direct to Rora where we have friends looking after things at that end.

Much love in Him, Jim Bailey

August 15, 2009
Life has been very busy here with the visitors, wedding preparations, Bible School - at the farm (national) & in the town (local). But the teaching sessions have been good & all blessed. Ray & Andy leave us today & Bryn & Sue next week. Sue has been helping large numbers of people at the Ameva clinic. At the moment all the doctors in the country are on strike & the nurses on "go slow" - a desperate situation. Sue will be missed.

Grace is on countdown for the wedding in three weeks. Yesterday Bruce, her fiancé, was told that the government was requisitioning all the equipment on the farm which was a real blow. There are still cattle on the farm so they are not sure what will happen to them.

We are off to Botswana next Wednesday to shop for all the guests arriving from overseas. It's quite a challenge but we are really looking forward to seeing everyone.

Love from Celia & John


August 5, 2009
We are now into another session of the Bible College. Ray & Andy are here from Warrington to take the lessons on the farm for those country-wide & Bryn & John are teaching those in town. We are having good feedback on all fronts. The weather is getting steadily warmer & winter appears to be on the way out.


Love, Celia & John

July 30, 2009
Bryn & Sue arrived last week. Bryn is teaching in the Bible College & Sue is running the clinic. They seem to have settled in well. Ray & Andy from Warrington arrive on Saturday & will also be teaching in the Bible College. It runs for 2 weeks starting Monday.

For the last couple of weeks we have been able to feed the school children some sweet potatoes grown on the farm - this is in addition to the small cup of milk they get each week. We are also buying up maize for the orphans while it is cheap to store for later in the year. Food is there but not many able to buy much - Sue is seeing a lot of malnutrition in the clinic. It is a bit warmer today - hopefully winter is ending.

Love, Celia & John

July 21, 2009
Last Wednesday we said good-bye to Chris. Everyone was sorry to see her go & everyone hopes she will return. One elderly lady said,"It's nice to have a doctor you can talk to."

Last week we met three ladies from Australia, two were relatives of Mr North who some of you knew. They came with a gift of encouragement & just "happened" to arrive in Harare when there was a big conference on the new constitution when people from all around the country were there. A good time had by everybody, people here need to know that Christians overseas do care even if they are disappointed with their governments.

In the past week I went to two funeral. The first was an inspiration, the other was very sad & best forgotten. It was wonderful to hear a son testify that his father was such a man of God.

John has been sick for a while & although he now feels much better he is still not completely well. The weather is still very cold - we are not used to these cold winters & everyone is complaining. We are hoping to finance a container later in the year, must remember to ask for blankets for the old people.

Much love, Celia & John

July 1, 2009
John & Chris have been watching the tennis at Wimbledon & we see that there is a heatwave in UK. As I type this, I am sitting in front of a log fire in our lounge, wearing many layers & just about feeling warm. This is the first really cold spell we have had for many years. Last Thursday there was a frost that wiped out the tomatoes on the farm (fortunately nearly over anyway.) Everyone is cold & Chris said today that at the clinic her thermometer was not registering quite a number of body temperatures - they were just too low. So we do get cold weather sometimes!
We have restricted the clinic to farm residents (10mile radius of Ameva) only but Chris has been seeing over 80 on most days & is now nearly out of drugs. Many are not really sick but then some are & it is distressing to see cases where there is really no hope, in a first world country they would be kept alive but here one has to take a different attitude.

There have been no new farm invasions round Chegutu but despite court orders the invaders remain including Mike & Bruce's (Grace's fiancé) farm. They have stolen the mangoes, the oranges & the maize. Now only the sunflower remains, maybe they will move off when they have stolen that.

Lots of love, Celia & John

June 22, 2009
Another week gone - how quickly time goes!

Things are certainly improving here & there is plenty of food in the shops. However, 90% of the working age population do not have jobs & most do not have relatives working outside the country. Teachers & public/civil servants are only getting US$100 per month across the board. We, therefore, feel there is a need to continue to support the pastors for the next year at least. We will not be bringing in food parcels which were very expensive but will be giving US$10 each per month. This way we can help more on a regular basis.

While we were in UK in February we were given a very generous gift to help people here start micro enterprises. Help is given in the form of loans so that there will be a rolling fund. We have been able to help in the following areas:- hairdressing, bread making, mining, cooking oil extraction, butchery, cross border trading to name a few. And already some people are paying back their loan.

Much love, Celia & John

June 14, 2009
Our venture into Mozambique turned out well & a blessing. We were grateful for the loan of Grace's car as the last 100km to Marrumeu was a treacherous dirt road. John really enjoyed teaching the student on the Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School.- what he said had to be translated twice. Shephan & Caitlin & the girls are well, doing a great job & preparing to do a two month stunt in the delta. We had the privilege of seeing the huge tract of virgin bush about an hour's drive from the town which the local chief had given YWAM to develop for their base. It is a enormous undertaking & should keep Shephan very busy for many years to come. It was also good to renew our fellowship with folk at Maforga near Chimoio.

Dr Chris Sansom arrived on Wednesday bringing £4000.00 of donated drugs. After several days of prayer & persuasion John & Chris managed to get the parcels out of customs without paying too much. Chris is here for 6 weeks & will be a great help.

Much love, Celia & John


May 24, 2009
This has not been a good week for me. We were without electricity for 4 days & then when it came back on I didn't realise that the plugs in the garage were not working so 50kg meat in the freezer defrosted. I had to take the meat up to the farm but all the workers & teachers were highly delighted & not a bit sympathetic! Despite having paid an awful lot of money while I was in UK, my teeth are still giving me problems & I have had to make some emergency visits to Mr Landman in Harare. He should be retired but he still soldiers on & he is someone you can t-r-u-s-t.

The situation on the farms is still bad. Simon & Sarah Jane have been moved off Dodhill Farm just up the road from Ameva. They have three small children who were finding the affects of strange men walking round their garden with guns very traumatic. Apparently the farm is allocated to the brother of the local Lands Officer.

All in all I have felt very low & I have shed a few tears - frustration more than anything. John is positive as always & has managed to put up with me. We visit Shephan & Caitlin in Mozambique next week so that will be a nice break.

Lots of love, Celia & John


May 17, 2009

Hi. Just to say the situation on the farms remains the same with illegal occupancy continuing. We heard this week that Simon Keevil & his family have two weeks to vacate their farm, Dodhill, which is just up the road from Ameva. In the meantime they are not allowed to pick their oranges.


The teachers are back at work & we are collecting them from town each day. Unfortunately, after such a long time the children have got out of the habit of studying so we are back to square one in getting them back in class. Back in the '80s it was a job to educate parents as to the benefits of sending their children to school... I think we are now at the same place. We have spent about US$2000 in stationary & bought a new Risograph in the hope of encouraging teachers & pupils. When we go to Harare I must buy some footballs - I think that will be the real incentive!


Much love, Celia & John


May 11, 2009

We have had a hectic three weeks. First the launch of the National Bible College and last week the Pastors' Conference. Great to have Paul Evans & Brian Rainford from UK to help & bless us with their ministry. The 20 students & 53 pastors certainly had a good time. It's really encouraging to meet up with these dear folk. They go through such problems & hardships but are always so positive.


The situation on the invaded farms remains the same with the continual theft of their crops. When will it end?


Lots of love, Celia & John


April 20, 2009

"Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come, and My righteousness to be revealed." ~ Isaiah 56:1


The occupation of the farms in Chegutu continues despite a visit from some of the diplomatic corp., the Deputy Prime Minister & government ministers. It appears that things are now coming to a head & showdown is imminent on several fronts. Mbeki has been called in to mediate - he is expected on Monday. As things could go either way we do ask again for your prayers for this nation.


Good news is that the Campbell's white manager, Martin & the 10 workers have been released on bail after a week in Kadoma prison. Grace was much involved in taking food & going to the courts. The trial is next week. Martin's comment on release was -" Everyone needs to go through that - it makes you appreciated what is really worthwhile in life." - no one seemed eager to agree!


Sad time for Shephen's family as they laid brother Mike to rest on Ameva yesterday. Many people of all races travelled to pay their last respects, including a large contingent from YWAM Bulawayo & South Africa. Bob Bowness flew in from Singapore. Mike had been receiving treatment for cancer in SA but it soon became clear he was beyond medical help. He passed peacefully surrounded by family & friends.


Great to have Paul Evans with us again. He is here to teach in the opening session of the national Ameva Bible College. The Bible College has been closed for three years so we are quite excited. Like the local Bible Course we have started in Chegutu town this will be on a block basis - three two week sessions a year.


We are working hard to get some vehicles working on the farm as several teachers have applied for transfers as they cannot manage the walking to Ameva each day (10 miles round trip). Pray we can get the parts.


Much love, Celia & John


April 12, 2009

We have just returned from a wonderful Easter Conference on the farm. It was great to see over 100 people there worshipping. We had communion this morning & also people gave clothes for the poor as very few have money. It was touching to see people give when they have so little themselves - truly widows' mites.


On other farms in Chegutu the situation has not been so happy. Mike & Angela Campbell have now been driven off their farm. The perpetrators are now selling all the mangoes - shipping vendors in to buy & also starting to harvest the orange orchards. The farm workers are in hiding. The police are complicit in this as they have put 8 farm workers & a white manager, Martin, in jail for kidnapping etc. They say one of the invaders is missing although he is seen openly walking around Chegutu. It seems that orders come from the top. So it goes on.


Grace, of course, is very involved as fiancé Bruce is Campbell's son. Other farmers are also affected. It's difficult to keep calm when there is such blatant injustice but we know that there will be a DAY when these things are dealt with.


Love from Celia & John


April 4, 2009

The week has gone quickly. The sad news is that I had to close the clinic on the farm - just too many people flocking in - nearly 250 people on Monday - that shows the need. we simply ran out of everything & could not cope. It was obvious that many, many people were coming from the town which was not our intention. Hopefully when things calm down we will be able to sort something out.


The electricity cuts have been very bad this week, every evening & several hours in the day. Today we had no electricity for 14 hours. Not sure what is happening but we could do without so many "earth hours". Our daughter Grace has been in trouble with the police - again! This time accused of organizing an MDC rally which she was innocently watching from the side of the road. The police eventually did not press charges. Mother is having too many of these scares!


Much love, Celia & John


March 29, 2009

The dams are full, the rain has gone, the crops are being harvested & the weather is pleasant. Malaria season is with us. There has been a bad outbreak around Thistle Farm (formerly known for weaving) about 6km from Ameva. Sick people are walking that distance & further to get treatment. Last week we had over 150 cases mostly from that area. Despite twice visiting the Environmental Health Dept in Chegutu Hospital & phoning them no one has been out there. We are overwhelmed with other sick people as no one on the farms can afford the US$5 for consultation plus the extra money needed for drugs. In view of the vehicle situation we have had to buy another small pick up to get back on the road. John managed to get parts for the Honda & the LR on Friday.


We had an encouraging Sunday at the church with new people attending & others, who hadn't been for a long time, "returning to the fold". Pastor Isaac, who was an Ameva graduate, came especially to testify. He has six children & in 2004 lost his home to a government bulldozer. He & his family spent 2 months in the open & have not had a permanent home since. However, last month he had a dream where he was told "not to worry" & since then delivered from the "disease"; his life was revolutionized. This is one of the pastors we are helping with food parcels


Much love, Celia & John


March 22, 2009

Well, in travelling back from UK we have travelled more than in distance. The first two weeks here it rained non-stop - late for this country but we were grateful to see the streams running & the dams filling. However the rain brought with it the usual power cuts - even more than usual - no landline & email, no mobile. It was a disappointment to find that our pick-up was still in the garage & still not fixed although we are promised in the next couple of weeks...... Then this week the Honda broke a CV joint, not surprising on these roads, so we have been really cut off. Grace has borrowed a vehicle from Bruce & kindly lent us hers (thanks Grace, thanks Bruce) but we hope to have wheels of our own again by next weekend. It is a lesson in patience & not giving in to the frustration.


And if you haven't heard from us & should have done, this is by way of explanation. I hope you will excuse us. There is still a lot of trouble on the farms & some farmers in Chegutu have lost the battle but otherwise the situation has been quiet. People were saddened by the tragic death of the Prime Minister's wife but wait to hear the whole story (if it is ever told). There is food in the shops & maize meal is freely available but everything is in US dollars or Rand. When we see official currency it is now Rand in all but name & that all the food stuffs in the shops are being imported from South; the slogan of the last election "we will never be colonized again" seems rather hollow. Another thing, post now comes through South Africa & gets lost on the way. A stack of Christmas cards awaited us on our return. It seemed such a waste & I have decided to keep them & put them up this year. Sorry I didn't think of that before & use 2007s last Christmas as they also came too late. Finally, thank you for the lovely time we had in UK - we felt thoroughly spoilt & blessed & refreshed. There were so many people I didn't see but wanted to. Time & dental appointments just didn't allow. If I didn't see you, I thought of you. We thank God for all of you, for your love & prayers.


Much love, Celia & John


February 14, 2009

We arrived safely in UK two weeks ago. It has been lovely seeing everybody but very cold. We were snowed in in Devon. We have not seen snow for many years. Just to let you know I am sending Jim some Bible Study notes we have used in the Bible College & in the church groups. If anyone wishes to have a copy they can contact Jim Bailey at amevajim@aol.com stating which one/ones you would like.


Subjects: One Baptism (with acknowledgements to writing of G.W. North)

Miracles in John's Gospel (with acknowledgements to writing of G.W. North)




2 Peter


Much love, Celia & John


January 24, 2009

Dear All,


We will be returning to UK next weekend for a 6 week break to see our family - Abigail is graduating & John is reaching his sell-by-date. Because of the awful situation here we are obviously leaving Zimbabwe with mixed feelings. We had one of our teachers (a graduate) begging for his family last week. He had been paid in Zimbabwe dollars & couldn't even bye a bag of maize meal with the money. The schools have been officially closed for an extra two weeks. They are supposed to open on Tuesday but the teachers will strike. So no health service, no schools. We had a good holiday in Nambia three months ago but in spite of that we feel weary. I don't even like talking about Zimbabwe, some of the things I see in the clinic are beginning to really upset me. But don't worry John is always able to speak! We are busy getting in stores of mealie meal, rice, soya chunks & soap for the people while we are away. Grace will be in charge. She is doing a great job feeding the orphans. Thank you Forget-me-not for sending the money. See you soon maybe.


Lots of love, Celia & John


January 12, 2009

Party time on Saturday with 150 children. They waited until Grace returned & then told her they wanted a party on Saturday. Memories of last year's party, hopes of another one - this was all the treats these children had. And a great time was had by all, a big cheer for Grace, already looking forward to next year. Last week I had two elderly people at the clinic. They said they hadn't eaten for five days; on Sunday a man asked Loveness if he could help plant her sweet potatoes for five bundles of vegetables. He has four children. Apparently we can no longer phone out to UK from here because the telephone company haven't paid the bills. Everyone is busy planting while it is still raining so that they will have some food.


Love from Celia & John


January 3, 2009

Sorry for being out of contact for so long. Communications have been very difficult. On Christmas Day we were without power for 24hours & on New Years Day power went off for 48 hours due to a local fault. Today we have again had a long power cut. The local telephone exchange does not have diesel to run it's generator. The phones have been on/off even when we have had power. Our Christmas was different. We spent Christmas Day at the wedding of Shephan's niece, who was marrying one of our ex Bible College students. I ended up with the honour of driving the bride - a first. And we managed to get some rice & meat for the farm workers so they had a Christmas dinner after all. Some kind people invited us over later so we were not lonely. I cooked my dinner on Boxing Day (beef) - a good move considering the power situation & had some elderly friends round. We managed without the tinsel & the turkey & the presents. It was actually quite nice. World Outreach have very kindly sent us money for the emergency situation here & I am intending to use this to set up a feeding scheme for the vulnerable - babies & children, old people if possible. I am asking for you to pray for my little pick up. It has been drinking oil since I got it new 20 months ago. It went in to be investigated (under guarantee) beginning of November & although they have found the problem but Toyota SA have not sent the parts. They are now closed for the holidays until next week. I really need this vehicle to implement the feeding scheme. Nothing is straight forward here but with God......Trust you had a peaceful holiday time & the year ahead will be a blessed one.


Love, Celia & John


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