Summery September News

`Summer´y September 2012 Issue

It has been a few months since our last newsletter and as such some may be wondering what has been happening in the Bulawayo Community where Our Neighbours Ministry has the privilege of being on the ground and able to serve.

I am happy to say that summer is now here, and winter has gone off to another place – you could say I am now out of hibernation!

Volunteers are always a blessing to the Ministry.

We have been blessed with a number of people visiting the Ministry over the last few months and we have realized how much the children appreciate people coming to spend time with them by how much they share about the visitors when you least expect it.

Whilst the Isaiah´s toddlers were drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, one little boy called out to come and see “aeroplane-ka-Elysa” and then each of them copied naming special volunteers.

It doesn´t matter how old a person is, a toddler, a teenager, an adult or an elder – goodbyes are always hard to say. In comfort to those who have been across to visit and gone home, please know you will never be forgotten for your kindness in partnering with us.

Technology has made this much easier to bear, and now with processes like skype and social net-working sites like facebook we never have to feel that far away !

Volunteers are truly special people.


Lighthouse Christian Academy have begun the Third term of 2012 with the children and teachers of Lighthouse Christian Academy all well settled into their new school premises. Additional extra curricula activities have been planned for this final term and we are excited about the inclusion of life skills, music and story telling. Please continue to uplift the children in prayer as education is vital. Thanks to the Edge Team for their recent visit and continual input into the development of this education programme.


Soup Kitchen

This area of Our Neighbours Ministry continues to provide a nutritious meal twice a week to the poor-est of the poor. The meal consists of the staple food “sadza” with a mixed vegetable relish and protein (either sugar beans or meat).

We have seen an increase in the number of adult people attending this bi-weekly meal, and we are yet to determine the attributing fac-tors for this. With the third school term having just begun we have seen the number of children decrease slightly. In those still coming for the meal there is a large number of children being cared for by grandparents who have no income and cannot afford to pay school fees. Schooling in Zimbabwe is not free and costs between U$150 and U$250 per year which includes tuition and levies.

A local church has recently been actively training up Ministry Leaders in Discipleship and the fruit thereof has been the development of a discipleship course amongst the gracious servants of our Soup Kitchen. The course has been running for just over a month and it is envisaged that this will train up the 9 participants for further training of others within the soup kitchen. It is encouraging to see how these folk have grown from being in attendance at the soup kitchen, to preparing the meal for others and now growing spiritually to make other disciples.


The outreach in the Trenance Community has been going well and we have seen an increase in the number of people attending the weekly community meeting on Wednesday. A number of families were blessed with blankets which had been donated to bring comfort during the cold winter months from June through to August. We received a double blessing of food for distribution in June and this was welcomed as we were able to contribute to more families in need and did not have to turn folk away for lack of supply.

There still remains a desperate situation in Trenance regarding clean water supplies and we ask you to pray that there will be resolution to this. Previously water-guard sachets have relieved the problem slightly and we would like to be able to continually supply these to this Community. The water crisis is not just relevant to Trenance but to many areas of Matabeleland, please pray for a good season of rainfall which then results in a bountiful harvest for the nation.

In the Trenance community there is a large number of children who do not attend school for lack of funding. A number of children in these circumstances now attend Lighthouse Christian Academy. The children love the community meeting as they get to draw and colour, sing and play games, and on some occasions leave with a lollipop or bag of crisps.


2012/2013 sees the third cultural exchange volunteer come in to assist Our Neighbours Ministry. This is an established programme in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee which engages young adults in Serving and Learning Together through voluntary service for one year. We are grateful for the knowledge they bring and share, and trust through the year that they will gain as much from the beautiful people of Bulawayo, in their experiences serving here in Zimbabwe.


Elise Whitlatch 2010 / 2011




Elyse Sullivan 2011 / 2012




Amanda Koch 2012/ 2013




6 new babies arrive + 2 girls are each placed into new families=FULL HOUSE (25) 

In June and July we received a total of six new children, 4 boys and 2 girls.

All of these children had been abandoned and spent the last couple of months in a local hospital waiting placement. Investigations have failed to locate any relatives or extended families.

In just a few weeks we have begun to see changes in their once saddened faces – broadening into smiles and giggles. As they receive consistent love, care and nutrition you can see incredible changes in these children. And what a wonderful sight this is! Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.

As babies/children are identified for fostering with the intention of adoption there is always great joy however quite often tinged with a little sadness as they leave to become part of a new family. We see the vision of Isaiah´s Umuzi Wothando (Isaiah´s Home of Love) come to pass as children are inter-grated into loving families and communities. Sometimes this is very difficult as nominated care-givers and other people develop special bonds with these children but we are encouraged to trust in God´s perfect plan for each of these children´s lives. As each child grows we see the formation of their individual personalities and we are continually reminded in this that every person is uniquely created.

We praise God for the fostering for adoption of Jessica and Ruvarashe.

Baby Count as at 12~09~12  > 25 Beautiful Blessings from God

Boys :-  15     Mthandazo, Craig, Keith, Tadiwanashe, Kudakwashe, Samuel, Christopher, Anesu, Matthew, Thamsanqa, Mduduzi, Shepherd, Bright, Nkosilathi

Girls :-  10     Nomalanga, Faith, Nobuhle, Blessing, Blessed Dancer, Darlene, Vimbai, Emma, Nomathemba, Lubelihle

Child Development in Play

All children love to play — whether it be inside or outside, in the sand with a plastic bucket, a cup or a spoon, whether it be with a musical toy or just a few blocks of wood, various aspects of play result in the healthy development of a child.

A family who recently visited the Babies Home worked together with our staff to show them how simple it is to set up children´s play which develops their basic motor skills at the same time.






June News from Martin

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from us here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.  I hope this newsletter finds you well.

Things are going well overall for us here at Our Neighbours Ministry.  I am looking forward to sharing some of this with you in this newsletter.  I would like to focus this time on Lighthouse Christian Academy and North End Home, but also share many ‘new snippets’ with you.


Lighthouse Christian Academy (LCA) has started at their new location, an 8 bedroom home in North End.  They are so excited!   Edge Foundation Australia, our lovely and generous partners for LCA, purchased this house for the school to operate from.

We now have 23 students at LCA.  For those who aren’t aware, LCA assists children from very vulnerable circumstances who have missed significant periods of their schooling.  We use a home based schooling curriculum that enables them to start from the exact level that they are at, regardless of their age, and get a great education.

Last term we had 13 students join us, predominantly from one of the ‘squatter camp’ communities that we assist.  All of these students have been assessed as to their academic levels and have settled quite well into LCA, with a few expected little issues along the way.  I love the vision of LCA, to provide good quality education to children in desperately vulnerable circumstances, to love and care for them holistically as children and to share with them about our God.  We see lives being transformed!  And with this new premises we will be able to grow our capacity at LCA to about 50 students.


I also wanted to share with you about the 6 great boys who live at the North End Home with Florence.  What better way to start than to share a message from them to you:

Dear Sponsors,

To everyone who has been supporting us, we as the Northend Boys say “thank you very much”, may God bless you and remember you in His Kingdom.  To everyone who is supporting us we pray, asking that God will remember you in everything you do, so that you may be able to see His blessing wherever you go.  We humbly thank you all, and ask that you may know that we love you all.

As the Northend Boys, we would like to remind you of some of the many ways in which we have been blessed by you, namely clothing, paying our rent and utility bills, for the wonderful house, complete with furnishings, we live in.  Supplying our food, enabling us to attend school (at Lighthouse Christian Academy), our gifts of bicycles and so forth.  We want to also thank the many people who leave their families and indeed their countries for a season just to come and spend time with us and get to know us better, we sincerely appreciate that.  

Yours Sincerely
Northend Boys Family.

I’m so proud of these boys that we first started assisting when their situations meant they had ended up living on the streets and it’s great to grow in relationship with them, to see them thrive, to see them as leading students at Lighthouse Christian Academy and to hear lovely feedback from the community about them and their characters, etc.  I add my thanks to theirs to you also.












Now here’s some ‘news snippets’ for you to kept this newsletter from being too long:

  • We have very good news (tinged with sadness) that Ruvarashe and Jessica from Isaiah’s Babies Home have been fostered to be adopted during the last 1.5 months.                                                 
  • We are expecting another 3 babies to be coming to us at Isaiah’s any day now.
  • Currently our sponsorship program for the little ones at Isaiah’s is 42% covered.  This leaves much room for anyone else who’d like to sponsor, or to seek sponsors on our behalf for these precious little ones.
  • Also for your information, our monthly budget of approximately US $21,000 for all of Our Neighbours Ministry is 63% covered currently by regular donors and sponsors who have committed to a monthly or yearly contribution (though due to increasing costs of living and other higher living costs that occurred after dollarization in Zimbabwe, which were expected to decrease but haven’t, we need to put through staff salary increases very soon and reassess this monthly budget also soon). For information on of this please email myself or Belinda at
  • Charmaine Nortier will be leaving us after 4 years in our Administration team.  We greatly thank her for all she has done and pray for her in this new season (starting a new job for a period and seeking God’s direction going forward).
  • Laurie and Jenny Humphrey’s new temporary employment permit request was rejected. Currently they are prayerfully considering a few options.  They do have a desire to continue to serve in Zimbabwe and are seeking where God is leading re this both now and in the future.  We greatly thank them for all they have done for Our Neighbours Ministry (as well as serving numerous other ministries) and pray from them at this time, for God’s guidance and peace.
  • We were really blessed to have Andy Fry come and give further training and love to the Imvelenhle Empowerment group and provide some staff training as well.
  • Agnes is one of the widows who lives in the squatter camp in Trenance whom we assist through Hearts of Love Ministries.  She is 76 years old and lived alone until quite recently when her daughter moved to stay with her after losing her job (this is the only child that we are aware that she has).  Agnes, like most people in Trenance, try to do odd jobs, however because of her age and ailing health she really struggles in terms of income and food.  Agnes suffers with hypertension and for sometime has been complaining of a sore shoulder, both of which she takes medication for.  We try to visit her home in Trenance on a regular basis as a lot of the time she is lonely and our visits are a delight to her.  She loves to hear about the Word of God and encourages us on every visit to read from the Scriptures.  Agnes is one of the people Hearts of Love assists long-term with food, clothing and medical requirements.
  • I read the below quite in Helen Mottee’s CD cover and I thought it was wise and thought provoking (thanks Helen for your beautiful performance at our meeting in Port Macquarie);

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the sermon on the mount … the world has achieved brilliance, without wisdom, power, without conscience.  Ours is a world of nuclear gains and ethical infants”   General Omar N Bradley

  • The ‘Bantum” (bakkie or ute depending on which country you are reading this from), that I drive and Hearts of Love use for outreach, helping people with transport etc etc, needs an overhaul if anyone would like to assists with us.

So, thank you SO MUCH for the part of Our Neighbours Ministry and our lives that you are, and for your friendship and support etc.  I hope this newsletter gives you a glimpse of what you are a part of.

Bless You,
Love Marrtin