Annual Report 2015

We have continued to be encouraged in the work of the Trust throughout the past year as we have seen the interest in our work and the prayerful and practical support growing among the Lord’s people here in the UK. This was reflected in the opportunity given to present the work of the Trust in two articles published in the October edition of Evangelical Times, which you may have read, and which brought a number of encouraging responses. The following extract from a report by Derek French of the visit to Zimbabwe in June underlines the declining economic situation in Zimbabwe and the growing needs among the Lord’s people there.

The general situation there is as dire as I had been led to believe with everybody struggling to make a small amount to feed their families. A visit to down town Harare could at first sight be very misleading as it is teeming with people, but a second glance will see that on every bit of pavement space there was someone trying to sell something to make some cash to feed their families. This street selling is quite illegal but people are desperate to survive. For those living in rural areas it is much worse as they do not have anywhere to shop and most have nothing to sell, and a walk of 20 miles is quite common to the nearest store. Those who can, try to grow something on any patch of land they can cultivate, but the rains have been poor and the outlook is for some difficult months ahead. Pray the rains will come in November to February as they depend on these so much. It was quite criminal to see the vast areas of former prime farming land just left idle and unproductive.

During the year we have continued with our ministry of supporting the Lord’s work in Zimbabwe in meeting both spiritual and humanitarian needs and this report will seek to reflect the various ways this has been done.

Supporting churches in their ministry and mission

The principal way in which we support the churches in their ministry is through the running of Training of Trainers workshops in which we are seeking to equip a group of 12 more able pastors so that they can then run indigenous workshops in a variety of locations around the country to equip local pastors for their ministry. With the funding of these workshops now being covered by the Trust, as indicated in our Annual Report last year, we were only able to fund and run one week of such training this year which was held in June when Maciek Stolarski and Derek French led the training. The report from Derek on the week indicates the real encouragement of seeing the impact this training is having.

Our main purpose was the teaching of pastors which went very well indeed. What was most encouraging of all was the opportunity we had to see some of those we have taught over several years actually teaching other pastors themselves. The men involved have grown in their understanding of Biblical doctrine immensely and it was quite thrilling to hear them expound the true Biblical gospel and the doctrines of God’s sovereign grace with clarity and enthusiasm. They were also able to handle the questions some of the men they were teaching threw at them with much grace and clarity. This is all the Lord’s doing, of course, but it was an immense privilege to be granted a part in what He has been doing.

The pastors attending the Training of Trainers were also given books to assist them in their studies – many pastors in Zimbabwe have little to help them by way of commentaries and other Christian books.

The accommodation we have been using for these training workshops at YWCA was not available to us this year, the premises having been sold, which meant that alternative arrangements had to be made at short notice. The conference centre owned by Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority was made available for our use but, whilst the facilities were excellent, this added considerably to the costs of running the training. Please pray we will be able to find suitable accommodation for the training course next year at a more economic price.

Mary Stolarski accompanied Maciek again this year on the trip and led two days of ladies conference on the theme of 1 Peter. In addition, for the first time, Derek, Maciek and Mary were all involved in a day conference for pastors and their wives, which proved to be a much needed and beneficial time of teaching.

The pastors who have been trained in the Training of Trainers will be involved in leading indigenous preachers’ workshops in various areas of Zimbabwe in the coming year and for your prayers the venues are listed, along with the month when the workshops will be held (exact dates in each month are not known).

  • January – Chimanimani – Manicaland Province
  • February – Bulawayo – Bulawayo Province
  • March – Domboshawa – Mashonaland East Province
  • April – Kadoma – Mashonaland West Province
  • May – Masvingo – Masvingo Province
  • June – Victoria Falls & Hawange – Matabeleland North
  • July – Mt Darwin – Mashonaland Central Province
  • August – Chitungwiza - Mashonaland East Province
  • September – Harare – Harare Province
  • October – Gweru – Midlands Province
  • November – Gwanda – Matabeleland South

Throughout the year we have been able to send almost £1000 to purchase bibles in both Shona and Ndebele languages – this is in addition to bibles purchased with personal gifts given to Derek French to take with him to Zimbabwe. One brother wrote expressing appreciation for the bibles that had been given ‘Can you please pass our gratefulness for the continued love and kindness to the brethren here in Zimbabwe. We are so grateful for the gift of money donated towards purchasing of Shona bibles. We are glad that some of the much-needed Shona bibles were bought and we are passing them to the right persons in the usual way.

We have also continued our support of pastors when special needs have arisen as well as two widows of pastors we had been training. In particular we have given support to the wife of one of the men currently being trained who was involved in a serious road accident last November and suffered multiple injuries. A special appeal for funds to cover medical expenses raised almost £5000 which has been used to meet the costs of her surgery and care over the past year. We are thankful to the Lord that Rinasi is now making a good recovery.

Relieving poverty among the churches and their communities

The deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe means that the churches are faced with huge challenges as their members struggle to feed their families and as they witness the immense needs in the communities around them. Alongside supporting the spiritual needs among the Lord’s people we also continue to do what we can to meet humanitarian needs in the churches and their communities. We have continued our support of the orphanages run by believers in the Bulawayo area as well as providing further goats for families in the Mt Darwin area in the north of the country through the Hope for Life project we have enabled a pastor there to establish. We also have continued our support for two feeding programmes among orphans cared for in the community and one pastor wrote: Thank you so much for the money, I have safely collected it. It is my pleasure to say we have increased the number of our children as a result of the gift that you are sending to us. We now have 80 children that we are feeding starting from last month. We did it as a trial and found that for the next coming 2 months we are able to feed and look after them all. May you please continue to nurture that kind heart you are having, it is bringing change to a number of souls that had no hope and confidence of life. May you also please pass our acknowledgement to all who are stretching their hands towards this orphan feeding programme, may the Lord bless you all.

We have again worked in partnership with the church at Meadow Way Chapel, Norwich as they provided the funding for drilling a borehole to provide clean safe water for a rural community at Mtshazo. The following is an extract from a report on the project: The people of this community were already used to share drinking water from the dirty Mtshabezi River with animals. Water borne diseases have been rampant but there was nothing the community could do. The government`s department of water had already told them that there was no way they were going to get water because the area is dry and the water table is far deep in the ground. One has to drill more than 100m to get to where the water is. When we first went into the community to talk about the possibility of having water, the community could not believe us because so many organisations had tried to drill boreholes before but failed to reach the water table or they would drill right straight into the granite rock.... We humbly told them that we are children of God and our God is the Lord of miracles, He is able to make water come out of this dry rejected, remote area. We told them that the God whom we serve, once made water to gush out of a rock and gave it to His people. It may look on the ground that the place is dry but with God all things are possible. God answered the prayers of His people as the drilling struck water at 40 metres and they continue to drill to 60 metres to ensure a reliable water supply.

In August we received news of a community living near a disused clay quarry who were, without notice, forcibly evicted from their homes leaving around 40 families homeless as their homes were destroyed. We were able to send funds to a pastor who ministers among these rural communities to help provide emergency shelter and food for these families. Pastor Albert writes: A big thank you to all those who have supported us with donations of money, blankets, clothing, and food. The villagers say when you have lost everything and someone comes with help you feel like you are alive again.

These are examples of the ways in which we seek to meet some of the vast humanitarian needs in the churches and their communities in Zimbabwe. Update on the Trust We are pleased to report that John Richards from Chertsey Street Baptist Church, Guildford has joined us as a trustee during the past year. John was born in Zimbabwe and has a number of contacts in the country which will be valuable as we seek to develop the work of the Trust. After a number of delays we are now on the verge of registering the Trust with the Charity Commission. We are also registered with Stewardship Services and Charity Aid Foundation and can receive gifts through these sources. Donations can also be made online at give.net/20174075 or directly to our bank account – please contact the secretary for more details on how to give or see our website www.zpt.org.uk . We are thankful to the Lord and grateful for the generous support of the Lord’s people here in the UK that has more than doubled our income in the year to April 2015 to £26544.

Keeping in touch We plan to continue to keep you up to date with this Annual Report and occasional news bulletins, but you can receive news on a regular basis by visiting www.facebook.com/ZimbabwePartnershipTrust where updates of news and developments will be posted regularly. You can also see information about various projects on www.zpt.org.uk .

Items for Praise and Prayer

PRAISE God for the progress the men in the Training of Trainers programme have made in their understanding of Biblical doctrine and their ability to teach in the indigenous preachers’ workshops.
  • PRAY for Maciek Stolarski and Derek French as they prepare to lead a further Training of Trainers from 9-13 May 2016 and as Mary will speak at ladies day conferences.
  • PRAY for suitable accommodation to be found for the Training of Trainers and ladies conferences next year.
  • PRAY for the indigenous preachers workshops led by men training through the ToT – the venues and dates are listed earlier in this report.
  • PRAY that the training programme will have a real impact in raising up faithful preachers whose ministry will be greatly used by God to bring spiritual blessing to Zimbabwe.
  • PRAISE God for His provision for the financial needs of the work through the generosity of his people here in the UK.
  • PRAY for wisdom for the trustees in administering the funds given to support the work of the Trust.
  • PRAY for good rains in Zimbabwe between November and February to provide a good harvest.
  • PRAISE God for the provision of another borehole to give clean safe water to the Mtshazo community.
  • PRAY for all that is done to minister to the needs of orphans through the orphanage word and feeding programmes.
  • PRAY that the many needy people in Zimbabwe will have their hearts and lives touched by the love and grace of God as they experience the compassion of God expressed through the love and care of His people.
    • Trustees

      Chris Boyes (Chairman), Derek French, Stuart Moffatt (Treasurer), Ray Pountney, Gill Prime, Roger Prime, John Richards, Jon Spalding and Maciek Stolarski.

      Secretary Roger Prime, 3 Guildhall Road, Worlingham, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 7SE. Tel. 01502 714793 roger@zpt.org.uk