Annual Report 2016

2016 has been a very difficult year for the people of Zimbabwe as the country has experienced drought as a consequence of the failure of the rains at the beginning of the year and the resultant famine in the country. The vast majority of the population depend on growing their own crops to provide food and this famine has created great hardship and hunger. In addition the economic situation in the country has worsened as the banks have run short of supplies of US dollars (the currency of the country) and the amount that can be withdrawn by those who have bank account has been reduced to $40 (around £30) per day. This has presented challenges to us as a Trust in sending funds through to support the Lord’s people and the work of the Gospel but, thankfully, we have up to the present been able to achieve this, mainly using the facilities provided by Western Union. The government is addressing this economic crisis by printing and issuing their own currency in the form of ‘bond notes’ but there is little confidence in the success of this measure in overcoming the real problems in the country.

We are thankful to the Lord that, as a Trust, we have been able to respond in a significant way to the challenges of the famine situation as well as continue our ongoing ministry of supporting churches in their ministry and mission and relieving poverty among the churches and their communities. Regular news and prayer updates throughout the year have been circulated and so in this report we will give an overall picture of the work as well as an update on news since the last newsletter in September.

Supporting churches in the ministry and mission

This has continued throughout the year in a variety of ways. In May Maciek and Mary Stolarski, Derek French and Chris Boyes visited Zimbabwe to conduct the annual Training of Trainers workshop, Married Couples conference and Ladies conference. Chris Boyes was also able to make a ‘field visit’ to see the work we support in the Mt Darwin area. Further details of this visit were reported in the September Update. Plans are being made for a similar visit to run this training and conferences in April 2017.

We have also provided financial support for the monthly Indigenous Preachers Workshops run by men trained in the ToT and held in around ten different locations throughout the country. Plans are currently being made for these to continue throughout 2017, supported by the Trust.

In October Roger and Gill Prime spent two weeks in Zimbabwe doing Bible teaching and visiting a number of the humanitarian projects supported by the Trust. Roger led three one day seminars for pastors and elders, teaching the book of Habakkuk. The following is the response of one of the pastors to the teaching: We really appreciate your willingness to travel right into the bush, (only a few people does this), to teach and encourage the Pastors. The study of Habakkuk was really an eye opener to all of us and it rekindled hope in most of us. The study brought answers to a number of questions on why it looks like God is so quiet when we seek him for a change day and night. The people of Makamure are some of those who have been grappling with such questions as they wonder why is it they are always the ones struggling with hunger and their children suffer malnutrition. Where is God in all this poverty and hunger, is he listening to prayers? Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak to the people of Zimbabwe.

Roger also spoke at the Chapel service of the Theological College of Zimbabwe, which we support. The college is passing through a very difficult time at the moment with problems caused by the Zimbabwe Education authorities.

Gill spoke to three different groups of ladies on the experiences of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar and found that many of the ladies could identify with the issues arising from these accounts from Genesis 16 and 21.

The Trinitarian Bible Society kindly donated 500 Ndebele Bibles and 180 Shona New Testaments to be distributed to believers in the local churches in the course of our visit. 50 of the New Testaments were given for use in the prison ministry run by the Brethren fellowships in Harare. The following is the testimony of a prisoner, converted through this ministry while in prison: After the precious visit back in my cell I looked at the parcel and opened the Bible and tears of joy were running down my cheek. I remember very well saying to myself ‘You are Jehovah Jireh (Genesis 22:13-14) you are Jehovah the Provider’.

Relieving poverty among the churches and their communities

Much of the focus this year has been on addressing the famine situation caused by the drought in the country. We have been overwhelmed by the generous support of so many believers and churches here in the UK to the needs and as a result we have been able to send £40,000 for famine relief. These funds are sent to trusted men in the churches, all of whom have been met by trustees on our visits this year. They have purchased food supplies to distribute on a monthly basis right through to next April when, we pray in the mercy of God, they will be a harvest to provide for the year ahead.

In addition to this we have this autumn been able to send £8,000 for the purchase of seed to plant for the new growing season, December to March. Please pray the Lord in His mercy will give good rains over the coming 3-4 months and an abundant harvest for the needy people of Zimbabwe. The following is the testimony of one of the pastors who received funds to purchase seed to distribute among churches in very needy rural communities: The seeds brought a life-line to so many widows and the vulnerable people of Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces of Zimbabwe. 23 families were trained in Mtshazo village to practice farming God`s way in their fields and the same number of people received seeds. We gave them a short season maize seed variety because the area always receives below normal rainfall, thereby leaving the people in hunger. They have suffered hunger and starvation to a point that most of them have given up on farming. This program this year brought hope and revived the desire to practice farming in the hearts of the people who came for the training. The village head was so much pleased with this gesture of love and promised us that they will try by all means to put to good use the seeds which they received. We trained them to plant the seed on a plot of land that can help them to feed their families for one year. They will plant 52 lines of maize seed which represents 52 weeks of the year and we hope that they will be able to harvest 52 buckets of which each family normally eat a bucket a week. We pray that they will get enough rainfall to see this becoming a reality.

Apart from Mtshazo village, we also trained and assist with seeds 35 families of Mthombothemba community as well as 25 people of Mandiva village. Just like Mtshazo village, they are also going to plant their 52 lines of maize seed on a plot of 39m X 16m. This plot can feed a family of 5 for a year if they would plant on time and do everything up to standard. The other deciding factor for the people of these communities to harvest that which is enough to feed their families is enough rainfall. Please keep on praying for enough rain to come so that we can break the cycle of poverty and hunger in these families. This year has seen the completion of the third borehole funded by Meadow Way Chapel in Norwich and Gill was able to visit the locations of two of the boreholes and also see gardens developed with funding provided by Meadow Way Chapel whilst Roger was leading a pastors seminar in one of the villages. We have also been able to continue our support of the goat projects and care of orphans as well as meet other humanitarian needs among the Lord’s people. During the year Anna Stolarski has joined us as a trustee and we are grateful for the perspective she can bring to our work, having spent three months working voluntarily in the Sandra Jones Children’s centre in Bulawayo. As trustees we would like to express our grateful thanks for your prayerful concern for the needs of the Lord’s people in Zimbabwe and for your generous and practical support of the work. Work is being done to upgrade the Trust website and we hope to launch the new site in the New Year, making it easier to keep in touch with news of the work. www.zpt.org.uk Items for praise and prayer

  • Praise God for the generous support that has enabled us to do so much to help the Lord’s people in Zimbabwe during this year of famine.
  • Pray for good rains and an abundant harvest in the New Year to provide much needed food.
  • Praise God for the ongoing work of the Training of Trainers workshops and the Indigenous Preachers Workshops and other opportunities to teach pastors and elders.
  • Pray for the effectiveness of this ministry in equipping pastors to faithfully teach the Word of God.
  • Pray for Maciek & Mary Stolarski and Derek French as plans are made for a further ToT and conferences in April and also for the ongoing IPW’s.
  • Pray for Ray Motsi as Principal of TCZ as he leads the college through this difficult time.
  • Praise God for the provision of scriptures to distribute around the churches and in the prisons.
  • Pray the Lord will continue to bless the prison ministry and the scriptures distributed there.
  • 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.

If you would like to give to the work of the Trust donations can be made in a number of ways:-

  • Paid in directly at any branch of the Nationwide Building Society, or online, to the account of Zimbabwe Partnership Trust, Account No 33333334 Sort Code 07-00-93 quoting reference 0216/704206836 (It would be helpful to let Roger Prime, ZPT Secretary, know of your donation.)
  • Online donations can also be made at give.net/20174075
  • By cheque: made payable to Zimbabwe Partnership Trust, Post to: -Roger Prime, ZPT Secretary, as below
  • By standing order - Please contact Roger Prime, ZPT Secretary for the necessary form
  • Gift Aid – If you pay Income Tax and would like to make your gift go further by signing a Gift Aid Declaration, please contact Roger Prime, ZPT Secretary for the necessary form
  • We are also registered as a Charity with CAF and Stewardship Services to receive donations.

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

Secretary Roger Prime, 3 Guildhall Road, Worlingham, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 7SE. Tel. 01502 714793 rogerprime@btinternet.com