.......Focusing on Mark Absolom.....

Stephen Manhanga (leader of Crossroads Community Church, Kezi, Zimbabwe) and I had the privilege of staying with Mark and Lesley Absolom in Poole, U.K in July this year. We were very excited to hear that Mark and his daughter Lydia were part of a team from Alder Road Baptist Church (soon to be Gateway Church, Poole) that was coming to Zimbabwe. The trip was initiated by Matthew Hosier, leader of Alder Road Baptist Church. Mark preached at Crossroads Community Church on Sunday 30th November and I then had the opportunity of chatting one on one with him and Lydia.
M.M: Tell me about your family?
M.A: I come from Poole and I’m married to Lesley. We have 4 daughters: Rebecca 19years, Hannah and Sarah are both 16years old and Lydia is 13. Our dog Lady is 4 years old.

M.M: How best would you describe your family life?
M.A: It’s like a rollercoaster ride. There is lots of excitement and happiness. It’s crazy and has challenges.

Mark and his amazing family

M.M: What work do you do in Poole?
M.A: I’m a nurse looking after old people. I work nights.

M.M: What made you decide to come to Zimbabwe?
M.A: I met the Manhanga’s in July his year and was excited and stirred by what they had to share about the dam and Ebenezer. We went away on a church weekend and Matt instigated the trip. Like all good men, I listened to my wife who said I should go. I then went to Matt and said I’d like to travel to Zimbabwe.

M.M: Wise move Mark. What were your first impressions?
M.A: I came with an expectation of seeing extreme poverty because of the media in the U.K. My perception is not what the media says. People are happy and joyful amidst the difficulties. There is an attitude of hope and happiness. People are content.

M.M: Was this your first time preaching in an African rural context?
M.A: No. I have preached in Uganda.

M.M: How would you describe your preach at Crossroads Community Church?
M.A: There is a sense of great hunger to hear the word of God.

M.M: Yes. I agree! You were part and parcel of the clearing of Crossroads Community Church stand. How best would you describe that experience?
M.A: After working in the fields with Mbusiso (an apprentice at Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre), I saw his passion and work ethic and learnt something from him. I was tired from the heat but encouraged to do my all. Seeing others working so hard was an inspiration. We did our bit in extending God’s Kingdom.

Mark and Lydia helping Mbusiso (an Ebenezer apprentice) prune his tomatoes

M.M: What do you think of the scenic views around Ebenezer?
M.A: It is a different comprehension of God’s handiwork. The starts, clouds and the bushes that go on and on…. It is beautifully strange together with the ruggedness of the landscape.

M.M: What words of encouragement would you give the apprentices?
M.A: Always try and remain focused on the dreams and aspirations that God has given them. Keep God at the centre of all they do, always be able to LAUGH and JOKE and in all circumstances to give thanks. NEVER lose vision. Hold on to it tightly.

M.M: Fantastic words of encouragement Mark. Thank you. Be blessed as you continue your Zimbabwe adventure.

The beautiful Absolom “girls”, including Lady – the dog.

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga

.........From Poole, U.K to Kezi, Zimbabwe..........

It’s just great when special friends visit across continents and that’s what it was like when Matt Hosier and team from Poole, U.K, visited us in Kezi, Zimbabwe. They spent a few days with us in rural Zimbabwe and we are hoping they enjoyed themselves and drew closer to God. This is a snapshot of their days with us……..

Wednesday 26th November: We drove back to Kezi in the cool of the day and went via the Matopos Game Park. It was wonderful seeing some wildlife like rhino, sable, warthog, baboons, monkeys and so on. A great start to see the wondrous beauty of life in Zimbabwe. We arrived at Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre when it was dark. There is no electricity at Ebenezer, so the visitors ate their dinner in partial light. Going by the taste of the food, it seemed quite enjoyable. We then made a huge circle around a fire and had a Cell meeting. We prayed, sang songs, danced and celebrated God’s presence with us. Matt shared about the beauty of God’s creation focusing on the stars which made everyone think of Abraham. We then took the exhausted team to Pumula – a farm house that they were staying in for the time they were with us. Pumula means REST. On arrival at the house, we were greeted by a variety of bugs which were drawn to the lights in the house. Our gracious visitors took it all in their stride.

Thursday 27th November: After breakfast, the team went for a tour of Ebenezer. They looked at the rabbits, the tomato plants, the dorms, the buildings in progress and so on. The tour was led by Stephen Manhanga and George Mlilo.
George explaining to Mark and Steve about the rabbits at Ebenezer
It was awesome when the team had the opportunity to meet a local delegation that was visiting Ebenezer at the same time. This delegation included local community heads, the councilor and local development committee members that we are building relationship with. After tea, the team sat in on an enjoyable spiritual lesson led by Stephen Manhanga. Of particular interest was the story of Joseph which is very inspirational and encouraging. A combined lunch between the visiting team, the local authorities and Ebenezer team was excellent. The combined luncheon spurred the local authorities to comment on the genuine Christian unity that is among us. What a testimony!
After lunch, the team was paired up with a few apprentices and went to work in their fields. There were no complaints despite the hot sun blazing down. Matt & Georgie Hosier were teamed up with Msizi Mwale, Steve & Rowena Cox went up with Mqondisi Moyo and Mark & Lydia Absolom were paired up with Mbusiso Ndlovu. It was interesting seeing the team scouting, pruning or planting tomatoes or weeding in the apprentice fields.
The young ladies: Georgie, Rowena and Lydia were “rescued” from manual labour to attend a birthday bash – ‘girls’ only. Everything was prepared by the female apprentices and it was delightful. God was at the centre and really fun filled. After the party, the ladies went canoeing and were joined later by the men. Quite an eventful day!

Friday 28th November: A highlight of Kezi is seeing the beauty of Gods creation and what better time than at the start of the day. Sunrise devotions were a “sweet” time with God. Cool, fresh, morning air overlooking a mountainous, scenic view. A song written by Isaac Watts in 1719 brings the experience to life:
1st stanza only, Give to our God immortal praise;
Mercy and truth are all His ways:
Wonders of grace to God belong,
Repeat His mercies in your song.
The visit to the community followed next and was quite enlightening. We stopped at Mr. Thebe’s house. Mr. Thebe is one of the community leaders. He wasn’t at home but he and his wife were busy with their cattle. We walked to where he was and received a great welcome from him and his wife.
Team chatting to Mr. Thebe
We went to his home to see the baby ostriches they were rearing. Our next stop was at Nduna Primary School – one of the local primary schools in the area. Despite the obvious material lack, seeing the smiling faces of the children and their desire to learn is so inspiring. Our final stop was at Crossroads Community Church where Steve explained that we are hoping to clear the land, build a church and a community centre.
After tea, Steve Cox did an excellent presentation on Trees and Matt Hosier encouraged and motivated us from the word of God. As part of his “encouragement”/presentation, Matt used a two and a half meter snake that the apprentices had killed earlier on that day to illustrate a point and as part of his teaching aid. Brave man!

Matt with a snake wrapped around his neck. Mmmm!

The afternoon was free and as Matt went to Bulawayo, the rest of the team stayed on to help with Saturday 29th November historic day for Crossroads Community Church. Be inspired to read ‘All Hands on Deck’.

Sunday 30th November: Mark Absolom preached at Crossroads Community Church and did brilliantly. He spoke about hospitality which is very close to his and his wife Lesley’s heart. The children enjoyed having Lydia around and were bowled over by the little presents that she gave them. A sheer pleasure and total delight. What a blessing they were!

Mark and Lydia Absolom enjoying a moment before Mark’s preach.

By Molly Manhanga


Tomatoes on the agenda!!!!

Apprentices collecting their tomato seedlings

During the month of November, the apprentices planted approximately 45,000 tomato seedlings in their plots. Each apprentice received approximately 2000 tomato seedlings. Two of the apprentices, Brilliant Khoza and Mxwayisi Dube shared the challenges they have faced with this crop. This is what they had to say……

Mxwayisi Dube and Brilliant Khoza

……..When we received this season’s transplants, the quality was quite high. We transplanted the seedlings but a week later, the water ran out due to an electrical fault which affected the water being pumped to Ebenezer. To solve this problem, we used a 38 horse power diesel engine which worked for some time. When the electrical problem was rectified, we switched back to the electric pump. Unfortunately, someone decided to burn the pump but God was gracious to us as the rainy season began and we have received good rains so far. The pump has since been repaired.
Harvested tomatoes being stored

Our tomato crop has been affected by boll worm and we’ve sprayed Methomex 900 SP which decreased the breeding rate of the worm. Other diseases that have affected our crop is red spider mite, leaf roll, rust which affects the leaves, leaf spot and stem rot. We have some chemicals available for us to use but we look forward to a greater variety of chemicals.

It was wonderful when the rains started because we didn’t have to worry too much about water shortages. The rains however have affected the quality of our crop. The tomatoes plants grew rapidly but cracks formed on the fruit. At the moment, we are harvesting 50kg of tomatoes per week per apprentice. The tomatoes go for screening, weighing and grading. Our tomatoes are averaging a “B” grade and anything lower than that gets sold to Pumula( a farm house near Ebenezer that has ostriches) as ostrich food.

Despite all the problems we have faced, we are hoping for a bumper harvest.

Ready to get sold! It’s a tomato story!!!
By Molly Manhanga

"All Hands On Deck"......

U.K team with Steve Manhanga at the Crossroads Community Church stand before it was cleared. Left to right: Dave Smith, Lydia Absolom, Steve Cox, Mark Absolom, Stephen Manhanga, Georgie Hosier, Rowena Cox, Matt Hosier and Naomi Smith

“All hands on deck” is part of a prophetic word given by Sam Poe from Seattle, Washington in the United States of America at our annual Mega Vision conference held in September 2008. This prophetic word has become a reality to us at Crossroads Community Centre.

On Saturday 29th November 2008, people from Mguza church in Bulawayo, River of Life church in Bulawayo, New Life church in Kezi, Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre in Kezi, Crossroads Community church in Kezi, visitors from Alder Road Baptist Church in Poole, United Kingdom and community members from Kezi, gathered at 9:00am to clear Crossroads stan

Clearing of the bushes by one of the groups

Before getting down to some hard work, everyone praised God for His goodness and faithfulness, sang songs of celebration to honour God and Stephen Manhanga – leader of Crossroads Community Church encouraged and motivated people with a scripture from Nehemiah 4:1 – 6. Verse 6 was really emphasized and it states: So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, FOR THE PEOPLE HAD A MIND TO WORK.

“Little Hands” included, make light work! Georgie Hosier.

Clearing thorn bushes and trees for 3 hours was not an easy task but everyone present “had a mind to work.” Xolani Ndlovu, from Crossroads Community Church, divided everyone and the tools into 4 groups and gave each group a section of land to clear. With vigour and energy, everyone got stuck right into it. The sense of unity and purpose was immanent. Braving the hot sun, everyone worked hard. Blisters and cuts is the evidence of the hard work being done.

Water and juice served by the young ladies: Georgie Hosier, Rowena Cox and Lydia Absolom, was a welcome refresher. At 12 noon, Stephen Manhanga thanked everyone for coming and prayed before we called it a day. The Ebenezer male singers graced the event with song and dance. Overall, it was an amazing morning and much work was done.

“All hands on deck” as the tree falls down. Men at work!

Some comments from 3 apprentices about Saturdays event:
Dazza Maphosa
: I think it is good when people come together and work as a team. I enjoyed working with people from the community and with the visitors from England. I believe Crossroads will not only benefit people from Ebenezer but also the community at large.

Mbekezeli Moyo: It was a good thing to work together with many people especially the people from the community. I enjoyed myself because we were getting to know each other. There were people from England, the Ebenezer staff, the apprentices and people from the community. It was very good. Thank you!

Mcgini Sibindi: Saturday was the best day ever! Even though it was hard work, I really enjoyed it. Mark Absolom was doing very exciting things…..he was carrying big trees and pulling them. I enjoyed the way Stephen Manhanga thanked everyone. I really appreciated the hard work put in by the people from England.

What a mighty God we serve. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

Written by Molly Manhanga


Molly talks to Matt.......

Matt with his daughter Georgie and George, a staff member at Ebenezer looking at the rabbits.
Matt Hosier is the Leader of Alder Road Baptist Church (soon to be called Gateway Church) in Poole, U.K. I had the privilege of catching up with him when he visited Crossroads Community Church in Kezi, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as well as Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre which is also based in Kezi, Bulawayo.

M.M: Tell us something about your background Matt…
M.H: I was born in Southampton. We moved around a lot in the south of England because of my dads work. After school, I worked in Africa for about a year: 3 months in Swaziland and about 9 months in Cape Town. I then went to university in New Castle in North East England – close to Scotland. The longest I’ve lived in one place for was in Siddcup. I lived there for 13 years.

M.M: You’re married to your lovely wife Grace and have four beautiful daughters. How best would you describe your family life?
M.H: FUN! Busy, noisy, full of emotion – lots of laughing, crying, affection and arguing.

M.M: A normal, healthy family life. How long have you been leading a church?
M.H: 8 years. In Siddcup, I went from volunteer, to youth pastor, then elder before becoming the lead elder.

M.M: Awsome. When did you move to Poole?
M.H: I moved in January this year. I had a general sense that my time at Siddcup had come to a close. I went to preach in Poole. When Grace and I walked into the meeting, we felt that this is where God wanted us.

M.M: When you hear the words “churches being in relationship”, what do you understand by it?
M.H: Recognizing and gladly submitting to Apostolic authority. Recognizing that men have gifts and they do things with common goals, purpose and aspirations. It only works when we submit to those in authority.

M.M: When was your first encounter with Zimbabweans?
M.H: Grace and I met P.J and Ashleigh Smyth (Leaders of God First Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. P.J and Ashleigh founded River of Life Church in Harare, Zimbabwe before leaving for South Africa) at a conference in 2003 and we came to Harare, Zimbabwe in 2004 where we also met Mbonisi and Taps (Elders at River of Life Church in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)

M.M: Do you see any hope for the church in Zimbabwe?
M.H: Yes. Psalm 10. As God changes individuals, churches are built resulting in towns and communities being transformed. Where the Kingdom advances, there is hope for the church.

M.M: What emphasis should be placed on the poor?
M.H: A strong biblical emphasis. In the U.K everyone has stuff and few people are poor materially. There is spiritual poverty which goes hand in hand with material poverty. The church has a vital role to see poverty overcome. Churches in the U.K can minister to the needs of communities and help in other parts of the world where material poverty is more obvious. It is a challenge in the West to think less of self and more of others.

M.M: Will the poor be with us always or is it idealistic or utopic to think that EVERYONE one day will be able to look after themselves?
M.H: The poor will always be with us. Injustice results in poverty and because of men’s hearts, injustice will be with us.

M.M: What do you think of Ebenezer?
M.H: Ebenezer is a beautiful spot. It is inspiring in what it’s trying to do – touching the whole person spiritually and physically.
Matt working with Msizi Mwale: one of the apprentices

M.M: How best would you describe your visit to the community?
M.H: Short, brief. It was good to see people outside Ebenezer trying to make life work for them despite the material poverty. It is challenging.

M.M: Any final thoughts on life in rural Zimbabwe?
M.H: What you are doing at Ebenezer is the only way out of the cycle of injustice and poverty. We need to be basic, love your wife and so on. Farming God’s Way is to model a way of breaking poverty, injustice, spiritual injustice and move to something better. I’m hoping too that this visit will be a life transforming experience for our daughters. I hope they will think differently about money, God and church. Thank you for having us.

M.M: Thank you too Matt. Be blessed as you continue to serve the folk in Bulawayo.

Matt and team walking in the Mabhulawuni community in Kezi



One on one with Tim Rae from World Vision.....

Tim having a discussion with his team from World Vision International

M.M: We really would LOVE to know more about you Tim so please tell us something about your background?
T.R: I am from Australia. I have lived in Zimbabwe since 1999. I enjoy being outdoors, play sporting, reading, listening to music and I love Italian food.

M.M: How long have you been working for World Vision International?
T.R: I joined World Vision Australia in 2003 as the Programme Officer for Zimbabwe and Kenya. I then joined World Vision International in 2006 and became the Programmes Team Leader for World Vision in Zimbabwe.

M.M: It is so good to have you and your team visiting Ebenezer. What are your links with Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre?
T.R: I first heard of Ebenezer through Renee Cunningham. What interested me most was that the center deliberately targeted young people between the ages of 18-25 and aimed to give them practical skills that would enable them to become self-sufficient. For World Vision we are often very child focused but have very little to offer young people.

M.M: Do you see this as a long term partnership?
T.R: I think the partnership between Ebenezer and World Vision has great potential. If the pilot project here in Kezi proves to be successful (which I am sure it will be) then I would like to think it could be replicated in other districts where World Vision operates within the next 3-5 years.

M.M: After being taken on a tour, were you surprised at what you saw on site?
T.R: I was pleasantly surprised at the scale of the training center. I could not believe that there was so much land under cultivation. It is really exciting to hear from Lance and the team all the plans Ebenezer has to expand in the future – my guys were really blown away by the vision the team has to develop a processing plant and a juicer to enable large scale production of canned vegetable and fruit products for the local and export markets.

M.M: What potential do you see with the apprentices in terms of their field crops and did the standard meet your expectation?
T.R: I am very impressed with the high yields that the apprentices are managing to achieve using the conservation farming (farming God’s way) techniques. Many people will tell you that keeping livestock is the only profitable livelihood in hot, dry places like Matobo District and Matabeleland South but the apprentices have shown that with limited amounts of water and by keeping the soil covered that you can produce good vegetable crops.

M.M: With this being your first visit to Ebenezer, and we hope to see you here often, do you see the Centre impacting young people’s lives as well as the surrounding community?
T.R: It is obvious to me that Ebenezer is already having a huge impact on the lives of the young people at the center. They seem full of confidence in themselves and they have a hope and a vision for their future that so many young people today in Zimbabwe seem to lack. My hope is that as they graduate from Ebenezer and move back into their community that they do not lose that passion and vision to be independent. I hope that they will be able to encourage other members of their community to practice conservation farming so that the community becomes more productive and food secure.

M.M: What words of encouragement do you have for the apprentices?
T.R: I think the apprentices can be very proud of what they have achieved. If they continue to apply themselves and persevere they have a bright future ahead of them.
Thank you so much and we look forward to your next visit.

A relaxing moment with Tim over lunch
interviewed by molly manhanga

Getting to know Andile Dube

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from Mapane which is about 30km from Ebenezer. We are 9 in my family including my mother and my father. I am the first born together with my twin sister. I am 20 years old.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A:I heard about Ebenezer at a Ward meeting. A Ward meeting is where the community gathers together and we have different figures of authority that are present. At this meeting that I attended, the Councillor of our Ward made the announcement about Ebenezer. I filled in the application forms and attended the Selection Camp. I enjoyed it very much, especially the lessons, games and teamwork.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge I had was getting to know other people. At that time, I was the only one who came from the Mapane area. I have learnt how to socialize and have since made many friends.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga. They have helped me grow in Christ. I also enjoy learning about the positives and negatives of farming through practical experience.
Apprentices collecting their tomato seedlings
Q: Who has been your role model?
A: I can’t think of anyone off hand that has been a role model to me.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years I will have a big farm in my home area that will be managed by my family. I will be teaching my family and the community how to Farm God’s Way as well sharing the information I have learnt at Ebenezer.
Andile preparing her planting stations for the tomato seedlings

May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.
by molly manhanga

Getting to know Honest Ndlovu

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I am affectionately known as Honest. I come from a family of 7. There are 6 girls and 1 boy. I am number 3 and I am 21 years old. I have a 2 year old son called Welshman. I come from the Mapane area which is 30km from Ebenezer. It takes me 4 hours to walk home .I live with my maternal grandparents.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: One of my teachers told me about Ebenezer. I filled in the application form and came for the Selection Camp. I really enjoyed myself especially the welcome, teachings and games. The welcome inspired me to come to Ebenezer.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been stumping (taking the roots of trees out of the ground). It is much easier when we are working in team than to do it myself. I also work very hard in my field and I find it discouraging when the cows and bush buck eat my plants. I have since built a fence around my plot to protect my plants.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga. I enjoy listening to the word of God.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: My role model is Stephen Manhanga. I enjoy the way he teaches and preaches the word of God.

Q: It is very admirable the way you apply yourself in your field and the way you conduct yourself. What is your motivation?
A: I want to glorify God in everything that I do and I want to improve my lifestyle.

Honest collecting tomato seedlings to plant in her plot
Q: Wonderful Honest. You are also very active in Crossroads Community Church with the Praise and Worship and Children’s Ministry. Do you enjoy church life?
A: It is good. I enjoy what I am doing and I hope to attract others in being active in Crossroads Community Church.

Q: You were selected to go to Mega Vision in Harare in September. Did you enjoy yourself?
A: It was very good and I felt equipped spiritually. I made lots of friends and I learnt to speak a little bit of Shona (One of the vernacular languages spoken in Zimbabwe)

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: In 5 years I will be a successful business woman helping those in need and extending God’s Kingdom.
Amazing! May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.

Honest working in her field

By Molly Manhanga

Getting to know Pretty Moyo...

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: We are 6 in my family and I am the second born. I live with my mother. My father died 6 years ago. I live in the Mabhulawuhi area which is approximately 5km from Ebenezer. It takes me 45 minutes to walk home. I have a beautiful daughter called Thembekile Nyathi. Thembekile means Honest.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: I was employed at a Camp Site near Ebenezer called Shalom when I heard about Ebenezer. I filled in the forms for the Selection Camp. I enjoyed it very much especially the games and the teachings.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been the shortage of water but it is now better because I have a tap by my field which helps feed water to my drip kit. Another challenge was the animals coming to eat my plants. I felt discouraged but I managed to put a fence around my field.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga. I have grown spiritually. I also enjoy farming very much. I like seeing my plants grow and I love harvesting them.
Pretty’s tomato crop
Q: Who has been your role model?
A: Peter Cunningham has been my role model. He is a successful businessman and he helps the community. That is what I also want to do.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: In 5 years time I want to have my own farm. I’ll be married and I’ll have another child. I also will own my own car.

May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.

Pretty getting ready to plant more tomato seedlings
Interview done by Molly Manhanga


Getting Real with Lance Edwards.....

Lance Edwards
Lance Edwards is the Operations Director at Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre. He is married to his beautiful wife – Elizabeth and they have 2 adorable children: Katy and Ashton. It was great getting a chance to chat one on one with Lance…..

We really need to hear something of your background Lance, but another time will do. For now, ‘up close’ on the realities on the ground will do….I know you have had highs and lows but tell us……

M.M:……..What is your greatest Joy?
L.E: Seeing the Ebenezer vision becoming a reality. The vision is to equip young people for life in Christ and it’s a joy seeing the apprentices transformed. It is the core of why we are here – to see young people passionate for God in everything they do, see and say.

M.M: What has been your greatest challenge as being the Operations Director of Ebenezer?
L.E: The greatest challenge has been trying to provide all the necessary inputs needed by the apprentices to make them profitable.

M.M: With joys and challenges, you probably have experienced disappointments?
L.E: Yes. Disappointments have been there, like having to dismiss apprentices, after trying to work with them and extending grace. Seeing the cabbage crop fail due to lack of water and the apprentices giving up on them was also a disappointment. The progress hasn’t been as I’d like it to be due to the Zimbabwe situation.

Peter Cunningham and Lance Edwards having a “light” moment in front of the camera!!!

M.M: With the business between Bulawayo town life and Ebenezer, do you see God’s hand on Ebenezer?
L.E: It’s not so much what I see but the feeling I get. Ebenezer is a special place. God is doing an amazing work here and I’m not surprised at all the battles we are facing. Ebenezer is a very important groundbreaking work. We are developing a model for the future.

M.M: How best would you describe the Ebenezer team?
L.E: The team is absolutely amazing. Only God could have put it together. The commitment and talents of the team are a blessing. With the nature of our work, the Ebenezer team is a driven and committed people. They work well together and are an example of Christian leaders living in very difficult circumstances.

M.M: Well put Lance. Thanks. How have you coped juggling work life and family life?
L.E: Work and Home life! Not very well. I was recently told to prioritize. Other things won’t be done as well which will result in people being unhappy. I need to live with the fact that I can’t do everything.

M.M: Wise words and very true. How do you de-stress?
L.E: By being able to talk with my wife Elizabeth at the end of the day. Being able to talk to someone close brings back perspective. I also de-stress by doing things that are not work related and not feeling guilty about it.

M.M: Any words of encouragement for the apprentices?
L.E: I’d encourage them to look at where they’ve come from and where they are now. They have a bright future and their dreams can become a reality. One important thing they need to realize is that the success of their business is equivalent to what they put in. Give to receive. What you put in is what you get out.

A more serious moment for Lance as he looks at the Ebenezer buildings...

M.M: Thank you so much Lance. It really was good catching a bit of your heart and seeing where you are at. We all appreciate everything you are doing.
“Keep on keeping on.”

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga

The Heart of Worship.......

Drawing Closer To God Through Worship
27 people from Crossroads Community Church (C.C.C) and River of Life Church in Bulawayo (Rol Byo) attended a workshop organized by Stephen Manhanga - C.C.C and Mpi Ndebele - Rol Byo. The workshop was held at Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre.

Stephen Manhanga and Mpi Ndebele
Mpi facilitated the meeting which was very interactive and participatory.
Worship is a lifestyle and God is looking for a people of true worship - that will worship him in spirit and truth. We were encouraged to live a life pleasing to God. Once we understand the size of Christ’s sacrifice, it will change our expression of worship.

What do worshippers look like?
What worshippers look like….
  • Born again: 2 Corin 5:17
  • Alive to God
  • Creative
  • Expression shows God’s creativity
  • Renewed mind
  • Being transformed brings growth


  1. Hungry for God
  2. The more we know, the more we worship
  3. Passionate
  4. It’s contagious
  5. Peaceable – live at peace with others
  6. Attractive. Good for building relationship
  7. Servant heart/Humble
  8. Called to serve
  9. Skillful & Honours God
  10. Knowing and believing God – Faith & it takes away the pressure

Group picture of Worship Leaders

WORSHIP: (Summary)
v God focused. Psalm 95
v It’s a gathering and focuses on God, His worth, what He has done for us.
8 of the Ebenezer apprentices that attend Crossroads Community Church participated in this workshop and really enjoyed themselves.
The ‘worshipping’ team ended the session by having a friendly volleyball match. River of Life Bulawayo won both the matches that were played before the games were stopped due to rain.

Volleyball is ‘THE GAME’ played at Ebenezer

By molly manhanga

Orientation of the new Ebenezer apprentices

Getting the 'hang' of life at Ebenezer

On the 3rd November 2008, the 3rd intake of apprentices arrived at Ebenezer. There were 10 boys and 5 girls.
New intake of Ebenezer apprentices
The new apprentices or 1st years were shown to their dorms and they got stuck right into life at Ebenezer. The Vision of Ebenezer was shared to them again, expectations, Code of conduct and so on. They then assisted the 2nd years in their fields before they worked in team marking out and clearing their plots. The business, joys and challenges of life at Ebenezer was becoming more of a reality for the 1st years. After the first week, most of them went to their home for the weekend to inform their parents of what was happening at Ebenezer and to bring things to make their lives more comfortable.

New apprentices clearing their plots
A team from Family Impact came for a one and a half day session with the 1st years and did Choose Freedom. What is Freedom being the excellent introduction by the team. As Charles Kingsley puts it; “False freedom leaves a man doing what he wants but true freedom, what he ought to do”. Other sessions that followed were on Self-image, Communication, Family, Love and Understanding and escaping AIDS. Lighter moments were the exciting game of Chair-ball and the different energizers.

Apprentices and the Family Impact team playing Chair-ball

The 2nd week has since come and gone for our 1st years and this is what a few had to say:
Cuthbert Dube, 18 years. Life at Ebenezer is FINE. I’m clearing the plots and enjoying it very much. Working in team is good. I’ve made friends with all the 1st years.

Thubelihle Dube, 18 years. I have enjoyed my 2 weeks at Ebenezer especially working with my friends and telling jokes. I’m enjoying the spiritual and business lessons so far. Agriculture is okay.

Proud Moyo, 19 years. It’s good to be at Ebenezer. I’ve enjoyed Ebenezer’s approach of working in team to clear the fields. As for the lessons, I LOVE the spiritual lessons. Without the spirit, there is no life.
What a great start to LIFE at Ebenezer. This new intake of apprentices seem to be really serious about their businesses.
Written by Molly Manhanga


One on One with Mbusiso Ndlovu

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from Nkayi but I live with the Dlodlo family in Mamgupo area which is 31km from Ebenezer. It takes me 5 hours to walk from Ebenezer to the family I live with. I am 23 years old and the 2nd born in a family of 3. Both my parents have passed away.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: My friend told me about Ebenezer. I filled in a Selection Camp form and attended the camp. I enjoyed the camp especially playing with my friends and the lessons.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been the water shortage. Its now better because of drip irrigation. My plants were eaten by cows but I have since made a bush fence which is a deterant for the animals.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga. They have helped me grow in Christ. I also enjoy knowing how to manage my business.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: My role model is Gerald Mangena. I like his plumbing skills and I feel I can learn a lot from him.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years I will be helping my community by teaching them Farming God’s Way that I have learnt at Ebenezer and I will be a successful farmer.

May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.

By Molly Manhanga

One on one with Kingdom Moyo

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I am turning 18years old. I come from Silozwi which is about a one and a half hour walk from Ebenezer. I live with my grandfather as my parents are separated. I am the eldest of 3 siblings.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: When I was in school, I saw my peers with application forms for the Selection Camp. I collected a form from my Kraal Head – a person with authority and rank in the local community. I attended the camp and really enjoyed myself, especially the way the Ebenezer staff entertained us. It was good.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been the water shortage. It is better now because we now have a pipeline with taps and drip irrigation. Another challenge has been my tomatoes being attacked by bollworm and red spider mite. I have sprayed my crops with chemicals and I hope to get a good harvest.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the knowledge I’ve gained on farming as well as the lessons in business, agriculture and spiritual.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: Stephen and Molly Manhanga. I enjoy looking at their marriage and how they support each other.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years, I’ll be in a relationship that is heading for marriage. I’ll also be a successful businessman. I’ll employ people from my community and teach them how to Farm God’s Way.

May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.

By Molly Manhanga

Drip Irrigation At Ebenezer

Align Left

Apprentices taking a break between installing the drip kits

What Is Drip Irrigation?

v Drip irrigation is a slow application of water, nutrients and chemical directly to the plant root area or root zone.
v It can be controlled to maximum and minimum use of water.
v Soil moisture can be optimized by controlling the area and rate at which water is applied.
v Water drips through an emitter or micro-tubes in slow regular and controlled manner.

Types of Drip Kits
v Bucket kit
v Vegetable garden kit
v Easy drip irrigation

Advantages of Drip Irrigation
v Affordable
v Improved yield – several crops after a calendar
v Water saving – Uniformity water distribution
v Labour saving
v Good quality

Disadvantages of Drip System
v Difficulty to trust easily
v Susceptible to clogging

Stephen and Mkhululi measuring the drip kits

Why Drip Irrigation at Ebenezer?
v Water saving
v Labour saving as it gives the apprentices an opportunity to catch up with other chores instead of watering each plant with a hosepipe.
v Time management: The apprentices can work on their records, put mulch in their fields and so on while their crop is being watered.

One on One with Mqondisi Moyo

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I am 19 years old. My home area is at Bhazha but I stay at Ethandweni Children’s Home. Ethandweni is an orphanage. Both my parents have passed away. Ethandweni Children’s Home is approximately 20km from Ebenezer. It takes me about 4 hours to walk this distance. We are 4 in my family and I am the last born.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: Application forms were brought to White Water High School – The school I was attending at that time. I was interested in Ebenezer and our Headmaster gave us a brief on Ebenezer. I filled in the forms and came for Selection Camp which I enjoyed, particularly the Vision and interaction with different people.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been in understanding the Business aspects of Ebenezer with regards to me making a profit from my plot. I’m beginning to understand it more as time goes on and I get taught more on business.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga that have changed my life and learning to be a successful businessman.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: Mr Mapanga from White Water School. I enjoyed his teaching and understood him.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years, I will have a piece of land and I will be farming.

May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.



One on one with Shingani Nyoni

Shingani Nyoni

Shingani Nyoni, affectionately known as Shingi, joined the Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre staff as the accountant and administrative person based in the Ebenezer town office in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Q: What an honour to have you join the Ebenezer family. Do tell us about your background?
A: I am Shingani Nyoni. I was born and grew up in rural Hwange. I was born on the 22nd October 1980. I am 28 years old. I am generally a quiet person but can easily make friends. I am still single but I look forward to marrying before I’m 30.

I am from a family of 7. There are 4 boys and 3 girls. My parents are elderly and they are still living in Hwange. I am the youngest boy in my family and the only one still living in Zmbabwe (am the Joseph of my family). Now I’m looking after my little sister.

I did my primary education in Hwange and I went to Thekwane High School in Plumtree for my secondary education in 1996 to 1999. Then l came to Bulawayo for my Advanced level in 2000 to 2001 (Foundation College). After Advanced level, l taught for a year in Hwange at a secondary school while trying to find a course to do. l had a passion for accounts but I had not done it at Advanced level. I excelled in the science subjects. I knew I wouldn’t get a place in any university to study accounting because of that. I came to Bulawayo Polytechnic in January 2004 and I studied Accounts which I completed at Higher National Diploma in 2007. Then l registered with The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants UK last year to further my studies.

My life really changed when l came to Bulawayo. By the grace of God I was saved and now I am a born again Christian. I go to Family life Centre (Pentecostal). I am the National Treasurer and also a board member and Trustee of Family Life Projects Trust. I am also in the church and youth leadership committee. I lead and participate actively in all church activities.

I really like soccer, chess and socializing with people of different age groups.

Q: Where were you working before you joined Ebenezer?
A: I taught for a year in Hwange 2002 and worked for a chemical distributing and Trucking Company Bulchem here in Bulawayo as an Assistant Accountant from December 2005 to Feb 2007. Then I joined Ostarama Feeds Growouts as Administrative Officer in 12 Feb 2007 till July 2008.

Q: What was your motivation for becoming a part of the Ebenezer Family?
A: I was eager to learn new things and to develop my career in accounting and to really understand business. Being part of Ebenezer really gave me the opportunity to develop my career and to learn business.

Q: What work do you do for Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre?
A: Producing monthly management accounts. Progress reports to the management, assisting in procurement and sourcing out funds. Payments to suppliers and all administrative work necessary for the organization to run.

Q: You are based in Bulawayo and not actually on site in Kezi. How does that make you feel?
A: I have no problem being here, since I am still studying and also looking after my sister who still at school. As long as I manage to get to Kezi often, then I won’t have problems in understanding what’s going on there and staying here.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge at the Ebenezer town office?
A: The challenges were minimal except for gathering the required information together. This was because there was no one from the beginning who was doing the accounts. One major challenge I faced was only during the absence of Elizabeth Edwards - Accountant for Ebenezer. Chasing for wages and payments required me to leave the office and find my own transport to and from town. This was generally transport problem to the bank and town.

Q: We really appreciate your skills on the team. Any last thoughts…..
A: I am really happy with the whole team. Everything is just so different to what I am used to. I think its all about prayer. I suggest we interact more so that we meet each other at our point of needs and keep the high spirit and moral among us and the organization going.

Shingi enjoying a game of table tennis

Interview done by Molly Manhanga

Faithful Steward Activators - Want to know more? Read on.....

What is Faithful StewardActivators and how does it link up with Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre?

Two staff members from Ebenezer Agricultural training Centre , Xolani Ndlovu and Portia Chitunhu, went to Harare for 4 weeks training at River of Life Westgate Church, Harare, Zimbabwe as part of the Faithful Stewards Activators programme. Both Xolani and Portia are also members of Crossroads Community Church, a church plant out of River of Life Church Bulawayo. Crossroads Community Church and River of Life Church based in Bulawayo are just two of the many churches that have a relationship with New Frontiers and enjoy being part of the family of churches.

Tongai Mahobele & Alan Norton

Faithful Stewards - Feedback

Faithful Stewards is a ministry based on the exhortation from the parable of the talents to be faithful stewards first with what God has given each of us, before wishing for more.

This year the ministry is aimed at equipping the Newfrontiers Zimbabwe churches to be fruitful and produce food for their own tables and a surplus to sell. The target is over 500 families on 1,200hactares, growing maize and soyabeans, and includes making compost for fertiliser, and linking the families to appropriate markets.
Through this we aim to break the yoke of poverty and set people free to minister in God's church to those as yet unsaved in their communities. The first 35 people received an intensive month of training at River of Life Westgate. We are amazed at their enthusiasm and eagerness. Please pray that they will effectively carry this back to their communities and reap a bountiful harvest.

By Alan Norton & Tongai Mahobele


Faithful Stewards Activators Training

A snapshot from
Xolani Ndlovu & Portia Chitunhu

Q: You went to River of Life Westgate Church,Harare, Zimbabwe for training. How long did your training last?
v 4 weeks

Q: How many Faithful Steward Activators were there?
v Approximately 60 from across Zimbabwe. It was an interdenominational training i.e. people from different churches gathered at Westgate for training.

Q: What was the main theme if you can call it that, during the Faithful Steward Activators training?
v Farming God’s Way 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
v Contract Farming – farmers would be given inputs on contract terms and then they’ll need to pay back after harvesting. The farmer however will keep the surplus.

Q: What was the most interesting lesson at Faithful Steward Activators?
v Vision of Farming God’s Way
v Lessons on Luke and Acts
v Storying on the Parables done by Mbonisi Malaba (Elder at River of Life Christian Church in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe)

Q: Describe a typical day’s training.
v Field work at 5:30am – 7:30am
v Lessons from 8:00am – 4:00pm
v Sports from 4:30pm – 6:00pm
v Supper and personal time from 6:00pm onwards

Q: Were you discipled by anyone during your month in Harare, and what did it comprise of?
v Yes, we had mentors who looked after our spiritual well-being and we formed good relationships.

Q: What expectations are there on the Faithful Steward Activators when back on the ground?
v Establish own Well Watered Gardens
v Have targets to meet in the community in terms of establishing Well Watered Gardens and Nutrition Gardens.

Q: What was the highlight of the programme?
v Spending time with each other
v Brian Oldreives (Founder and Pioneer of Farming God’s Way) teaching on Selflessness and Giving.
v Meeting people from different parts of the country.

Q: Do you think you will be able to accomplish what is expected of you?
v Yes

Q: Any other comments.
v Although God was in the timing of the programme, we think the training was a bit too long. However, it was inspirational and really in-depth. It taught us a lot about being faithful.

Thank you so much Xolani and Portia. It sounds like you've caught the heart of Farming God's Way. Well done!

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga


Mega Vision "08" Part 2

Stephen and Molly
Mega Vision was saturated with words like mobilize,expand,advance,spread outwards and so on. God is on the move as a new wind is blowing. But, what has this got to do with Ebenezer or the apprentices? Well, 3 apprentices traveled to Harare for the conference with Stephan and Molly Manhanga. They were Mxwayisi Dube, Honest Ndlovu and Mkhululi Ncube.
This is what they had to say………
Mkhululi, Honest & Mxwayisi at River of Life church, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe.

My name is Mxwayisi Dube. I come from Njelele. I am a Christian. I love God and what he is doing in my life. It is just incredible.
On the 25th – 28th Sept. 2008, I attended the Mega Vision conference in Harare. It was amazing to attend such a conference which involved the New Frontier family of churches. I was hosted by one of the families that attend River of Life Church in Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe. Their names were Stu and Terri Knight. I was really impressed by the hospitality of the Knight family.

Stu and his lovely wife Terri

There were different people preaching different messages. I can recall Sibs Sibanda who spoke on the priesthood of all believers, David and Liz Holden spoke on Faith for Mission, Mbonisi Malaba spoke on A Tale of 2 Cities and Scott Marques on the MEGA VISION.
The conference helped me realize Gods purpose and plans for creating me. I would like to end with this scripture from 1 Thess 5:24, 25 & 28.” He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. Brothers, pray for us. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

My name is Honest Ndlovu from Mapane Village in Gwanda District. On the 25th Sept. I traveled to Harare for the Mega Vision conference. There were so many people from different places and churches and there were many preachers as well. It was a really good experience for me as it was my first time in Harare. I was so excited to see and hear the preachers from overseas. I felt the anointing.

The 1st preacher was Sibs Sibanda and his message drew me to Christ. He talked about expanding the Kingdom of God. He said we have to go and preach, teach and multiply. Acts 13:47. Dave Holden also talked about the type of churches that we need to plant. He said we
need to be led by the Holy spirit. I learnt something good from him as he said worship should come from the heart. Scott Marques also talked about Jesus ministry from Luke 4. He said God loves the poor, God loves us and we should be mobilized. I came to realize that although the churches are full of material wealth, we need to influence the poor so that they know God.

Another exciting thing was staying at River of Life Westgate church where I met lots of people. I also made new friends, ate good food and learnt a little bit of Shona – one of the local languages spoken in Zimbabwe. On the 27th Sept, Mr Knight – the gentleman that was hosting Mxwayisi, took us for a tour of Harare. We went to see the Embassy’s, Harare Prison, The Heritage School, Celebration Centre, Z.B.C and more. I really enjoyed it.

River of Life Westgate Church, Harare, Zimbabwe.

My name is Mkhululi Ncube and I come from Gqalaza Village, Gwanda. On the 25th Sept. I went to Harare for the Mega Vision conference. When I arrived at River of Life Eastlea Church, my host – Arbita Makayi, was waiting for me. He took me to his home in Hatfield and I met his wife Faith. She is a caring lady who loves to share God’s Word. I enjoyed being with them because they treated me like a son.

I enjoyed the conference very much and the speakers were very good. I was touched by Scott Marques’ message, especially when he was showing us Gods greatness in creating the galaxies. I enjoyed the messages from Dave Holden on Faith for Mission. This man spoke about fait in a simple way – that Faith pleases God and is needed. He said for our Faith to grow, we need to practice it and mix it with prophesies and with the word
. This was so good. I am going to spread this message. I really enjoyed myself at the conference.

What an awesome and life changing experience for the 3 apprentices from Ebenezer Agricultural Training Centre.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga