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

One on one with Msizi Mwale

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from a family of 7. I am number 5. My family originates from Zambia and were part of the Chewa tribe. My family moved from Zambia to Zimbabwe when my father was a young man. I now stay in the Magobeni area near Nduna Primary school. I stay with my mum, my young sister and 7 nephews and nieces. My father died in 2002.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: I heard about Ebenezer from my brother who lives in Bulawayo. I filled in forms and attended a Selection Camp. I enjoyed it very much especially when Shelton Taguma shared about the Dream family and the future.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: The greatest challenge has been the water shortage. I collect water from the reservoir in containers and use a wheel barrow to carry the water to my field. Now I have a drip irrigation kit which is really helpful.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: My greatest joy has been getting to know other apprentices, being able to sing with them and seeing my church grow.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: Shelton Taguma has been the greatest influence in my life and my mentor. He expresses himself clearly and he helped me grow in Christ. He has also shared about HIV/AIDS.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years, I will own 2 hectares of land, employ 5 people and I’ll be married. I would like to train other young people with the skills I have gained.

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

Interview with Manual Ncube

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from Dewe village under Dema ward 17. It is approximately a 4 hour walk from my home to Ebenezer. I live with my aunt as both my parents have passed on. We are 8 in my family and I am the 5th born.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: I heard about Ebenezer from the “Headman” in my area. A “Headman” is a figure of authority within a local community. I then collected forms from Natisa Growth Point. A growth point is the equivalent to a small business centre. Natisa Growth Point is approximately 14km from Ebenezer. I attended the Selection Camp and enjoyed the games and team dynamics. The team leaders were very friendly and I made some new friends.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: Water, or should I say the water running out for long periods of time and the bush buck destroying some of my crops. The water is much better now since we use an electric pump and I have made a fence which prevents the animals from destroying my crops.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: The spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga have been enjoyable. I have learnt more about God, about how to interact with others and how to treat other people. I have also enjoyed learning more about farming.

Q: You are the oldest apprentice here at Ebenezer. How does that make you feel?
A: I feel that I am chosen by God but at the same time I find it difficult in such an institution because I feel I’m expected to know so much more than others. If I fail in any area, I feel as though I’m viewed as being stubborn or just being difficult.

Q: Some of your close friends at Ebenezer had to leave due to different circumstances. How did that make you feel?
A: I felt sorry for them because of their disobedience and lack of self-control. The lesson I learnt from that is to trust myself, stick to the truth of the word of word and to bring my body under subjection.

Q: What type of people do you enjoy being with?
I like being with people who advise me on life issues, equip or empower me to further myself and my business but, I really enjoy being with people who help me grow in Christ.

Q: What advise would you give to the younger apprentices?
A: To respect themselves and to be focused on why they are at Ebenezer. The times we are living in are tough, especially with HIV/AIDS.

Q: Great Manual. Who has been your role model?
A: My role model is God because He gives me opportunities and the life I have is because of Him. I felt this so much when I lost my parents. I know that with God, nothing is impossible.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
A: In 5 years time, I see myself as a businessman, equipping my community with life skills and spreading the word of God.

Manual attending to his tomato crop

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

Interviewed by Molly Manhanga


Most Significant Change

Stephen Manhanga and some apprentices installing the drip kits at Ebenezer

Ebenezer officially opened it doors on 15 August 2007. From then – up to now – what has been the most significant change?

Many acronyms are being used today as we communicate with people in different organizations, educational levels, different communities and so on. One such acronym is MSC – Most Significant Change. MSC involves the apprentices telling their story. They provide information and data on how effective the Centre is. The key with MSC is that it is aimed at capturing the MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE.

Key questions then are:
a) Looking back
b) Timeframe in looking back and this is very specific i.e. last week, last month, last 3 months etc.
c) Domains of change. This can be rather “fuzzy” but we tailor it to what we want.

Why Most Significant Change?
a) It identifies both positive and negative change
b) It identifies the values that prevail at Ebenezer
c) Focuses on learning
d) Encourages analysis
e) It delivers a rich picture of what is happening rather than an over simplified one.

I asked the apprentices what has been the most significant change at Ebenezer in the last 3 months?

Unanimously, the water supply has been the most significant change at Ebenezer in the last 3 months. The supply has been much more regular and with the installation of drip kits, the apprentices feel they can attend to other business while their plants are being “watered.”

Drip kit installed

Stay tuned for next months MSC at Ebenezer!!!!!!

Adapted by Molly Manhanga

The Ebenezer Team Grows....

George and "P"

George and his wife, Siphilisiwe Mlilo are the newest people to get recruited onto the Ebenezer team. They joined Ebenezer on the 8 September 2008. George was working at Care International in Zimbabwe and “P” was in the Ministry of Education.

Why Ebenezer and what do they bring?
George brings into the team his Community Development skills and having to a lesser extent done Conservation farming which is known at Ebenezer as “Farming God’s Way”. Siphilisiwe has done Child Psychology and she has worked with children with learning disabilities.

Apart from their areas of specialization, the two have worked with Youths with different backgrounds from their own home church New Life for All Fellowship. It was their interaction with young people that brought about the interest to motivate young people for Christ particularly during these difficult and trying times in Zimbabwe.

The couple is blessed with a young boy – Mthandazo who is 4 years old. The little boy lives in town (Bulawayo) and not at Ebenezer with his parents. This is a temporary arrangement as staff housing is still being built at Ebenezer. We’re hoping that the separation from their son does not take its toll on this fairly young couple who visit him most weekends.

What propels George and “P” is the deep understanding of God’s mission to the less fortunate and underprivileged communities and their passion to spread the gospel.
One day at a time has become their motto.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga


One-on-one with Dazza Maphosa

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from Simbumbumbi area in the Gwanda district. It takes me approximately 6 hours to walk from my home to Ebenezer. I live with my grandparents and 8 other family members. I am number 7 in a family of 10.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: I heard about Ebenezer through a cousin. I filled in a form and attended the Selection Camp. I enjoyed it so much especially playing games, swimming and the interaction between my camp leaders and us. It was wonderful.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: My greatest challenge has been the water and transporting the necessary items for my business to grow and flourish like poles which are cut quite a distance away from field, or if I collect manure and so on.

Q: What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: I have really enjoyed the spiritual lessons with Stephen Manhanga. I feel that my life is changing. The Discipleship groups have given me a chance to discuss issues of life and conduct myself in a Godly manner. I also enjoy playing soccer.

Q: Your cabbage crop has done really well in comparison with other apprentices. How did you manage to succeed?
A: I really prepared my field. After digging holes, I put in basal fertilizer and watered my holes a week in advance before planting my cabbages. I also put mulch. Above all, I believe that God intervened and helped me.

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: Lucas Radhebe – a South African soccer player has been my role model. I like the way he plays soccer as well as his family values.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years time, I see myself as a successful businessman, married and having I child. I will impact my community both spiritually as well as training people in Farming God’s Way.

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

Interview done by Molly Manhanga


Interview with Thabani Sibanda

Q: Give a brief outline of your background?
A: I come from Magobeni area near Nduna Primary school. Nduna Primary school is one of the local schools in the area that is approximately 3km from Ebenezer. I don’t know my parents as I was left to be raised by my grandmother, a brother and 2 sisters. I understand that my father has died and my mother is still alive.

Q: How did you hear about Ebenezer?
A: I heard there was a Centre opening for people that were 18 years and above from people in my community. I went to Shalom Camp Site to collect a form and I attended the Selection Camp. I enjoyed it very much. I liked sharing my life story and ideas with the camp leaders.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer?
A: My greatest challenge since coming to Ebenezer has been stumping trees (taking the roots out of the ground) and communicating/interacting with other apprentices. I overcame that and now I can communicate freely with anyone.

Q: Wonderful Thabani. What has been your greatest joy in being at Ebenezer?
A: Farming – planting tomatoes, cabbages and other activities.

Q: You are the only apprentice that had a tomato crop from February until now. How did you manage to keep your tomatoes for so long?
A: I watered them regularly and made sure that they were tied up so that the leaves did not touch the ground. This prevents them from getting diseases.
Thabani with his tomatoes that he harvested this month

Q: You are planning to be the Ebenezer Farmer of the year. What is your motivation?
A: I am so passionate about farming. It gives me courage and energy to run my business.

Q: You and Brilliant Khoza(a fellow apprentice whose field is next to Thabani’s) have an outstanding tomato crop in your plots right now, you are in “friendly competition” and yet you encourage each other and spur each other on. It is amazing. How do you do this?
A: Yes. We are good friends. We “inspect” each others plots, help each other by digging holes, giving advice and so on. We have a vision and we are focused.

Thabani’s latest tomato crop

Q: Who has been your role model?
A: My role model is Peter Cunningham. When I see how he has helped people in my community, I feel so encouraged and want to do likewise.

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years time:
A: In 5 years time I see myself having a big business in my community, owning stores, supplying people with food and paying school fees for orphans.
Thabani taking poles to his field using a donkey cart
Fantastic Thabani. May God bless you as you continue to be a light at Ebenezer and in your community.
Interview done by Molly Manhanga

Mega Vision "08"

Folk from NF Family of churches worshipping God

“Mega Vision”, is an annual conference held at River of Life Church in Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe. People from all the New Frontier family of churches around Zimbabwe gather together for a time of celebration, strengthening and impartation. This year was just as excellent as the previous years with our international speakers being Dave and Liz Holden from the U.K and Sam and Marlene Poe from Seattle, Washington in the U.S.A.

Friday 27th Sept. started off with the leaders meeting and Sibs Sibanda – Lead Elder from Mount Pleasant Community Church (MPCC) kicked off the session with an awesome word on Bottleneck leaders. The points he highlighted were: a) understanding the priesthood of all believers, contrasting the Old Testament pattern with the New Testament pattern and understanding the leadership gift.

Sibs and his lovely wife Rumbi

Dave Holden from Sidcup in the U.K then spoke on “A people of the spirit”. He highlighted that the Holy Spirit is crucial and central to mission. However it all begins with an individual experience of being filled with the spirit that leads to communities being filled with the spirit.
Scott Marques, Zimbabwe’s Apostolic Leader within the NF family of churches, took the evening session. He spoke about being connected and getting mobilized from Luke 4:18 – 19. The passion of God is for the poor and we can get connected and mobilized through Prayer, Profession, Planting or Participation

But what has this got to do with Ebenezer or the apprentices? Well, 3 apprentices traveled to Harare with Stephen and Molly Manhanga to experience God’s goodness and this is what they had to say……..
(Read Mega Vision “08” pt 2)
Meanwhile, Saturday 28th Sept. was another awesome day. Sibs Sibanda spoke on the New Testament Church in Action – that it’s not so much a method but the truth of the message of the church allowing it to fit into context i.e., the Kingdom and the church can be applied anywhere. The points he raised were surrounded on:
a) The message of the Kingdom
b) The effect of the message
c) The life of those who believe
d) The fulfillment of the message

Seminars followed this main session with the talks being on a) Planting Churches by Sam Poe and Mbonisi Malaba

Sam Poe
The power of the Holy Spirit by Dave and Liz Holden, Taking the gates of the city by Peter Cunningham,
Peter Cunningham
Catching the Fire by Sibs Sibanda and Hidden Heroes by Scott Marques and William Spohr.
William Spohr and Scott Marques
The afternoon sessions are normally the most difficult because of the heat and after a “high Carb” lunch, people generally want to sleep. However, Dave Holden did brilliantly when he shared on Faith for Mission pt 1. He highlighted that Faith is at the forefront of missions, faith is a lifestyle and we’re already exercising it.

The evening slot was graced with a dynamic and energetic Mbonisi Malaba who spoke about “A Tale of Two Cities”. He expounded firstly on Jonah and the city of Ninevah before looking at Paul in Corinth. God loves people and God loves cities.
Mbonisi and his beautiful wife Tashinga
On Sunday 28th Sept, Dave Holden shared Pt 2 of Faith for Mission. He shared that in the Christian life we go through many obstacles but with faith we can overcome the giants.
The conference was saturated with words like mobilize, expand, advance, spread outwards etc. God is on the move as a new wind is blowing.
All in all, it was an amazing conference.
Written By Molly Manhanga

Selection Camps

During the weekends of the 5 – 7th and 19th – 21st September, 2 Selection Camps were held at Ebenezer. The purpose of the Selection Camp is to give the Ebenezer team an opportunity to choose young people from in and around the community to become a part of the Ebenezer family. If selected, they will be an apprentice.

The selection process is very interesting because the young people register on a Friday for the camp and they are noticeably reserved but by the time they leave on the Sunday, they are relaxed, friendly and boisterous.

Xolani registering a prospective apprentice

On the Friday afternoon, after registration, the prospective apprentices play volleyball, chair-ball or soccer. This is done as an ice-breaker and the apprentices usually come “alive” and relax. In the evening they are put into teams and this is done by playing games. The atmosphere soon changes and the apprentices find themselves laughing at themselves and each other. Once they are in teams, they are given a mascot and need to come up with war cry. This exercise usually ignites the competitive spirit in them. There is lots of fun and laughter on these selection camps from the dramas to the apprentices/staff spending their “money” on fashion and, advertising why their “model” is the best dressed. This is to enhance their business acumen and what a delight to see. It is usually very hilarious.

Our very fashionable “models”

The Saturday starts bright and early with the apprentices going on a 5km run from Shalom Camp Site to Ebenezer training centre. They are then taken on a tour of Ebenezer and after breakfast, they get paired up with the currant apprentices and help in their fields. The aim of this exercise is for them to get a feel of what they will be doing if they get selected.

Apprentices working in the field and learning the” ropes”.

There are more structured sessions that help the apprentices understand how Ebenezer works. The talks include the vision of Ebenezer, the parable of the talents, how to become a profitable farmer, making compost and Farming God’s Way. An opportunity is then given for questions and answers.

Staff and apprentices making compost

Other light moments are the team dynamics. The operative word being TEAM but, the prospective apprentices are all too eager to reveal their individual skills and abilities. Teamwork is eventually realized especially after they have joined the Ebenezer family.

Apprentices enjoying canoeing

A DVD is shown on the Saturday evening as a way of helping the apprentices “unwind” after a full day of activities.

The highlight is the Sunday morning service at Crossroads Community Church. The prospective and currant apprentices join adults and children from the community for a time of celebration in song and dance, listening and responding to God’s word.

Celebration at Crossroads Community Church

All round, Selection Camps are a WIN-WIN situation.
What a joy!

Written by Molly Manhanga