"7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" pt 2

The next session will focus on writing a mission statement. A gentleman called Stephen Strong wrote this as his Mission Statement for life:

R – Religion
E – Education
S – Succeeding
P – Productive
E – Exercise
C – Caring
T – Being Truthful

I was curious to find out what each graduate thought of the sessions so far and this is what they said:

Bukhosi Dube

1. Bukhosi Dube: The sessions are helping me, giving me direction and knowing how to protect myself.

Honest Matavire

2. Honest Matavire: The sessions are helpful to me to achieve my goals and to chose wisely.

Cuthbert Dube

3. Cuthbert Dube: The sessions are helping me to visualise my future and directing me on a good path.

Mcebisi Ncube

4. Mcebisi Ncube: The sessions are good because they are helping me to live this life, to make good choices for myself and they are giving me direction.

By Molly Manhanga


"The 7 habits of Highly Effective Teens"

Stephen Manhanga

“7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” is a book written by Sean Covey which Stephen Manhanga is working through with the graduates. He has been through the introduction and habits one and two. Much time was spent on the introduction as Steve tried to make sure that the graduates understood what he was saying and the journey he was taking them on.

Habit One: Be Proactive – take responsibility for your life.
Habit Two: Begin with the end in mind: Define your mission and your goals in life. Control your own destiny or someone else will.

“I have never planned a thing in my life. I just do things as they pop up. The thought that one should have an end in mind never ever entered my mind. It has been so exciting to learn, because I suddenly find myself thinking beyond the now. I am now not only planning my education but also thinking about how I want to teach my family, and what kind of home life we should have. I am taking charge of me, and not blowing in the wind anymore.”

Stephen with the graduates

1. You are at a critical crossroads in life and the path you choose now can affect you forever.
2. If you don’t decide your own future, someone else will do it for you.

How very true!

Summarised by Molly Manhanga

"To marry or not to marry - That is the question?"

Mkhululi Ncube

To be or not to be, that is the question? To marry his sweet Caroline or not – all depends on his "pocket" - his finances. Can attempting to marry someone be so difficult? Well, what seems to be so easy has turned out to be very challenging for Mkhululi Ncube.

Mkhululi, better known as Cooper, is a model farmer at Ebenezer and he leads the United Pentecostal Church in Silozwe. He is intending to marry the love of his life – Caroline Moyo. Caroline comes from Mayezana Village which is approximately 55km walk from Ebenezer.

Mhkululi has realised that getting married culturally is not difficult but the young lady he has chosen is still a virgin and is intelligent and therefore, she comes with a price – a HUGE one. This is Coopers experience when he went to pay the bridal price (roora)

“I was happy when the 24th April 2011 came closer but with a little bit of fear. When we (I asked 3 men to accompany me – two uncles and a pastor) got there to Caroline’s family home , we went to her grandfathers home where we received a warm welcome. After having a cup of tea we went to the ‘main’ home where the lovely lady stays. It was like a dream. Then the charges started: to enter the gate, we had to pay USD2.00. This was a small amount. Then for the family to talk to us (Isivulamlomo), it came as quite a shock because we had prepared USD20.00 and they charged USD100.00. I then realised that things were changing and the friendly grandfather who welcomed us and gave us tea, had become a roaring lion. There is what we call ‘ukangaziwe’ which means for them to know me as a son-in-law, it went up above my expectations. They said they wanted USD2,500.00. I found myself shedding tears because I love my Caroline but the amount they are charging is becoming a hindrance. We tried to negotiate down to two beasts(cows) and USD350.00 which makes it 3 beasts. USD2,500.00 is equivalent to 8 – 10 beasts. Hey Imagine!”

Cooper is now searching and saving for the money to pay before marriage. His deadline is June 2011. Culturally, they are seen to be married by the families and Cooper has to take on more responsibility for Caroline. What an uphill task!

By Molly Manhanga


Ebenezer FC V Mablauwuni Community

Ebenezer FC team

Loud music in the dining hall is a real stimulator for the apprentices and it was no different as they readied themselves for the soccer match against the community. Ebenezer looked “chic” in their new kit.

The first half was really entertaining as both sides were getting a feel for each other and for the soccer pitch. Players would sprint after the ball and “trip” by themselves, having a rather hard landing on the ground or guys would jump in an attempt to head the ball and somehow trip and land on their backs. Not to mention players “timing” the ball that is coming in their direction and kick really hard – only to have kicked the air as the ball continued to roll past. That was really funny and caused a lot of laughter on the pitch.

Half time team talk

Ebenezer had many chances to score in the first half but those goals were elusive. As it always happens, when the opposition get a break, they head straight for the goals and score. The community did just that and they were ecstatic. Their energy levels rose as they seemed to outrun and outplay Ebenezer. A second goal followed and it was Ebenezer 0, Community 2. At half time, Stephen Manhanga gave the Ebenezer team a pep talk and spurred them on despite them being down 0 – 2. Ebenezer FC’s game improved immensely in the second half. As they led an attack on the opposition and attempted to score, the ball hit one of the opposition defenders and deflected into their goal. “An own goal” – most welcomed by the Ebenezer players. The score – Ebenezer 1, Community 2. The Ebenezer players came alive and got their act together. The pace of the game increased and Ebenezer scored a second goal. That was good to see. It could go either way now. The community tried to make a come back and missed several chances to score. The final whistle blew and the score stood at 2 – 2.

The Community asked for 20 minutes extra time and the game continued. There was much pressure from both sides until Ebenezer scored. The final score was 3 – 2 to Ebenezer. The players walked away feeling very proud of themselves after having made a come back from being 0 – 2 down in the first half.

We hope this winning streak continues. Well done Ebenezer!

By Molly Manhanga


Chickens get slaughtered

Of the 3000 chickens the model farmers had, 2860 got slaughtered today. 11 chickens were dead on arrival in the cages. The average weight of the chicken was 2.11kg which is good and the chickens reached this weight in 40 days. 40 days......the same amount of time Noah was in the Ark and Jesus fasted for 40 days.......Nice to bring in a spiritual angle to all this.

The food conversion ration was 1.97 – in other words it took 1.97kg of food to grow the chicken by 1kg. This is good but not great! The reason for high mortality last week (46 chickens died and the 11 that died on arrival) was the high protein in the chicken feed. The chickens grew too fast and died of “overheating”. It is hard for chickens to digest protein.

In the meantime, the model farmers are smiling all the way to the bank – no, not quite the bank, but they are smiling because each received $280.00. The four graduate boys have been so inspired that they too want to do chickens.

The model farmers kept 83 and will bless Stephen Manhanga and Augustine Nyamayaro for their efforts in helping to load them, they’ll sell 10 to the Ebenezer Kitchen and the rest will be sold to other apprentices as well as the community. The chickens should sell pretty fast as they are only $5.00. I can already imagine chicken being the main dish this Easter in many households!

Well done to the guys. A great first attempt!

By Molly Manhanga


Tomato time at Ebenezer

Tomato crop

The second year apprentices are busy harvesting their tomato crops which they planted before Christmas. They are all working hard to maximise their yields. Some of the apprentices have done really well and seem to be meeting their targets. The majority of these tomatoes will be transported to markets in Bulawayo. Interestingly enough, these markets are showing a keen interest and are pretty eager for our produce. However, we will also be marketing our produce to the local communities surrounding Ebenezer like Mablauwuni, Silozwe, Natisa etc. The first year tomatoes are doing well.


What's in the ground at Ebenezer?


Tomato with a difference - four in one!

Apprentices harvesting tomatoes - with joy!

Tomato field

The pictures speak for themselves......

By Molly Manhanga


Ebenezer Graduates "hooking" up!

Mbusiso Ndlovu and Pretty Moyo graduated from Ebenezer in 2009. On April 10th this year, they "tied the knot" at Crossroads Community Church. What an absolute joy and milestone for Crossroads, for the community and for Ebenezer. Both Mbusiso and Pretty are employed at Ebenezer.

We wish them well in their life together.

By Molly Manhanga


Spraying in progress

Young ladies sorting out the chemicals they require for their fields
While the tomatoes at Ebenezer are growing pretty well, quite a few fields have been attacked by pests and diseases –mainly red spider mite. The apprentices were busy spraying their fields to try and combat the pests and use it as a preventative measure for crops that haven’t been affected. The chemicals at hand were Aqua-Seic, Sumiselex, Tetradifon 8EC and Dicofol. Let’s hope that this concoction of chemicals has done the trick.

By Molly Manhanga

Parent day at Ebenezer

Family, friends and relatives of the 42 apprentices gathered at Ebenezer where the apprentices were showcasing their fields. The apprentices are growing tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, green peppers and onions. Mqondisi Moyo, a model farmer is attempting to grow choumolia (rape – a leafy green vegetable) Simangaliso Ndlovu gave a testimony about how she has benefitted immensely from being at Ebenezer and encouraged parents to send their children to Ebenezer. The vision of Ebenezer was shared and in a nutshell the vision is to equip young people for a life in Christ. There was a drama on how young people lives change during the 2 year programme at Ebenezer and Ebenezer’s very own Union Brothers entertained the parents with their singing. The atmosphere was good and positive comments were made. It was a great day for all.
By Molly Manhanga


Model farmers

Mkhululi Ncube (Left), Ezra Prescott (Centre) and Brilliant Khoza (Right)

The model farmers at Ebenezer are Simangaliso Ndlovu, Sithabiso Tshuma, Mqondisi Moyo, Mkhululi Ncube, Tawanda Moyo and Brilliant Khoza. The guys are focused on 3000 chickens while the girls team up and work on 10 plots.

The purpose of the model farmers are: 1. To be exemplary farmers for the current 1st and 2nd years. 2. Assist and facilitate the teaching process. 3. Hope they will desire to go to an irrigation scheme. I caught up with Simangaliso Ndlovu and this is what she said:

Simangaliso Ndlovu

Sithabiso and I have 10 fields between us and we grow cabbages, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, butternut and eggplant which are not yet planted. I find farming easy now because we work in team.

The Challenges so far: The donkeys at Ebenezer ate some of our cabbages – not too many as they were chased out of the fields. At first the butternuts didn’t germinate well. We have gap-filled and they are growing nicely now.

The joys so far: The tomatoes are growing really well. We are expecting a bumper harvest. Our tomatoes haven’t been affected by red spider mite. The cabbages are also looking great. No pests and diseases have affected them. The onions are still small. Not all of them have germinated well so we may have to dig and replant. We have just planted our green peppers and I’m hoping they’ll do well.

Farming is interesting. I’m really pleased with my tomatoes.

Tomatoes in the girl’s fields

By Molly Manhanga


Chickens galore!

Chicken House

There are about 3000 chickens at Ebenezer under the care of the model farmers. These model farmers are Mqondisi Moyo, Brilliant Khoza, Tawanda Moyo and Mkhululi Ncube. Are the model farmers only young men? No. We have Simangaliso Ndlovu and Sithabiso Tshuma doing the young ladies proud in their fields.

Taking a closer look at the chickens......what actually happens?

4 week old chickens

The chicks come to Ebenezer as day old chicks and the model farmers need to make sure that the chicken house is ready as the first 3 days are crucial. The model farmers have to work hard at putting bedding down, making sure the temperature is right, making sure there is stress pack in the water so that the chicks can have a great start to their life. The day old chicks start their life in the brooding house and after 2½ weeks, they are transferred to the grower house until slaughter which is after 6 weeks.

Chickens galore

The 7 day body weight is a good tell-tale sign of how well the chickens have done in the brooding period. Although things have been done quite well at Ebenezer, there is still room for improvement. Doing things on time, to standard, with no wastage and with joy are important. There are lessons to be learnt.

The model farmers at Ebenezer hit world class targets i.e minimal mortality and great body weight. Well done! What a chick.....en!

By Molly Manhanga


Education: The voice of a child

Mthandazo Mlilo (Left) and Nyasha Matshalaga (Right)
It's so interesting getting the perspective of children on how they feel about school and what they think. Mthandazo Mlilo and Nyasha Matshalaga, two 7 year old boys had an opinion about school and this is what they said:

Nyasha Matshalaga: I like school because we play P.E.

Mthandazo Mlilo: I like school because it's fun.

No better way of expressing it than straight from the mouth of children.

By Molly Manhanga

Education with a difference

Mthandazo Mlilo (left), better known as Khiwa and Nyasha Matshalaga (right)

Ebenezer’s “home schooling” system started on the 14th January 2011 and it is being run by Mrs Nyamayaro. Currently she has 2 students in Grade 2 or Year 2 - Khiwa and Nyasha. These boys are full of energy and keep Mrs Nyams on her toes. Mrs Nyamayaro is really enjoying teaching as this keeps her busy. Age may be a deterring factor in sporting activities but Mrs Nyamayaro has roped in Laura Mangena to assist with the sporting/fun afternoon curriculum which is done 3 afternoons a week.

Khiwa Mlilo, Mrs Nyamayaro and Nyasha Matshalaga

The first term ended today and in summing it up, Mrs Nyamayaro said it was an exploratory term as the children were at different levels, their discipline has improved and so has their reading and writing skills. The boys generally are doing well.

Second Term starts on Tuesday 10 May 2011.

By Molly Manhanga


Meet Mark Absolom

Mark and Lesley Absolom
It was just excellent having Mark Absolom with us again in Kezi. He visited us in November 2008. Mark is married to Lesley and they have been married for 25years. He has an excellent sense of humour. It was good catching up with him. This is what Mark said......

M.M: From November 2008 to now, what noticeable changes can you see at Ebenezer?

M.A: There is progression with physical buildings at both Ebenezer and Crossroads. Ebenezer has a dining hall, irrigation, staff houses, lots more students, more dorms, a chicken project and the plots look impressive.

M.M: What about changes at Crossroads?

M.A: There is a huge difference with Crossroads. When I came the first time there was “nothing” physically but now there are guys living on site, there are toilets, the Kidz Block is complete and there is a grinding mill which serves the community. There is both spiritual and physical growth – the church has grown numerically and so has the children’s work. The church will grow even more being placed in the community. Foundations for Farming is also beginning to transform rural and urban areas.

M.M: What are your thoughts on the emerging leaders?

M.A: There is growth of leadership. Stephen and Molly are modelling what is right and good. You are trying to build a team of leaders. There is progress. You get an essence of God’s family with an international flavour. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can participate in the Crossroads vision.

Mark Absolom

M.M: So true! How did you feel after your preach at Crossroads and your time with combined Family Groups at Ebenezer?

M.A: I shared on the Armour of God and how we can bring down the giants in our lives. It was a follow on from Andrew Ellis’s preach on Idols. The Wednesday Family Groups were more relaxed and there was time for questions. I spoke about being a man and tackled some taboos like men crying or expressing emotion, provision, leadership, sacrifice, qualities to look for in a man or woman etc.

M.M: Sounds excellent. Any “different” kind of food you’ve eaten at Ebenezer?

M.A: I ate cow hoof and that tasted like rubbery jelly. I also ate kapenta which tasted nice.

M.M: What is your favourite quote?

M.A: Florence Nightingale “It takes as much skill to bring life into the world. How much more we need to enable people to leave it.”

M.M: What is your favourite drink?

M.A: Good English ale like Hobgoblin and Furstyferret and a nice bit of mature cheddar with real butter and crackers and pickles and onions AND traditionally a good English curry.

M.M: I just got to ask - will the Cherries get promotion?

M.A: As we leave, they are 6th place in the play off position. Thanks for the continued support and prayers from Ebenezer. We need it!

M.M: Thanks Mark. So good chatting to you. Enjoy your time in Zimbabwe.

By Molly Manhanga


Meet Lesley Absolom

Mark and Lesley Absolom

It was just great having Lesley Absolom serve at Ebenezer and Crossroads in Kezi, Zimbabwe. Lesley is married to Mark and they have been married for 25 years. Lesley attends Gateway Church, Poole. Mark and Lesley have a beautiful family.

M.M: Is this your first time to Zimbabwe?

L.A: Yes!

M.M: What are your impressions?

L.A: Beautiful country with beautiful people. Very friendly.

M.M: How best would you describe your time at Ebenezer?

L.A: I had a great time with the students – the girls; learning about their lives and goals. I had fun sharing the gospel. They asked alot of questions about my relationship with Mark. It was a good time.

M.M: You obviously have been a huge blessing to the girls. Did you learn anything from them?

L.A: Yes. They are so hard working, have such faith especially a young lady called Simanga, they are so willing to serve. Their initiative in overcoming difficulty really impacted me. The apprentices have strength and dignity and they laugh alot.

Lesley Absolom

M.M: Excellent! How was your time at Crossroads?


M.M: What impacted you the most?

L.A: The way the community work together – both men and women. It was quite emotional seeing people in such need and yet they have such dignity. The worship at Crossroads impacted me. There are no musical instruments as we know and yet people sing. I loved the schools outreach and listening to the children sing. The problem solving initiative i.e. a death and funeral arrangements – even though it was difficult, the people took it on. I felt privileged to be allowed into something private.

M.M: Did you eat any traditional Zimbabwean food?

L.A: Yes. I ate sadza, kapenta (small fish), vegetables, beans, tomato sauce, and fried chicken. Seeing the cow hoof in my plate was a challenge.

M.M: Did you manage to read any books while you were here?

L.A: Yes. I read “When helping hurts” by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. It is a challenging book and it had me in tears. It’s a real tool for churches, especially for those who go out and serve in other nations.

M.M: What is your favourite quote?

L.A: There are 3 kinds of people: those that make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who wondered what happened.

M.M: Nice one. Thanks so much Lesley. It was wonderful spending some time with you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Zimbabwe.

By Molly Manhanga