Model farmers on the move pt 1

Brilliant Khoza

What does “Beyond Belief” mean for you as you leave Ebenezer and start a new chapter of your life at Antelope?

I see it as a great fulfilment of my vision and desire not to be selfish with what God has given me through Ebenezer. I have been empowered with leadership skills, business management skills which I’ll be able to help the farmers with at Antelope.

I have been so challenged by us going there as a team. I hope we will impact the community.

By Molly Manhanga


What is "Beyond Belief?"

Beyond Belief is an initiative to transform rural communities practically and spiritually. Beyond Belief is an example of God’s abundant love by serving and partnering with small scale farmers through holistic and efficient business models in order to create fruitfulness, encourage generosity and strengthen communities – all for God’s glory. The vision therefore for Beyond Belief is “Unlocking Africa’s Fruitfulness.”

There will be 6 Model Farmers (Ebenezer Graduates) who will be Missionary Field Officers – equipped in agriculture. Their main focus is to be missionaries and to look after 10 farmers. Hopefully, they will start cells groups and eventually plant churches. They will live in the communities they are serving.

Model Farmers (Ebenezer Graduates: The 2 ladies are missing from the picture)

The 6 Model farmers (Ebenezer graduates) will train and equip farmers from an area called Antelope which is near Mapisa. These farmers will be growing tomatoes on a commercial scale. Follow the Beyond Belief blog for more details....... http://beyondbeliefzim.blogspot.com

Compiled by Molly Manhanga

Begin with the end in mind

As the graduates write their Mission Statements, they need to watch out for ‘dangerous roadblocks’:
1. Negative Labels: being labelled by others in a negative way. Labels are a negative form of prejudice (pre-judge: making conclusions about someone without knowing them) If you’ve been falsely labelled, you can live with it because labels are like paradigms. The danger comes when you start to believe the labels.
2. It’s All Over syndrome: When you’ve made a mistake and feel like you’ve blown it and say ‘It’s all over!’ At this point you start to self-destruct. It’s never over. Learn from our mistakes and move on.
3. Wrong Wall: ‘So often, in our quest to be more popular and to be part of the “in group”, we lose sight of things that are far more important.....’ like self-respect, true friendships and peace of mind. We are often so busy trying to climb the ladder of success that we never take time to see if our ladder is leaning against the right wall.

Go for the GOAL. How? Here are 5 keys to goal setting
1. Count the cost: set goals and follow through.
2. Put it in pen: “A goal not written is only a wish”.
3. Just do it: “Do or do not. There is no try.”
4. Use momentous moments: Certain moments in life contain momentum and power. Harness these moments.
5. Rope up: You’ll accomplish more if you rope up and borrow strength from others.

Summarised by Molly Manhanga


Meet Cheralyn Martins

Cheralyn Martins, better known as Chez

M.M: tell me briefly about your background?
C.M: I was born in Kwa-Zulu natal, South Africa where I completed an MSC in Animal Science. I live with my younger sister and my adorable nephew Daniel in Pietermaritzburg. I belong to the “best” church in the region, North Hills.

M.M: How has Ebenezer and Beyond Belief impacted you?
C.M: I am greatly encouraged by the “ease” of self-sufficiency. Although it is hard work, it’s encouraging to know that they can support themselves with minimal resources. I love the concept of Foundations for Farming and teaching the community to provide for themselves is also rewarding. You can clearly see the passion everyone has towards farming and witnessing the accomplishment they feel after harvesting a crop of tomatoes, onions and cabbages is priceless!

M.M: What fun things did you do whilst in Zimbabwe?
C.M: I stayed out in the Matopos and learned how to live without relying on electricity for 2 weeks (AMAZING), I horse rode, I made home-made soap, I helped read to the community children, I ate ice-cream at Eskimo Hut (A Have-to for everyone coming to Zimbabwe), and also participated in some interesting family games with newly made friends and family.

Fun moment: "Oh yeah - Chez in action!"

M.M: Nice one! What book have you read recently and what main points did you glean from the book? (At least 3 points)
C.M: A Charlie Char Char book that I read to the Grade 6’s and 7’s called “The Shack” by William Young. This is the third time I’ve read the book. The 3 main pointers I gleaned are
1. God is all-powerful. His love is unconditional.
2. God is always in control no matter how good or how bad a situation may seem.
3. We serve an amazing relational God and that relationship is His prime focus in each one of our lives.

M.M: What is your favourite food and drink?
C.M: Morning Star punch (Secret recipe) and for a meal, besides Norma Fergusons amazing cooking – oriental pies.

M.M: Thanks Chez. Great meeting you.

By Molly Manhanga


Update on the Graduates pt 2

Stephen Manhanga is going through a book called “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” with the graduates. To recap: Habit 1 is be proactive and Habit 2 is begin with the end in mind. The graduates were tasked to write their mission statements.

Some thoughts as a guideline:
1. Think of a person who has made a positive difference in your life. What qualities would you like to emulate?
2. Imagine 20 years from now –you are surrounded by the most important people in your life. Who are they and what are you doing?
3. Describe a time when you were deeply inspired.
4. List 10 things you LOVE to do.
5. If you could spend a day in a great library studying anything you wanted, what would you study?
6. If three of your closest friends had to say something about you, what would you want them to say?
7. Think of something that represents you i.e. a rose, a song, an animal etc, etc
8. If you could spend an hour with any person who ever lived, who would it be? Why that person and what would you ask?
9. Everyone has one or more talents. What are yours?
10. If you had to risk your life for something or someone, what or who would it be for: your pet, your brother, fame, money..........?

These are some great guidelines to get the graduates going on their Mission Statements. We’ll see what they come up with.

Compiled by Molly Manhanga


Update on the Graduates.....

There are four graduates at Ebenezer: Bukhosi Dube, Mcebisi Ncube, Honest Matavire and Cuthbert Dube. Currently, they have crops in their field and have more recently taken on the chicken project at Ebenezer.


The graduates have got butternuts in their fields which are doing really well. They are harvesting tomatoes at the moment and can average 6 – 7 crates per week. They are still in the process of planting onions. Some of the other apprentice onions are doing well. The green peppers are still small and the plants are starting to flower. The carrots are growing really well. They seem to flourish in sandy soil and the green peppers. Let’s hope the apprentices have good harvests.


3060 chicks were delivered at Ebenezer and the graduates took them to the brooding house. The chicks were really doing well. The target was to get them to a weight of 160g after 1 week but the graduates got them to 170g which is good. Despite this, the mortality rate has been high. To date, there may be 60+ deaths but the graduates are hoping to bring it under control. At the end of this week, the chicks will be moving from the brooding house to the growing house. Let’s hope the mortality rate decreases.


By Molly Manhanga


Graduates take on the Ebenezer chicks.....

Ebenezer graduates praying over the chicks

As part of their holistic training Ebenezer graduates received 3000 chicks from Beyond Belief (A new initiative to help rural communities – Look out for the 'Beyond Belief' Blog coming ‘live’ soon) to raise as broilers. This is the second batch of chicks that Ebenezer has received. The first batch was raised by the model farmers. They did extremely well. Even on a commercial level it should take 51 days for each chicken to reach a weight of 2 kgs. The model farmers achieved 2.2 kgs in 41 days. Brilliant Khoza, one of the model farmers said; "They grew well because we prayed over them. They were not our chickens. They were God’s and He gets the glory”. Brilliant would also be found late at night playing his guitar and singing hymns to the chickens. “The praise songs make them happy chickens.” Nice one!

This has been taken to heart by the graduates who prayed for their chicks as they were offloaded and who also insist that the Union Brothers – Ebenezer’s own male vocal group who have cut 2 CD’s, practice their singing outside the brooder house.

Looking after day old chicks is extremely tough. The four graduates have to make sure that the temperature, feed, water and lighting are just right. For the first two and a half weeks the chicks have to be monitored 24 hours a day. In addition to this, the graduates still have classes and have to tend to their fields. They will have some hard lessons to learn over the next six weeks but the model farmers and Ezra Prescott from Beyond Belief are there to guide them along the way.

Ebenezer has set the standard for others to follow.

Edited by Molly Manhanga


Submission by Mvuse Nyoni

Mvuse Nyoni

It was just great catching up with Mvuse at Ebenezer. She had given a talk to the apprentices on submission and this is what she said....

What is it?
Philipians 2v1-7
Tells us about Christ’s humility and how He submitted himself to God. He is our example of true submission because He understood that doing something ‘beneath’ His identity as God did not remove that identity.
Submission is therefore about humility and putting others before ourselves.

Why must we do it?
We submit to follow Jesus’ example. Learning to submit also teaches us about unconditional love and how to love others in the way God intends for us to do.
Submission teaches us to rely fully on God because we trust that He will stand up for us and take care of us while we submit to and serve others.

How do we submit?
Firstly, submission must happen in the heart. We must have a heart attitude that puts others first.
Secondly, submission is very closely linked to service. We make our submission evident through serving, just as Jesus showed us when He washed His disciples’ feet.

Who do we submit to?
Before anyone else we always submit to God. We do this through spending time with Him and listening to Him and reading His word. This means we also submit to the Bible because it’s God’s way of speaking to us.

We must also submit to authority that it in our lives. Whether or not we like them or believe in what they do. But even in submitting to authority we have to submit to God first, then to His word. This will help us to make sure we always do the right thing.

How can we put submission into practice at Ebenezer?
Through helping the new apprentices to find their way around.
By teaching the new apprentices with patience and helping them in their fields.
By respecting those in authority over us.


Money Matters with Tapiwa Chizana

Tapiwa Chizana

It was excellent having Tapiwa Chizana, partner in Deloitte and Touché and leader of Thembalezizwe Church come and share money matters with the model farmers, the graduates and the emerging leaders from Crossroads Community Church. This is in part what he said .....

Matthew 6:19 – 24
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
How do we store up in heaven? It’s like having a bank account and investing in things that have heavenly value. We are living and trusting God.

Giving and generosity..........WHY?
When we give, we are an extension of God.
Give in response to gratitude
Give because we want to meet a need
God will bless us. It’s the sowing and reaping principle.
Giving has more to do with helping you than helping others. God is interested in our heart v 21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

There is a relationship between the heart and money. They follow each other.
Ephesians 3:10 “His intent was that now through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms...”
Acts 19:18 “Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds.”
Acts 19:24 “.........You cannot serve both God and money.”

“No one can serve two masters.”
Worshipping money is idolatry. You cannot serve both. So, how can you love God and hate money? You can work very hard for money and yet not love it because you can see the benefit.

Summarised by Molly Manhanga


Smiles all round for Mkhululi Ncube

"To be or not to be" was the question for Mkhululi Ncube as he went to pay the bridal price for his sweetheart, Caroline Moyo. What started out as a dream turned quite sour as he realised he'd have to pay quite a price to marry her. But, to update you, Mkhululi will finish "paying" for his "to - be" bride at the end of this month and then he'll start working on the programme for his wedding. He is hoping to have a church wedding in August 2011. So, it's all smiles on the wedding front.

Another happy moment for Mkhululi was when his "artificial" or false tooth arrived two weeks ago. Mkhululi was often teased by friends about his missing front tooth. He fell on a rock in 1996 and cracked his tooth which eventually fell out in 1998. Thanks to Rod Spencer - Ebenezer's marketing guru, Mkhululi now has a new front tooth and he is smiling with joy.

It's great to see this that Cooper is smiling all round.

By Molly Manhanga


Family groups at Ebenezer

Family Groups have replaced Cell groups at Ebenezer. They are still held on a Wednesday evening from 7 - 8pm. Apprentices are put into “families” that comprise of about 11 people and they are led by the staff. The meetings usually take place in the staff houses.

At a family meeting, meals can be shared and the apprentices learn more about family life and how parents relate to their children. In one group they looked specifically at Family Values.

The apprentices are learning how to be honest with one another and to be real – see things as they are. They are learning to share how they feel (their emotions) which are not a done thing culturally. For example: because there is no platform to share one’s emotions like anger, the easiest thing is to fight physically with the person that makes you angry. They are also learning to share about their personal desires and aspirations. It’s interesting that the apprentices now desire Godly marriages and as a family, they pray for each other.

Family groups are pretty much enjoyed by everyone.

By Molly Manhanga


An African Adventure with Matt Romans

Matt Romans on crutches

Matt and a couple of his friends went for an afternoon outing to Lumani Falls in the Matopos area. The falls is 7 – 8 m high and while Matt was trying to cross the falls, he slipped and fell. He was in complete panic and shock in those moments as he thought he was going to die. He tried clinging to a rock but it was slippery and he landed on his right foot at the bottom of the falls. He injured his heel and ankle and will be using crutches for the couple of weeks.

Matt's swollen ankle

This “free fall” experience has made Matt realise that God really does save people. He also realises just how fatal the fall could have been had it not been for the grace of God. He is a compassionate and good God.

Quite an experience!

By Molly Manhanga


COSMOS at Ebenezer

A team of 6 Doctors and nurses from Australia came to serve Ebenezer and Crossroads. The session at Ebenezer started at 9:00am and finished at 2:00pm. Whilst at Ebenezer, they showed the apprentices how to carry heavy loads and how to stretch. They guys and girls then separated for a discussion on “personal” issues and things pertaining to males and females. The question and answer time proved most helpful! The doctors then checked specifically for blood pressure and to see whether or not the apprentices were drinking enough water. 99% of the apprentices are in very good health and great shape i.e. no one is overweight.
The session was very good and the apprentices learnt alot.

By Molly Manhanga


Bicycle Craze!

Bicycles looking good!

The changes at Ebenezer from 2007 to date is quite phenomenal. One of the most obvious changes is the apprentices mode of transport - from walking or running to cycling.

Many bicycles are seen as the apprentices cycle everywhere: to the dining hall, to their fields, to Crossroads, to the nearest shops, to visit friends in the community, to the Ebenezer staff houses or to visit each other as and when necessary. At times, the apprentices race each other. Fun!!

It's great because we can see where the apprentices money is going and how the apprentices are benefiting from their small scale businesses.

Cycling sure is fun!

By Molly Manhanga


A day in Stores with Pretty Ndlovu

Pretty Ndlovu in Stores

Stores can be one of the busiest places at Ebenezer. It is like the hub and keeps things moving. The buzz of apprentices and the community coming in and out of stores. So what actually happens? Siphilisiwe Mlilo oversees Stores but we'll focus on what happens with Pretty Ndlovu who assists Siphie......

1.Tool register – sign out for apprentices
2. Clean 2 storerooms
3. Sell inputs to the appy’s
4. Sell produce to the community
5. Quiet time: updating books in stores
6. Lunch
7. Buying produce
8. Signing in tools

The selling process:
Produce is weighed first and then sold i.e. Grade C tomatoes cost R1 per kg. Grade B and A have their own price. Receipts are written out.

The fertilizers that are in stock and used for spraying are Calcium Nitrate, Gatit, Map 3G, Epsom Sait, Calcium Sulphate and Omnik. Ammonium Nitrate and Compound D are also found in stores. With some of the fertilisers, Mbusiso Ndlovu doesn’t let the apprentice take it but rather mixes it himself and sprays the fields.

Irrigation equipment is also found in stores. A gentleman called Joseph is leading the maintenance team so he is the one who takes items out when required.

If stores run out of stock, they order on a weekly basis. Stores is really the hub at Ebenezer and keep things moving.

By Molly Manhanga


How to slaughter birds

Want to know the details of how to slaughter chickens? Here goes.....

1. Stun the bird by giving it an electric shock. The bird is unconscious but not dead.
2. Pray (Halaal for the Muslims)
3. Cut the throats
4. Bleed them
5. Scold them
6. Pluck them
7. Vizierate them (chop)
This process is done semi-automatically
8. The birds are then chilled in a bucket
9. Freeze and package them.

All the 2860 were sold before Good Friday. The demand for birds was high during Easter.

Ebenezer is hoping for the next batch of birds to arrive on site by 4th May 2011. Let’s hope they do as well or better than the first batch.

By Molly Manhanga