Reporting back on the Mandebvu community after the Christmas break, Conci was happy with what she had seen. Overall they have done so well and all been busy in their fields mulching, weeding, applying top dressing etc.
Mary (whose name has been changed in order to protect her identity) was previously involved in prostitution. During her stay at Clouds End she came to know Christ, and returned home a completely changed woman. Today she shines as brightly as ever for her Lord, and people within the Mandebvu Village are still amazed at the turnabout. She has two plots, one well mulched, and is busy mulching the second, where she is growing sugar beans. Meantime, like so many other Zimbabweans, Mary desperately needs work in order to support her children, but jobs are far and few between. There was a time when it was unheard of to see her digging in a field, but with her new found faith has come with humility, and she has even offered to weed the fields of others for a small fee. Unfortunately no one can afford to pay. It would be so easy for her to return to her old ways, and yet she remains steadfast, and zealous for God, even in the face of adversity. Please remember this precious lady in your prayers, that God will provide a source of income.
Many within the group are struggling, and some confided that although they are trying to follow the Lord, they have returned to dealing in drugs in order to earn a living. However, Conci feels that the Holy Spirit is doing a work, as each one admitted to feeling deeply convicted and unhappy about their involvement. There is a forceful battle going on in the heavenlies for the hearts of the Mandebvu people, the evidence is clear. Their conversion was dramatic and sincere. They left Clouds End totally changed. But as we feared, returning to a community entrenched in the back-street ways of survival, it is all too tempting to revisit the familiar, and heed the voices of old ‘friends’ who keep up their persuasive call back to the easy life.
The story of one particular young drug dealer, however, is colored with hope. He has continued to walk with the Lord, which has brought about such a marked change that many are talking about it. His fields are looking good, and furthermore, he has shared his new found knowledge and taught his neighbour on God’s farming methods.
Elton has unquestionably taken all the teaching to heart and completed no less than eight plots! Before coming on the course he had done what all of Africa traditionally does – burned the dry winter ‘rubbish’ – unaware that it was in fact God’s precious mulch! But although his mulch is thin, his crops are shining. Since his conversion at Clouds End, his heart remains consumed with passion for Jesus, and Conci is convinced it is reflecting in his fields!
One particular leader, who started out so vigorously, has sadly lost interest altogether. His field was one of the worst, with everything left to his wife. We do not know the reasons why, only that seeds were deposited in his heart along with everyone else. Seeds of vision and knowledge, and while Conci will continue to offer him the same amount of encouragement and advice as the others, good stewardship will always remain his choice. The same applies to the others who have also chosen to toss aside what was taught during those two weeks. Only time alone will tell whether the seeds fell on rocky or thorny ground, or if perhaps they are merely lying dormant for a later time … Only the Sower Himself knows. Our job is to pray.
Stanford had an amazing plot! Conci enthusiastically described it as one of the best – well mulched, weeded and showing promise of a beautiful crop.
Zvinodaishe was away when inputs were handed out, but upon his return, he purchased his own. He has a small plot, but Conci described it as immaculate and a shining example of stewardship. He is being faithful with little. Alongside Zvinodaishe are two other eager youngsters, Richard and Anyway, who have shown faithfulness and perseverance, resulting in excellent fields. It is so encouraging to see the youth running with this; they are the farmers of tomorrow.
Finally Conci spoke of Joyce. Pretty Joyce, who was known for never wanting to get her hands (and long nails) dirty – but who has worked hard and surprised the whole community with a superb plot!
Conci is one of our longest serving grassroots trainers, and has a caring, motherly nature. “What is being reflected by some of these plots is what is in the heart, you can see it.” she says with tender fervour. The teaching of FfF is about heart change, and the results are always moving to watch. Often, the visual evidence of a lush, healthy harvest is the very thing God uses to stir those who initially opt to cast their opportunity aside. For this reason, we watch and pray.
Each of these Mandebvu people, we believe, were chosen by the Lord to come to Cloud’s End. They are a completely mixed bag. Some have done well, others have lost interest, tossing away the pearls in favour of life’s colourful, plastic beads. Some have struggled against all odds, and remained faithful. But together they make the tapestry that God is weaving through ‘I Was Hungry’. The many different stories, of ordinary people. People for whom He longs to deliver from the clutches of poverty – physical and spiritual. Whatever they may choose for the future, our hearts hold the memory of joy on the their faces as knowledge was shared and truth dawned. We pray for the Lord of the Harvest to keep His hand upon each one. He knows the plans He has for them.