Gecko Today

May 2013

In this issue:

A Note From Susan and Frank

A Note From Petros Yergaitain

Update on Clara and Munashe

BC Christian Academy Do It Again!

Avondale Church of the Nazarene Update

Sponsored Children Update

2013 Garage Sale - $5200!

Letters From Those We Have Supported

Thank-You's and Updates

A Note From Susan and Frank

As most of you are aware Frank has not been well for some time with cancer. This has of course prevented us from traveling to Zimbabwe from January to June as we usually do.

However the work continues. As you read the newsletter you will see that we continue to operate from a distance. The main goal this year is to finish building the toilets at the Kambuzuma Church of the Nazarene, and then build a pre-school on the same site as well as an office/working place for the micro loan business (ministry to widows and orphans).

We also plan on sending a shipping container with everything needed for the micro business program and to fully equip the schools. The container will then be transformed into a library. This will give the community a place to come and read (and learn to read), watch movies, and be ministered too.

We will include some bicycles, wheelchairs, and fill some wish lists. Filling the container will be accomplished by Compassionate Care Ministry.

We cannot thank you enough for your support, love and prayers. Sometimes when we have been discouraged and think it is time to quit the thought doesn't even last a day as we are sure to receive some form of encouragement just when we need it.

A Note From Petros Yergaitain, Our African Area Director (EFCCM)

It was a joy to travel to Zimbabwe this February to see the work we are involved in there.

I was able to meet with the Pastor and teachers at Safron Walden where we completed the project to refurbish an old building and convert it into a functioning church for over 200 and the Chiedza preschool for the village children. I also met with the Ladies of 'The K Project’ in Kambazuma along with their Pastor. They are so grateful for the support and assistance Susan and Frank have given over the years. This new project has really encouraged and inspired them. Materials have been purchased to start construction of the new pre-school buildings, this time on the grounds of the church in Kambazuma.

I was able to take 3 suitcases full of seeds to be distributed to the needy through the work of the church and our Foundations For Farming efforts. This will go a long way to helping people to grow their own food as store prices are way out of reach for the average villager.

This year Zimbabwe will be holding an election again. Please pray for the people of Zimbabwe and our workers there, as they choose a new government. Pray for the widows and orphans who we are privileged to serve in the name of Jesus.

I have seen the results of the work done by the Zimbabwe Gecko Society. Peoples lives are changed as they see the love of God expressed through His people and then accept Jesus as their Lord. Thank you all for your prayers and faithful support of this wonderful work.

Petros.

Update on Clara and Munashe

Although in this photo the thanks are written to Auntie Sue this is only because names of sponsors are being withheld at request. The thank-you is really to a lot of people in the background: Norman, Sponsors, Moira, Children of Fire home, S.A. Airways, and Beverly Hospital in JoBurg to mention a few. Clara and Munashe’s story is one of great success. One person and then many making a difference. Oh, how loved these girls feel.

Update since our last blog post: South African Airways supported the girls with their flight to Johannesburg. Oh what fun the girls had. The snacks then meal served on a tray in their seats brought many giggles and an opportunity for learning. The flight itself was exciting with many adventures, especially the toilets - poor girls thought they were going to be sucked down the hole. Everything has been an exciting adventure for them. Just before they left in January they celebrated Christmas with their first Christmas gifts, new clothes, a teddy bear, sweeties. Oh what joy these simple pleasures gave. I tear up when I think of it. Once in Johannesburg the girls were taken to their new home, a home where they will stay for at least the next year and share with other children with similar burns. They love it! Good friends, comfortable beds, security, good food and gentle people. Their home is near the hospital where they receive treatment.

Munashe has already had several operations including two to release her neck, another to give her an eyelid on her blind eye, also the start of work on her hands and open wounds. Clara has also had similar operations including receiving an eyelid to blink and refresh her blind eye. Yes , both girls lost an eye in the fire. It is exciting to hear of their journey. We will have lots of stories I am sure. Your letters of support to them are welcome, please send them to us and we will gladly make sure they receive them.

If you'd like to read more about Clara and Munashe please visit our website.

B.C. Christian Academy Do It Again!

Once again the children from B.C. Christian Academy Coquitlam have decided to support the children of Zimbabwe. With their principal Travis Breyerton leading the way and the support of all of the teachers the children raised $1667! The funds will go towards equipping the new school to be built at the Kambuzuma Church of the Nazarene (toilets are now being built in readiness).

Well done B.C.C.A. teachers and children. Your work and love will go a long way in helping with the children’s education. The children were motivated into action after watching the movie Zimbabwe’s Forgotten Children.

A Note From the Principal

Upon seeing the poverty and plight of the children and parents of Zimbabwe, the BC Christian Community of teachers, students, parents, and myself were all moved by God's Holy Spirit to become 'His hands and feet' to them. We so desire to see as many as possible receive an education that points them to the God of Hope who can provide not only a better life for now but for eternity. It is our joy and privilege through ZGS to be able to help in some small way to serve God's people across the globe.
For His Glory not Ours,
Mr. Travis Bryerton
Elementary Principal
B.C. Christian Academy

Any teachers who may be interested in a great opportunity to teach children some history, geography and volunteerism as well as compassion, please email Susan Janetti at zimbabwegecko@gmail.com for more information.

Avondale Church of the Nazarene Update

I recently received this letter from Gideon who visited the church ministries at my request. I thought you would be interested in his comments of these ministries that we would like to continue to support.

Concerning the Nazarene Compassionate Care Ministry I went to check on the Martha Project and the Food for Work project this morning. I met an enthusiastic group of 10 comprising 5 women & 5 men. They were busy, some cutting sacks to size, while others were sorting out knitting thread to make bags and mats. The women were putting on embroidery designs and had a chat with Mable, a middle aged woman who intricately explained about the skills employment programme and how it has transformed their livelihoods.

They attend every Wednesday from 8am-1pm. They are given transport allowance, breakfast, lunch and a pack of 10kg of mealie meal to take home after every session. I was impressed by the level of dedication shown by the participants.

The church’s other program that benefits the less privileged is also going well: every Tuesday lunch time they now cater for more than 50 destitute and other desperate unemployed people. The food consists of sadza, beef or chicken, potatoes and delicious soup.

Observations

Desperate people are being taught survival skills, basic hygiene and spiritual awareness. The program erases the aura of doom and gloom otherwise surrounding their day to day life without these beneficial programs. We have positive testimonies of people being turned from hopeless drunkards and beggars to being dignified, responsible persons.

Sincerely yours,
Gideon

Kambuzuma Church Sponsored Children/ Zimbabwe Gecko Society Sponsored Children Update

This past Christmas Zimbabwe Gecko Society sent each of our sponsored children $50 for Christmas. What a surprise and joy to all the recipients. Most purchased things for school, clothing, some special sweeties and some even purchased gifts for others. This was a special Christmas indeed! The true gifts of Christmas were shared: Love, Joy, and Peace. Thank you to Fortune who oversees the work for us in our absence.

The children continue to write letters to their sponsors to build relationships. All consider their sponsors to be a great gift. Thank you to all for your continued support.

2013 Garage Sale - $5200!

Congratulations and thanks to all. Once a few donations are sold on Craig's list we will have taken in the incredible sum of $5200! Although I was in Canada this year and not in Zimbabwe as we usually are in April, Marie Smith and her team took to the challenge once again.

Many thanks go to ......

White Rock Baptist Church for the use of the Gym- signage- encouragement-love- help and prayers.

Marie and Mike Smith organizing – advertising – donating- sorting- choosing-refusing- receiving – boxing- dumping-banking –bookwork - to mention a few (exhausting work) Congratulations on the huge success again this year.

Jackie and Norb Neufeld Cashier at door - organizing –donating-sorting- script work- lifting-carrying –boxing and dumping along with other adjectives. (all exhausting especially during their own move and renovations)

Harry Block - A man of movement. All day long offloading cars and sorting as well as encouraging donations at the door. A great example to all half his age.

Jason and Melinda Janetti for their drive from Chilliwack. Jason for the donation of hamburgers and cooking for the day. Yum! all was delicious. The clean up great. Melinda selling the teddy bears with great sales pitch.

Donna Mercer Cashier for the day in the kitchen. Cheerful smile. Dedication to the job.

TJ Wall - Great security man along with all the other functions of a garage sale.

Eleanor North – Sorting-Folding-sorting-folding-sorting-folding Being in charge of clothing. Sorting- folding Did i mention Folding!

Debbie Nightingale – great pictures – sorting and muscle for the day with great clean up .

Julie Turnbull - Great clean up and boxing skills with muscle!

Elaine Hassell - Cashier at the door. Great skills in handling people and negotiating donations. Dedicated each year.

Melina Neufeld- Cashier at the door. Great smile and people skills. New to the job and did great.

Tina Janzen - As always dedicated to manning the Gecko table sales of beaded ornaments – sourcing donations- final clean up. well done as always.

Maria and Laury Lange - For the use of their truck for “pick ups” an essential “tool”

Diane Rowan - Muscle power – sorting – unpacking and sorting

Ramona Yager – Sorting- unpacking – sorting - unpacking - sorting then packing again.

Ursula Carrasco - Sorting- unpacking – sorting - unpacking - sorting then packing again.

Spencer Neufeld - Muscle

OF COURSE ALL OUR DONORS LAST ON THIS LIST BUT WITHOUT WHOM ABSOLUTELY NOTHING HAPPENS. THANK YOU FOR SORTING THROUGH YOUR HOMES AND CHOOSING TO DONATE TO OUR CAUSE. YOU ARE ALL THE REAL TREASURES !!!!

Letters from Those We Have Supported

I write to express my sincere gratitude to your organization for this program. We have now found out that we can do it on our own now and that we do not have to look down upon ourselves as failures in life. The training you have provided us speaks volumes of your love for us. We have been struggling in our lives all this time; you have since given us hope and faith for the future. The knowledge I have now is going to be something I will use wherever I go. I will go forth to my community and start to demonstrate what you have afforded us. I hope you stay strong in your partnership with Gift, who seems equally determined to see us through.

I have two children all going to school, and I have been struggling all these years trying to send my children to school. The first one is in grade four while the younger one is in grade one. Since I came here I have discovered that I can really make a living out of farming and also I have learnt that farming is really a business.

First I would like to thank the teachers for their teaching methods and accommodation we got here. The teachers were helping us with joy all the time and this was a real inspiration for us. I would also like to thank Mr. Konjana for loving us and caring for our community.

Thank you for everything you have done for us. We have learnt new ways of agriculture from f4f. The f4f team was good to us. We will definitely share what we have learnt from this course.

We thank God for the love that you have shown us. My prayer is that he blesses you so can continue to give us thereby showing God’s love. We have been facing a number of challenges in our live in our community since we were left on the farm. The new farmers had been promising heaven but they all fell short of what they used to promise us. Even the government seems not to care at all about us. Now you have been God sent.

Thank-You's and Updates

Nanoose Evangelical Free Church Talk

I recently travelled to Nanoose Bay (a church Frank and I attended for about 5 years). We had not met in 11 years yet the church welcomed me with open arms and the same love that the church has always exuded. It is a small church of about 35 led by Pastor Chris Wilson. It was good to see some “old” familiar faces.

It is not often that a church will give over its Sunday morning service to a speaker. Pastor Chris whom I had not met before did just that. Not only the morning service, but he also invited me back in the evening to share stories of faith regarding our work in Zimbabwe. I thank them for their encouragement and enthusiasm for the work we are doing ..

The church immediately sprang into action. They asked if I could leave some of the beaded ornaments behind so they could take them and receive donations for them. I have already sent another full large box by Greyhound.

We have received exceptional donations from the church. A team headed up by Linda Stalker and Elva Reed have booked two engagements to show the beaded ornaments outside of Walmart. They have taken the critters to stores and given to friends to share the story. Talk about encouragement. Thank you all for your warm hospitality.

Potters Garden Shop Donation

Many thanks to Potters Garden Shop on 128th Street. In January they donated 3 full suitcases, 52lb each, of a variety of vegetable seeds. They are already in Zimbabwe and many in the ground and growing.

The seeds will be divided into many projects and programs. Each will save a portion of the seeds to plant and share with others as well as forming a seed bank. Dispite the climate differences the seeds have proven to grow well in the past.

Thank you Potters, this will make a huge difference with our farmers who have taken the "Farming Gods Way" or “Foundations for Farming" course.

Foundations for Farming Update

We have supported 20 farmers in attending the week long farming course this year. They in turn teach 10 others who are given seed to start their project and so on. To learn more about the program please visit our website.

Peace Portal Alliance Church Donation

In January I was asked to speak at the Peace Arch Church in one of their morning bible study sessions ( about 60 people attended). I was once again welcomed and encouraged in the work we do with the possibility of the church working with us to build the school.

The ladies mission group also invited me to speak and knitted hundreds of toques for me to take back to Zimbabwe (they were sent back with Petros into the hands-or should I say heads-of some very happy children). The ladies also made up several in stage sample ideas for me to take back for the micro loan businesses. I know these step by step samples will be so much easier to teach with than paper patterns.

Thank you for your warm reception, work and invitation with encouragement. I have been invited back next week to share my stories again. Thanks also to Lynda Elke for inviting me to participate in the Church Christmas market this past year. It was fun and I met so many nice people.

White Rock Baptist Church Support

WRBC continue to support Frank and I in prayer as well as support “on the ground”. The support through the use of the church Gym, kitchen, fundraiser dinners, support by Missions Board and church community all make our work so much easier to do and a joy to witness. Thank-you to Marvellous Marvin and his team!

I have been invited to speak at the Missions Tuesday group as well as Sunday evening service. The work we do in Zimbabwe is a joy to share and our stories many. Thank you.

White Rock Community Church Talks

I can not remember how many times over the past 10 years I have been asked to speak at the White Rock Community Church Seniors program. There I am like family. We love to chat together, eat together and share stories together. I am often invited to share our latest story with pictures and they enjoy seeing the work in Zimbabwe grow and prosper.

A more enthusiastic group I have not met. I last spoke at their February meeting. Thank you!

First Presbyterian Church Talks

Many thanks go to the First Presbyterian Church in New Westminister. I have been invited to speak on several occasions and they have generously given me the whole service time. I have been asked to speak again on the 9th of June to give updates and speak on faith. So much encouragement!  I have also been asked to give my personal testimony on June 1st for Ladies' Multicultural Day. It's at 3pm at 335 - 7th Street, New Westminister. Tickets are $12.00 (Music, Speaker, Food, Gecko Exhibit). Please feel free to contact me at 604-531-3654 or the church at 604-522-2801 if you wish to purchase a ticket. You can also wear a national costume of your choice to the event.

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