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The Michael Project
The Michael Project


2008 IN REVIEW

Date: 2008-12-29

In previous years, when looking back on the work of The Michael Project, I have written about trials of many kinds, but also how God has moved mountains and stretched our faith. There is not one person in Zimbabwe in 2008 who would say we haven't faced unbelievable challenges and trials this year, and The Michael Project is certainly no exception. None of us know what the next chapter in Zimbabwe's history holds, but we do know that God himself tells us to ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds ....'

The end of 2007 saw a long term vision of The Michael Project start to take shape. We took possession of an amazing property in Marlborough to start an orphan home. I am not talking about any old property here .. this place has 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and a borehole (Yip .. WATER!!). God took our picture of a home, and expanded it beyond our imagination. Our team, headed by Connie Mahupete, enthusiastically moved in. We applied for a permit to open a children's home with Town Planning and started preparing for the 20 children we anticipated housing. We had bunk beds made, mattresses transported from South Africa, planted vegetables, painted the house and prayed for the permit. Our team completed the Growing Kids God's Way course, the borehole pump was stolen, AND we prayed for the permit. We replaced the pump, installed a water tank for when the power is off, AND PRAYED for our permit. We made many visits to various departments, and met with countless people, passionately explaining the plight of vulnerable children, and that we had a house ready and waiting. All to no avail ... committees who needed to meet had been disbanded, department two couldn't act without the paperwork from department one, and they had run out of bond paper! What was that scripture .. oh yes .. ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds ...'

In January, Pastor Rephat resumed his monthly trips to Binga, armed with new material to train the volunteers from the various churches in the area. The programme got off to a flying start, with the volunteers soaking up the teaching and putting it into practice. 150 children were being ministered to, and receiving a meal at the weekly activity days. We did have a few minor setbacks getting there, leaving numerous exhausts and tyres on the infamous road, but all in all things were going well. Then in April, after the elections, all work in Binga was stopped. Reports of violence and starvation in the area left us feeling numb and helpless, and we had to wait until September before we could visit again. No sooner had we planned the trip, and our land cruiser developed a major oil leak. MMmm .. ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds ...'

Zimbabwe has faced unprecedented inflation in 2008, chronic food shortages, political turmoil, a collapse of health and education services, and as I write, a cholera outbreak is sweeping through the nation. The hardest hit are the orphaned and vulnerable children, and it is heartbreaking to see the devastation in their lives. I have to admit, it is hard to ‘consider it pure joy' in these circumstances .....BUT GOD!

When I look back at what He has done through it all in 2008, I am encouraged.

This week, we received the long awaited permission for Shalom. Yes, we actually have the written permit. God raised up a gentleman in the planning office who went out of his way to process it, despite the circumstances. Those that are in the know, (yes THEM out there), say that it is a miracle that we have this permit within a year .. it usually takes much longer. Well, we serve a miracle working God who answers prayer! We still have to aquire a health licence, but we know that when God is ready, this will happen. At the beginning of December, 32 volunteers in Binga and Wingate, graduated from the volunteer training programme. God made what seemed impossible, possible! The Wingate and Chikurubi pre-schools have had a record number of children who have been lovingly cared for by our teachers. Many women in the prison (and vegetable sellers on the road to Binga), have given their lives to the Lord, because of the commitment of our team. Many children have received daily meals, because God has provided food, despite the shortages.

Therefore, when we see the joy and excitement in the children from Chikurubi as they go to Greenwood Park for their end of year party, or the transformation in the life of the little boy who does live at Shalom, then the trials that we have faced fade, and we CAN consider it pure joy, ‘.... because, you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything'. 


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