We saw two absolutely glorious months passing by since our last newsletter, though there was some hectic scurrying on my part to effect all the changes associated with the change of directors: getting established into the day to day administration, communication and financial control of the Mission. I still don’t feel as settled in the saddle as an old cowhand gripping the reigns of his favourite stallion.
Oom Ben moved on to the administration of our Rivoni website, writing of further lectures on the letters of Paul and the book of Revelation for our third year training course and attending to his own website “Die Pottebakker.” Please “check-this-out” at “ http://pottebakker.co.za .” It is an absolutely wonderful web to visit to get inspiration from the Word of God. And while at it, don’t forget to take a look at our own website, www.rivoni.org.
I stand in AWE when the Children of our Father in Heaven put their skills and talents together to sow seed in the soil of “Establishing God’s Kingdom for His Glory”. I have often wondered if ever there is anything we will not be able to accomplish if we lay aside our differences and put our hearts to serving Him together as one body!
Locally you are praying for the work, encouraging, assisting and giving sacrificially of your finances to help meet our monthly payment of allowances to staff and part time teachers. Currently our staff and their families number more that 40 people with another 18 part time teachers (not counting their families) that live off these contributions. Considering how powerfully God is using this ministry, we expect that more teachers will have to be added in future!
In Mozambique, close to 1200 students are now attending more that 50 classes in various places, mostly rural, and the results remain absolutely inspiring. At the same time our staff, their spouses and kids are working to better themselves in various ways. (Read more about this below).
Once more, thank you for serving the Lord by praying for the Mission, providing for the work by way of your financial contributions and accompanying me on short trips to Mozambique to encourage our staff and to pray for them. If you would like to know more about these trips, please drop me an email or give me a call.– Francois.
For Martie and me, Wednesday the 20th of April was a very special day for on that day we said goodbye to our Mozambique team. The meeting was held at a beautiful venue in the White River district near to the Kruger National Park. The occasion was arranged by Francois, while Willem, a Board member and long-time friend and supporter, took care of the transport with his six cylinder Mercedes, with me and Martie sitting in the rear seats like members of cabinet. So, for a change, we had no responsibilities as far as the arrangements were concerned.
As could be expected, there were tears flowing at times for we had been walking the road with some of the team members (especially Baloi) for more than ten years during which time we had, together, tunneled through some high mountains and crossed some wide rivers by faith. However, overall there was an atmosphere of optimism as we all fixed our eyes on the Lord Jesus and on the trophies to be won as we all move into the future. Baloi presented Martie and me with a picture of a beautiful golden crown with the caption “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life,” (Rev 2:20). May I also encourage you to write the words of this text down somewhere where they will catch your eye when the going gets tough as it often does.
On our way down there, Francois and I had in depth discussions on various aspects of the Mission’s activities and I was so encouraged and delighted to note what good progress he has been making since he took over from me. Please do pray for him and his team. Bless you, – Ben and Martie.
The following trips, ranging from 4 days to 2 weeks are planned for this year. Special trips can also be arranged if you wish to invite a larger number of friends.
- May 28-31: A 4 day trip, Saturday to Tuesday to Chin. (HQ) to introduce you to our staff and work.
- August (Dates to be finalized): A 2 week trip to visit Chinhacanine and some out posts.
- November 25-27: A 3 day trip to attend our year-end function at Chin. meeting with staff, teachers and local leaders.
All trips depart from and return to Pretoria. We will be using our vehicle but if you are willing to provide your own vehicle in addition, it will be greatly appreciated. The number of people that we will be able to take, will depend on the number of vehicles available. Travel time is typically 11-12 hours to cover the 800km from Pretoria to Chinhacanine, including crossing the border. There is a minimal cost involved for transport, fuel, toll gates, food and accommodation. I am looking forward to receive your phone call or e-mail! Please use the contact details provided in this newsletter. – Francois.
PASTOR MACHAVANE TESTIFIES …
Like many others, pastor Machavane is one of the determined Rivoni Ministries second year students in Machinhe or Mpofu Village and this is his testimony: “Truly speaking, when the Rivonies came to us for the first time in 2014, we were in the state of DRY BONES of the Valley, without life at all.” (He used hand gestures to show the scattered bones on the ground). “We were not even fit to be called a church, we were corpses without spirit and without life. “This valley (our church) was full indeed, but with dry bones of men and women with no activity, without direction and without vision.”
With a smile of relief pastor Machavane then continued; “Today this church is full of living and faithful Christians and no more corpses. The majority of them, if not all, can tithe and the tithes even tripled in comparison to the past years. Today, the number of the members of this church has doubled and there are church meetings and outreaches from Monday to Sunday. Most of our church members have discovered their gifts and God is using them mightily. Unlike in the past, things happen even in the absence of myself as the pastor. Most of our members participate and take part in the church instead of me alone being responsible for everything as the pastor. The church is now able to serve God both spiritually and physically.”
“Thank you very much Rivoni for the good service you are rendering to us. May the good Lord God look with consideration on the change that you have brought to this church. May He pay special attention to the special change you brought, not only to this church, but to the rest of this area” said pastor Machavane in conclusion.
Baloi and Brizda started a little vegetable garden at our Chin Headquarters. We hope to be sharing in the produce when we visit them!
Amazing things happen in “God’s Country”. Wherever the Word of God goes, life flows, effecting change of all sorts. If you ever visit our Moz headquarters at Chinhacanine, you will experience the friendli-ness of our staff of which our Vice-Director’s wife, Mrs. Brizda Baloi is always an example. On top of it all this industrious lady is furthering her studies under difficult circumstances.
Her proud husband Boavida Baloi explains: “Though it is not easy for Brizda, she is pressing ahead. There are several reasons why she finds it a challenge. Firstly it is because English is rarely spoken in Mozambique, for Portuguese is the official Language, so Brizda finds little opportunity to practice it. She only speaks English with me and a few of her friends. The second problem is that she studies at night after all the duties of the day, which is after taking care of her family and the Mission station at Chin. The school is at nighttime when the body is already tired and needs to rest. But the worst part is that to attend school, she has to walk almost a kilometer to the business area to get a taxi, then travel to Guija, some 40 km away to attend her class. Since transport is limited in our area she often does not get back home that night and needs to sleep over with some fellow classmates in Guija. She then returns home the next morning, taking an early taxi. At 5 in the afternoon, this process starts all over again! Back to school! Nevertheless, perseverance is the mother of success.” – Boavida Baloi.
Kids need to be developed and the earlier their young minds come into contact with technology, the sooner they master it. Brother Baloi had an ingenious idea to set up an old computer on a table in our community room and supply software with which the children can play games. In learning to type, they have to recognize a character floating past on the screen and hit the right key on the keyboard to score points, teaching them character recognition and keyboard and mouse skills. Reports Br.Baloi: “The children are doing well but they are not progressing as they should because they prefer rather playing games than learning to type. But I have realized that it is far better to teach children to use a computer than letting them sit the whole day watching TV. Television closes the mind of a child but the computer unlocks it.”
The following anonymous donations were received for which we thank you so much: 2016-02-26/2016-03-30, Vereffen, Rivoni; 2016-02-27/ 2016-03-27/2016-04-27, IBANK betaling, 6 months till June;
In the love of Christ,
FRANCOIS AND DORATHEA DU PLESSIS