Hello Friends and Family of Morning Star,
It has been far too long since you all heard from us, but to a large degree that was because of the abundance of work the Lord has been doing on and around Morning Star, not the lack of it.
I can thankfully report that we have generally been happy and healthy over the past year and a half. This blessing has allowed us to work more closely with the community, as well as expand our Morning Star family with friends from the community and from abroad.
To begin this Newsletter we are relieved to report that the drought finally broke with some amazing rain that filled both the old and new dams and, more importantly, the wells on Morning Star AND in the community. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and especially to our visitors during 2012 who helped bring water into the camp; went without proper showers while here; used the pit-latrines without us hearing one complaint (how discreet you were!!). You are our heroes!
The new dam overflowing with water in January 2013 (and it held!!)
What a God we have! He gives and gives abundantly. We have exciting news to report. As of 2012, we on Morning Star have been officially recognised by the government of Zimbabwe as a non-profit Trust. This official status will allow us to greatly expand our projects and particularly, to consult on an official level with many of the leaders in the community on how to address the needs in the region. We have come such a long way from a few years ago, when we were worried if we would even be able to stay in the country.
The Trust puts into practice the Green Islands Vision (GIV) that is the foundation of our mission here on Morning Star. The GIV has informed our work over these past few years in Zimbabwe and we cannot wait to see what the coming year will bring.
The funding we have received from the Roger Federer Foundation over the past three years has changed the face of education in the area. RFF has just signed on for another three years of funding for the seven schools in the area, especially focusing on early childhood development (ECD) where four pre-schools have been added to the program. This blessing has been of enormous value so far and we look forward to what we can do in the next three years of working together.
Volunteers looking at the pre-school before projects start through the RFF grant.
Sports and Recreation
As many of our friends know (and the American ones will someday figure out), rugby is the greatest sport in the world. The youth in this area often do not have anything productive to do outside of school and unfortunately, many are not able to attend school due to families/guardians not being able to afford to school fees. These factors create a great need for other activities to divert young people’s time and interest away from undesirable influences and towards productive activities.
The Tag Rugby Trust, a British organisation, has begun working in Zimbabwe. The National Director, a great man named Tinashe Shamu, came to the Matopos last year for an introductory training session with some of our local teachers. The volunteers who were with us at that time thoroughly enjoyed assisting with the training and we hope present and future volunteers will do the same. We expect him back in the next couple of weeks for another training session with the teachers from ten local schools. Following this, we will schedule weekly sessions and organise regular inter-school competitions.
Putting the new tag rugby gear to use- serious business.
News of the Family
Nkosi Sampindi, our friend and YoungLife Bulawayo leader, will be getting married this February to Ms. Montana Paulser, also a YoungLife leader from Bulawayo. We are excited to see them begin their lives together and wish them great joy in their marriage and in the years to come.
Christmas and New Year were very special this year. We had a ‘family’ reunion on Morning Star with our ‘clans’ from a variety of countries! Australia, America, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia AND Zimbabwe! The drought did not break properly until after the camp, but that did not stop the special times we had. Our prayer is that it won’t be too long before we can have everyone visit again.
Unfortunately, we have some very sad news from the farm as well. Our very special dog, Pumba, recently passed away. He leaves us with many great memories and many people who got to know him over the years and corresponded with us would always send their love to him! We thank the Lord for the happy times we and our many visitors to Morning Star shared with him. A facebook comment recently hit the spot: ‘Heaven is where all your dogs come to greet you.’ Amen to that!
One last item, I.S. Dunklin, who first visited us six years ago (we can’t believe it’s been that long) with a group from the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, has joined us for an extended volunteer stay. He will be with us until the end of August and is most excited about it. In fact, he is your correspondent in this and most likely subsequent communications.
Thank you all for your support for Morning Star in the past and we pray that you continue to support and also visit us in the future.
If you know of anyone who is not currently on our email list and would be interested in receiving our newsletters, please feel free to forward this to them and send us their email addresses so that we can include them in future communication.
Blessings in His Name,
I.S, Chris, and Norma