Hello hello! I know it’s been quite some time since we have updated everyone, but things have been going really well. We have broken ground for the chicken run (I’ll leave all of those details for my sweet hubby to update you on). Our friend, Chirsty, was here for the entire month of August, and we were able to have a VBS out at Goshen Farm. BUT the most exciting news is – we found out we are expecting a sweet little child in March! It’s been an exciting month to say the least!
The August Movement: Christy arrived on August 3. It was such a blessing to have her here. I was excited to introduce her to my husband, and we were thrilled to be able to show her everything we have discovered about Zimbabwe. Actually, a team from Solid Rock Church in Portland, OR was here as well. They had come through the organization Hands of Hope. We were able to assist them with a VBS at the Hatfield Home for 4 days. We had a great time getting to know some of the people from the team, and Christy and I were able to get some good ideas for hosting VBS out at the farm. We were so thankful for the way God blessed our VBS program at Goshen. We have 27 kids that live there permantly, but we also opened it up to the community (as a way to reach out to the families). By the end of VBS, we had 72 kids! Yes, it was just the two of us who organized it, and we only had the help of 2 teachers. It went so smoothly though – thank you Lord! Our theme was faith. We taught stories of David & Goliath, Daniel in the Lions Den and Joesph’s Coat of Many colors. It was amazing the way the kids would remember the stories and tell them back to us. Keep in mind, most of these kids do not know English very well. It was awesome to watch them increase their Engish throughout the program. God just works on so many levels! At the end of the 3 days, we held a graduation ceremony and invited all of the parents to attend. Casey preached a short message on faith and invited them to attend church. I think it really spoke to them just the way we took care of their children in those few days. We were able to feed them daily, rent a bounce house for them to play on one day, and just pour love into them. We are just believing that God did something in those children during those few short days. We pray that they never forget those stories of faith and grow to truly understand what it means when the word says, “We live by FAITH, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7. This was our memory verse for VBS. I cannot tell you how precious it is to hear 72 kids shouting that at you. These kids really soak up what you teach them.
We’re having a baby! How crazy is that?! We are so thrilled! I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of a shock at first. We had both battled the African flu (not fun at all), and I had just recovered, but I was starting to feel very nausious. Smells were getting to me, my appetite was crazy and I was getting extremely tired all of the time. I didn’t know if I had caught another bug or what. Finally, we decided maybe we should take a pregnacy test, and well, you know the results! Our dear friends Katie & Nico referred us to her doctor, and we were able to go and get an ultrasound right away! It was crazy. Our little love wasn’t that big (measured at 7 weeks then), so we couldn’t see that well, but we have an appointment to get a 12 week scan for a better view and to check on eveything. Let me just say, being pregnant in a foriegn country is a challenge! I get cravings for things I can only get back home. My appetite is crazy, and my hormones are intense. So please pray for my husband. Really. It was been so exciting, but it also has increased my faith even more. It’s funny how you think you have faith, and then when something like this happens, you throw the faith out the window and try to take control again. Even though I was excited, I had another little breakdown. Ok, I lost it! I just started crying to Casey as I worried about the future. Here we are in a foreign country not knowing what we will come home to. We don’t know about work. We don’t know where we’ll be living. We don’t have a plan, and we just created life! What were we thinking? Then, he just looked at me and said, “Tonya, do you have faith in God or not?” Smack! Where was my faith? God had brought us this far. He has provided more than we can even describe. He is the creator of life! He’s got it all planned out. All we have to do is trust Him and listen to what He is saying. He wouldn’t bring us this far to leave us hanging. After that nice little cry fest and some time spent with the Lord, I just have this overwhelming peace about everything. The word says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 So, I hold tight to the faith that He is working it all out. He knows exactly where He is taking us in this next season. It’s not for me to plan out, but for us to seek Him and obey what He says. I’m excited about the future! I cannot wait to see what God has in store, and I really can’t wait to meet our little mister/miss in about 6 months!
I guess that’s all I have to say for now! Please keep us in your prayers. Pray for direction in the upcoming months as we prepare to come home. Pray for health for us and our little baby. Pray for wisdom and discernment as we continue to move forward with the chicken run. Pray for Casey as he continues to have doors opened for him to preach. And, as always, and most importantly, pray as the Holy Spirit leads.
We love and miss you all! Cannot wait to see you all in a few months.
Much love and blessings,
Hello everyone once again! I know that most of you guys have heard the news but we wanted to share it on the here as well,Tonya is pregnant and we are excited! To a lot of people this seems to be the most inconvenient time, however God is the creator of life and His timing is perfect. We are celebrating this special gift and cant wait to be parents! Some things are a bit difficult but we will be home soon enough and appreciate all of you who are praying and/or donating to the cause here in Zimbabwe. We have a mission to complete and we believe we are to see it through to completion before we leave. I just want to say that the cause here is great and we cant solve all the problems we are seeing,but we can do what the Lord has laid on our hearts and this happens to be a chicken run. The ministry here is genuine and these guys are stretched thin,so establishing this business is going to generate a constant flow of income, allow them to grow and stand on their own feet one day. God has provided multiple properties and we believe this is part of the process to help them stand and advance the Kingdom of God in this nation. So whatever you have contributed or are going to contribute,you are making a huge impact here in Zimbabwe,but even more importantly in the Kingdom of God. I never thought I would be living in a third world country trying to raise funds for people I had never met and do such a seemingly small task but when we stand back and look at the big picture,we are being the body of Christ,whether you sow prayers, finances, or resources. On top of that God is causing our gifts that He has placed in us to be exposed and utilized for His glory,not ours. To be honest,that is our prayer God remove any vanity that has held us in captivity,that has held us back from doing Your Will,and sometimes that is tough when those trying moments come,but God never leaves us,never forsakes us. I thank Him for that!
Back to the chicken project-we have started the building,very simple design and basic building methods. 20 feet by 80 feet,with the capacity to house 1000-1200 chickens. Homemade bricks,we made over 5000 for this project which was very tough work,but in the end is going to save us over $2200,so that cost is eliminated. Next,we must get lumber for the trusses but I believe we have a connection here so maybe we can get a discounted rate on the lumber,then we will hand build to save more $$,then we will get metal roofing which is going to cost $350-$400,chicken wire,water tank and feeders,electricity which will run about $1600 for all material and connections, then the major cost-a back-up generator which is going to cost $6400,this is a necessity because of the power cuts here in Zim which are random ( I think someone just likes playing with the switches ) but is necessary for water to be pumped and for the heat lamps to be operational on the cold nights. Here we are just starting to enter into spring/summer months so maybe we raise that generator money later,I prefer to have it all done before we leave but we will see how it works out. Also we must get canvas sides to block the cold at night which are going to be less than $500,oh yeah and nest boxes which is another small cost,so all in all we can have a fully functional business for around $10,000 that can pay for itself in less than two years and generate an income that pays for the future growth (building projects,the children of the homes,etc.) I know that I am not being very technical with all my numbers but we want to give a rough idea of where we are with this. We have pictures posted on Facebook so you can see the progress there,We currently need to raise around $8000 to complete this project,initially the project was going to be around $16000 but we have cut costs where we could. I mention all of this because we do need your help and would like to see it completed before we leave. This is making a huge mark and redirecting the future for many, many lives from pastors to children,aunties to farm workers. We ask that you first pray,and then if the Lord tugs on your heart to give whatever you can. Also I just want to say,yes we do have a home church who has supported us in a major way, who has been coming here for 10 years and are established here. We as a church have other projects going on-a church plant in Clarksville(under construction),fundraising for a dental clinic here in Zimbabwe,so this is another project that God has laid on our hearts and we are reaching out to the body of Christ not just one church so we thank you for all of you support in whatever way. If anyone has any suggestions or questions you can send me a private message via facebook or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We love you guys and you all at home are in our prayers! God bless you
ps. I hope my last blog didnt freak some of you out. I believe that it is important to be real about real issues and to expose darkness in whatever form it comes in-even though it may be uncomfortable at times.We love you guys and God bless you!
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To donate through the Tabernacle: http://www.thetabernacle.us/partner-with-us & specify Casey & Tonya Nichols or Special Build (Nichols)