GREETINGS TO ALL OUR PARTNERS - MARCH 2013,

WHAT'S THE NEWS FROM OPEN HEARTS HELPING HANDS?

That's always the question that comes our way when we run late with these reports (And I'm always late somehow) This is nothing more (or less) than your effort, an effort of New Testament Christians who care, so your concern is welcomed.

What's been going on?

That is the question of this report. Where have our reports been? That's what we're hearing and we're hearing it loud and clear. Let me say that the fault is all mine. Not OH3's, but mine. We have seen a real shift in the need, praise the Lord, but that has led to some real quandried on my part in putting out these reports. Let me explain, and I hope you'll forgive me.

Has there been a need for food?

Yes and no. When we began this effort in 2009, the need for food immediately, and seed in season, was absolutely desperate for saints in Zimbabwe. There were actually two cases of brethren going back to their huts and dying of starvation that were reported during our visit in '08.We pesonally observed the bloated bellies of hungry children that came with their parents to weekend Bible studies.

These events were a result of drought, a failing economy, and in the area that we were helping, an abandonment of people by the government becasue of past tribal histories. Basic transportation infrastructure, medical supplies, and grocery supplies were halted by the government. Compounding this was the difficulty of getting dollars into the country. Saints in the Northern T'sholotsho areas suffered along with the general populace.

As new congregations among the San people (the original bushmen of of Zimbabwe) were established over the past three years the need of New Testament Christians grew since these people lacked basic neccesities such as blankets for the colder months or means to establish themselves as farmers and locate in an area where congregations could be formed and grow, giving up their nomadic bush lifestyle.

Your outpouring of love and generosity was immediate and overwhelming. Not becasue we couldn't, but just to avoid any questions we determined to accept only individual contributions rather than accepting funds from congregations. From individual pocketbooks, wallets, and checking accounts have come over $100,000 over the past few years. During that time we have stuck to our promise, in spite of being falsely accused by some, that 100% of your funds given for food goes to food and transport. We have an "operations" account that many of you have funded seperate and apart, in a different bank account, to pay for accounting fees, Gov't fees, preacher support, medical travel and Dr's bills, donkeys, bicycles, computer replacement, tuition, plows, blankets, and other one-time needs for Christians. These things are in addition to the figure above. 100% of the money given to the food account has, does, and always will go to food and transport.

All the above is what YOU have been doing for the past three to four years. No one associated with this effort receives any pay. Our work is all volunteer. All gifts and contributions and results come from concerned and giving Christians like you. This work is yours in the name of Jesus.

WHAT ABOUT NOW, WHERE ARE WE?

Over the time that we have been working in Zimbabwe, coditions have improved. The drought has eased up in answer to the prayers of many. Although there are sill local drought problems in different areas each year, as one would expect from primitive farming without benefit of irrigation, yet each year conditions seem to improve in our area. The government policies that weighed sol heavily on the people have gradually eased up as did the taxation and fees on bring dollars into the country, somewhat. Requests for food throughout the year have gradually changed over to requests for seed, in season. The saints in our area have appeard to slowly come through the terrible times of several years ago and are standing more on their own.

This of course is not seen as clearly among the San people. Here the culture is more primitive and they, at least the Christians in some villiages, are in a state of change. As mentioned above, they are trying to change their living from one of annually turning to subsistence nomadic living in the bush, to becoming farmers with crops. This allows them to stay located in one area, working and worshipping together as local congregations.

All of the above means that we have had fewer requests for food. As a matter of fact, we have not shipped food since March of last year, until January of '13. In January we received a request totaling over $12,000. Usually such a request at one time is completely out of our ability, but since we had not had any requests for the previous eight or nine months we had been able to refill our coffers. We are empty now again, but the need was met.

This brings me to my apology.

There have not been many reports over the past months becasue there simply was not much going on. We waited for food requests on pins and needles while our bank account slowly refilled itself. We were actually glad that brethren were not in need, but anyone who knows me knows that I like SCHEDULE. Sitting and waiting is not my cup of tea unless it's in a deer stand or the turkey woods. So, I messed up. I failed to report that there was nothing to report. No news was good news, but I should have said so. I hope you can accept my apologies for letting this go so long.

Before I conclude my comments let me share with you some scenes of the work on the ground in Zimbabwe delivering the seed you purchased for brethren during the rainey season, the season for planting. Christians are getting busy below when Mountbatton Brewer and Solomon Chicomba show up in that old truck full of seed.

When we visited in '08 this little old diesel truck had over a half million mile on it. You can imagine how often Brewer simply wears the rubber off those tires. One of his tricks on the road is to put tubes in the tires to get a few more miles out of them when they get so worn they won't hold air any longer. This one below is pretty much done however.

A mixed blessing, that's what the rainy season is. It's time for growing again, but it makes roads in the bush often difficult to travel. Some rivers offer young men a way to make extra income from tips as they wait by the water for vehicles to come that might need help getting pushed through the water. Other times the water is simply unpassable so the seed has to be offloaded to wait for the water to go down.

 

CLOSING NOTES THAT BEAR REPEATING

There are a number of evangelists that are working in DIFFERENT areas of Zimbabwe to help Christians procure food and seed at the right seasons. The rainfall over the year can be different from North to South and from East to West. Needs can be different at different times of the year and although those helping in these different areas can overlap in their efforts sometimes, sometimes reports can be confusing. We at OH3 do not presume to speak to the needs of the whole nation or even outside the particular areas where we are focused on the needs of Christians, but only in the Northwest area of Zim where we try and keep close contact with our messengers. Leslie Maydell (coming up from S. Africa), Paddy Kendall-Ball, and Al Payne are just a few of the names of men who come quickly to mind who are working in other areas. There are other good men working also and we would just ask that you might keep reports from different areas of the country in their context. Becasue one area has rainfall, good crops, and a good report does not neccessarily contradict another part of the county having scarce rainfall and resultant hard times.

ROUND UP...

those that have been with us for awhile know that 100% of the funds donated to food actually get used for food and transporting that food. We keep another account however, called OPERATIONS, in another bank in another state, just to keep it completely separate. That account is funded only by donations that are directed specifically to that account. We use the OPERATIONS account for everything besides food and transport. We use it for bank fees, accounting costs, and mundane costs associated with keeping things going. We also use it at our discretion to help with temporary needs that are not food needs. We use it for medical help and travel, phone bills, bicycles for walking preachers, blankets for naked children and adults, purchasing donkeys, plows, and lumber to build corrals for the donkeys. Anything that we think needs doing for Christians in serious need that is not food... comes from this account.

If you feel confident in our judgment in how we use these funds we'd invite you partner in these needs by sending your donation to the Indiana account listed on this website. By all means however, if you have to choose between FOOD and OPERATIONS, choose food. That is our main thrust here at Open Hearts Helping Hands.

LAST WORD...

As usual, for more info or questions you can always check out our website farther at www.OpenHeartsHelpingHands.com or email me direct at mcmurray@spiritbuilding.com.

Remember that Open Hearts Helping Hands IS an IRS 501(c)3 tax deductible organization.  We make no bones about standing here with our hand out. :-)

I cannot thank you enough for joining with us in this effort. God will reward your efforts.

Mac