Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WAITING for the WATER in VENDA

The children came & watched all day.
Steve paused under the shade of his STL Vehicle & Glenda sat on a blanket.
We were in the tribal area of Venda, South Africa, drilling a well, constructing a church & caring for widows & orphans at the HIV/AIDS Home-Based Care Centers. Earlier, Wayne & Delight Peercy invited us to Venda, to hear the request from Pastor Jeremiah Mathelemusa. We knew Pastor Jeremiah very well. We had helped him build a church, 9 years ago, with our son, Todd. Since then, Pastor Jeremiah had started 5 more churches & 15 HIV/AIDS centers, caring for over 500 orphans/vulnerable children. Now the care-givers were needing a well, so they could grow vegetables, to feed the orphans.
We also knew Venda, from all the stories told by Glenda’s Dad, Vernon Pettenger, who lived in Venda, 84 years ago, as a missionary kid with his parents. For Glenda, it was a special week, because 2 miles away, in the same valley, was the abandoned mission house, where her Dad had lived.
5 Hours after the rig started drilling, water gushed out of the ground, 3 stories high!
You just HAD to be there to see how excited Steve got!

This was our 1st time to actually be on site, when the drilling rig hit water. YES, Steve danced in Africa!! Steve hugged the local care-givers. He called friends from his cell.

Steve & missionary/builder, Charles Hasselbring thanked Jesus for the water! The village people came to see the action. Many hands helped to to lift up the water tower.

School supplies & food were given to the children. BGMC buckets were
filled with food for the care-givers. Pastor Jeremiah enjoyed tasting the clean water from the well.


A night service was held under the new church structure, to celebrate the new well & to tell people about Jesus, the Lving Water. Even the men from the drilling company & the chief's son attended the service. In ONE week, a difference was made in ONE village... a church steel structure was built, a well was dug & widows & orphans were cared for. To those supporting The Africa Oasis Project, you too helped us make a difference!!

At the end of an incredible day, water could be seen coming from the drilling rig & flowing down the hill. Yes, it was worth the wait! There were streams of Running & Living water for ALL to Drink!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Glenda shares on WOMEN, WATER, The WORD & WORSHIP

Everyday, the WOMEN of Africa wake up & have to deal with the reality & challenge of where they will find WATER that day for their families. Everyday, I meet these WOMEN. I am touched by their determination to find this WATER. These WOMEN attend the churches of Africa. They are hungry for the WORD & they love to WORSHIP. But the WOMEN also need the WATER for their homes & families.

Two years ago, I drank contaminated water from an unknown water source. I was speaking at a Women’s Conference in the rural areas of Southern Zimbabwe. The result was some unpleasant days recovering from this action. Now the women were asking me to minister again.












I didn’t want to return unless there could be a well for the Women at the conference. When AOP made arrangements to start drilling for water in Southern Zimbabwe I was excited. However, the first 2 attempts were unsuccessful, resulting in dry wells. We asked friends and churches to pray with us for a breakthrough. My prayer was, “Lord, I want take the WORD to these WOMEN, but they also desperately need the WATER”. Time was running out, but the praying didn’t stop.

A month before the conference, news came from Zimbabwe missionaries Jim and Brenda Strysko that the drilling rig hit water in the village of Garanyemba. We were excited, because this village is centrally located & on the main travel road to all other rural villages in the area. Dean & Peggy Galyen, also Zimbabwe missionaries contacted us. They had funds from USA churches to enlarge the steel structure at the Garanyemba Church, to accommodate all the women who would be coming. Then the Zimbabwe women’s leadership called to say, “We are meeting at Garanyemba village, by the new well & under the church’s new roof. Can you please come & bring friends to minister.” I immediately felt led to invite Carol Traub, whose church, Bethel Church in Modesto, CA. had given funds for a well in Zimbabwe. Pastors Cliff & Carol Traub, had also ministered in Zimbabwe, a year earlier, praying over the dry wells. Carol was delighted to come & preach.

Getting into Zimbabwe would be the hardest challenge. First, Carol’s 3 suitcases, full of gifts for the pastor’s wives got lost in flight & arrived a day late. Then we couldn’t get all the food, gifts & 40 BGMC Buddy Buckets into the car. Steve, my wonderful hero & world-class packer came to my rescue.

At the border, for the first time in 30 years, the officials, refused my entrance into the country. They said I was not the legal owner of our STL vehicle & demanded my marriage license to prove I was married to Steve. For over 3 hours I went from office to office, trying to sort things out while Carol kept praying. Back at home, Steve tried faxing a 4 page legal document, stamped by a police station, proving that I was his wife & not stealing his car. Carol & I waited & prayed under a thorn tree until finally clearance was granted. The only thing to laugh about was the sign in the public toilets!!!
When we arrived at the conference over 350 women were all sitting on straw mats, under the shade of the steel structure, holding their babies & waiting to hear the WORD. Carol was ready to preach and they kept asking for more. Some of these women had walked over 10 hours to attend the 3 day conference.... the older women coming by donkey carts.






As Carol & I shared the preaching sessions, we could see the cooks fetching water from the newly installed well. They went in groups, balancing the buckets of water on their heads. Carol learned how to eat cornmeal mush with her hands & how to preach at night with 2 available light bulbs & a headlight around her neck.



We went to view the newly drilled well in the village. It was 2 blocks from the church.. When we arrived, 2 young boys were filling up their containers. I gave them a BGMC Buddy Bucket to take home to their mother. I would have loved to have seen her expression when they told her, “We met a lady at the well, who gave us this bucket to give to you.” We prayed over the well, thanking the Lord for letting the water flow. Carol pumped the well & I drank the water. Praise the Lord, this time I did not get sick!!














The giving service was the highlight of the conference. This was the service where the women blessed their pastors & wives with gifts of clothing, blankets, dishes, grain, goats, chickens & even cows. Carol also had gifts to give the pastor’s wives from her ladies in Modesto. We filled the BGMC Buddy Buckets with useful gifts like pens, pencils, journals, nail files, soxs, soap, lotion, candy, perfume & jewelry. The women yodeled & cheered when the buckets were given to their pastor’s wives. They also loved hearing that the boys & girls in the USA raised the funds to buy the buckets.

There was great rejoicing that afternoon in the village of Garanyemba for many reasons. The village had WATER & the pastors went home with their buckets overflowing. The WOMEN came dancing, bringing their gifts on their heads & they responded to the WORD preached to them. In a country where food & supplies are hard to find, where the inflation rate is the highest in the world, these women had found the secret of giving joyfully & completely, as they WORSHIPED the Lord.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Miracle Well In Memory of a Special Mom

“You will NEVER get water from this well”. These were the sobering words spoken to Pastor Kenneth Nyoni, by the well driller, who had drilled for 2 days, at the church property.

Pastor Kenneth & his wife Lillian are pastoring a new church in Cowdray Park, Zimbabwe. When Glenda asked them which church they grew up in, Pastor Kenneth replied, “Mama Glenda, in 1982, we both were sitting in your Sunday School class, next to your sons, as you taught us. What a wonderful JOY it is, when missionaries discover that ones they have discipled, even over 25 years ago, are still serving God & bringing others to Jesus. The country of Zimbabwe, where Pastor Kenneth struggles to pastor, is in a very critical condition. The cholera situation is headline news around the world.

Now Pastor Kenneth was hearing that the well drilled at his church, which was meant to provide water for his people & mix the cement to build the church was dry. Since his people only receive water from the town, one hour each week, it was hoped the well would bring clean water for those suffering from cholera and AIDS. Since over 80% of the people are unemployed, the church also wanted to grow vegetables so people could have food to eat. Steve and Glenda joined the church in laying hands on the dry well, praying that miraculously the water would flow. Watching Pastor Kenneth pour out his heart to the Lord, as he held on to the dry well shaft, was heartbreaking.

Six months later, Pastor Kenneth sent an exciting message to Steve. “Pastor, a miracle has happened. PLEASE come and see our well. The water is gushing out!!” When Steve looked down into the long dark shaft at the well, he could see his face in the reflection of the water. Both Steve and Pastor Kenneth rejoiced together at the miracle God had done. Plans were made to dedicate the well.

In January 2009, Steve and Glenda returned to Zimbabwe for the dedication of the well. Their STL vehicle was packed with food and BGMC Buddy Buckets to give to Pastor Kenneth’s church. Accompanying them was Steve’s Dad, Jack Evans. Jack had donated all the funds for the Cowdray Park well, in memory of Steve’s Mom, Ruth Evans, who passed away in 2006. Ruth had worked most of her life for the California Alameda County Water District, so clean water was important to her. Knowing her only son was in Africa, providing clean water to the people was also important to her.
The well dedication was a day of celebration. Steve preached on the word, “SUDDENLY” highlighting in the Bible where “Suddenly” God did miracles when circumstances seemed impossible.
Pastor Kenneth kept pointing to the well, just yards away from their church building and saying, “Now the water is gushing out!”
Glenda handed out dozens of Buddy Buckets to the women, who danced & yodeled around the church.
Jack had the honor of pumping the water from the well that truly did “GUSH OUT”. Pastor Kenneth dedicated  the well to the Lord as the women stood ready to fill up their buckets.
In the midst of much suffering in Zimbabwe, it was wonderful to pause for a day to celebrate & thank the Lord with Pastor Kenneth & his church. The former dry well was now miraculously gushing with water, in memory of “Ruth” a very special Mom.