I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
“Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good,
in order that they may provide for daily necessities
and not live unproductive lives.”
A Double Harvest Bishop!
Dear Ministry Partners,
One of the great weaknesses in most education today is that it is often more cerebral than practical. When it comes to theological education, there is usually an imbalance of emphasis on the head to the neglect of the heart and hands. As a result, many pastors and young leaders focus on knowledge that “puffs up,” rather than on love which “builds up” (I Cor. 8:1).
Like the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul set a different example. His approach to leadership training was more balanced and holistic. Even though he was one of the top scholars of his day, he followed the rabbinical model that taught by precept and example. As a result, Paul demonstrated a balance of head, heart and hands – rather than the Greek model of just the head. He wasn’t interested in producing “Greek philosophers” – but rather “servant leaders.” So, he thought with his head…led from his heart…and worked with his hands to support himself and others (Act 20:34; I Cor. 9:6; I Thess. 4:11; II Thess. 3:6-10).
The last thing Paul wanted to do was to produce “dependent pastors” or “welfare Christians.” He wanted to be both self-sufficient and self-supporting as much as possible – especially in pioneer situations.
As you have seen from the last two reports, Bishop Trevor Manhanga is setting the same example through his Double Harvest program in Zimbabwe, Africa.
On our last trip to Zimbabwe, Arie VanWingerden helped Bishop Trevor construct the first greenhouse on the Double Harvest farm. It is now filled with healthy vegetables, and will produce crops to eat and sell year round.
Two "hands-on" Kingdom Entrepreneurs: Arie & Bishop Trevor.
Bishop Trevor completed the greenhouse skeleton, and then the plastic skin was attached.
The completed greenhouse was fitted with drip irrigation,
and filled with healthy vegetable seedlings.
As a consummate teacher and mentor, Bishop Trevor then trained others with what he had learned. He started at the denominational Bible College in Harare.
A couple of years ago, we purchased a small greenhouse for the school to produce vegetables. This greenhouse served a two-fold purpose: providing food for the students, professors and staff, as well as providing support for the school by the selling of any excess vegetables.
A NEW GREENHOUSE IS BUILT…
That first small greenhouse was so successful that they needed a larger one to increase their production. So, taking what he learned from Arie, Bishop Trevor “led by example” and helped the students erect a second greenhouse – which they did in just two days!
The new greenhouse, transported on the new 2-ton truck, was unloaded
at the Bible College, and the students helped lay out the metal frame.
After the metal frame was laid out, the frame poles went up.
Both the men and the women students helped to erect the greenhouse.
Bishop Trevor led by example, and directed the students.
Once the frame was complete, the plastic skin was attached.
After the plastic was on, Bishop Trevor helped hook up the water.
The drip irrigation system was laid out and hooked up.
The completed new greenhouse, ready for vegetable seedlings.
Bishop Trevor and his team of Bible College students and staff rejoiced
over their success in setting up the new greenhouse in just 2 days!
FIRST HARVEST AT THE NEW DOUBLE HARVEST FARM IN MUTARE…
Due to the combination of the hard work by the “soul-mates” and the drip irrigation, the vegetables I wrote about and pictured in my last email are now being harvested. Because of El Nino, there has been a severe water shortage in Zimbabwe, resulting in a serious lack of vegetables being grown. This situation has placed Bishop Trevor in a very strong position to reap a good financial harvest for his ministry.
Beautiful butternut squash headed to market.
Lush cabbage ready for market, healthy young tomatoes soon ready
for harvesting, and hearty cucumbers ready for picking and pickling!
At left, a newly harvested field is replanted in onions, and at right, harvested
oinions are dried for market.
We are very excited about this pioneer project with Bishop Trevor that is already reaping a Double Harvest of vegetables and souls. Through the generous giving of partners like you, we have been able to put the infrastructure in place to jump-start this program that is now just a few months old. We have bought work uniforms and boots for the inmates and guards, who have become soul-mates as a result of accepting Christ and being baptized. We pay for their daily meals and tea as they work on the farm from Monday through Friday.
We also were able to purchase a van for $15,000 that is used for their daily transportation. In addition, we were able to buy a 2-ton truck for $16,000 for hauling building supplies and vegetables. We pray that after this first year of financial sponsorship by our ministry, this farming project will be largely self-sustaining.
We are indeed seeing an authentic Double Harvest through this historic program that is combining physical farming with spiritual farming. While physical seeds are being sown in the ground – spiritual seeds have been sown in the hearts and minds of these inmates and their guards. As a result, most have already accepted Christ and been baptized. And now they attend Bishop Trevor’s church, Victory Tabernacle, each Sunday. This is truly a ministry of rehabilitation through transformation.
Upon completion of this year-long program, each prisoner will be given the stipend he or she has earned, and this will help them start anew in society.
When I think of this program, I think of Paul’s words of exhortation to similar Christians in the early church:
“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need” (Eph. 4:28).
Through this work release program, these men and women are doing just that. While some were serving time for stealing – and other more serious crimes – they are doing so “…no longer.” Now they are being trained in practical skills and are “…doing something useful with their hands.” The end result is that they are producing fresh vegetables, and chickens, so they will have “…something to share with those in need.” Formerly, they were “takers.” Now they are learning to be “givers.”
As I have shared before, we began this pioneer program by faith – just as we start every program. Several Christian “risk-venture-Kingdom-capitalists” gave us the funds to jump-start the program. Their investment is already producing a double and triple bottom line!
Also, now that the farming aspect of this partnership is up-and-running, we will soon be starting a new Hydraform brick making and building operation that you will be excited about. So, be watching for the report in the weeks ahead.
But, for now, we still need help in sustaining the program at the cost of $2,500 each month. That amount is not only paying all of the program expenses, it is also helping build a self-supporting model that will reproduce itself in the years to come. We also pray that it will become a model for other churches to copy.
In His holistic love and compassion,
PS: Next week’s eNewsletter will move from Africa to Asia and update you on some significant advances in Nepal and India. I know you will be blessed and motivated. And, I encourage you to forward this email to some of your other friends, to further enrich their lives in what God is doing around the world!
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper…
just as your soul prospers.”
(III John 2)
Inmates who have become Soul-mates!
Dear Ministry Partner,
As our Heavenly Father, God delights in the prosperity of His people. How could His agape love desire anything less for His “beloved”? It is both natural and supernatural to desire the very best for the people who are the object of your love and affection. That’s why the Bible assures us that God delights in giving “good gifts” to His “beloved” (Lk. 11:13; Ja. 1:17).
It is Satan who is the liar, thief and murderer who brings poverty of spirit, soul and body by “robbing us blind” through sin and selfishness (Jn. 8:44; 10:10a).
By contrast, Jesus came to bring “abundant life” as the earthly manifestation of the “eternal life” that He alone gives (Jn. 5:24; 10:10b). He wants His children to “prosper” in every area of their lives – just as their “soul prospers” through faith in Christ.
But, God desires that our prosperity be both holistic and altruistic. He prospers us so that we can prosper others. We’ve all seen the tragic results when someone prospers economically without first prospering spiritually. The Bible, history and contemporary examples show us that the only sure foundation for material prosperity is spiritual prosperity. When a person’s economic portfolio prospers while his soul withers, it always leads to self-indulgence or self-destruction. That’s why Jesus warned: “What does it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26)
So, while we initiate and fund various self-support projects to help people prosper economically, we first want to see them prosper spiritually. Only then will they have the spiritual wisdom to manage their prosperity in a way that God is glorified and others are edified.
That’s why, through our various Kingdom Entrepreneur initiatives with our national partners, we always seek a “double bottom line.” That means we want to see spiritual and economic advance go hand-in-hand.
Last week’s eNewsletter focused on how God is doubling the harvest of your spiritual and financial investment through Bishop Trevor Manhanga in Zimbabwe. God is prospering both their physical farming and spiritual farming simultaneously.
Men soul-mates. Female soul-mates.
My last report focused on the “spiritual fruit” that is being borne as the “inmates became soul-mates” through faith in Christ and baptism on Easter Sunday. Because this past week was Pentecost Sunday in the church calendar, Bishop Trevor preached on the “Miracle of Pentecost” when the Holy Spirit was poured out and the church was born (Acts 2). Here is a portion of his email to me this week about how that service impacted the inmates:
“We had a glorious service this morning with many of the soul-mates moving into the fullness of the Spirit! It was powerful and many were impacted! To God be the glory! I shared with them that the fullness of the spirit will give you Power to be a WITNESS…Power to be a WINNER… and Power to be a WEAPON!!!
So, the “spiritual fruit” continues to both ripen and mature through this pioneer partnership between a local church and a local prison – funded by our ministry partners. In this week’s report, I want to focus more on the “physical fruit” of Double Harvest Zimbabwe.
SPIRITUAL FARMING & PHYSICAL FARMING…
As we know from Genesis, after God created man, He put him in a garden as his first home and work place. It was where God met the man and woman for daily fellowship as they walked together in the garden in the cool of the afternoon (Gen. 3:8). The Garden of Eden was both man’s physical home and spiritual home. There was no dichotomy between sacred and secular…between the physical and spiritual…between dust and divinity. Life was a seamless garment.
Before God had man build a tabernacle, temple, synagogue or church – He put the man and woman in a garden. It was their first sanctuary. Here they were to simultaneously work and worship. There was no division between the two. The man and woman worshipped God through the works of their hands.
That’s why physical farming and spiritual farming were inseparable in God’s original design. And it will always be so. No person or country can ever rise above his or her agricultural base. Until you can consistently feed yourself, you cannot pursue any other interests or ideals. Hunger will not let you.
Sadly, Zimbabwe was once the “Breadbasket of East Africa.” In recent years because of bad governance, it has become the “Basket case of East Africa.” Bishop Trevor is out to reverse that downward cycle that has left millions in hunger and malnourishment. He is doing so through a wise balance of “spiritual farming” coupled with “physical farming.” In the process, he is growing both people and produce.
Breaking up the fallow ground.
Through God’s sovereign grace, we were able to partner with Bishop Trevor in purchasing a farm a few years ago. A white farmer was being forced to sell the farm at a bargain price. There was ample land to tend as well as a number of abandoned chicken houses. Gradually we have been developing both the farm and the chicken houses as the Lord has provided the resources.
But, the land was too big to fully develop by a few volunteer helpers. So, God opened a door this year for a partnership with a local prison to provide 15 inmates every day on work release. Ten are men and five are women. (If you see more than that in some of the pictures, the extra are guards.) This gave the Bishop the daily hands he needed to begin to fully develop the farm.
As you can see from the following pictures, the farm is really becoming a place of physical and spiritual fruitfulness and productivity…
The willing, working & worshipping hands of the inmates
who have become soul-mates.
At right, the water system that Arie VanWingerden helped put in on our
last trip. It now feeds the large garden by gravity.
We are now adding two more tanks to double the capacity. At left, the Soul-mates
help prepare the PVC to hook up the drip lines. At right, the water lines are tested
to see if there is adequate pressure to feed the drip lines.
The prepared fields are laid with drip lines, and new vegetable seedlings
are planted along the lines.
The large fields are fed water through the drip lines - one drop at a time,
just like rain. Soon, the plants thrived through the drip irrigation.
A field of tomatoes that will soon be ready for daily harvesting.
A field of healthy cabbages, for eating and marketing. At right, the Soul-mates
cut and gather grass clippings for organic mulch.
The mulch both holds moisture and smothers weeds.
At right, a healthy squash that will soon be ready
The Bishop-Farmer who is "outstanding" in his field!
BUILDING SPIRITUAL & PHYSICAL GREENHOUSES…
Many years ago, through the mentoring of Aart VanWingerden, founder of “Double Harvest,” I learned so much about the parallels between physical and spiritual farming. As one of the world’s major innovators in the greenhouse industry, Aart also showed me the many parallels between a physical greenhouse and a spiritual greenhouse – otherwise known as a church…
The first physical greenhouse Arie helped the Bishop put up on our last visit is
now filled with well-watered and well-protected vegetable
plants that will produce 24/7.
My next report will feature a new greenhouse project
for their Bible College.
Bishop Trevor preaching in his "spiritual greenhouse," Victory Tabernacle, where
people are nurtured into maturity in Christ through good spiritual food
from the Word and Spirit.
SHEPHERDING PHYSICAL SHEEP & SPIRITUAL SHEEP…
It is interesting how many of God’s successful leaders in the Bible were first shepherds of animals before they were shepherds of people. People like Abraham, Moses and David learned about leading people by first leading sheep. And since God so often portrays Himself as the “Great Shepherd,” He is the greatest Shepherd-Leader of all for us to emulate (Gen. 48:15; Ps. 23:1; 80:1; Isa. 40:11; Jn. 10:11-14; Heb. 13:20; I Pet. 5:4; Rev. 7:17).
The Bishop-Shepherd with some of his other "sheep".
Bishop Trevor and his wife, Charmaine,
minister to their spiritual sheep.
PHYSICAL FRUIT & SPIRITUAL FRUIT…
The purpose of farming is to produce fruit that you can eat and also sell. That’s why Paul wrote...“the hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops” (II Tim. 2:6). This “Double Harvest Farm” is doing just that.
The women Soul-mates sort and bag onions for market.
At left, the Soul-mates with the chickens they are raising
for eating and for selling. Bishop Trevor is equally comfortable in a farm house...
chicken house...Supreme Court House...State House...or God's house!
PHYSICAL BIRTHDAY & SPIRITUAL BIRTHDAY…
These men and women on daily work release are being loved, trained and treated with Christian compassion and dignity. That’s what quickly led them to accept Christ and be baptized. When Bishop Trevor and his staff learned that two of the inmates had birthdays, they “threw a party.” The inmates were moved to tears as they enjoyed the attention, affirmation, singing and birthday cake. Both shared that it was the first such recognition and birthday celebration in their entire lives! Any wonder then that this kind of love led them to accept Christ and have a “spiritual birthday!”
Soul-mates celebrate their very first birthday party!
Bishop Trevor baptized the inmates who had become Soul-mates, and
celebrated their very first "spiritual birthday."
A NEW ‘DONKEY FOR JESUS’…
In last week’s report I shared how we needed a van to transport the inmates back and forth from the prison each day. God met this need through a business friend of our ministry who gave a gracious gift of $15,000. But we also needed a small truck for transporting supplies and vegetables. Through the timely generosity of another ministry partner, just this past week we were able to purchase a refurbished 2-ton truck from Japan for $16,000.
Just as they did with the van, the inmates gathered around the truck to pray
and dedicate it to the Lord with singing and dancing.
Praising the Lord for His gracious provision of the new truck!
The truck was immediately put to work carrying
vegetable seedlings to the farm for transplanting.
To date they have planted:
The frame for a new greenhouse for the Bible College was loaded, and will be
trucked from Mutare to Harare (next week's feature).
Thanks for partnering with Bishop Trevor and us in this growing dual ministry of physical farming and spiritual farming. It is truly an on-going “Double Harvest” with both temporal and eternal fruit. The transformation of these “inmates into soul-mates” is but the first-fruit of a greater and greater harvest to come. So, thanks for your prayers and partnership for us, two “birds of a feather” who are having the time of our lives as spiritual and physical farmers and shepherds!
Two birds of a feather!
This one “ol’ bird” on the left covets your continued prayers for my on-going daily radiation treatments for prostate cancer. When you open this report, it will be #16 down toward a goal of 40 treatments. When these treatments are completed by the end of June, I hope to be like this chicken and “fly the coup!” Then I will be able to “take flight” again to visit our international partners and projects! One of the first ones will be to Zimbabwe to visit this growing project under Bishop Trevor. And I can’t wait to meet for the first time my new “Soul-mates” in the Lord!
On that trip I will also take each of them Solar Bibles in the Shona language so they can listen to God’s Word in their heart language as they work and worship on the farm…with chickens…sheep and goats…and the saints at Victory Tabernacle!
Growing in His love by growing others spiritually and economically,
PS: It has been a privilege across the years for me to be able to network Africa and Asia. Bishop Trevor has been to India with me and Murli Menon has been to Africa. Both have a growing passion for the dual ministry of physical farming along with spiritual farming.
Bishop Trevor with Murli Menon.
This past Sunday, it was our joy to be with the Menon family in Lynchburg, VA, for the graduation of Murli and Usha’s son, Tahan, from Randolph College.
Murli & Usha Menon stand with Tahan and their daughter, Natasha.
Their other son, Nathan (Tahan's twin) is still in school in India, and
was unable to attend.
Patt & I pose with the Menon family on this joyous occasion.
Tahan was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society and
graduated summa cum laude with a double degree in
Economics & Polital Science.
INMATES BECOME SOUL-MATES…
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come.”
(II Corinthians 5:17)
"Buried with Christ in baptism..."
Dear Ministry Partners,
Once again, it is our joy to participate in the miracle of transformation taking place through one of our ministry partnerships. Several months ago, I wrote an initial report on a new pioneer ministry we had partnered in with Bishop Trevor Manhanga from Zimbabwe.
Bishop Trevor & staff stand with the local prison officials
after agreeing to initiate this pioneer program.
After almost 2 years of negotiations with local prison authorities, Bishop Trevor was able to arrange a “work release program” for 15 inmates, with ten men and five women participating. In just the first several months, this program has exceeded all of our expectations in producing a “Double Harvest” physically and spiritually! And in this brief period of time, these inmates have become soul-mates!
If for some reason you missed that initial report, please click here to review this exciting ministry of transformation, spiritually, socially, vocationally and economically.
In this week’s and next week’s eNewsletter, I want to show you how your prayers and financial partnership are helping create a new ministry and mission paradigm through our Kingdom Entrepreneur initiative.
This report will focus on the spiritual harvest from this partnership and project. The next one will focus more on the physical harvest from the crops.
2016 MINISTRY THEME…
Each year, Bishop Trevor looks to the Lord to give him a theme for his wide congregation of over 300 churches across Zimbabwe. This year’s theme of REST couldn’t be more timely – whether you are a Zimbabwean or an American! The writer of Hebrews reminds us “…there is a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.” And we can only enter that place of spiritual, emotional, mental and relational REST through faith and obedience (Heb. 4:1-11).
This timely Biblical theme reminds us that God is not only the God of redemption and reconciliation: He is also the God of restoration. Too often we stop with the message of redemption and don’t push on to full reconciliation and restoration. While redemption is the “root” of our salvation, reconciliation and restoration are the “fruit” of our salvation. While the “root” represents the vertical dimension of our relationship with God, the “fruit” is the horizontal dimension representing our relationship with others. They are inseparable.
Therefore, if there is not the growing “fruit” of reconciliation and restoration in our relationship with people, there is probably no “root” of redemption in our relationship with God because we have not been “…born again by the imperishable seed of the Word of God” (I Peter 1:23). The “imperishable seed” always results in a “spiritual root” that produces positive “relational fruit.” One is proof of the other. That’s why Jesus said authentic discipleship would be proven by our bearing “fruit” – which would be His love that would prove to the world that we belong to Him (Jn. 15:2; 13:35).
The Bible assures us then, that there is coming a time soon when the Lord Jesus will physically return and “…restore everything” (Acts 3:21). Until then, each of us is supposed to be about the “ministry of restoration” in our spheres of influence – which requires constant spiritual warfare to “take back” all that the devil has hijacked as the primal liar, thief and murderer he is (Jn. 8:44; 10:10)! There can be no REST for an individual or nation as long as Satan has a “foothold” or a “stronghold” in any area (Eph. 4:27).
This new “inmate work release program” is one such bold, innovative and holistic ministry of redemption, reconciliation and restoration. Five days a week – and now on Sunday also – these 15 inmates work at the Victory Center. Some work in farming, some in the greenhouse, some with the chickens, some with the goats, sheep and cows, and some with brick-making (next week’s report). Through this practical love and compassion, they are learning a trade. They are also being paid a weekly stipend that they will receive when they are released which will help them get started in their new lives and vocations.
To jumpstart this program, as you know from a previous eNewsletter, we bought new work uniforms and tools for each of them. In addition, they are given a hearty noon meal, and tea and biscuits for the morning and afternoon breaks. As a result of this love and compassion they are receiving, they each have accepted Christ.
SERVING TIME IN GOD’S TIME…
As you would expect, these men and women are “serving time” for various crimes. As Bishop Trevor wrote me:
“The soul mates are in prison for various crimes from rape, attempted rape, fraud, culpable homicide, robbery, indecent assault, stock theft, etc. Their sentences range from 30 months to 10 years! The first one that we have that is eligible for release is a guy who is eligible for release in August this year, and then there are 6 more between Aug. and Nov. that are eligible for release. We are working on these so that when they are released we put them in touch with a local church in the area that they come from.”
Bishop Trevor and his wife, Charmaine, with their
new soul-mates in Christ.
Recently the saints at the Victory Tabernacle church received the prisoners with open hearts and arms on the first Sunday they were allowed to attend church. The church members gave them each “Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes” so they would not have to wear their prison uniforms to church. Now, they not only have work clothes, but also Sunday clothes – which most of them never had before.
THE SINGING SOUL MATES…
The "Soul Mate Choir" singing and celebrating with their new church family.
In the Sunday service, before their recent baptism, the “inmate choir” sang, danced, celebrated and shared their testimonies. If you want to be blessed, please take a few minutes to read several of the following "transforming testimonies".
“Many churches come to prison to preach the word of God. Out of all those churches, I looked for a church that I could join but I found none. When we came for Ministry (singing) on Easter Sunday, the reception we received at Victory Tabernacle was fantastic. We saw what God was doing at Double Harvest through Bishop Manhanga. I decided to give my life to Christ and be baptized at Victory Tabernacle. When I complete my sentence, I would like to come and join this church to make it my home church.”
“I did not know about the love of God towards me until I came to Double Harvest. I was sent to Chikurubi maximum prison. One day I woke up to find dead bodies of my colleagues beside me in the cell. I was worried that I would not last the week. When I looked at the height of the prison walls, I lost hope of ever coming out of prison alive. I thank God that I was brought to Mutare to serve the last half of my sentence. I was recommended to come and work at Double Harvest. It was at Double Harvest that I gave my life to Christ. I then decided to be baptized. Now, I would like to be a member of the church. I received spiritual guidance, hope and direction through the leadership of Bishop Manhanga.”
“I want to thank God for Bishop Manhanga and the Double Harvest team for providing me with clothes for myself and my two year old daughter who is also in prison with me. People have shown their love to us. My daughter’s birthday was celebrated at the Remand Prison. Through Double Harvest, I was made aware of God’s love. I gave my life to Christ and I am being baptized today.”
“God gave direction to my life’s journey from start to finish. I would like to thank Bishop Manhanga and the team for their great love and care for me. Psalm 118 vs 22 encourages me so much. Many prisoners like me labour under the burden of condemnation. The feeling of rejection makes us believe we do not qualify to do God’s work and receive His message. But, Bishop Manhanga has been given the vision and power to raise the corners of the foundation using the rejected stone. This is making us realize how important we are.”
BURIED WITH CHRIST IN BAPTISM…
After the Sunday service, they went out to the church swimming pool (soon to be a tilapia fish project), and baptized these new soul-mates.
Bishop Trevor taught on the meaning of baptism.
The Prison Chaplain assisted Bishop Trevor with the baptisms.
DINNER ON THE GROUNDS…
After the worship service and baptisms, the inmates
were treated to "Sunday dinner on the grounds" -
a physical feast to match their spirtual feast!
Through faithful and generous partners like you, God has been so gracious to providentially provide the $15,000 to start this program. We continue to look to Him and to you for the monthly operational cost of $2,500.
A NEW ‘DONKEY FOR JESUS’…
Because the prison could not provide daily transportation, we also needed a large vehicle to pick up and drop off the inmates. Bishop Trevor was able to find a good reconditioned van from Japan for $15,000, generously given by one of our Kingdom Entrepreneur partners. A special dedication service was recently held for this new van for our beloved soul-mates.
Bishop Trevor and his soul-mates gathered around the van for prayer and praise.
The van was dedicated with prayer, singing, dancing and celebration!
The soul-mates proudly pose with the van God provided for them.
Bishop Trevor turned over the keys to the driver.
MINISTRY TO THE SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE…
Across the years, God has given Bishop Trevor the high, holy – and controversial – opportunity to address the President, Vice President and other top political leaders of his country. While he has not sought these political opportunities, God has sovereignly opened these doors to him. Like the Apostle Paul, Bishop Trevor is a “…chosen instrument to carry My Name before the Gentiles and their kings” (Acts 9:15). And on each occasion, he has spoken prophetically to them in the love, humility and “holy boldness” of God’s Spirit.
This year he was asked to read Scripture and pray at the opening of the Judicial Year for Zimbabwe – the equivalent of our Supreme Court. And once again he spoke a timely word of exhortation to these officials, read some very appropriate Scriptures, and prayed.
Bishop Trevor and his associate, Pastor Nevel Muparutsa, lead the
colorful procession to the High Court of Zimbabwe.
I hope you will take a couple of minutes to read the message below that Bishop Trevor delivered to this Highest Court of Zimbabwe. I think you will agree that this same Biblical exhortation needs to be proclaimed to our Chief Justices in America! Prayerfully read his prophetic word to the highest legal justices of Zimbabwe – and pray that God will raise up someone in America who will do the same before our Supreme Court.
Address to the opening of the Judicial year
Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe
11th January 2016
Bishop Trevor E. C. Manhanga
Hon. Chief Justice, I thank you for the invitation in granting me the opportunity to address this important occasion on the opening of the judicial year for 2016. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly and I trust that the words that I present to you all today would be meaningful to each of one of you in whatever role you play in the justice delivery system within our nation.
Our scripture reading today is taken from Isaiah 59:14:
“ Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off, for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the Lord saw it and it displeased him that there was no justice.”
Esteemed members of the judiciary and judicial system, central to the creation of an environment in which the citizens of any nation can co-exist and prosper is the existence of a culture of where three distinctive values are found and thrive. These unalterable values are truth, righteousness and justice and they need to co-exist in equal proportion. A society where they are not found leads to a situation, where equality under the law is but a mirage leading to lawlessness, retributive justice and vengeance being the order of the day. The citizens of any nation – and, I dare say, those within our own beloved nation of Zimbabwe – long for and indeed deserve to live within a just and fair society.
Gathered here today at the official commencement of the judicial year in Zimbabwe are the custodians of these values on which our nation rises or falls. Each one of you, whether on the bench, the prosecution or the legal fraternity, play an integral part in ensuring that these three values are never compromised at best or extinguished at worst, but are protected at all costs and given the room to thrive. I have great respect and admiration for the justice delivery system in this nation. We have a justice system that we can be proud of, not withstanding some bad apples that are found in even the most impeccable justice delivery systems worldwide. My words, therefore, to all you esteemed members of the justice delivery system must be taken in the context of a continual improvement of what we have.
Let me take a moment to present to you these three values before we pray.
For justice to prevail or to be delivered, there is of necessity the need for truth to exist or, in our context, be present. Without truth there cannot be justice. Whilst it would appear that this fundamental of values needs no stating, the fact of the matter is that “truth is fallen in the street”. It is being trampled upon. It is replaced by dishonesty, deceit and duplicity. It should not be lost on us that at the commencement of any testimony being given in our courts, people are asked to swear upon a religious book of their choice and swear to tell the truth, invoking the name of deity in the process. Yet, having done that, often times it is found that what has been presented as truth is not truth at all but simply an attempt to cover up misdeeds and in the process escape justice. It is most unfortunate that we live in a time where truth is often sacrificed at the altar of convenience, and lies and dishonesty are elevated to the status of truth. It matters not which side of the judicial process we sit on, I lay down the challenge to all gathered here today that we strive for, nay demand that our system be built of the bedrock of truth.
At the risk of being labeled a religious fundamentalist for using the word righteousness in such a context, where some may claim has no place in a pluralistic society, let me explain. Righteousness (also called rectitude) is a theological concept in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been “judged” or reckoned as leading a life that is a pleasing to God. It can also mean acting in accordance with divine or moral law.
Basically what I am saying is that within each every one of us, in a country where the majority would lay claim to being Christian, there is found a basic sense of right and wrong. It does not need one to graduate from law school to feel this. When a theft occurs, a woman is violated, a house is burgled, and people with one accord say this is wrong. They then look to the justice system to right this wrong and when, in their minds they are let down by the system, it leads to unorthodox means of finding justice – commonly called taking the law into their own hands. A judicial system, which enhances this concept within each and every human being by carrying out its duties in a fair and impartial manner, builds the kind of confidence necessary for a society to thrive in. A society where the least member of society is treated just as fairly as the most well heeled, a society where incompetence and its twin sibling corruption are not only not tolerated but rooted out and punished. It is when we elevate righteousness to its rightful position that we enhance the well being of the people and create an environment in which they can thrive. In this regard the Bible declares:
“When the righteous prosper the city rejoices; when the wicked perish there are shouts of joy.” Proverbs 11:10
“When the righteous are in authority, are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2
Simply put, in our pursuit for a fair, just and prosperous society there can be no substitute for righteousness.
Lady justice, a symbol of justice, is depicted as a goddess, equipped with three items, a sword – symbolizing the coercive power of the court; scales – representing an objective standard by which competing claims are weighed; and a blindfold – indicating that justice should be impartial and meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of money, wealth, power or identity. Every citizen desires for these ideals to be prevalent in the society in which they live.
As I have alluded to earlier, it is the foundations of truth and righteousness, which make the justice possible. In this regard, therefore, all of us here present, as well as those in the other arms of authority, do whatever is necessary to make our judicial system the best that it can possibly be. Each segment of our society plays an important role in this regard from our political leaders, our religious leaders, our traditional leaders, the media, the entertainment industry, and the sporting fraternity. Each one can and must play its part in the attainment of this ideal. When this ideal is reached we create the conducive environment in which people can thrive, their dreams can be attained, and their hopes are not extinguished – a just and fair society where, in the words of the psalmist,
“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed.” Psalm 85:10
This is the kind of society I hope all of us here present will strive to build, and by the grace of God attain. Let us pray.
Almighty God, we come before you today and humbly present ourselves before your throne of grace and mercy. We thank you for this day that you have afforded us, a new day and indeed a new year. We thank you for our nation of Zimbabwe in which we have the privilege of being citizens and we thank you for all the judicial officials gathered here today. It is because we believe that without you we cannot exist, we cannot attain all that we desire to, that we come and seek your blessing and invoke your divine presence in all that shall transpire in our courts of law this year. We therefore present our Hon. Minister of Justice, the Chief Justice, Judges of the Constitutional, Supreme and High Courts, The Chief Magistrate, Magistrates of the Court, The Prosecutor General, The Attorney General, Advocates, Legal Practitioners, Administrative Officials, everyone of those who have a part to play in the delivery of the judicial system in Zimbabwe. Grant them a spirit of wisdom and understanding in the carrying out of their responsibilities. May truth, righteousness and justice be the guiding lights for them as they carry out their duties. May they be led by your spirit of fairness and impartiality. Grant them an incorruptible spirit when they are tempted or persuaded to circumvent the judicial process. Where incompetence and corruption exists, we pray that it will rooted out and grant that a spirit of honesty, integrity and diligence be found. And so we collectively present ourselves to you, who is able to do more than we can think or imagine and pray for a successful judicial year in 2016. In the name of Jesus our Lord and soon coming King we pray. Amen.
(seated left) Vice President of Zimbabwe & Minister of Justice:
(seated right) Honorable E. D. Munangagwa;
Bishop Trevor Manhanga (standing middle);
Chief Justice, Honorabe G. Chidyausiku (standing right).
Truly Bishop Trevor is a “man for all seasons.” Regardless of his circumstances, he always has a visionary, bold and prophetic word “…in season and out of season” (II Tim. 4:2). Whether he is speaking to the presidents or a peasant, he is equally kind and gracious. It matters not whether he is in a courthouse, greenhouse or chicken house – he exudes a joyful, humble, servant’s heart. While he is zealous to keep his heart clean – he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty!
Across the years I have stayed in his home more times than I can count – just as he has stayed with Patt and me. I have seen him close-up and personal. I have seen how he is up early spending time with the Lord. I have watched him cook breakfast for his children and help get them off to school. I have watched how he loves and serves his wife, Charmaine – who is not only a wonderful help mate for him, but is an entrepreneur in her own right (the focus of a future report).
While he has had many opportunities to flee his country along with hundreds of thousands of his fellow Zimbabweans, he has stayed the course. Even during the worst of the economic holocaust when Zimbabwe faced the highest inflation in human history, he stayed with his people – like a good shepherd always does. He was ever present preaching hope for the present and future.
But he also “rolled up his sleeves” and developed various entrepreneurial programs to provide jobs and income for his people. It has been our privilege to be at his side through this journey for over 3 decades – that began when I first met him as a Bible College student.
Bishop Trevor is another partnership reason while I will never retire! I can’t imagine anyone walking off the playing field when you have the privilege of being on the “cutting edge” with an Apostolic leader like him! Thanks for being a part of that journey with Patt and me. It just doesn’t get any better than this! I am a blessed and rich man to have such Kingdom friendships and partnerships!
So, pray for this latest partnership initiative that has resulted in these inmates becoming soul-mates. This is Kingdom Entrepreneurialism at its best. It is an investment with a “Double Harvest” bottom line that is resulting in spiritual and physical fruit for time and eternity.
Patt and I will deeply appreciate any financial gifts to help us support and expand this new program that is creating a new paradigm for ministry and missions.
Growing in Him as we grow others through His love & compassion,
JL & Patt
Please click here to view a timely Mother's Day message from JL. After you have watched it, please forward it to other women and mothers who have impacted your life. And we pray that you will have a wonderful Mother's Day!
In His love,
JL & Patt
“Write down the revelation and make it plain…
For the revelation awaits an appointed time…
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay.”
Murli & Usha Menon
Dear Ministry Partner,
“I should have been born in India!” For years, that is how I usually began any speaking opportunity I had in India. I then went on to explain how my parents visited India back in 1939 before I was born. Soon after their marriage, they had gone on an extended “around the world tour” seeking where God would have them serve as missionaries for life. After their time in India, they felt God’s call to return there. Due to World War II, they were never able to return to India. But, they raised us children as “Great Commission Christians” by keeping the needs and opportunities of the world ever before us – especially those in India.
Little could I ever have imagined as a young boy, who was vicariously fascinated with India through my parent’s stories and memorabilia, that I would one day go there myself! Nor could I have ever imagined that the initial vision God put in my parent’s hearts for India would in some way be fulfilled through me as God’s revelation to them had to “…await an appointed time.” So, in God’s perfect sovereign time, He led me to India for my pioneer trip in December, 1989. That trip forever changed me – just as it had my parents some 50 years earlier. No one can ever visit India and remain the same!
The very first Indian nationals I met when I stepped off the plane in Bombay (now Mumbai) were Murli & Usha Menon. Murli was dispatched by his father-in-law, Thomas Samuel, (pictured with me in an early photo at left) to meet me at the airport. We have been friends and partners ever since. And across the several decades from then to now, Murli and I have had the opportunity to minister together in many diverse ways from Leadership Training…to Pastors’ Conferences…to Marriage Seminars…to Children’s Ministry…to Tsunami Relief…and to Development Projects. Over the last decade we have especially been involved with Murli and Usha in the development of their “Impact International Campus” in Coimbatore. It is a holistic project with a Bible College, Children’s Homes and a growing agricultural emphasis.
Patt and I were scheduled to be in India with Murli and Usha for a Leadership Conference in January. But my diagnosis of prostate cancer caused me to cancel that trip – which was a BIG heartbreak for me. It was going to be my privilege to teach alongside Murli and Dr. Stuart Briscoe – a renowned Bible teacher, prolific author and international missionary statesman.
Dr. Briscoe is still going strong for the Kingdom in his mid 80s – an example I love and hope to emulate if God so wills! I was looking forward to sitting under his teaching again – just as I had been privileged to do so over a decade ago at another Conference with Murli in India. Murli’s long-term relationship with Stuart and Jill Briscoe speaks volumes about their respect for him and Usha, and what they are doing in India for the Kingdom.
Obviously the Conference took place very successfully without us. But we were still privileged to help sponsor it financially even though Patt and I could not be there in person. Here are a few pictures from the Conference that I hope will bless and encourage you…
Special music was provided by Murli & Usha’s adopted daughters from the Girls' Home. Each of these young girls was saved from female infanticide as infants or babies.
A number of years ago, Patt and I fell in love with the paintings of Hyatt Moore. His paintings are all people-focused, with a Biblical or mission theme. For years we had a large mural hanging in the lobby of NDI to welcome people as they walked past it. For us, it was a pictorial summary of our ministry and mission. The picture was from Jesus words about the Kingdom feast at the end of the age:
“I say to you that many will come from east and west and north and south,
and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
in the Kingdom of God” (Matt. 8:11; Lk. 13:29).
Recently, Hyatt painted a similar mural for the ministry of Joni & Friends, based around a similar parable and commission of Jesus:
“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring
in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Lk. 14:21).
Murli and Usha had long admired these unique Hyatt Moore paintings, just as we had, since they were a beautiful pictorial summary of their ministry also. So, through the generosity of a ministry partner – and the personal help of Hyatt Moore – we were able to send over these two murals for their Conference Center.
Murli & Usha and the Hyatt Moore mural that I hand carried over to them.
Soon the appropriate verses will be framed under each mural
in Hindi, Tamil and English.
By clicking here, you can read the wonderful "Impact International" newsletter Murli just published on the Conference.
KILLER HEAT WAVE AND DROUGHT…
As you probably know from news reports, India has been suffering one of her worst heat waves and droughts in recent history. The daily temperatures range from 100 – 115 degrees. Wells and underground aquifers are drying up, creating a severe water shortage. Many have died. Everyone is hoping and praying for rain to ease the drought and fill the wells and aquifers again.
To help the Menon’s ministry center get through this water crisis, we sent funds ($4,000) to drill another well. But the weather was so hot that most of the drilling was done from just after dark until the early hours of the morning. Eventually, by drilling down 1000 feet, they were able to hit water!
We also sent funds to build a “water tanker” so they could haul fresh water from a nearby local source to keep their fruit trees and crops alive. This tractor was funded by a ministry partner over 15 years ago and is still very active on the Campus due to the good care Murli and his team have given it.
A NEW BOUNDARY WALL…
To help with security around the Children’s Homes, as well as for erosion and beautification, we helped them build new boundary walls. The walls will soon be beautified by flowers, just like the rest of the campus.
All of this work is being done by Murli's staff of full-time builders,
most of whom are from Bihar in North India.
A BEAUTIFUL PHYSICAL & SPIRITUAL FAMILY…
Murli & Usha with their young family, at left, and
with their 3 adult children at right: Natasha (left),
and twins Nathan(left) and Tahan (right).
Murli and Usha will be coming to the States for much of the month of May due to their son’s graduation (Tahan) from Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia on May 15th. They will be visiting Patt and me and other friends in the North Carolina area. Murli currently has only one Sunday open, May 22nd, for speaking at a church. If you or your church would like to invite them, please let us know ASAP.
Patt and I will be eternally grateful to the Lord for sovereignly networking us with Murli and Usha and their wonderful family. It has been a joy to watch each of their children grow up since infancy, and individuate into the unique people God created and recreated them to be.
Thanks for partnering with us in this life-long Kingdom relationship with Murli and Usha and their family. By God’s grace, we look forward to more years of strategic partnership with them for the Lord together in India, America, Africa, Europe and wherever He sovereignly leads us. As their ministry name implies, they are truly having a consistent, holistic, local and international IMPACT for the Lord Jesus!
Finally, please take a further moment to click here to see a wonderful report on another ministry by Murli and Usha.
In His love for India,
JL & Patt
The "swamp" becomes a pond! At right, JL works on a koi pond for Murli on
his last trip to India - an unreported part of his mission portfolio!
P.S. It’s time for another one of my updates on "The Dancer" and his cancer treatments.
He just finished two months of hormone therapy and that is all he’ll be doing with that for now. Of the 11 possible side-effects listed, he experienced 7 of them. Radiation began on Tuesday, April 26. So, when you read this, he will be having his 7th treatment – that’s 7 down and 33 to go! Of the 7 possible side-effects for radiation, he is having all 7 – but not letting them slow him down too much.
But, as you can see from these pictures, J.L. has “danced" his way into his own Rx program and it’s called “Pond therapy”! Yep, water…mud…landscaping…and an occasional nap in the hammock.
He is building a “koi pond” from a swampy run-off area for our daughter and son-in-law, April & Mark Atkins, and our two oldest grandchildren, Matthew & Emma.
If any of you would like the exact prescription so you too can be so diverted, let us know! And please be assured that we are profoundly grateful for your prayers, especially as some of the side-effects are becoming increasingly bothersome.