“In Rebel Hands” and other issues

Dear Friends and Prayer Supporters,

Many thanks for the times you’ve read about and prayed for Maforga. We surely need prayer at this time.

We have some very difficult and momentous decisions to make.

There is a real shaking in progress. In the days during the war we used to say “The Crisis is running smoothly”, as those days were packed full of extreme challenges. This year seems to be one in which the shaking, which had been promised by the Lord in previous years, is definitely in progress. Jesus is in control of all things and we know it’s a time when we will be called upon to excercise faith such as we never have before. We thought the war in Mozambique was extreme – this is possibly even more.

Due to certain events there is a reshuffling of our team at Maforga. The department heads are working through how to find the way forward, and what the new structure will be. There is a lot of pain in this but as we hold onto the Lord for His wisdom in these decisions we believe everyone will be the better for it afterwards. It also feels as if the Lord has a new wineskin that He wants to birth in this place and to do it He needs all of us to humble ourselves and really be willing for big changes. These may begin by looking as though much has been lost or crushed, but we hold onto His promise that all things work for the good of them that love Him, and are called according to His promises.

Please pray for wisdom and that discouragement will be replaced by a new sense of Divine direction.


One of the new things that we are being challenged to step out and face is the issue of the book “In Rebel Hands.” We have the offer of buying a certain number of the books at a discount, but then we need to be able to sell a certain amount before two months are up. We know the situation with the recession is very difficult for the moment but we are confident that this book will help many people to trust in God through difficult times. He helps very ordinary people in very difficult situations and His resources are not limited by the current economic situation.

“In Rebel Hands” is the story of our captivity during the war in Mozambique and the beginnings of the Maforga Mission.

I include an excerpt from the statement sent to us from the publishers.

The options are as follows: the selling price of each book will be set at 10.95 British Pounds GBP. This means the cost to us, if we decide to buy these books, will be:

[up to 999 books at a 60% discount: 4.00 Pounds each
1000-2999 books at 65% discount: 3:85 each
3000-4999 books at 70% discount: 3.00 each
5000+ books at 75% discount: 2.75 each

Delivery is charged 45 Pounds per pallet to a UK domestic address. Delivery is of course considerably more to any other country. If it is international, we prefer the author to arrange delivery from our UK warehouse….

1000 books will require two fully laden pallets, estimating 16 books in each box, 35 boxes to each pallet.

Regarding payment, we always ask within 30 days of invoice. Printing is expensive, and we have only 30 days to pay the print bill, so we cannot give longer payment terms. If you ordered 3000 or more books, then I could say pay half after 30 days, and pay the other half after 90 days if that helps?]

As you can see, the risk and opportunities are before us. One way we could buy the books, is if our friends were willing to sponsor a certain amount each, or even help with the initial layout and receive a box or two of books to sell. All proceeds would go to Maforga Mission, and this would be a considerable help with our support.

One box of 16 books would have to be sold at 160.00 British pounds a box. We would need to sell around 90 boxes to pay the bill for the printing. After that, the rest could be sold more at leisure.

One option is just to leave it and let the publishers organise all sales, but then it would mean we only receive 6% of the price of each book.

Please pray for us thast we would make the right decision and let us know a.s.a.p. whether and how you are willing to help.

We already have storage for the books in South Africa and UK, and the import tax would be organized already by a friend. So those who feel they would like to help, please let us know in the next two days. They are waiting to print the book and need a response from us as soon as possible, and we have prayed and really feel the best thing would be to go for the 5,000 books option. However, we would be grateful for some help with this. We are praying about doing speaking tours in the UK. and several friends there are willing to help.

We ask you to really pray about this and help us by letting us know as quickly as possible what your decision would be.

May you be blessed as you continue in the Lord.

Love from Roy and Trish at Maforga.


Maforga News, April

Dear Friends,

It’s now a third of the way through 2009! The time has flown.  It’s scary as
we are told in Ephesians to “redeem the time, for the days are evil.” These
have been difficult but wonderful days.

The famine we had experienced had been the worst since the crisis of the
1992 drought, during which the war came to an end in Mocambique, which
starved the war to an end. Three lots of crops had to be planted, the first two
dried or were washed away by torrential rains, the third almost dried up, or
was blasted flat by galeforce winds. After much prayer the crops lifted up
off the ground of their own accord and produced a good harvest – for those
who had been able to afford the seed to plant a third time.

What came out of it all was revealing. We discovered many child-headed
families who have been struggling to survive, the older girls selling
themselves to pay for younger siblings, the younger ones aften being beaten
by jealous neighbours if they received help. The new contacts with the
villages of Socel and Msunza have opened our eyes to the plight of people
living all round us, in a new way. One family of five lost their parents,
they had an aunt (young) who already had three children with whom they moved
in. The desperate mother makes sure her own children receive food before the
others, who are deeply resented for the unbelievable strain on the family’s
resources. The father is a pastor but is not supported by his new church in
any way, so the family is without an income. The smallest of the adopted
family often – three times out of
four – go without any food at all. On such days they come up to our house
and sit on our veranda, gazing reproachfully at us through the window, too
cowed to speak. They are often beaten.

Their threadbare rags were almost transparent with wear and tear and it is
becoming colder now in the evenings so we took them to buy a new set of
clothes each and a precious blanket. The other siblings set upon them in a
rage….we didn’t have the resources to buy the whole family clothes at one
time, but  are trying to help the whole family so that these things don’t
happen. The little ones are determined to be taken in by us but the
orphanage is full.*

We have however taken in a young teenage girl, Candida and her little
brother Vascinho. She is very streetwise and knows the goings on in the
village and what each person is hiding or pretending. She is eleven years
old and tall for her age, with a beautiful, strong face. She is very lazy,
not having had adult supervision for more than two years, and also
light-fingered and the team find her very difficult. However she and her
little brother are having to fit in and come under authority, not easy for
them or us or the other girls who resent her pushiness. The two were in a
house which had no door, and the father of a neighbouring family was a
frequent night visitor to the house. As the children went to school, he also
entered the house and took whatever they had been given: blankets, food and
any other items he desired. The children were very vulnerable.

Another family consists of two teenage girls busily engaged in prostitution
to feed their younger sisters. We feel compelled to take the younger girls
in somehow as the example they are being given is bound to destroy them in the

A teenage boy, tall, gangly and shy, has been abandoned with two
younger siblings. The father died and the mother simply fled leaving the
creditors to strip the house of all she owed, leaving the children
devastated and without resources. The older boy has developed asthma and a
stutter from the shock of losing his parents – especially the abandonment by
his mother. We have used some of the funds we had
received from the famine money, to help such families – to keep the young
leader of the family in school, and feed and clothe the younger ones of whom
one is  really naughty little boy full of schemes…A domestic worker, Vovo
Vittoria has a house nearby all these families, and keeps us updated on all
the goings-on. They need so much input and help.

Whilst dealing with the hunger situation, we became aware of the plight of a
small girl named Chamiso (Miracle.) She
lived in what can only be described as a tiny shack the size of a coal
scuttle, with a roof open to the elements, watched over by her uncle, whom
we have been told is a wicked man. Little Chamiso came to us as a ragged
child among a crowd of others during the famine, and stayed behind with
pleading eyes, terrified of returning to her horrific situation. We took her
in after asking the administrator to look into her set-up. It was confirmed
she was an orphan, living in fear of this uncle, being used – we know not
what for. She came to us but the fear persisted and one day she disappeared,
having been abducted by the uncle from school and spirited away to some
far-off village in the mountains of Penhalonga. Tragically we have not been
able to locate her.

The Msunza village is a village very open to the gospel. We’ve been meeting
with them every weekend and they are really keen – desperate in fact – to
get out of the devastating poverty they are trapped in. The young men really
need work and development seems so terribly difficult here. Crochet lessons
are helping some of the women whilst we are planning to start the Farming
God’s Way course with the men, as they are desperate for hope and something
positive to do.

Food production seems the most important thing here. It looks so easy – very
fertile soil, availability of water….but the termites are savage
destroyers of food crops. We have to learn how to work with them, rather
than against them. Earthworms are destroyed very quickly by termites, and
any compost, mulch or other dead plant matter is penetrated by them in a
day – or less. They are voracious attackers of trees, living or otherwise.
Please pray that a way is found, that systems are found that work. It seems
so difficult to find things that work.

However, the village has suffered a terrible blow – someone has simply come
to take away their land. we don’t know if this is the government or the
neighbours, of whom one has had some nasty interactions with us in
the past.

There have been so many visitors. The Bible School at the Inhassoro property
was inaugurated this week, and all went well. We were hoping to take some of
the orphaned children down with us to the coast for a beach holiday, but the
rain seemed to stick around for too long ; the opportunity will come again

We are very grateful to the Lord for the wonderful rains we have had. The
bean crop is dripping with pods, the plants have to be propped up and the
girls are helping with this at the moment.

As we continue to sow seed in uncertain times let’s not be frightened off
being generous …it might be that generosity will release a supernatural
harvest for the donors as well as the recipients, and imagine how it would
be if suddenly the curtain was rolled back and we saw all the children we
could have helped, all the work of God we could have facilitated, and
suddenly the option was no more! -and the remorse we might feel knowing we
could have helped Jesus Himself – for He did say that whatsoever we did to
one of His brethren, we did it to Him.

Thank you for all your generosity, it has been amazing. Please, if you are
receiving and reading our emails, let us know – we also may have forgotten
who you are and would really like to be updated. as there are hundreds of
people who come and go through Maforga (we haven’t by any means got the
email addresses of them all) it’s quite easy for us not to remember a name
or a person by looking at their email address. Please help us, too, by
writing to inform us if you no longer wish to receive the emails. Also as
many use our computer, some of their addresses are often somehow added to
our address list without us knowing. We apologize for any offence this may
have caused and please help us to rectify it.

With Love, Roy and Trish and all at Maforga

*P.S.We have decided, after a neighbour had told us of the sufferings of
those two little children, Nelito, (9) and Faraminha (11, although she looks
about nine), to take the two in with our younger children at the mission.
They are settling in very well.


Report on the current affairs of Maforga district

Dear Friends and supporters,
Greetings from Maforga, and many thanks for your generosity. It’s been an
exhausting but good time here as every morning we awake to a crowd of up to
a thousand people in our driveway. Usually there are roughly fifteen to
twenty people who have managed to push past the guards and sit, gazing up at
us hopefully, outside the office. It is impossible to go anywhere without
groups of desperate women with small babies on their backs, approaching and
pleading for help.

We have tried as far as possible to prevent a dependency by organizing a
food-for-work programme. We have a two-pronged strategy – Kees Tanis, on the
north side of the main road, has organized a food distribution in the
school – every child receives a pack of maize-flour and in that way we know
most of the kids in the area are covered. Of school-going age, anyway. He
also does distributions in the village on the north side, Chigueda village,
among widows and orphans. One group severely in need is the AIDS victims –
many cannot get to the distributions. The AIDS work programme at Maforga,
Rubatano, has been researching ways of meeting this need. Kees has been
involved in food distributions since October as the fire we had in 2008
destroyed the grain-stores of more than 450 families in the area and the
erratic weather patterns caused the people to lose two crop plantings from
that time, and many have lost a third – and it’s very late, now, for maize.

On the south side of the road at the farm called Khoro, we have a system
whereby two hundred “senyas” – tickets – are given out in the morning, and
those who arrive first take them and set to work under the supervision of
Joaquim Ernesto, earstwhile troublemaker who is now a foreman on the farm.
There are sometimes upwards of four hundred people left and Roy gives them
200 “senyas” for the next day’s work. The amount of food we are able to buy
is not always enough for them all so we have to stagger the groups. Those
that remain, are divided into groups: the pregnant women and those with
small babies are given preference, whilst the elderly and disabled are next,
then the men, then single women and children. Smaller amounts are given to
these as they have not worked for it, but enough to keep them for one or two

We have also exchanged maize flour for turkeys, goats and chickens and also
sweet potato seed and this has given us the chance to plant many sweet
potato beds in preparation for more tough times ahead. We have an instinct
that we need to grow as much food as possible, and to be ready to help
people in the future ourselves if  help isn’t forthcoming from overseas. We
stand on the scripture in Isaiah 3:10, “Say to the righteous, ‘it shall be
well with him…'” in the time of famine and chaos that has begun and may
become worse.

On weekends we are just too tired to do the food distributions so we have
begun to make 1,000 litres of maheu, a nutritious drink which is made from
fermented porridge and sugar and tastes a little like ginger beer. Those who
are really hungry can at least have a drink and take two litres home to
their families. However, last week, the maheu was not sufficient – we were
left with about a hundred people who had received nothing.

The guards help with giving it out – there are tickets given out otherwise
there is chaos with people trampling each other to get near the tank.
Preference is given to those who are weak and ill. A woman collapsed in our
lounge last Saturday but one. She was nearly dying of hunger – she slept on
our veranda after being given a glass of milk and a plate of porridge, At
the day’s end she was able to wander home.

The food-for-work group have planted two vast bean fields and are working on
a third. These are springing up like a vast green carpet. We have also
planted a stand of rice this year, and are thinking of flooding another area
in order to plant more. We feel urgent about producing food.

There is a group called “Farming God’s Way” which originated in Zimbabwe and
is teaching/helping/learning to do more productive gardens here. Although
here at Maforga they have produced a good harvest which is finally ripening,
it is far too little, too late, for the whole region. They have a course
nearby Gondola where they help families – we are hoping to send a group from
Mtsunza village, where a group  of young men has been helping to clear the
eucalyptus forest of invasive plants in return for food.

God has answered prayers for rain so far and the crops of many people are
beginning to stand up again after having been flattened and dried out. Some
new, fresh maize is coming in, so we are hoping the crisis will begin to
ease as the people have access to it. However, the crops of some are beyond
redemption. Many are now only eating pumpkin leaves – the other things have
dried up.

We are most grateful to you who have contributed to relieving this need.

Postscript – today Roy visited the administrator to hire his tractor and he
told Roy that because of the distributions, theft had greatly decreased in
the area. Normally at a time such as this the people begin breaking into
each others’ houses and stealing each others’ crops. (Last week an Indian
man in Chimoio lost his whole herd of seventeen cattle as bandits arrived in
a truck in the night, slaughtered the lot and left with the meat, leaving
the remains for him to clear up. He was devastated.)The theft has been
occurring but the people are very grateful that it has been curbed by the

Please pray that we are protected from such things and that for next year we
will have a strategy that counteracts whatever may occur.

Many thanks and blessings,

Roy and Trish and all at Maforga


Past posts

Admin ~ I apologise for the delay.

[13 Feb 09]

Dear Friends,
2008 passed so quickly and was a good year generally, we pray 2009 will be a
year of destiny. This is how it started for us!

Rodrigues, one of our boys whose mother prayed for his education, graduated
from Teachers’ Training College amid great joy. Rodrigues has a job in
Sussundenga: a victory for a boy with beginnings so negative. Thanks to Kees
and Sarah Tanis and their team, Rodrigues has had a
substantial start in life. Pray for him as he sets out on his new life.

He was one of several boys who passed and went on to work in other places.

There was a severe drought up until Christmas. Food ran out and it became a
humanitarian crisis here as people died every day in the surrounding
villages from hunger. Many thanks to all those who contributed to us being
able to buy several loads of food for the workers and villages around us.

Kees held a conference for the pastors encouraging them to repent of
witchcraft and idolatry. They really caught the message and went on to teach
their congregations, leading them in a prayer for repentance. And then the
rain came – it really poured. On Christmas Eve the Christmas programme went
off with the electricity being knocked out in one of the most violent
storms we’d ever had, the generator ran
for most of the evening until it popped a screw and the fuel ran out.

There was a happy feast –  groups each doing a drama or
song – the small children sang with a glittering cloud of
flying ants swirling round them like a chiffon curtain. All
went to bed happy.

Next day we drove into the village to do a musical programme
towing a 1,000 litres of Maheu, a nutritious drink made from fermented
porridge. Roy and Marta poured it out while the
people gathered with every receptacle they could find. For many people it
was the only food they had for Christmas,
indeed in several days.

A second village could not believe it when we arrived with the tank still
half full and they, too, filled their receptacles. The children laughed
and clapped their hands, running to and fro with cups and
tins. The Lord was so good to us to help us do this for the villages.

Shortly after Christmas, the storms grew more violent and rain literally
slashed down. New Year was upon us and we saw it in with the girls watching
Pastor Chris’s New Year Celebration. On New Years Day we drove to Beira to
fetch Angela Waller and Kristy Rivers – Angela had been the donor of the
loads of food
we had had to buy. Many thanks to her for her generosity.

The next day Roy went down with malaria  – thanks to Aaron and Sarah Beecher
we had malarone which worked against the resistant strain.

Joshua Rouessaoult and his team from Alon Christian Community in South
arrived bringing a great encouragement. The electricity
had gone off again and we were told that our transformer had blown – a huge
expense and time-consuming to repair. The generator had been fixed and
members of Joshua’s team helped to fix the Nissan which had been off the
road for some time. Just as the Toyota broke down. The cylinder head needed
to be replaced or fixed, and then the Isuzu’s diff as well, collapsed.

Amid much fun and help of the team, the children had a good time and we
shared our testimony one night with them.

Angie tried her hand at mixing cement but sliced open her toe with a sharp
shovel and had to be carried down to the Log Cabin to be treated. However,
she still managed to paint beautiful murals for all the girls’ rooms.

On Sunday we shared in Pastor Mudzimba’s church and Trish spoke about the
Abrahamic Covenants and the Biblical prophecies concerning Israel. The
people were very receptive and afterwards we attended a delightful party for
Francis Fitzsimons’ 50th birthday. Trish went down with  malaria and a
stange ear infection, but is recovering.

We are grateful to the Lord for seeing us through all these times with a
sense of joy and destiny and for providing a table in the desert.

Many thanks for your prayers and support. Please pray for our health as
malaria has been especially bad this year already. Thank you for the prayers
for rain – we still need more. Peoples’ crops are growing but they still
have no food at home – and when the food runs out at the mission, some have
a terrible time.

Many thanks to the Scheepers family for the generous help they have sent.

Please pray for the young people who are going off into a new life – John
Fitzsimons has enrolled for a BSC in Pretoria, he had malaria on his first
day so please hold him up to the Lord. It was by the skin of his teeth but
also by the miraculous working of the Lord that John got in – everything was
stacked against him, but he is certain his call is to be a doctor. Please
pray he will be able to transfer from a BSC to Medicine at half year – he
has the option but the competition and race relations make this difficult.
But we believe Jesus is able and willing to perform miracles.

May you all have a wonderful new year,
Love from Roy and Trish and all at Maforga

[23 Jan 09]

Dear Friends,

2009 is upon us – it’s well under way and for some people it is a terrifying
future they face. We sent an appeal recently with photos of people eating
green mangoes. It was all they had to eat – they thought the photo was very
funny and fooled around for the camera. But no- one is smiling now. The
green mangoes are finished. There is NOTHING TO EAT.

Really, it’s a quiet humanitarian crisis. Somehow this year it’s worse than
at other times. Perhaps it’s because the Zimbabweans flocking through the
borders to find food have caused the Indians and other traders to hike the
prices of food to beyond what is possible for most people to afford. Of
course the ZANU PF people coming in from Zimbabwe fill three or four
trolleys at the Shoprite in Chimoio, and if some can afford to pay the
skyrocketing prices, who cares about the vast majority who stalk the shop,
scrutinizing the shelves for something they can afford, but leave without
buying anything?

Outside, right now, there is a crowd of starving people with hoes and
slashers, they have helped clear some Baramombe, a noxious weed that’s
spreading like wildfire after the recent rains. They will receive two to
three days’ maize meal – the only meal they will have until they come to
clear the weeds again. When the meal runs out, what will they do?

We are asking for your help in sending money to buy food. The maize is
growing very late: the rains only came a few days before Christmas, after
most of their crops had shrivelled irretrievably. The maize has not even
flowered yet – and when it does it will still be another two months or so
before the crop can be harvested.

The next two months will be the worst. The mangoes have stopped and there
are many other expenses they will face such as school fees and uniforms,
shoes and books. Many babies and small children have died in the last few
weeks, their resistance lowered by malnutrition to the vicious form of
malaria that is attacking at the moment. I wish you could look out of the
window and see their faces – faces haunted by the spectre of hunger and fear
of more famine to come.

To make it through the next few weeks until the maize crop ripens, we will
need US$10,000 – US$1,000 a week to help the people through this difficult
time. When the maize ripens, the need will cease.

If you can at all help, please contact us at 00258825112222 or send the
money to Banco Standard Totta de Mocambique, in the name of Missao Crista de
Maforga, Acc. No. 205~02 11301001.

Please let us know if it would be possible for you to help and we will be
able to help this area in one of the most severe famines they’ve had since
the horrific drought of 1992. The thing was, then, they have said that the
drought was easier than now because it was recognized as a humanitarian
crisis,and there was food aid in the country. But this year has been even
more extreme.

We are grateful to the Lord because He answered our prayer for rain.
However, the extremely heavy rain that came washed away the second planting
of the crop. Many people have no more money even to buy seed to plant a
third time. Now, there needs to be some sort of strategy to avoid this
situation happening again. Please pray for us and advise if there is some
way of helping the people of this area get back on their feet.

Thank you so much, Angie Waller for your generous contribution of a month’s
supply of maize. You saw yourself how it went, how we needed every bit of
help. May the Lord bless you as you have blessed so many.

Please pray for this area and our team as a wave of malaria has swept
through our ranks, leaving many feeling weak and exhausted.

We are grateful for every prayer and every donation. May the Lord bless you
in this new year,

with love from Roy and the team at Maforga.