To help us all feel more connected to our mission partners and to deepen interest and support beyond our Gift Day donations, we are starting praying for one of our international charities and one of our UK based ones each month. At the beginning of the month, there will be a few prayer points for each of them in the newsletter and the two charities will be prayed for at our Sunday and Wednesday services and in our regular prayer meetings We hope too that you will include these charities in your personal prayers throughout the month too.
During June we are praying for:
Bulawayo Shelter, Zimbabwe
A heartfelt Thank You from all their hearts for the prayers and support from Sunnyside. That is the message from all the residents at the Bulawayo Shelter, its manager Peter Machida and his staff, the Chair Myles Thompson, along with his committee of volunteers from the churches of Bulawayo. They are all so grateful for the continued support that Sunnyside has given to this small and struggling charity in Zimbabwe.
After Independence in Zimbabwe in 1980, Matabeleland suffered greatly when Government troops were let loose on the local population that largely supported the party that had lost the first election. Those driven from the land headed towards Bulawayo, the provincial centre. Inez Calderwood saw the need all around her and wished to open a soup kitchen or shelter to help the homeless. She took inspiration from her childhood friend Sue Ryder and the British High Commissioner provided some initial funding. The old abandoned TB isolation hospital was allocated by the Municipality and volunteers helped restore the buildings and the Bulawayo Shelter opened 19th May 1989.
Initially the Shelter worked alongside the Welfare Department and residents were taught a new trade and encouraged into work and therefore into ‘new’ independence. However, since 2000 there has been little help from them so the community at large has struggled to assist the Shelter. At the same time, although there is no longer the violence in the countryside, droughts and the collapse in the economy continues to force people to move to the city. This has meant a continuing call on the Shelter to feed and accommodate people who have literally nowhere else to turn.
World Vision used to supply maize meal but no longer and now this is kindly donated by the Methodist Church. The Shelter residents help themselves by growing vegetables and keeping chickens so they have a supply of eggs. However, cash to pay for the essentials like wages, repairs, maintenance, electricity, rates and basic food items is hard to come by. Sunnyside first donated £500 in 2006 which helped to cover the running costs of the Shelter for just over 6 months. Today £1000 covers just about one month with the inflation which has taken over.
Several times the Shelter has held its ‘last’ meeting, thinking they will have to close their door but help has always arrived and often it has been the donation from Sunnyside that has been crucial. Currently, to keep expenses down, staff work one month on and one month off with 3 on duty each month. They accept this job share as it is better than no job at all.
Please continue to pray for the Bulawayo Shelter, keeping in mind:
- the grateful residents, the dedicated staff, the committee with its Christian members ensuring their Shelter door is open to all those who seek help, a meal or a bed for the night (The Shelter’s philosophy is based on James 2: verses 14-17)
- gratitude that thus far there have been no cases of covid-19 as the Shelter ‘bubble’ has held. All protocols have been observed regarding lockdowns, wearing of masks, sanitizing etc., and recently all residents and staff under 80 were vaccinated by the local Municipal Clinic. We pray that the Shelter may continue to be spared from the pandemic.
- that their door does remain open to provide that daily meal for 70 people the residents and any passer-by who may need meal, and they provide a bed for 40 men, women and some children, to keep them safe and healthy
Please pray also for:
- Zimbabwe and its people: that Godly men and women may be placed into leadership, so that a better life may come to those who have hope and who pray for a fairer society, and who have been patient under very challenging economic times
- Claire Calderwood who seems to follow her grandmother’s footsteps and is moving to Zimbabwe to set up do a medical research project into TB and its spread and who will be working with people hoping to make a difference there.
CAP (Christians against Poverty)
Christians Against Poverty are passionate about releasing people from a life sentence of debt, poverty and its crippling effects on families and individuals. Working with the church, they provide free support and training to help people from all faiths and none to budget well as well as to overcome serious financial crises, like Annie’s1 . She was heavily in debt to credit cards, overdrafts, and loans. She had a fairly well-paid job and found it easy to gain credit, not realising she had a problem. She said ” the harder I tried to climb the further I slipped back. I had feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness and despair. I found it really difficult to talk to anyone about the problem and spent sleepless nights searching for solutions. I felt that the CAP representative understood. There was no judgement or criticism – just calm, practical support. CAP didn’t wave a magic wand and suddenly take the problem away, but they were there to metaphorically hold my hand while I faced the situation. I will be forever grateful for their kindness.”
- safety for their debt coaches and befrienders as they begin to visit homes again
- for particular clients – 2 who are isolated single Mums , 1 who is struggling with his mental health as a result of his debt
- clients who need support as they have just got their own place after years of ‘ sofa surfing’, for some who struggle with their paperwork due to learning difficulties
- for those who have just become debt free
- for the ‘ Our money ‘ course which resumes in May and the Life Skills team who will run their first team in September and for Christina who is the new local manager