I Am Living Proof!
by: Al Serhal Nov. 2014
Surprisingly many people do not know his story of how he became Living Proof. Cephas grew up in rural Zimbabwe from the same village as Zebedee. As a boy he went to HVCM mission schools and was led to Christ through the church which met there. His mother was a Medium in the local village. Cephas recalls as a boy how people would come in the evenings and pay money for his mom to go into a trance and make contact with the spirit world. He has vivid memories of hearing his mother speaking in the language of Zulu as she would speak to the living on behalf of the dead. It is interesting to note that his mother did not know the Zulu language, but would speak it when she went into the trance.
Cephas praises God to this day that he had the blessing of witnessing to his own parents and was a key figure in leading them into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Zebedee and HVCM sponsored Cephas through High School and later Zimbabwe Christian College. Today, he serves in the same mission that brought him to Christ those many years ago.
Cephas Zivanai is Living Proof of this great mission! He is just one of thousands of men and women who have been reached with the saving message of Christ through the mission schools of HVCM. He and his family are just one example of those who have been “called out of darkness and into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9).
If you have not yet signed up to be a Living Proof child sponsor, you can join hundreds of people today who are on the ground floor of this exciting new initiative with HVCM. This is an opportunity for you to partner with us to evangelize and disciple one of the precious children in our schools so that future Cephas’ can be raised up for the Kingdom work in Zimbabwe.
For only $20/month you will receive a profile of your child and can participate in regular correspondence through our Zimbabwe mission office email. Your child will receive a LP shirt and Bible, be active in LP club meetings and will later receive financial assistance so that they can go on into High School and beyond through the Living Proof scholarship fund. (See website for more details of Living Proof program. www.hippovalley.org)
We are making plans for Cephas Zivanai to come to the U.S. so that he can visit our churches and tell his story of Living Proof! Call the mission office today to schedule him.
When God Says No
by: Brittany Wisecup Nov. 2014
months ago we received the devastating news that the Living Proof Children’s Choir visas had been denied. We appealed to KY Senator Mitch McConnell who filed two Congressional Inquiries on our behalf and even took our case to the state department in Washington, DC. Still the U.S. embassy held to their position. We consulted with several visa specialists and were told that we had taken all of the correct steps, had applied for the right visas, but had still been denied.
At that point, we could only conclude that God’s timing is the best timing, and He has a reason for everything, though it may be unclear to us in the midst of difficulty. The reality is that obtaining a visa from Africa to America is very challenging right now, especially when you apply for seventeen all at once! We have not given up on this dream of bringing the children’s choir here and we hope to try again in 2015 or 2016.
Since the choir couldn’t come to us, however, I decided to go to them! I left for Zimbabwe on the 22nd of September and have been keeping very busy since then. I have been working alongside Pastor Cephas Zivanai who has worked with Hippo Valley Christian Mission for over 30 years since coming to know the Lord through the ministry of John C. Pemberton. We have been traveling out to each of the mission’s 17 primary schools, more than half of which are a good 2-3 hour drive into the bush on rough dirt roads.
At each school we sit down with the headmaster to discuss the new Living Proof Sponsorship Program. We then meet with the teachers so they can help us to identify candidates for sponsorship. We are looking for kids in grades 1-3 who are bright students that come from unfortunate situations. These particular children are very poor, sometimes with either one or both parents deceased, and they have little to no chance of continuing their education into high school. Primary school fees are about $15 per term, whereas high school fees are closer to $200 per term. Boarding schools have even higher fees, some as much as $500 per term!
One of the schools we visited, Emobeni Primary School, is only about a 45-minute drive from the mission base in Chiredzi. This school touches my heart every time I visit because they do not have nearly enough classrooms for all of their hundreds of students. There is a high school on the property as well, but the high school students meet outside under shelters so the younger children can be in the classrooms. There are five other classrooms set up like the one in the picture.
One time while visiting Emobeni, I saw a class of young children sitting outside in the dirt with their teacher. When I asked Cephas what they were doing, I was surprised by his answer: they were practicing writing in the dirt. In America we have individual white boards and markers for kids to practice writing, but not in Zimbabwe.
Being here and seeing our different schools has opened my eyes to the far-reaching impact this mission has had. HVCM has 27 primary and secondary schools with over 17,000 kids across Zimbabwe! That is a pretty impressive statistic, but seeing that those numbers have names and beautiful faces transforms that statistic into a life-changing reality. At the same time, this trip has also moved my heart to see how much need still remains. Through this Living Proof Program we can give kids better opportunities to come to know the Lord while continuing their education. Help us turn these lives into Living Proof!