Greetings from sunny Zimbabwe! We send you this newsletter with bittersweet hearts, as we write to inform you of significant changes regarding Ruvheneko Trust. Our hearts are full of hope, however, and we feel calm and clear to move forward into a new season.
As ever, we are grateful for your steady support, and pray that God will bless you abundantly for all the generous encouragement you have so graciously offered to us and to the people of Sanyati. May your hearts and homes be full of runyararo (peace).
Over the past 18 months, Ruvheneko Trust has experienced significant changes. As many of you may remember, in early 2013 our Executive Director, Belinda, accepted a teaching position at the local high school. Initially we hired a part-time employee, Spiwe, hoping that Ruvheneko could continue operating by splitting the work between the Spiwe and Belinda. By the end of 2013, it became clear that this was not possible, and that Ruvheneko needed full-time leadership. It also became clear through the year that Belinda’s job at the high school is the perfect fit for her, and that her position with Ruvheneko was not utilizing her strengths and was instead draining her energy.
After much prayer and discussion, we have all discerned that the time is right to release Belinda from the exhausting position she has filled as director, and send her forward into other opportunities. Her experience teaching at the local high school has been extremely rewarding, and she simply does not have the capacity to do both jobs. We rejoice with her that she has found a job she loves and we trust that the important work of guiding students will be very fruitful for the community of Sanyati.
RECOGNIZING OUR LIMITS
Since Belinda’s initial transition to teaching, we have been prayerfully discussing our need for more organizational support—either through more staff, volunteers, or funding—in order to successfully provide services, particularly in our sponsorship program. We have found that most of our students are in need of far more one-on-one support than we initially predicted. We have attempted to creatively provide these services despite our limited numbers, but it has become apparent that our programs simply need more staff.
Additionally, we have increasingly recognized that community involvement and integration is vital to Ruvheneko’s success. As time has gone on, we have felt a significant lack of partnership from the local community—parents, teachers, village chiefs, other adults—and have not found the support needed to continue our programs. This struggle has been discouraging, to say the least, but has also helped us to recognize our limits and see that Ruvheneko cannot exist without this integration.
These two significant issues—that we cannot effectively support our students without more staff, and that the community is not able to offer us more support and partnership—have led us to the difficult decision to downscale Ruvheneko and ultimately shut our doors. During the past year we have all looked for God’s unexpected leadings—such as the revealing of a new director or the development of support structures—but have recognized this year as the gradual closing of Ruvheneko’s work in Sanyati. Since the end of 2013 we have not accepted any new donations (with the exception of a few specific student sponsors and a greenhouse repair) and have dramatically downscaled all of our programs. At the end of 2014 we will shut our sponsorship program officially; our remaining 21 students will be funded from our surplus account until they graduate their current school.
We are very sad to close Ruvheneko’s doors. We are choosing to trust, however, that the community of Sanyati is in God’s hands. This decision is surrounded by hope, and we look forward to partnering with our neighbors in new ways in the future. It has been a gift to be a part of Sanyati, and we enter this transition with thankfulness and peace.
We are so grateful for all of your support, care, and generosity over the years. May God bless you deeply for all the resources, love, and prayer that you have given. We are praying that you will discover a new leading for these resources, and that God will guide your process.
As we finish 2014, we are praying the following:
- That each student we sponsor is able to see their worth and potential, and that they will continue developing into healthy and responsible young adults.
- That the adults in our football and netball leagues will continue growing in their relationship with God, and will actively choose to be positive members of the community.
- That each individual and village we have worked with will be blessed in new ways next year, and will find all their needs met by God’s grace.
- That each of us—in Sanyati and beyond—will sense Christ’s companionship each day, and come to know God in personal ways.
- That the Ruvheneko staff will continue to find meaningful and inspiring work, and that they may be given the gift of seeing God provide for Sanyati in unexpected ways.