“Friends, let us not parade our love in words or talk only; but let us show it in deeds and make it real.” – The Apostle John

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Remaining in Him for Fruitfulness - LTLA Prayer Bulletin

May 15, 2019 

LTLA Friends,

Recently I have been reflecting on John 15 as I commit it to memory. Here is a prayer guide as I travel to Zimbabwe along with Madison, a veterinary student at Iowa State (ISU), and Matt, who spent the summer of 2016 in Zimbabwe. We will join the Life to Life Ministry team from the University of Central Florida, which is already in Chinhoyi:

15 May - Madison & I arrive in Chinhoyi where, like everywhere, Jesus is the true vine and the Father is the gardener. (Jn 15:1)

16 May - The Father has created us for fruitfulness and is committed to developing us in it. May all serving Him in Chinhoyi and everywhere experience it as we avail ourselves of Him. (Jn 15:2) There will be opportunities to engage with individuals in the community for evangelism and discipleship. Madison will be able to serve at a local veterinary clinic.

17 May - Thank you, Lord, for cleansing us through your word! (Jn 15:3) May those who need cleansing hear His word as we minister with the LTLA team among pre-school orphans, widows, the poor, and with college students.

18 May - Can you imagine that the Lord Jesus desires a relationship with us? Shouldn't we desire a relationship with Him? (Jn 15:4a) Those of us visiting will share about our relationship with Jesus at the the school-age youth Bible studies.

19 May - The fruitfulness that the Father created us for is directly related to our connection with Jesus. (Jn 15:4b) On this sabbath may we rest in our relationship with Christ to prepare us for more fruitfulness.

20 May - Christ is the vine, we are the branches. In Him we bear much fruit, apart from Him we accomplish nothing. (Jn 15:5) More opportunities today to serve pre-school orphans and interact with developing friendships. Another opportunity for Madison to serve at the veterinary clinic. Matt arrives to reconnect with Zimbabwean brothers and sisters in Christ he served with in 2016.

21 May - Walking away or never walking with Jesus is disastrous. (Jn 15:6) Those visiting will experience the opposite as they observe the rich time of fellowship in God's Word by the LTLA team on Tuesday mornings. They will have time with the Chosen Generation (young adult orphans) in the afternoon, as well as pick-up soccer.

22 May - The amazing part of the promise in Jn 15:7 is that our desires change and we ask for what God will gladly give. We will have another time of digging into God's Word with the LTLA team followed by time at Chinhoyi University of Technology students.

23 May - Fruit-bearing by followers of Christ is what delights God. (Jn 15:8) Continued opportunities to serve alongside the LTLA team. A final chance for Madison to serve with the local veterinarian whose assistant is eager to discuss the Bible as well.

24 May - We have the great blessing of being loved by God and by Christ Jesus. Let's stay grounded in it. (Jn 15:9) The UCF team remains serving with LTLA in Chinhoyi. Madison will serve in Harare until 29 May alongside two people with an early connection to Life to Life Africa, through the school on Jim Steele's farm where we built a school building. Today she will go to a dairy farm with Jesse Steele, Jim's grandson, who is a veterinarian.

25 May - Following Christ's example of obeying God's commands is how we stay grounded in His love. (Jn 15:10) The UCF team spend time with the Women & Men of Hope today as Shelton, Matt & I travel to Mzuzu, Malawi to meet Tyler, who was in Zimbabwe summer 2015 and again in the summer of 2016 with Matt.

26 May - Christ delights in sharing the completeness of His joy with us. (Jn 15:11) May we delight in His joy as we follow His example in obedience to God's commands.

27 May - Love one another as Christ has loved us, that is His command. (Jn 15:12) Today the UCF team is enjoying a safari experience along with some LTLA teammates. Those of us in Malawi are exploring Chitipa village where Tyler has lived for a year and a half with the Peace Corps. Madison will spend time in English conversations with students at the Millennial Academy, a school started by Edmond Mudzimu, who was discipled by Ron Shimkus while teaching at the school on Jim Steele's farm. Edmond passed along what he learned from Ron to a faithful, available, teachable young man named Arthur Nhau, now LTLA Director in Chinhoyi.

28 May - Jesus personified what he said in (Jn 15:13). The safari experience continues for the UCF team. Park, a zealous brother in Christ from Chitipa, joins our little team as we travel to southern Malawi to observe agricultural projects. Madison will serve with Edmond at his school if there is not a farm visit with Jesse Steele's veterinary work.

29 May - Friendship with Christ requires we follow His command. (Jn 15:14) Today Madison returns to the US, the UCF team continues ministry in Chinhoyi and the Malawi team connects with Chris Weaver of the Malawi Talent Fund in Zomba.

30 May - What a privilege we have to be called friends of Christ, and that he shares with us everything he has learned from the Father. (Jn 15:15) The Malawi team learns from and serves with Chris Weaver on the farm he is establishing to provide jobs and income to a local ministry.

31 May - Chosen by God to bear lasting fruit, that is who we are. (Jn 15:16) The LTLA team will send off the UCF team with a farewell gathering today. We are grateful for the lasting fruit that was generated by the shared experiences of all who served during this month in Zimbabwe. The Malawi team gets a tour of the Foundations for Farming training center in Blantyre where they will learn of the training program opportunities offered there in sustainable agriculture.

1 June - The UCF team begins their journey home to the US, as do Matt and Mike from Malawi. Shelton returns to Chinhoyi with fresh ideas for agricultural projects and business as mission exposure. Park returns to northern Malawi with the same, along with exposure to the Life to Life Africa vision.

Thank you for supporting us in prayer!
Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Friday, May 10, 2019

UCF Life to Life Team in Zimbabwe - Prayer Bulletin

Thomas & Tara Gilbert along with Shane Thomas, Life to Life Ministry staff at University of Central Florida (UCF), arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday, May 8, with four UCF student leaders in their ministry. They will serve along side the LTLA team in Chinhoyi until June 1. Please pray that the Lord will minister in and through them for the next three weeks. Pray as they begin their time by interacting with 15 students from Chinhoyi University of Technology over this weekend. They will all get away to Hunnington Retreat Centre near Chinhoyi during the LTLA Key Student Retreat. We look forward to keeping you updated with reports of the ministry that will take place this month.

UCF Life to Life Ministry Team at the LTLA Community Center: Thomas, Kyle, Ryan, Shane, Tara, Mack & Maura

Grateful for your prayer support!!

Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Response to the Gospel Continues

April 30, 2019
Dear LTLA Friends,

Arthur Nhau, LTLA Director in Chinhoyi, reports that 10 students they met this semester at Chinhoyi University of Technology have prayed to receive Christ! Just as we have seen with children and youth in the past few months, college students are turning to Christ. In the midst of hopelessness, the next generation in Zimbabwe are encountering the only true hope!

Here are the names of those who have responded to Christ: Girls - Hilda, Kudzie, Tendai, Noreen; Guys - Blessed, Keith, Malven, Munyaradzi, Tatenda, Tawanda.

This comes after the LTLA team encountered trouble meeting students on campus at the beginning of the semester. Campus security was not allowing the team on campus since we are not an officially recognized ministry by the university. We have been trying to obtain official recognition without success. We have a good relationship with the campus chaplain and he was able to remedy the situation. Do pray we obtain official recognition with the university so we can be assured of campus access into the future.

This trouble has led the LTLA team to pursue meeting students who live off-campus. On-campus housing is reserved primarily for 1st-year students, so about 3,000 of the 4,000 total students probably live off-campus. We want to be able to meet with all students, but it is especially fruitful to meet with 1st-year students as that gives us more time with them for discipleship. All of the students who responded to Christ this semester are 1st year students and three actually live off-campus. So we thank the Lord for the trouble that led us to meet them, resulting in their encountering Christ!

LTLA Easter Youth Gathering
Children and Youth learned about Christ through songs, drama, and short talks.

Rejoicing with the angels,

Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Learning Posture

March 29, 2019

Dear LTLA Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi as they recover from the devastating affects from Cyclone Idai. Chinhoyi, where LTLA operates, was not affected but there are people with relatives who died in the flooding along the Zimbabwe border with Mozambique. I traveled to Zomba, Malawi, on my recent trip and it was impacted. Please pray for The Passion Center for Children ministry that is providing aid to those they serve that were affected by flooding. Two village churches and over 100 homes in their network collapsed.

"Though he was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered." (Hebrews 5:8 NKJV) Jesus took a learning posture as he lived on this earth since learning is a natural part of the human experience. Over the past month LTLA took a learning posture in the following ways:

Learning about a Sustainable Ministry Model 
Steve Love, who serves with TEAM in Zimbabwe, shared with our team from his experience learning to manage a farm that served a dual purpose: sustaining a ministry effort and discipling young adult orphans who worked on the farm. Steve was a HVAC contractor in the US so he had to learn the basics of farming from those he came to disciple. It was good to hear about his humble approach and to learn of his efforts to create a sustainable ministry model. During his visit, he was able to help us begin thinking about how to create a sustainable ministry model with our newly expanded Community Center property. (See the encouraging announcement below!!)

Steve Love, (left) with TEAM, sharing effective vegetable bed techniques for preserving soil moisture with the LTLA team.

Learning at Foundations for Farming Conference 
Foundations for Farming is a Zimbabwean organization that is doing great work in sustainable farming training. We first received training from them in 2012 and have since been passing along that training to all the families we serve in Chinhoyi. Last year we sent a group of five from the LTLA team to their annual conference and we sent five other team members this year. Arthur Nhau, LTLA Director in Chinhoyi, went this year and reports that the conference has led the team to evaluate our sustainable farming training efforts. The theme of the conference was, "I Was Hungry to Give," so the LTLA team members are renewing efforts to share their knowledge of sustainable farming in the Chinhoyi community. We look forward to demonstrating this knowledge on our newly expanded Community Center property! Pray with us that the people we train will encounter our Creator who established the principles we are teaching.

Learning about Job Creation in Malawi 
On my return from Zimbabwe, I stopped in Malawi to learn from the Malawi Talent Fund (MTF) efforts in Zomba where they have established a farm for the purpose of job creation. They are employing 18 full time workers and as many as 135 piece workers in a Muslim area. Their intent is to SET (Spiritually and Economically Transform) Malawi in Christ. They are partnering with the Passion Center for Children (PCC) in this endeavor as the PCC focuses on spiritual transformation in the community and MTF focuses on economic transformation. It was a very good experience for me to observe this SET model in action since the Lord has led LTLA to be a "vital resource in Chinhoyi and the surrounding communities." One of our 2018-2020 goals is to, "Investigate models of ministry and training programs that have proven effective" in advancing the Kingdom of God. Pray with us as we follow the Lord's lead to implement what He is calling us to in, "seeking, loving,caring, leading, discipling & training," people for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chris Weaver, Malawi Talent Fund CEO & Founder, showing the digitally plotted farm map. 

While in Malawi, I also had the opportunity to visit with Tyler Marshall, an ISU grad who spent two summers in Zimbabwe. He is serving with the Peace Corps in Malawi. It was a mutually encouraging time for us. Chris Weaver of the Malawi Talent Fund graciously hosted us. It was good for Tyler to observe what Chris is doing in Malawi. Pray for Tyler as he considers where the Lord would have him serve once his Peace Corps assignment is completed in August.

Tyler Marshall and Mike Sulc at the Malawi Talent Fund Farm.

Expanding our Footprint 
I am happy to report that this month we were able to acquire land next to our Community Center property. We have quietly prayed for this opportunity and the Lord has enabled it to happen. We are encouraged with the increased size of our property and the opportunities it will afford the ministry in the years ahead. Please pray with us as we allow the Lord to direct our steps in how to fully utilize the land He has entrusted to us.

Estimated property lines using a Google Maps satellite photo.
(Blue lines- original property line; Yellow lines- newly acquired property line.)

Learning for the sake of His Kingdom,

Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

"I Want to Receive Christ Today"

February 28, 2019

Dear LTLA Friends,

After Gogo Mildred (an LTLA team leader) shared the Gospel bridge illustration at a recent LTLA youth Bible study, Donald and Ngoni asked her what would happen to them if they waited to receive Christ next week. Hearing that those without Christ do not have eternal life they both said, "I want to receive Christ today." They are two of 14 youth who have prayed to receive Christ in the weeks following all the turmoil in Zimbabwe. God is using these turbulent days in Zimbabwe to draw more into His family!

Last year we saw several children receive Christ among the grade 3-7 group, and over the past few weeks the following children in that age group have responded to Christ: Donald, Ngoni, Lincoln, Titozuze, Victoria and Victor. It is also very encouraging to report that the following high school students have received Christ: Elsea, Melissa, Michelle and Miriam among the girls, along with Blessed, Kelvin, Ngoni and Rufaro among the boys. The need for Christ was also felt two weeks ago by the following two young ladies: Natalie and Chngentai. LTLA team members Gogo Mildred, Prestege , Marvelous, and Diana shared with them as they paired up for visits in the community.

I will report more on my trip upon my return next week but wanted to share with you this exciting news. I am including a photo and two videos below.

Rejoicing with the angels, (Luke 15:10)
Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Marvelous teaching the LTLA High School Bible study.

LTLA Grade 3-7 Bible study reciting 2 Corinthians 5:17. 

Showers of blessing! 
The Lord is providing timely rain for the corn plots and relief from the hot temperatures.

Zimbabwe Turmoil Update

January 25, 2019

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you for praying for the LTLA team in Chinhoyi as they continue to face challenging times after the violence that erupted over the 150% increase in fuel prices two weeks ago. No one on the LTLA team was harmed but we are unsure about all the families we serve as all ministry activities have been cancelled since these disturbances began. We covet your continued prayers for protection, for peace and for steps to be taken that will bring lasting stability.

Below is an update from Arthur (italicized and with prayer points) and a link to a good article that summarizes the current economic situation in Zimbabwe:

"We met as a team on Tuesday this week but I could tell that most of the team members were still in fear as gatherings of people can be viewed as the beginnings of a demonstration. We decided to cancel all our ministry activities for the remainder of the week and agreed to meet together in two's for encouragement. We will assess the situation on Monday as how to proceed next week." 

  • Pray that all on the team have and will experience the truth of Matthew 18:20 in these gatherings of two. 
  • Pray that the Lord grant them wisdom as they determine how to proceed next week, with James 1:1-7 as a helpful prayer guide. 

"As of now the streets here still have armed soldiers moving around. Everyone is nervous by their presence after the crackdown on demonstrators and looters last week. The government has blamed brutality on criminals or members of the opposition dressing in uniforms and perpetrating terror so that the government is blamed. Men have been targeted by the soldiers, so men are walking in fear. Team members with young men at home are fearful." 

  • Pray that God will place a hedge of protection around the LTLA team members and their families as they trust in Him - Job 1:10. 
  • Pray that they will experience God's perfect peace as they trust Him - Isaiah 26:3. 

"The ruling party has accused NGOs of helping the opposition party by inciting demonstrations to subvert the government."

  • Pray that as a faith-based ministry LTLA would not be confused with an NGO or falsely accused. May the truth of Psalm 5:6 come to mind for anyone who may be tempted to bring false accusations against us. 

Click here for the article that summarizes the economic situation in Zimbabwe.

Grateful for your prayer support during these very difficult days in Zimbabwe!
Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Friday, January 18, 2019

Update from Arthur & Turmoil in Zimbabwe

Dear LTLA Friends,

Below is a ministry update from Arthur Nhau in Chinhoyi. He is encouraged by what the Lord is doing in the ministry, but it has also been a tumultuous week in Zimbabwe, which he refers to at the end of his update. Demonstrations, riots and looting took place all over Zimbabwe this week after the government increased fuel prices by 150%. Gasoline prices were $1.24/liter ($4.70/gallon) and have been increased to $3.31/liter ($12.53/gallon). That is the highest price for gasoline in the world, with Hong Kong being second at $2.06/liter.

There have been gasoline shortages since October due to a lack of US dollars to purchase it. The economy in Zimbabwe has collapsed. Last week there was no gasoline to be found so the government announced the extreme price hike to deal with the shortage. This may have been the last straw for the extremely patient Zimbabweans. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called for a three day strike, "stay away," to send a message to the government that their policies have failed. Demonstrations, riots and looting have ensued. People stayed home for fear of the violence that was breaking out. Now the military has been deployed going door to door beating men for being at home and not out working. The government has been ruling by fear and are trying to maintain their control.
These developments are heartbreaking for a people who had hoped for change last year with the ouster of their only president of 37 years. Would you join in praying for the Life to Life Africa team and their fellow Zimbabweans as they deal with the shock and disappointment of this week's developments? They have been praying for years that things would change, and one of them commented that they don't know what to pray anymore. We know God is working out His purposes and they have seen Him provide in the midst of turmoil in the past. Lord, we ask for you to enact your justice, to pour out your mercy and to strengthen with your grace.

Mike Sulc
Life to Life Africa

Greetings, as we look back to the past months, God has been faithful especially with the challenges we are facing as a country. We are so thankful that God sent friends to us who were Jethros, Pauls and Barnabases and left us really encouraged in the Lord. ( Luke 22:43) 

I recently had an outing with the guys in whom I am investing, we had fun catching up. My heart’s desire is, "He who began a good work in them will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil 1:6)

Tatenda, Arthur, Donnell (front), Simba, Zviko & Shelton.

As a team, we continue to pray that we would all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We also want to be accountable to one another in our walk with Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

Life to Life Africa Team

We have been receiving some decent rainfall lately. As we continue to embark on some farming projects, we pray that the families we are assisting will have a good harvest this season.

Maize (corn) growing at the LTLA Community Center

We are thankful to God that we held our first ever student conference and we had a good turnout. On the last day of the conference one student, in his final year, asked if we were going to pursue them after college as he felt the input he got transformed his college years. We pray that God would give these students a heart for people as they now go into the world. Most of the students we met with last semester passed their exams and gave glory to God. This was so encouraging as most students always feel they don’t have time for God's Word (Mark 1:35). We continue to pray for long lasting relationships and that God would raise Timothys, reliable people and others. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Life to Life Africa Student Conference group photo

The past week has been challenging for people here. Soldiers have been doing rounds beating, especially men, for staying away from work. I have friends who had to hide in the cemetery and some took refuge in one of the rivers we have here which is infested with crocodiles. Since Monday most of the team members have been staying indoors and hiding when the soldiers come knocking on their doors, pray for protection and safety. I am humbled by the hope most people here continue to have on Jesus who is our only hope. We pray that our leaders will fear God and know that everything they have, it has been entrusted to them and they will give an account. 

As a family we continue to be humbled by God that He remains faithful. We are also encouraged that our son Donnell is growing in memorizing scriptures. We are really encouraged to see that that he is now sticking verses he is memorizing on the wall in his bedroom. We pray that he will continue to delight in God's word.

Arthur, Mildred, Donnell, & Daisy

Still humbled by His Love, 
Arthur and Mildred