FAITH AND TRUST.

10:42 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Does God speak to you? Of course He does the real question is have you trained yourself to hear Him? We can hear God a number of ways, we should never limit how God can speak to another person based on our own experience. We can however look at the bible and see how God chose to speak to others throughout history.
I currently feel God is speaking to me about trusting Him more which takes greater faith. God called me to walk in His purpose for me which is bigger than I can dream of, and impossible for me to achieve without His help.
We as a family, have lived by faith for years and surprisingly it does not seem to get any easier. I think this is due to each faith step getting larger. If we could live out God's plan for our lives in our own strength that would not take faith or trust.
The biggest battle is in the mind, we can imagine all the things that can go wrong, the key is to focus instead on the promises God has made to us.
So kids hang on to your hats, this could get bumpy but it sure will be an adventure.

Greg.

4:43 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

AN UPDATE ON THE ROAD.

6:23 PM Harts for Africa 1 Comments

In 2015 we held community meetings in a remote location to see how we could further assist a community. The result of these meetings was the need to connect the community to the district centre by building a road.
We held meetings with the local government, which resulted in a visit to the community by the Administrator, who is the highest leader at district level.
The Administrator recognised the need to connect this community and took action.  Recently I met with the community leader who was positively beaming, his community is now less isolated as they have their new road.
Studies show that roads improve community development dramatically. The community I am talking about produces great crops but has been struggling to get them to market.  By having a road, not only can trucks come to collect produce, but also regular transport can operate to move people to and from the district centre, assisting in health care and education.
The community thanked us for raising their issue to the local government, stating that they lack a voice to see change made. I would like to thank the Administrator for taking action on building the road and am grateful for the asset the district now has.
Currently the district is bone dry as the wet season is near, wells are drying up and food is scarce. In the past few days this community has received great rain, giving them a head start on planting their crops. The unity among the people and their determination to improve their community has sure become a blessing for them.

FINISH FEELING LIKE YOU COULD DO IT AGAIN!

3:53 AM Harts for Africa 3 Comments

Kim and I have started a cycling programme and one of the instructions is "Don't push yourself too hard. Take the allocated rest days and when you go for a ride come home feeling like you could do it again, straight away." Following this advice it's amazing how quickly we have increased our riding time and distance. We can also take this advice into ministry.
On Saturday we held a graduation ceremony for the Pastors and Leaders training course and it was a day of real encouragement for me. One after another the students got up and testified how the course had helped them this year, but they also spoke how I had personally impacted them. I was humbled when they were saying that our courage gave them courage this year which has been extremely tough for them. Our giving taught them not to be stingy givers; our teaching encouraged them to teach others. They also testified to the Holy Spirit doing something special in their midst this year. It was a very special group who I really believe that God will use to do mighty things.
As we get ready to return to Australia for 6 months I feel I could do another 12 months here without overdoing it. The students really encouraged me, in fact I am a little disappointed I can't teach in Mozambique until we return in 6 months.
I set a whole day aside to prepare my graduation sermon, after an hour I was done, I knew it was ready to go no more prep was required. This is unusual for me I am normally adding notes right up to preaching it. Yet I felt the sermon at graduation was one of the best I have ever spoken, and then I realised how much feedback I was getting as I preached, the students pulled the sermon out of me. God was showing me how we need each other.
It's not easy for me to write this as self praise is no recommendation, but I wanted to let you know how much your words of encouragement inspire people to reach new heights, let them know how they have impacted you. I am richer for spending time with this class and will miss them.

Greg.

NOT JUST AFRICA IS INVOLVED IN THE CORRUPTION

9:20 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Mozambique's secret loans: A scandal that started in London

Tuna fishing ships and military patrol boats are currently sitting dormant, docked in the capital of Mozambique, Maputo. Together, these boats provide a daily physical reminder of the ongoing political scandal that has rocked this south-east African country and contributed to a major economic crisis.
But the story begins in the offices of two banks in London, Credit Suisse and VTB.
In 2013, these two banks arranged for the Mozambique government to borrow $850 million from international speculators, supposedly to pay for the tuna fishing fleet, with an interest rate of 8.5%. Unbeknown to most people at the time, Credit Suisse and VTB together also lent a further $1.1 billion, under English law, to two state owned companies in Mozambique, much of which is now reported to have been spent on military equipment, including the patrol boats in Maputo harbour. Much of the $850 million of loans has also been reported to have been spent on the military.
From 2001 to 2014 Mozambique was one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This was based on a series of mega projects based around the extraction and export of resources such as fossil fuels and metals. In a report in 2015, Jubilee Debt Campaign showed how this high growth was not leading to significant poverty reduction and that the dependence on raw materials made the country vulnerable to a big fall in prices, which could lead to a debt crisis.
The first ever mega project was an aluminium smelter just outside Maputo. In 2013 Jubilee Debt Campaign showed how foreign companies and governments, including the UK, were making large amounts of money out of this factory, whilst tax exemptions meant the Mozambique government was left with almost nothing.
Similarly, Mozambique organisation Justica Ambiental, part of Friends of the Earth International, have just released a report showing how the coal mines in the north of the country have generated little revenue for the government and created few jobs, whilst saddling the government with large debts to pay for infrastructure claimed to be required by the mines.
Unfortunately, our warnings are now coming to pass. The fall in global commodity prices has cut the Mozambique government's revenue. In December 2015, the IMF began lending money to Mozambique to pay off previous lenders, whilst keeping the country in debt.
Then in April 2016, the existence of the hidden debts was finally revealed by investigative journalists. None of the loans were approved by the Mozambique parliament, breaching the country's constitution.
Other revelations have included that a banker who worked on the deals for Credit Suisse is now employed by a firm majority owned by the maker of the ships.
The revelation has led to the IMF suspending its loans, followed by the World Bank and western governments. The Financial Conduct Authority in the UK has been reported to be investigating the activities of Credit Suisse and VTB to see if they misled other lenders.
In Mozambique, the value of their currency, the metical, has fallen 50% against the US dollar since mid-2015. Because so much is imported into the country, this has led to large increases in prices, including for basic foods, without equivalent increases in wages. This is on top of a drought in the south of the country which has pushed 1.5 million farmers into food insecurity. The fall in the currency has also increased the relative size of the debts owed in dollars.
Mozambique's debt is now thought to be $11.6 billion, 93% of GDP, and without the loans from the IMF and World Bank to pay off other lenders, the debt cannot be paid. The government has already announced a range of cuts, reported to be across all government spending except for health, including education, social services and welfare and vital infrastructure.
Campaigners in Mozambique from organisations such as the Mozambique Debt Group and Budget Monitoring Forum are calling for a range of measures to hold government officials to account, including a forensic external audit of the debt, prosecution of any officials who broke the law, and changes to procedures to ensure such hidden borrowing cannot happen again. The call for an external audit has also been backed by the IMF and UK Ambassador to Mozambique.
But campaigners are also saying that the Mozambique people should not have to bear the burden of these hidden, illegitimate debts. Paula Monjane from the Civil Society Budget Monitoring Forum told us:
"The officials who broke the law in Mozambique need to be held accountable by the Administrative Court and the Central Office for Combating Corruption. This includes the lenders and financial institutions which facilitated these loans. In defence of the common good and against the continued impoverishment of the Mozambican people, we do not want, do not accept and will not pay the debts of EMATUM, ProIndicus and MAM [the three state owned companies the loans were given to]."
As Paula argues, this situation is not just the fault of the Mozambican officials involved. The lenders must also bear some share of the responsibility. That is why we are calling on Credit Suisse and VTB to drop the debt, as well as to fully comply with an external audit, and change their policies and procedures to ensure they do not in the future agree loans which have not been approved by a country's parliament, or which break the law in that country.
Campaigners in Mozambique are trying to hold their government to account. But they need our help to also hold to account the banks based here in the UK for their role in creating this crisis which threatens the livelihoods of millions of people in Mozambique.

Greed destroys lives!

5:14 PM Harts for Africa 1 Comments

One political party in Australia is against Capitalism, on their web page they state
"Market forces are far from being perfect as a means of distributing output or determining production priorities, or methods. Without government intervention, capitalism tends to undervalue the cost of goods, including raw materials, energy and environmental damage."
As with many policies the observation is correct but the solution they believe will solve the problem is flawed. They think that a change of leadership method will solve the problem of greed. It is greed that causes one group of people to overuse resources without considering the impact to others. All styles of leadership that contain greed will fail.
I believe as a church we must instil moral values into society to help overcome greed. If only people were able to be content with little or much. As is taught in Phil 4:11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Wouldn't that make a difference to our world. In Africa greed promotes poverty. While one group of people line their pockets they fail to have compassion for the masses who miss out on infrastructure, education, healthcare, security and freedom that is required for everyone in society to prosper.
Please join us in prayer, to see greed and selfishness decrease and the love and care for others increase.

Greg.

Resisting the doubt.

1:37 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

As I was teaching at bible college on discipleship I went on a tangent and spoke about the spiritual realm and the physical realm just to declare Jesus is above all, stronger is He that is in me then he that is in the world.
It's odd that we listen to our problems, our doubts, our worries when we are able to simply declare that everything will be alright "because I walk with the victor!"

I went on to speak about finances as they are a great indicator of our spiritual health, do we control our finances or do they control us?
Living by faith as we do is a constant test, yet we to need to be reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness. We have never run out of food, clothes or housing as a family, yet God's direction for us still provokes the "what if?", and "how will God provide?" doubt within me.
This doubt can cause us to cling onto what we have, where instead we should remain generous just as God is generous toward us.
I know people who go without daily yet I have to remind myself that I serve the living God who provides for all my needs. Just as I am faithful to serve, He is faithful to provide.
I believe the financial worry I currently have needs to be countered with an increase of generosity, I am looking for things to give away that will assist the people I give them to. Please pray I hear my own teaching and don't cling to what I have but remain generous toward others.
I don't like to write about the ways we are generous because it feels like boasting, but many of you partner with us so you deserve to know, as you are being generous to us and through us. We are currently helping people to set-up in business that will provide a better than average income for themselves, as well as providing a much needed service to the community. We are helping someone to obtain their driver's licence which will open up income opportunities for them.
We about to start a new programme in the public schools which will include fun, moral education and a snack for the kids. Please also pray that this will get through the Government's red tape. I have been assured it will be right to go next week.

Greg.

Green drought

3:16 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

It's been a tough wet season in Mozambique. In our district the first rain came in December as expected, but no follow up rain fell causing the first crops of maize to fail. The second rains came about 2 weeks late to save the first crop but provided the moisture for the people that had resources to plant a second time. Those crops have had mixed success, some of our neighbours have tall maize but it lacks grain, so they face a "green drought", meaning there is water in the wells, grass in the field but no grain to eat. Other farmers have grain but the quantities will not be known until after harvest in a few weeks time. A maize mill in our district is predicting only 50% of what they need, to be sourced locally this year, usually they have surpluses.
Please pray that the Mozambican people have enough maize to get them through the year, and that those that have, will assist those in need.
Neighbouring African countries have also had a bad maize crop this year contributing to the problem. The closest countries with a surplus of maize seems to be South America which will not be assistance to a subsistence farmer.

1st photo an abandoned maize crop

2nd photo poor maize crop with millet planted in it.

3rd no return for their effort this year.