In 2022 two of our three ZEBS schools
were able to attract new students to replace the graduates who left in 2021 and have grown in number. The interest and enthusiasm from new students is always great to see and very encouraging.
Marianhill, which is the smallest of the 3 schools, has not managed to attract new students this year and will need a concerted effort on our part to market this school for 2023 to keep it going.
We did start the year with a radio ad for ZEBS on Highway Radio which benefitted our schools both in Durban and North Coast. From the ad we were able to refer inquiries to the schools closest to each caller. It seems that most of the new students that the ad attracted were from the northern townships of Durban and North Coast.
The testimonies of students at each school remains a solid indication that ZEBS is a wonderfully blessed means of communicating the word of God to the AmaZioni.
In March I was invited to exhibit ZEMA and ZEBS at our annual church missions conference, which was well attended and attracted much interest in our work in Southern Africa.
This year, Michael Ngcobo and I were delighted to host our first Sunday School Teachers Training event in Botha’s Hill with the help of Carrie Seelhammer and Nozipho Swart. It was very well received and we now have a demand for more of these more often, and this will be planned for 2023.
A highlight for me at the Sunday School Teachers Training was Nozipho’s use of a black baby Jesus in her lesson. That really challenged me in my sensitivity towards cultural perceptions,
The April floods became Durban’s disaster for 2023, and the devastation was definitely hardest felt in the Pinetown, Marianhill and Tshelimnyama areas of Durban. The main road to our Tshelimnyama/Marianhill community and the ZEBS school there was damaged and closed for over two months, forcing the community to have to use a very long route around through other suburbs.
The extent of the toll the floods took on our City was large, and there were not many of us who were unaffected by flooded/damaged houses, roads and businesses. Most students knew of, or were related to, someone who lost their lives. Over 490 people were found dead and many more still reported missing. Many of us experienced power and water supply cuts, which persist in some areas even today. We were able to help some of our students with food parcels during this period. At this point I would like to thank Dan and Greg for bringing our family water and containers when we needed it most.
As a family we also experienced the negative impact on our small business right at the height of on of our biggest seasons in April. The impact on sales income lasted for over 3 months as tourism was heavily affected by closures of infrastructure and beaches.
But, in our Fathers hands we are, and we again were beneficiaries of His great provision just in time. We had entered our small business into Durban’s inaugural Tourism awards at the beginning of the year and in June at a glittering event were chosen as the winners in our category of Best Visitor Experience in Durban. This winning came with a cheque of R50 000, which made up for a lot of our loss that season.
Kim’s involvement with Zema online media is ongoing and she will share that later in the conference. In brief she was involved in the redesigning and maintenance of the 3 ZEMA websites: Zema, Zemasa and Sunbury Campsite. She setup all of the new missionary emails and was also involved in ZEMA’s social media planning.
Her Web development and hosting business has grown this year and God has blessed her with valuable connections in the industry as well as many interesting opportunities.
As for our Children we have seen much growth this year in character development, height, and hair. Our eldest, Jaden has just completed a gap year serving our local church through a course called ROOTS and has registered to study Digital Design at a Durban Design school this year.
Please continue to pray for our support which comes mainly from our small business, and for Jaden’s application for part or full bursary this year.
In His Hands
Jeff, Kim, Jaden, Ryan, Luke and Tori