Aimee and the people at the outreach centre focus on evangelizing one of the country's least reached people groups, the Mungambwe Tribe. Many Mungambwe men have had no formal education and are therefore unable to find employment.
Tchincombe offers internships in carpentry, crop and cattle management, auto mechanics and horsemanship. Each Mungambwe man who comes to live on Tchincombe either to work or to learn brings his whole family with him and Aimee and the staff have a wonderful opportunity to reach them all for Christ.
Segunda is a Mungambwe man who has worked with me in the horse ministry since the very beginning. He has become a good friend and an important person my life so I want all of you to "know" him too. His name is Segunda in Portuguese, Kambwela in Olungambwe. He is a member of the Mungambwe Tribe. When I asked him his age he says he's not sure, so he says 30-something but he reckons he could figure it out if he really had to.
Segunda is my right-hand-man in the horse program. Way back five years ago when we were just getting started he was chosen from the farm staff because he seemed to have a natural affinity for animals.
At that point he had no experience with horses, his work habits were very questionable (he needed constant supervision and direction and took every available opportunity to go to sleep in the shade of a tree), and he and his family seemed to have quite a low social standing in the village. Segunda himself is an extremely short person who walks with a bit of a limp. His wife is also tiny and has a lazy eye and some vision problems. As a family they seemed to have a very low sense of their self-worth.
Segunda was often the target of jokes and teasing from the other farm workers and herdsmen and this got worse rather than better when he first began working for me. I was teaching him horsemanship as a trade, so that includes everything humane horse training techniques to equine first aid.
One day I noticed that he was very depressed about something and I finally asked him to tell me what was wrong. "Well," he said, "The other men were laughing and telling me that I'm not a real man because I am working for you, a woman."
"Is there anything I can do to make it easier for you?" I asked.
"No." he replied with an expression of grim determination on his face, "The things that I am learning from you about horses will help me from the rest of my life. Later I will be able to get a job when they can't. They are wrong in their way of thinking and the only way to convince to convince them is to show them."
My respect for him grew by leaps and bounds that day.
We have also had many conversations about Christianity and faith. Once during that first year he told me, "Oh yes. I am a Christian. I can sing all the songs!" Many conversations followed about what makes a person a Christian and what doesn't. Now he comes quite regularly to our Sunday church services. His family is on firmer financial ground, his wife is a sporadic attender of our ladies Bible studies, and his growing group of children participate in Sunday school.
Segunda has also decided to give up drinking. He says that he has decided that drink is a waste of money and it makes people do things that are not good for them. The last time he visited his home village the other guys gave him the nickname of "Gazoza". Gazoza is the word for a soft-drink and whenever they offered him a beer he would respond, "Thank you, no. I will have a gazoza."
Segunda is now fully capable of halter-training the foals, trimming hooves, and doing basic saddle breaking of the young horses and his standing in the community has changed.
He was always treated a bit like a second class citizen before and now he is received with more respect. He holds his head up and the others listen to him when he speaks.
And yet, in spite of all of these positive changes he says that he is still not totally decided whether or not he really wants to follow God. Some months ago our pastor sat down for a serious chat with him about it and Segunda's response was that he was "still thinking about it."
Please pray for him and his wife Fatima! He is at a point where he is ready to take on more responsibility and with new and exciting ministry possibilities opening before us it will be necessary for me to hand off more and more of the breeding and basic training to him. ...and yet, we are not just running a farm. We are running a Christian ministry.
How much can he enter into the real heart of our work or into a role of more leadership if he has not yet decided whether or not to follow Christ?
Please remember Segunda when you pray this month, both for our horse ministry and for himself because it really is time for him to stop "thinking about it" and make a decision to fully accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.