Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: What do the Fruits of the Spirit Look Like?

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control."  Galatians 5:22

Now please reread that verse and imagine a lot of pep, hand motions, and hip action. Cause that's how it's done Zimbabwe style.  --->>

When Jennifer Bosma came up with her hilarious dance and hand motions to the verse, I don't think she was planning on it being such a hit, but it was. Many of us felt we would never forget the verse and it's reference. I'm sure the children would agree.

God had something special for us in regard to the fruits. Not only had He orchestrated this to be the VBS theme long before our trip, He also showed us each of them while we were in Zimbabwe. Let me show you what I mean...

 

 

 

 

 

L O V E

Each of the team members displayed it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was by playing soccer with the kids, mixing concrete, painting the little girls' nails, lugging water from a stream, or someone speaking words of encouragement to a fellow team member. Love was everywhere.

Love was even displayed by Tyler Craft proposing to his girlfriend, Jami Joyner. Congrats you two!

 

J O Y

It was expressed on every child's face. The simplest things brought them so much joy. On the last day of VBS we took a Polaroid picture of each child for them to keep. All of the children thought it was the coolest thing. Something so simple to us meant the world to them.

 

 

PEACE

It was found in our alone time with God. One morning Thomas Nelson challenged the team to go and spend 30 minutes with God through prayer, reading Scripture out loud, and singing God a song. To be in His beautiful creation with no distractions or noise was truly refreshing.

 

 

 

 

 

PATIENCE

Travel will teach you a lot of patience. Our team had many circumstances where we to had to practice it.  After delayed flights, long bus rides, and too much time to kill in an airport, it was very clear this was something God wanted us to learn.

 

KINDNESS

Chris and Norma Ferguson are beautiful examples of this. Being our host and hostess for the week, they displayed kindness in everything they did. The whole team would tell you what a blessing it was to be around them. Chris prayed with many of us, Norma always made sure we were well fed, and they both invited all of us to come back and stay with them. God's kindness radiated through them.

 

GOODNESS

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Every one of the Zimbabweans had this down pat. Every person we came in contact with was always so good to us. Many of them were happy to welcome us into our home, willing to translate for us, show us around, or help in whatever way they could.

 

 

 

 

FAITHFULNESS

God was very faithful to us, especially making sure we always got where we needed to be, with all our stuff. Even when two suitcase fell out the back of the bus, to no one’s knowledge, until much later. God made sure we got them back. No matter what curveball was thrown at us God always took care of us.

 

GENTLENESS

Each of the team members showed this whenever they were around children. It was always so beautiful to watch them spend time with the kids. Many of the guys played soccer with the kids or chased them around. Many of the girls were so loving and gentle as they held babies. Every one was a beautiful example of Jesus' love and gentleness to children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SELF CONTROL

During VBS, we had team members talk about or act out one of the fruits of the Spirit. When it came to self control AJ Baumenn and Robert Moore acted it out. As AJ told Robert he had to wait to eat his sandwich he jokingly squirmed and whined, but waited and displayed self control. I’m sure the children will always remember what self control is and it will bring a smile to their face.

Zimbabwe: Bikes

What could gather 200+ men, women and children along with a chancellor, local governor and pastor?

Bikes.

Two years ago, a woman from Switzerland visited Morning Star, the farm we have been staying at in Zimbabwe.  She was burdened by the children’s daily journey to school, sometimes taking 3 hours one way.  More so, children are occasionally accosted during their travels.  This woman went back to Switzerland with a mission and she single-handedly raised money for 200 bikes!  She then called World Vision and asked them to match her donations dollar for dollar.  The result?  400 bikes for these children.

Yesterday, 5 of us had the privilege of attending a ceremony where 54 bikes were being distributed to these children.  It was a celebration and a ceremony.  There was music, dancing, speeches and food.  In total, it took 3 hours to celebrate this occasion.

Bikes.

One of the speakers grew up in the area.  He and his 2 brothers were all given bikes to go to school.  With a bike, it took 3 HOURS to ride to school.  He would get up at 4am, before his parents, and return at 7pm.  Repeat.  His two brothers gave up.  However, this gentleman persevered.  He finished primary school and went on to earn his Bachelors and Masters in London.  After his academic studies, he became the headmaster of a private high school in London.  His story is one of success because of…

Bikes.

His speech was incredible, holding everyone’s attention.  He challenged the parents to make sure their children went to school prepared.  He challenged the teachers to invest in these students who should be more alert.  He challenged the students to take care of their…

Bikes.

I have 2 that I seldom use.

It is humbling seeing a people revere an object to this degree when I hardly think of it throughout the week.  It reminds you of the small blessings we take for granted.  Fast transportation.  Available food.  Loving family.  And of course…

Bikes.

 

Zimbabwe: The adventure begins

A trip to Victoria Falls was such a great way to jump start this adventure. We walked along the cliffs getting sprayed by the massive falls and were so stunned by this huge creation of God. We continued on to a safari and saw 3 of the "big five” African safari animals. The giraffe, elephant and hippo!

By the time we got to Chris and Norma’s farm, we already had time together to bond and grow together as a team and a body of Christ. Lots of sharing and prayer over the community.

We got the chance to go to church with the community in Matobo Hills. We shared songs, then they shared songs and then Thomas shared the word. Thomas spoke about the importance of welcoming everyone to see the gospel. Breaking down walls around the church so that it is easier for others to come into a relationship with Jesus.

One of our goals on this trip is to help with the beginning of the Community Center the Fergusons desire to build just on the edge of the farm. Yesterday, we got back from church and some of the city officials were here to look at some of the borders of the community center. It was pretty powerful to be here when prayer was needed. A lot of us throw up prayers for Chris and Norma whenever we think of them, but to be here as the inspectors arrived to gather around at the fire pit was so GREAT!

Today, we are working on a few different projects in the community.

And of course there will be much more climbing   

Zimbabwe: The last day of TIA

There is a saying here T-I-A.

We hear this anytime we are running late, when a tire goes flat, when cookies don't have enough flour in them, when the water stops running, or even when the wifi falls out. We have come to enjoy this saying. We tend to take ourselves a little too seriously sometimes. This saying has kept us flexible and positive when the small things in the day go what we would consider "wrong".

We spent our last day on the fire truck

We've spent the day bobbing up and down, right to left, laughing and sometimes gazing at the landscape lost in thought. Handing out some goodies to friends of Chris and Norma in the community. You can tell when someone remembers Jami from her last visit, because they come running to her in a dance-sprint. These long embraces and cheek-to-cheek grins have absolutely filled us to the brim this week.

Lisa is presenting a towel to one of the sewing ladies reminding them that we love them and Jesus loves them so much more.

Future site of the community center

I am running out of battery and wifi... Catch you guys on the other side of the pond :)

Zimbabwe: Goodbye, Faded Winnie!

Lots of painting today. We had to finish up the walls of the pre school today, because tomorrow they will lay the cement for the floors.

While we started our character painting, Erik took a break from sifting clay to sketch. I looked over his shoulder to find a nice little drawing of what he calls “Coming Home from Church”

We were glad to hear that he really wanted to paint it on the wall.

There was a "Bend Down Boutique" in the church. All of the people in the community got a new piece of clothing if not multiple.

We took a break at lunch to have a stew and sadza meal with the community. And of course the kids had a meal with ORANGES that they love.

After we completed the final touches, we gathered our things and everyone started saying goodbye. Emotions that we didn’t fully expect were all of a sudden unavoidable. There was singing, dancing, hugging and dancing some more. All was obviously in praise for what God has provided for his Zimbabwe and American children. 

Zimbabwe: “We’ll do the same thing tomorrow... only different"

Jami is clearly happy regardless of the tire situation.

This is the rigged tire pump.

We got a slow start this morning because of the low tire pressure, but don’t worry we used a bike pump to get things rolling again.

We visited Emily and she gave us some of her beautiful rugs to bring back with us.

Once we got on our way, we walked around in the community handing out Christmas gifts and praying with them. There was a soap and wash cloths that we put together. We had "Jesus loves you" embroidered on the them before we left.

 

 

That’s "Jesu uyakuthanda" in Ndebele.

We had sports camp day here in the Matobo Hills today.

After the clinic portion of the day, the older kids got jerseys and the little ones got cookies. Then there was a large game of soccer with the new jerseys.

If you know anything about the Joyner family, you will know that this is the most perfect way they could end the day. “Choc Chip cookies” sitting around the table recapping the day.

We want to thank you all that are praying for our time here. We are having lots of good time with the children and the men who are working alongside of us. It is good to see their smiling faces each day as we pull up in Chris and Norma’s firetruck. We are a bit more rested now and we are ready to finish strong with our last day in the community at the pre school tomorrow. We will be putting a little something together for a mural on the walls.

Also, a small child peed on Jami today.

Zimbabwe: “I just nae-naed to a cow bell"

Today we finished some work at the pre-school  and got to play some in the field before we left.

Jon has always got 1 or 2 kids climbing all over him. This kid just happens to be nick named Spiderman.

We had some oranges for our mid morning snack and so of course this happened!

Later today, Lisa told the Christmas story while the children put together sticker pages to go along with it. 

We are lucky to have some strapping young men with us this week.