One verse: "Why should I fear when the Lord is on my side? Why should I fear when He stands by my side? He is to me, my comfort & my strength. Tell me why should I fear?"
I just had gone with 3 friends to see a farming project that was providing income generating crops to people in need -- families that needed a champion. The leader of the project's daughter, Hosanna, was along for the ride. As we all silently rumbled along in the car, overwhelmed by the need, she just started singing this little song. :) As I teared up, I showed her the voice recorder. She sang it again. Then, I gave it back to her, pressed play, and without really realizing that the voice on the other end was her own -- she joined the voice in singing. Meeting Hosanna and hearing her little song was a definite highlight for me.
I saw unspeakable things on this trip that will take me months, perhaps years, to talk about. Things done to kids that made me cry and wonder HOW someone could possibly rationalize against the core-fibers of who we are as people. For now, I ask for prayers of healing for those kids, those that are trying to help them, and also for my heart and mind.
The tragedies I see continue to mount the closer people feel to me. The level of intimacy between myself and some friends there now is both beautiful and scary at the same time. Pray that I draw love, not hardness of heart.
As I begin reflecting on the trip, I'm humbled by the moments of unspeakable love -- moments when I experienced what I believe to be the best of humanity -- those moments that I'll savor and, in time, try to communicate the experience to you all. For now, the best I am able to write without bursting into tears (again) is that our God reigns. Someday, He will redeem all of this! Until that time, let me be among the many to tell you that love & depth of compassion are alive and kicking in Zimbabwe & Zambia.
This trip, Remmy, Fibion, and I became a team -- the highlight of the trip. It was only the 2nd time for Remmy & Fibion to meet in person. But, after nearly 3 weeks of traveling with someone, you begin to know them quite well. For this development alone, the trip was worth it!
As you may know, Remmy (Zambia) & Fibion (Zimbabwe) serve as our Program Directors in Africa. Throughout the trip, I had each of them lead some of the meetings, make the introductions and set the stage for what we want to accomplish. Sometimes, I would just silently and smile as I listened to them talk -- it was as if I was listening to myself talk about the mission, vision and values of Forgotten Voices. As the leader of our small start-up non-profit, that was VERY fulfilling to see that the tone and principles are becoming ingrained. Things I used to write in my basement on paper in the early days were now echoing through the mouths of pastors in Africa. VERY cool!
But it doesn't stop there!!! We also looked at 8 different potential church projects in Zambia that would assist about 500 kids, as well as build economic opportunity for some saints that are choosing to take care of these kids - even when no would be more convenient.
In Zambia - I also learned about patience -- something I learn (or perhaps relearn) every time I come to Africa. When I was at my worst and lost my cool after driving for 14 hrs in a day, some strangers helped me remember what it means to love (my truck sinking story tomorrow).
In Zimbabwe - i fell in love again with a country that everyone seems to scoff at these days. Despite unspeakable challenges, friends of mine (old & new) press on "making a plan" to literally survive another day. Despite inflation, raw sewage & cholera reeking havoc on health systems, and a completely incompetent government (that legally fails to exist), the people press on.
In the coming days, I hope to share some snapshots of the trip.
1) Tomorrow (Monday) - Truck sinking & compassion
2) Tuesday - Chicken offering & Zimbabwe
3) Wednesday - zambia highlights
4) More to follow...
Peace, love, and joy from the states (finally),