Monday, June 17, 2013

Welcome Home!

Sometimes things in life catch you so offguard it changes your whole perspective of the world, or what we've been taught in the last few weeks, our world vision.  For our team of 13, the months of preparation, for working in various orphanages had us ready for the worst.

Now for the typical person, whenever you hear "Africa" and "orphans" in the same sentence I'm willing to bet the flashbacks get to rolling of TV commercials displaying malnourished, potbellied children, living amongst a village of thatch huts and flies.  We did, anyway.  The Zimbabwe we've come to know as our new garden ripe for cultivation for the Kingdom, though, is quite different.

Our arrival in Africa greeted us with an airport landing in the middle of the African bush, the first big thrill of our journey, might I add.  As we made way to our new home, we instantly became concerned that we'd landed in the wrong country, as the homes we began to encounter became more elaborate than those of small town America, minus the 8 foot concrete gates that secure every inch of property.  Although the orphanages we would come to call our own homes aren't quite 3 story mansions, they were far from the mud wall, grass roofed structures we were expecting. Amidst the surprise of a sense of normality to big-city African life, however, the need in this place is rapidly becoming an ever present sense of the urgent reality.


Home for the next 2 months

Our days thus far have been spent observing perhaps the most beautiful image of the Body of Christ many of us here have ever experienced.  The role of the Church is no longer confined to a building (partially because many of the churches don't have one!), and it's purpose as defined by Scripture is clearly and enthusiastically fulfilled, even from those churches who number no more than ten people to a service.  Twice a week, we work in a soup kitchen established by Bulawayo Baptist Church.  Each Thursday consists of  50 minute trip in the back of a truck into the heart of the bush to minister to those living in a government mandated relocation camp, home to former squatters who once lived homes composed of little more than sheet metal.  The vast majority of our time, apart from the occasional visit to a pediatric ward in one of the local hospitals, is spent with the children in the orphanages we've come to know so well in less than a weeks time. 

Emma Taylor, Amanda Adkinson and Lacey James in our kitchen

I think it can be said for anyone who work's with kids in ministry, that from day one, they can teach you as much, if not more, than you can teach them.  God doesn't just use us that have traveled thousands of miles to teach people, but can use the very people we're meant to aid and to minister to.  And He has been doing just that.  As we've been have been challenged in more than just a few ways this past week, God has been showing us what it really means to be bold.  In going through the book of Acts, our team has realized what the standard is for boldness, to which Paul is the greatest contender we have yet seen.  Anything less can be defined as having a sense of timidity.  One of our biggest prayer requests in going out this summer is to be that boldness the world so desperately needs, and God deserves.  One of the many songs we have sang with our children this week, "This Little Light of Mine", says, "hide it under a bushel, NO!, I'm gonna let it shine."  God has allowed even a child's song that most of us have sung since the age of 5 to speak volumes to us this past week, again, all in an effort to make us truly bold.