After just two days, Zimbabwe has already been a great blessing to LeAnn and me. The hospitality, the friendliness, and the commitment of the people to the church and to Jesus have been striking. Much of the work of the trip begins tomorrow, but even these short hours have made a difference in our lives.
To be honest, our arrival in Harare late Thursday evening after 24 hours of travel brought some fear to me. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, and I wasreally tired. I also had no idea what time it should be in Largo or Harare, but the face of Sidyne Mavodza, the principal of the college and a friend because of his visit to Crossroads a couple of years ago, was a welcome sight. Sidyne got us settled into the guest quarters and allowed us to rest.
Friday morning, LeAnn and I had the great opportunity to attend chapel at the college. I wish I could share the worship with you. I did take some video that I will share when I return. The singing was so moving for both of us. After worship. we had a Q&A session with the students. Their questions were always insightful and sometimes quite challenging, especially when they began to quiz me on my opinions on US politics. Wasn’t exactly expecting that.
After tea, we had a second chapel time outside. They all insisted that it was too hot inside, so we moved out under the trees. I told them I usually only get to speak outside unless it’s a funeral so this was nice. Hopefully, I said something meaningful.
LeAnn is far more popular on campus than me because much of the college staff lives on campus and LeAnn has attracted all of the kids. They are amazing because they have little or nothing to play with and are thrilled with someone to play London Bridge, Dance Around Together (Ring Around the Rosie), and Look Inside Can the Lion Bite You (strangely enough played like Duck, Duck, Goose). They all come running when we walk out the door. Sometimes, they come to our window to draw us outdoors.
Today, Sidyne took us to the spot where his church currently meets just outside Harare. It’s basically a shelter that they cover each week with plastic and bring in plastic chairs. The things we (and that includes me for sure) complain about facilities somehow don’t seem so important. This is a very impoverished area, and they still managed to raise $11,000 to put a down payment on their land and are hoping to build a building to seat 600 there. Amazing.
We went to downtown Harare afterward and at chicken and chips, which was delicious but was also quite a contrast from the poverty we saw earlier in the day. We had a long discussion about the college and the church in Zimbabwe, which only served to make me proud that our church is involved in this ministry. During supper, I mentioned to Sidyne that I had noticed only two students wearing glasses, and chances are, in a group of 65 people, more than two need glasses. What I feared was true. Glasses are just too expensive to buy. So, they get headaches and struggle to read the chalkboard.
Off to bed and up tomorrow to drive 100 km to preach in another village. When I say drive, I don’t mean me. I couldn’t drive 1/4 mile here without hitting something. Traffic is nuts. LeAnn will share with the children and will no doubt be remembered far longer than me.
I have already been able to give the college many books and a computer through the donations of many generous people at Crossroads. Hope tomorrow is a great day there.
I was hoping to add pictures, but internet is very sketchy here. Words will have to suffice!