This year’s team of nine:
L-R: Elaine, Hannah, Ruth, Keanna, Karen, Gail, Barry, Steve, Barb
Saturday May 18th
Today started a little earlier than our normal mornings here in Zimbabwe. The VOH organized a 10Km Walk as a fundraiser for feeding programs and we took part. The walk started at 7am and ended around 10am. There was a great turn out with over 200 participants! Karen and Keanna led the little ones in a 2.5 km walk down the road dressed as clowns. They handed out over 100 balloons to the students (both big and small). The rest of the team went for the 10km and upon the finish line were told that they actually walked 11.9 as per the course. It was a great time of connecting, and also some alone time to digest our trip thus far. Once we wrapped up there we headed over to an outdoor market to do a little shopping before enjoying a relaxing afternoon at home. We are feeling the early morning, as we have all seemed to crash over the course of the day. We just wrapped up dinner (at around 8pm) and are starting on Burger preparations for tomorrow as we are hosting all of the leadership staff for lunch after church, as well as tiding the house for our guests. We are praying for a restful night and a wonderful Zimbabwean day as one of our last few here. Please continue to pray for our team as the cold seems to be passing through the house.
Tune in on Thursday May 16 at 8:40am to CFOS Bayshore Broadcasting to here the update direct from Zimbabawe
Wednesday May 15th
Once again this morning had us parting in different ways – however today the difference being – that at some points we had no idea where the rest of our team was. Karen, Hannah, Elaine and Ruth started the morning of with a health talk at the clinic; they touched on food handling safety, oral health, sexual health and breast cancer screening. Many local women showed up and appreciated the talks immensely. Gail, Keanna and Barb headed over the Beta Bricks for the feeding program and appreciated the time with the kids from Day camp last week. We brought with us 2 new metal wash basins for the program. Steve spent the day working on shelving and Barry as always was on the run being pulled in many different directions. Come 11am Gail, Keanna, Hannah, Barb, and Barry took off with a few of the VOH staff members to see a few different schools that have CPP children, to get their pictures and connect with them. It was a good perspective to see how the different schools operate and the similarities or differences between them and the VOH. At this time Karen went to spend time with the house mothers and Elaine and Ruth had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on Ruth’s sponsored child’s class. We then met up for lunch at 12:45 before tackling our last day of day camp for the remainder of our stay. It was a blessed time and went remarkably well. Barry and Hannah planned a scavenger hunt and we spoke on the topic of Boldness as it relates to the story of Queen Esther. We arrived home at 5pm to prepare supper with again no power or water but had a very good meal – and as Karen would say “This squash makes my mouth sing” The squash came up again in her highlight reel for the day. We are remarkably tired today, and a few members of the team are coming down with a scratchy voice. Please pray for Sleep (especially for Barry) and over sickness. We claimed health over this home in prayer tonight. Tomorrow our day starts early – leaving at 7am - as we take the morning to visit Imire with Pastor
Zowa and his wife.
Tuesday May 14th
Today was a refreshingly tame day. Part of our team took off to Beta Bricks this morning to participate in the feeding program there. It was incredibly encouraging to hear the children continue to chant “Glory to God.” It was a new experience for a few, and remarkably eye opening to see these kids in a different circumstance than Day camp. The rest of the team will head over tomorrow morning. Steve worked on several projects all day, including the painting of the shelves he faithfully has worked on, and creating new doors for the homes. Barb and Gail took pictures and presented gifts to the CPP children from their sponsors. Keanna and Gail then headed over to the clinic to help with “Baby day” while Karen went and had devotion with the mothers. Day 2 of Day camp at VOH didn’t go quite as we expected – we will be making adjustments for tomorrow. They learned today that they are “KIND” through the story of the “Good Samaritan”. We estimate having had 160 children. We are planning a fun filled last day with them tomorrow for Day camp – and a scavenger hunt is in the making as I type this. Steve and Barry recorded another Radio interview today. We are unsure as to when it will air on CKNX in Wingham 590AM, but will keep you informed. It was a slower day as we become more comfortable with the routine of being at the village. We are looking forward to a slightly fuller one tomorrow.
Monday May 13th
Today felt gloriously long, each moment was memorable and impactful. This morning we hosted 15 ladies at the house for tea, lunch, cake, crafty fun and singing. Each woman uniquely special – decorated a bag to keep, we then filled it with many goodies. Each lady also received a shirt and a monetary gift. These ladies are incredible strong, faith-filled and Christ centered. A wonderful time was had by all. The fact that struck most of us however was what a well oiled machine our team became when preparing for this event – it was truly incredible. We ate quickly with the ladies before heading off to VOH to host Day camp there. We had around 100 students today, something that cannot even be compared to our Day camp last week. We have settled into our roles now and enjoyed teaching the kids that “We have faith” through the telling of the story of Daniel. We had a few bumps, but nothing more than first day chaos. Barry, Keanna and Tete, then had a brief phone interview for the radio station. The segment will air on 98 the Beach and CFOS at 10:40 am either on Tuesday or Wednesday (your time!) We have another one scheduled for tomorrow. We had a wonderful time at the homes tonight, sharing meals with 4 of the houses, songs were sung, games were played and memories made. Truly I couldn’t tell you more than that, our debriefing this evening was short as a wave of exhaustion seems to have settled on the house – do not fret, it is a good feeling – that of satisfaction on a day well had. We still have no electricity or water, and our wifi is not working so you will likely receive this a day late. But on a better note – the generator is now working! Please pray for renewed strength for this
Sunday May 12th
Refreshing, would be the right word for today. We tackled mother’s day with much zeal. We started with the kids at 8am working on cards to hand out during the service. Come 9am Church was in full swing. The Men’s choir led this morning to give the ladies a break, there was presentation of the cards, every mother received a “Best MOM” mug, and we had 2 presentations by the students. Pastor Keanna was then sent to teach the grade 5-6 Sunday school, while the rest enjoyed today’s sermon. We then went home for lunch before the power and water shut off again. Barry and Barb stayed behind for a sessions with the oldest students. At around 3pm- A bunch of us headed out to the market for a brief look around before picking up 2 dinner guests to share the evening meal. We enjoyed our BBQ’d meal by flashlight and ended the evening with a round of singing praise songs. It was a slow day filled with naps, reading and a much needed deep breath before we tackle several things tomorrow – in the morning the House mothers and a few other special ladies will be joining us for a celebration before day camp at the VOH at 2pm. We spent a few moments this evening appreciating the strengths and gifts that God has placed upon each and every team member. We see God’s hand at work amongst our team and praise him for each unique quality. We are wishing all of our mothers a very special mother’s day, and sending you love from afar! Sorry you will be receiving this a little delayed – we had no wifi either!
Friday and Saturday May 10th & 11th
7 days. We just wrapped up our 7th day here in Zimbabwe and it was a memorable one! Yesterday morning started with painting the shelves Steve has been working on. We then headed to Beta Bricks for our last day of VBS (we will be back again next week for the feeding program). It was an incredible day of overall success. We taught them of Jesus Love, and as the day wrapped up – we truly felt that they knew and understood that fact. The headmaster had them pray before we left and it was a truly wonderful and joyous sound. When we were driving away the kids walking home were chanting “Glory to God” just as we had taught them in the last 4 days. We loved getting to know all 600 precious students, and would do it all over again in a heartbeat, late nights and all! Last night 23 kids from the Vimbainesu Children’s home came to stay the night at VOH. We expected them to arrive around 4 but they did not make an appearance until around 8pm, due to the crazy lines for gas that sometimes wrap around several city blocks. They arrived just in time to finish off the movie “Joseph King of Dreams” and then settled into the 9 homes for the night. We started out day on Saturday at 7 am doing togetherness activities with the kids before breakfast. This time was central to the topic of Trust – trusting God and trusting one another. They then continued off to breakfast before meeting with us again, where we divided into 9 groups and practiced skits to perform at noon for their peers. All of the topics were bible stories, and despite the vast age range that was represented in each group – they did a wonderful job! We had judges, and even performed one as a team; a great time was had before lunch! Following lunch we divided into older and younger groups; the older children went to a session with Barry, Karen, Steve, and Hannah. During this time they focused on the topic of “Overcoming.” Hannah shared her testimony which impacted many, Karen did a short presentation on the restoring of hearts which was a huge hit, Steve was moved to pray with every student, and Barry challenged them as he always does. During this time the younger children made bracelets, got tattoos and balloon animals and overall enjoyed the company of new faces as they played together. We parted ways at around 4pm after providing each child with a freezie, a bag of popcorn and a cookie. It was a long but relaxing day, as we like to say that anything under 600 kids is a breeze now! We spent the evening with the family that lives on the property where we are staying, taking them out for pizza and ice cream to bless and appreciate them. We are turning in a little early to stock up on our rest before Monday! Tomorrow morning we are off to church for 8am to make mother’s day cards with those from the surrounding area before church. (the VOH students have already done this and will be giving their cards to their mothers and aunties tomorrow at church) We hope that you all enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon just as we will!
Thursday May 9th
Today was full of incredible mountain top highs and we do mean full! We enjoyed presenting the medical supplies to the clinic this morning (a few shed tears) , doing chores for the mothers, tackling another day at Beta Bricks, making secret mother’s day cards with all of the VOH children, and having meals in 5/9 of the homes. We will visit the other 4 next week. Truly, almost every team member had an amazing story today of life changing conversations being had with the people of Zimbabwe. Whether with a secondary VOH student, a long time sponsor, a group of grade 3’s at Beta Brick’s, a mother of great faith, or the quiet boy in home 4. The smiles and understanding that passed through the language barrier today was miraculous. A highlight being, having ALL 600 Beta Bricks students singing “Every move I make” (even if only the NA NA NA part). They used their hand clickers that we poured so much time into, and they ended up being a huge success. Today had its challenges just like every other, but we discussed the fact that we did not come on this trip to be comfortable. Time and Time again we ask for a stretching and growing of faith, and the lord provided that this week in the faces of 600 little boys and girls. We are doing things we never thought God would ask of us, and thought we never had the skills for. But in our weakness, God our Father is made strong. We do not need to understand them (this may be a laughing matter sometimes.) and they don’t even need to understand us, but we pray with all of our hearts that through our hands, feet, words, and actions that they would understand the heart of their father who loves them far beyond what they could ever ask or imagine. We pray that tomorrow as we dive into our last shared day with these precious students, that they would recognize this as more than a few days of fun; but that the impact that each and every activity had, would be life changing. You will most likely not receive an update again until Saturday as we dive into the busiest day of our week. We will again assist the mothers before heading off to Beta Bricks, before returning to greet the approx. 25 students coming from Vimbainesu for the evening to then run home for a quick dinner. We have a fun filled movie night planned, complete with popcorn for the children at VOH and Vimbainesu. After the big “Sleepover” we will have them engaged in a variety of activities until around 3:30 on Saturday. We will check in again after that. All the prayer letters given to our team members have been a great encouragement and we thank you for your voices standing in prayer as we minister to the people of Zimbabwe.
Wednesday May 8th
Today felt long. It was incredibly rewarding but if you were to ask any team member, at this moment in time - they would say just that. Ask them a few hours ago or tomorrow and they will tell you every little detail, from the smiles, the cheers, the hugs, the shared stories and building of relationships. The day started just like all the rest, breakfast, a bumpy car ride to VOH and then a shared devotion by one of the 9 team members. - Today Elaine did an incredible job on our time of sharing! We then parted ways and went to assist the house mothers with their chores, doing everything from Ironing, folding, washing clothes, windows and floors, as well as the occasional game of hide and seek with the little ones. We had the most incredible time of sharing with the mothers and hearing their stories, the women are strong, faith-filled and wise. We then went to an early lunch at 11am to make it in time for VBS at Beta Bricks from 12noon- 2. Today we had 500 students, and gosh was it amazing. We will not lie as to say it wasn’t just a little overwhelming for our 9 team members and 6 VOH volunteers, but the eternal impact cannot be beat. It was difficult but we have re-assessed and will again change the routine for tomorrow to better handle even more students! Each team member will tell you that they wouldn’t take back that time spent pouring into the kids for anything – something we had to remember around the 10pm mark when we were still preparing the craft for tomorrow. We realised that we had to make the whole craft for them so that they could simply colour as it was the only part they could really understand and handle. The reward will be worth it! We made 740 hand clickers tonight and finished around 11pm. fortunately, there will be no more craft prep for the remainder of our stay as the rest is simply making copies. Tonight’s update will be a little bit shorter as we are headed to bed. Tomorrow we are off to the clinic for a presentation and will spend the evening in the homes sharing a meal at VOH. We are all excited to spend this time together. In simply amazing news – the water came back on today!! Though most are too tired to take a shower now, this is a huge relief. We had however started to bond over the lack of water and truly had worked our way around the obstacle. We count it a blessing to be so inconvenienced while serving in Zimbabwe. If you so remember to pray for us around 7am for the start of our VBS at Beta Bricks we would truly appreciate it – that they would recognize and understand the love their father has for them, and make it resonate in their hearts. We try faithfully to do so while we have a split second with each child but as they say – “The more the merrier!”
Tuesday May 7th
I know that you all want to hear about Day Camp today with the estimated 600 students, but I’m going to make you wait. We still have no water but the power did return before we turned in for bed last night- praise the Lord. We have started washing our hair with a bucket of water, a few of us however will wait a few more days, we don’t notice the smell anymore. J We started off the day a little earlier so that we could greet the kids back for their first day of school for the term. We then had morning devotion and discussion at 8am, followed by the parting of ways for the team. Barb and Ruth spent the morning at the medical clinic weighing babies and observing HIV testing. Barry and Keanna spent the morning on the run preparing for the day camp, making extra copies and getting supplies from the VOH to take to Beta Bricks. Steve made 1.5 shelves today – as that will be his main morning job over the course of our stay. While Ruth, Gail, Hannah and Elaine attending the house mother’s prayer and devotion morning. They came back with incredible stories and touched hearts. We then were served lunch, which was graciously prepared by some of the house mothers, and tasted absolutely delicious.
Day camp started at 1:30; however we arrived just after 1, with the 9 of us plus Pastor Jani, Tete Zharare, and 6 secondary school students. When we arrived all of the students were outside for an assembly, the older students then returned to class and the students in grades 1-3 followed us to a nearby field. We had roughly 382 students today. We started by introducing ourselves and singing a few songs. We then parted into 3 groups for crafts, games and bible story. Today’s theme was on Faith as we discussed Daniel and the Lion’s den. The kids had so much fun decorating their craft but struggled with the folding, because of this we ran over time – every time! We set out to fix that for tomorrow, and prepped as much of the craft as we possibly could tonight. We started at 4:30 and finished around 9:30 with a brief break for dinner. We made 536 paper plate crowns fastened with ribbon that the kids will colour and decorate tomorrow to go alongside our Queen Esther Story. We struggled with the language barrier, as these students are not taught in English. We managed with the wonderful help from the people of VOH and look forward to the next 3 days with them – all with much simpler crafts, story-telling and a little less game prep. We recognized that most of our time is spent rallying the 100+ kids per group into moving to the next station, as well as getting them actually started on the activity. We learned a lot and were prepared to adapt accordingly. The team had a wonderful time, and unanimously agreed that seeing the kids face when they finished their lion puppet that “Roared” was the absolute best part of the day – and worth the controlled chaos that it was. The camp will start at 12noon and go to 2 o’clock upon request from the school today, for the rest of the week. Pray for multiplied rest as we are pretty spent, and another wonderful morning, as we again assist with the house chores. We are off to bed!
Monday May 6th
Last night, we had the wonderful privilege of attending Mrs. Zowa’s birthday party, it was incredible to witness the outpouring of love for her from her friends and family as a direct result of her heart tuned in with God. A loving, caring and selfless person whom some of us had just meant, already touching our hearts through the wonderful speeches done by both her kids and close friends. It was a highlight for sure!
Monday, a blessed day; would be the easiest way to put it. It was a day of learning, mishaps, and forged friendship. It started at 8 am at the village of Hope gathering with the staff there for morning -prayer and devotion. We had a brief meeting with Pastor Zowa before our “Sink or swim” moment as Hannah would call it. Those who were free were sent to a house mother to assist wherever they could, some washed windows, hand washed clothes, waxed floors or simply occupied children to allow the house mother to accomplish what she needed done. We walked in with open hearts to say “yes” to whatever was asked of us. It was so wonderfully fulfilling. We then had a brief lunch and sharing before heading back to the homes to color some puzzles. We brought white puzzles with the words “You are Unique and make us Complete – Ephesians 2:10” on them that the kids were to colour a puzzle piece, however they liked and then complete the puzzle together. We stressed that each one of them was uniquely made by God and played an important role in this family – and the results were masterpieces. We will glue them together and hang them in their homes.
The afternoon had us split in location. Barry and Keanna went to Beta Bricks to look around in preparation for the next 4 days of VBS/ Day camp. We knew that we would have grades 1-3, however were not prepared for the astonishing number of 200 kids per grade = an outstanding 600 students. We were told that not all of them would be there for the first week back but that we should be prepared. The team’s response was breathtakingly gracious; we would adapt and work it out together. We had only brought craft supplies for 350 and would clearly need to do some shopping! We then got home to prep dinner and not 3 minutes in did the power go out. If you are keeping track you will now know that we have no running water, the power is out, and we have to prep for 600 students tomorrow; but the team again rallied and responded the best way – laughter, we were having more fun than ever! Our 2nd dinner meal in Zimbabwe – reheated KFC. We remarked that if this had happened at home our initial reaction would be frustration, but here, there is nothing that can frustrate us. Our perspective has shifted. We don’t have running water or electricity but that people we are ministering to probably don’t either, 600 students is only 3 grades of the beta bricks school; under half. They still praise God, we still praise God. It seems everything has a bright side and we have found it.Sunday May 5th @ 2pm in Harare
“Give them mercies as they travel – that you would blind eyes and open hearts to these travellers – Amen” Anddid just that! KLM in Toronto and Amsterdam was an absolute breeze and we praise God for that. We had a 1 hour layover in Nairobi, giving us just enough time to go through security and catch the next flight. Over all our travels were uneventful and clearly an answer to our prayers. We continued to breeze through Harare (with all of our luggage!) and arrived at the Norrie’s home around 2:30am. Most were in bed by 4am giving us 3 hours of sleep before our wake up call for church.
Everyone at church was of course, very welcoming and Pastor Zowa shared on the topic of prayer wrapping up their week of prayer gathering. We then toured the village briefly as we were all tiring rather quickly. Our first shared meal in Zimbabwe was a classic – KFC, and we had a wonderful laugh over that. We just now got Wifi set up for the house, however, have no running water at the moment. Please pray that that gets resolved quickly, 20 hours of flight combined with this heat and we could all use a shower! The plan for the rest of this Sunday is grocery shopping, dinner with the Zowa’s and finishing up a few tasks for the kids tomorrow, combined with as many cat naps as possible.
Thank you for your many prayers during our flights we definitely felt them!
Mission Zimbabwe 2019 Team preparing to serve in Zimbabwe
The Mission Zimbabwe 2019 team is presently preparing to travel to the Zimbabwe on May 3rd.. This will be the thirteenth team, sponsored by Hope Community Church in Hanover to travel to Zimbabwe. The team is scheduled to depart on May 3rd and will return on May 21st.
The nine team members are Barb from Dankert Lake, Gail and Steve from Goderich, Elaine, Karen and Barry from Chesley, Ruth from Meaford, and Keanna and Hannah from Hanover.
Daily team updates from Zimbabwe can be followed on this website and on our Facebook page.
Also, there will be an opportunity to hear directly from the team from the Village of Hope:
** 98 The Beach (98.5FM) on Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th
** CKNX (AM920) on Tuesday, May 14th or Wednesday, May 15th
For two weeks the team will be working at the Village of Hope and also visiting a rural orphanage,
Vimbainesu Children’s Home. The team will be supporting the workers and house mothers, organizing a community Vacation Bible School, providing assistance at the medical clinic, providing assistance with maintenance projects, interacting with the children and leaving with much needed items such as school supplies, children’s underwear, bedding and medical supplies.
For two weeks, the team will have the chance to bring hope and love to these children, and perhaps make a real difference in their lives.
Although there have been political changes in Zimbabwe, the economy continues to suffer from widespread poverty (63 % of Zimbabweans are below the food poverty line), unemployment (between 80 and 90%) and infant mortality is also very high at 57 per 1000 live births. The prevalence of HIV and Aids continues to be a major concern. On top of these grim statistics, a recent cyclone has caused many deaths, destroyed many homes and schools and caused widespread flooding.Yet The Village of Hope continues to bring hope. It provides for the physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of orphaned, abandoned and abused children, as well as the needs of the surrounding community. It does this through a school for children from preschool to the end of high school with more than 600 students.
There is a thriving medical clinic which provides free health care to the children, workers and local community. It has nine homes for children housing up to nine children in the care of a loving house mother. As well, there are on-site greenhouses growing fresh vegetables and a local church that serves the community.
Each week day VOH workers go out into the local areas and provide nutritious meals to young children.
Daily team updates from Zimbabwe can be followed on this
website and on our Facebook page.
Also, there will be an opportunity to hear directly from the team
from the Village of Hope:
** 98 The Beach (98.5FM) on Monday, May 13th or Tuesday, May 14th
** CKNX (AM920) on Tuesday, May 14th or Wednesday, May 15th