It has taken me weeks to work up the courage just to sit down and even attempt to put into words what we have experienced lately. I may fail… words may fail… but maybe, just maybe, some of what my heart feels will pour through and touch something inside you…
It was 5 weeks ago that we packed our suitcases and backpacks and camping gear and hit the road at 3am to kick off the drive to Zimbabwe. Much of that first day on the road seems to be a blur to me, I think mainly because we had just finished a busy weekend and we were tired, but also because it was just such a thrill to be contained in a small space with my three best people. We talked up a storm, and savored our time together with not much else to do than enjoy each other. We spent the night in Pretoria and the next morning at 4am we started the 2nd leg of our journey. We drove and prayed and prayed and worshiped and drove and prayed all the way to the border. Four hours after we arrived there, we entered Zimbabwe and we PRAYED and drove and PRAYED and PRAYED and PRAYED. The roadblocks in Zim were no surprise to us, we had received a fair amount of warnings – but they were no less intimidating, and I believe we literally prayed our way through most of them. We slowly made our way to Lake Kyle, just outside Masvingo, and even though we had our first and only encounter with the police on the road late that night, we arrived at our first destination and Peace flooded us as we slept and rested for the days ahead.
The following afternoon after another 5 hours on the road, we reached the small village where Pastor Jairos and his family had prepared our home for the next few days; a small school building which had been emptied out and filled with beds and blankets. After meeting the local chief later that evening, we settled in and had another peaceful nights sleep. The next morning before the sun had even come up properly, we were woken by the smell of smoke and soft sounds of someone preparing a fire outside our “house” – this ritual took place every morning that we were there.
The fire was prepared early enough, and water had been carried from the borehole, and warmed, so that we could wash before the day began. The kindness and servant hood we encountered in these people had us at a loss for words most of the time. We set off to start the prayer visits that had been planned for the day by Pastor Jairos. But he surprised us with a stop at the great Bangala dam which is hidden a few km up in the hills near their village. It was so beautiful, so magnificent, so peaceful.
For the next couple of days we drove into the hills until the bakkie couldn’t go any further, and then we walked further until we reached the homes of people that have stayed so hidden from ‘society’ that our white skin colour sometimes actually frightened their children. While we prayed and ministered, the children would sit at a safe distance and just watch us, some of the younger kids actually started crying when they saw us. Some of them couldn’t wait to touch us, some of them were too afraid. And I hope that when we left, we left behind love. I hope that the peace of the Holy Spirit was so tangible that the fear and uncertainty wouldn’t be remembered, but that they will always remember our smiles, and the gentle tugging of the Spirit, calling them into a living relationship with Him.
All in all our days looked the same, we walked, we prayed, we shared meals at the homes of people we had never met, we walked some more. In the evenings we held crusades, we showed the Jesus film, we worshiped, we prayed, we worshiped, we danced. The kids slept wherever they were when they got tired, they ate whatever they were given, whenever they were given it. And yes, we used any kind of bush or bit of tall grass or tree that presented itself at the time of need for a toilet. Everything was so new, and yet so familiar. I will never forget the feeling I felt one morning as we were walking from one hut to the next… at the foot of these rolling hills… Meeting these people… Sharing Jesus… I couldn’t contain the gratitude in my heart, and as my tears were flowing I just thanked the Lord for bringing me here, with my family, doing what we were doing, with Him, for Him. It felt so surreal, knowing that a year before this moment we had never even imagined that this would be our lives. In the wink of an eye everything changed. He changed everything for us, around us, in us. And He fulfilled a desire so deep in our hearts that we didn’t even know existed – a desire to follow Him everywhere and anywhere. And here we were… anywhere…
We saw people meet Jesus, we saw healings and miracles, we saw hope in and for a nation that has been taught that hope is gone, we saw perseverance in a people who knows that it’s not over, a people who is waiting with great expectation for God to heal their land. One of the moments that touched me to my very core was after the church service on the Sunday morning. It was the day that we left the first village, and they asked to pray for us before we went. A team of ladies gathered around us and laid hands on us and prayed. But one woman knelt down in front of me where I was sitting, she put her hands on my dusty feet, and laid her face down on her hands and prayed for me like I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anyone praying for me ever before. She was praying and crying so passionately that when she stood up and walked away, my feet were wet from her tears. And I felt her prayers rising up inside of me, breaking chains, casting out fear, stirring up Love. And I thought of Jesus, interceding for us… at all times… And I realised again, It’s hardly ever about me. It’s always about Him. It’s always about what He wants to reveal, and to whom He chooses to reveal it. It’s always about His love touching ANYONE, at any time – even me, in a tiny village, at the foot of a hill, in a foreign country that many would call broken. But Hope is alive, never failing, always pursuing, always calling for just one step out of the boat; and stepping onto the waves we see that the water was never an uncertain place at all.
I hope that these pictures would do a better job at describing our journey… I still find myself at a loss for words. But I know that He revealed to us a treasure deep in His heart, a Pocket of Beauty.
Our expenses for this trip has not been covered yet, if you feel that you would like to make a donation towards this trip specifically, please find our bank details on www.pocketsofbeauty.co.za, and reference your payment “Zimbabwe”, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org