Saturday, February 14, 2009

OLZ Iris Hospitality

A candle shines the brightest in the darkest of night.

People are working in all kinds of ways to make a difference in Zimbabwe. I just got permission to repost this email from Lynne in South Africa, who ventured up to Mutare, Zimbabwe this month to deliver much-needed supplies. Here is what she says:
Zimbabwe Outreach

We gathered together, 8 vehicles laden with food and other goodies, all excited about what lay ahead, for some a first trip to Zimbabwe.

Oops, our first flat tyre and we had not even left!! Grace please, Jesus!! A quick fix and off we set, quite impressive 8 vehicles with trailers snaking along the road on mission Zimbabwe. Then the next flat which necessitated a new tyre being bought in Tzaneen, we got to the border behind schedule but still high in spirits!

The border crossing was a test in different ways to all, and 5 hours later we were on the other side. The stars were out but it was not far to a bed, so our weariness was thrown off.

Next morning we set off early after breakfast towards Mutare. The weight we were carrying slowed us down considerably, but it gave us opportunity to take the scenery in and toss easter eggs to the children along the road. The excitement on their faces as they saw the easter bunny was real!! Yes! a little bit of sugar in a country deprived of everything including basic food.
As I looked at this beautiful country, the land where I had given birth to our youngest son, I wept.

"You are beautiful, Zimbabwe. Your landscapes are awe inspiring, your smiles are beautiful and your tenacity to survive in extreme circumstances is unexplainable. God has a plan. Hang in there. We will do our best, but even that is nothing compared to what you are doing for yourselves."

I wish I could put on these pages the beauty we saw as we travelled the eastern escarpment amongst the Chimanimani Mountains. Diamonds have recently been discovered here; what will that bring?? I am now no longer weeping but bleeding as I think of the great potential in this nation, the infrastructure, the best education, hospitals... It is all still here, just abandoned as the government stops paying salaries.

The church has risen to the occasion, and as in the beginning, when schools and clinics were run by missionaries, so we see them going back to the missionaries and churches, as mission doctors go out to treat the sick with what they have, churches take teachers and children into their church buildings to continue with classes, so that they don't roam the streets uneducated. There is food in the stores but beyond most peoples means. Five pairs of shoes in a shop window. The shoe industry has collapsed, there are shops open, but you could fit what is on display into your suitcase and then it is so expensive, few can buy. They smile and wave us on.

One road block after the other, but the officials are friendly and we give them fresh bread, we later discover the road blocks are because of the diamonds, all the locals are searched as they flood to the city trying to sell what they have found in their back yard! De Beers might have set controls in place but there is always someone willing to buy.

The atrocities already going on in the heavily guarded area is not for gentle hearts.

A few kilometers before Mutare, we turn off the road towards a project run by Youth with a Vision, and believe me, these youth have a vision. They have built this quaint Moroccan building they call the Care Centre, out of this they run projects, feeding orphans placed in families, paying school fees (when there were schools), getting the children to make vegetable gardens. They even have a rabbit project with the fanciest rabbit hutch I have ever seen, sort of Moroccan style, built around a rock. Washington and Tabitha proudly show off their workmanship and they live in Harare, coming down to visit as often as possible. The project is left in the capable hands of the local pastor and his youth team.

We offload food for them and the easter bunny shows up again. The children sing for us, we pray for some of the sick and then some nifty reversing with trailers! I sure had some of those men rethinking a lady can't reverse a trailer.

Mutare is a city by Central African standards, very pretty and lush, set amongst rolling hills. The South African family we congregated at, have food and drinks waiting...they had to wait for the sausage in our coolers. Their friendship is welcoming, not phased by our very late arrival, they have been waiting since lunch time and we arrive in the dark. There are no coms so we could not let them know where we were, but they are so used to the lengthy border crossing that they were not concerned, just resigned to waiting.

We visited the church the next day and then went to different locations to do food drops, this was where we met the most amazing people and heard the stories of suffering and hope, one young man, not naive about what they faced, but proud that the true church has not necessarily grown bigger but deeper and stronger and amazingly enough, the youth has grown as Zimbabwe raises a new generation of believers that have not been spoilt by consumerism but have been born into struggle, so don't run back at the first hurdle they see... Oh God why is it that only the burning flames of a hot fire bring out pure gold? You have made pure gold in Zimbabwe and we could drink from their cups.

Yes they need us, but they can teach us so much, we need to take resources to them, so that they can continue to do what God has called them to do.

Every person who responds to God's call is taking His miracle to someone praying. We dare not be disobedient, we need to go, we need to provide, not for our or their sakes but for God's sake, as He is glorified as we go and people see His Kingdom come.

Thank you God, for putting another Nation on my heart. I will not forget the other Nations, but I look forward to the next adventure and I invite you my friends along with me, by either sewing financially if you can't come, or by coming and joining on the next trip as we reach out to touch pure gold!!

Luv u guys
Lynne, Visitor Coordinator, Iris Ministries, South Africa

Finances (For food and fuel)
School materials (exercise books, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers, crayons)
Little spoils for the ladies
Shoes (new, not broken) The men love their smart shoes.
Shoe polish


Aunt LoLo said...

What a great thing you are doing...

perilloparodies said...

Oh, My heart!!! thank you so much for this post... i love how she said, "Oh God why is it that only the burning flames of a hot fire bring out pure gold? You have made pure gold in Zimbabwe and we could drink from their cups." As sad and difficult as it is... I am so blessed, that God is raising up a new and FAITHFUL generation to follow Him. I am encouraged by their perseverance and joy, even in the midst of hardship. May God continue His work as it says in Philippians 1:6... :-)

Jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing this. I am doing what I can here from the USA. Sadly, the plight is not reported on unless I watch the BBC. I need to do more. Thank you.