Dare to Share with Zimbabwe

Dare to Share Working Trip December 2 - December 31, 2007

Jonathan will spend 4 weeks working with Dare to Share staff in Zimbabwe researching medical clinics, working farms and schools. Follow the journey here as he blogs from Zimbabwe.

Friday December 7, 2007
The Tales of Travel

Well Jonathan and Brian made it safe and sound to Zimbabwe. It is good to be home! You will all have to ask Jonathan about his detour through Saudi Arabia. I think he found his new favorite airline.

No one in Zim knew either of us was coming. We had a great time surprising everyone in various ways and places. We got the reactions on video tape. It will make for some great viewing.

Brian was able to spend a few hours with Ringstone, Jonathan’s brother and get the real skinny on what Jonathan was like. He is taking money for anyone that wants to know. The evening was spent pretty much just reconnecting with everyone!!!!!!!!


Saturday December 8, 2007
Time for a BBQ

It is truly the rainy season here in Zim. The rains have been long and soaking. We really could use some of this rain back in North Carolina. The temperature has been very nice, somewhere around the mid to low seventies. It will rain for a while for a few hours, then a quick burst of the sun, then back to rain.  Jonathan most assuredly has African blood as he is walking around with a jacket.( from Jonathan’s own mouth he says, you can take me out Africa but you can’t take the African out me)  Brian could not be happier with the temp. Just like a spring day back in NC.

The morning was off to a slow start as Brian is still trying to get used to the time change. Today was a day to share with the Dare to Share office staff and some group of extended family and friends. We held a braai (barbeque) in the afternoon, so much of the morning was spent running errands (looking for the things we needed), more like a treasure hunt, for the bbq.

Brian was also able to spend some time with Mhere and catch up on how school and life is going. The bbq was meant to start at 3 but did not get going until 4. Actually not too bad on getting started a little late being on African time and all. Of course we had to play what is becoming the annual pick up soccer game. Soccer in the pouring rains of Africa. Brian was in heaven!!!! This is starting to become a tradition. It was great to see Sam (wire artist) and the rest of the guys. What a great spirit everyone over here has. They are so welcoming and a joy to be around.

The evening was spent catching up on Dare to Share business and spending time with the staff. We were able to give them the new Dare to Share shirts they will be wearing each day for work. What a great reaction. They were so appreciative. They received a shirt for each color in the Zim flag. Each color also coincides with the Dare to Share programs.

Black for housing/church
Red for Medical Programs
Yellow for Feeding Programs (yes Robin we can tell it is a fish)
Green for education

We will send post of picture of the team in them later. We also taught Judy one of the new staff members how to play UNO. Adrienne, watch out she is giving us all a run for our money!!! It was a very long day filled with activity so everyone was on their way home by about 9:30.Guess we will wrap this up and talk to you all tomorrow.

Sunday December 9, 2007
Not So Bright Eyed

Well I guess it was nice to have a good night sleep the first night because last night was a whole nother subject. Bedtime was about 10 pm. Brian woke up about 1 am and could not get back to sleep. JD woke up about an hour later with the same problem. Time changes…uggghhhh. They ended up talking for the next three hours about the ministry and different ideas. At least the time was productive. About five in the morning JD got the idea to call his wife and talk. So JD, Brian and Robin had a good chat at 5 am Zim time.
We headed off to church about 10 am over in Epworth. It is a very interesting setting. The church has no walls and is right smack dab in the middle of a number of bars and pubs. The music was amazing. I am overwhelmed with beauty of the sounds of singing.

The service lasted from about 10:30 to 2:00. I love the fact that no one over here is in a rush to get out of church or always looking at their watches. Ringstone gave a very powerful message on things that can hinder our lives. Many of the people shared verses and challenges throughout the service. What they had to say was very thought provoking and heart felt.

They have a great tradition that at the end of every service everyone shakes each others hands. One person starts a line and then everyone follows through and you shake and greet everyone. This was a reminder of the personal touch that we have lost in the American church. In America we always talk about community and building community. Here they have community it is a part of whole they are, nothing that has to be manufactured or coached!
We ate lunch about 3 today. Brian finally got to have what he has missed for a year. NANDOS chicken and STEERS chips! For those of you who know Brian and his ongoing addiction to the chic fil a #3 combo….I have to say it doesn’t even touch how good Steers fries are. It is such a bitter sweet joy though. As blessed as he was to have it, it is not the norm for everyone. Brian and JD had a long talk about this…more like a grounding. We are so thankful for God’s daily blessings.
Brian is spending the evening catching up with Everyjoy while JD is visiting some family.
Well off to do planning for the next three days. As Brian is only here for week there is so much that needs to be accomplished. Good planning is the only thing that is going to make it happen.

Monday December 10, 2007
So much to do so little time

It is hard to believe my trip is half over. It seems like I just got here. Jonathan has two more weeks. We both feel the urgency of getting accomplished what we have set out to do. We started out the morning having devotions with the Dare to Share team. It was a great time to hear what was on their minds and have them really share from their hearts. As you can see they are in their brand new shirts. They are so thankful for each thing we do. It is such a refreshing change from the American attitude of entitlement. After a quick meeting of what was to be accomplished today we were all off. Baba and Everyjoy had some bills to pay and then off to the bank, which can be an all day affair. Judy pretty much held down the office while we were all away. Jonathan and Brian headed off to visit Mhere’s school. Parent-teacher conference. It is nice to be on the parent side and not the student. The assistant to the deputy of the school (principal) met with us. We went over Mhere’s progress and talked about many of the other programs and children that Dare to Share supports. Please pray for all the other opportunities that were presented and how we might be able to come along side the school as they try to grow their students physically, mentally and spiritually. (more to come at a later time on that….keep your eyes and ears open).

We were also able to make an offer to someone to begin an HIV/AIDS education program. We are now waiting to hear as they determine if they will become part of the Dare to Share team. Please keep this offer and person in your prayers. This is a position that Dare to Share has been has been eagerly anticipating and is realized due the commitment and hearts of True North Church in Garner, North Carolina.

From there we headed to visit Samuel…one of the wire artists that Jonathan has trained. He is a 28 year old young man with a wife and two children. I have gotten to know him over the past two visits and am humbled by his integrity and spirit. He has not had the easiest life but you would never know by the strong moral compass and upbeat attitude he carries every day. He has a deepness of integrity that truly comes from his relationship with God. (On side note, this is a young man that Robin had a conversation with in 2006. They started to talk about church and why Samuel was not able to go. He explained he had to work a second job on the weekends to make ends meet. He was making 50 cents a month for a total of eight days of work. Robin asked, “If I give you the money so you don’t have to work would you start attending church?” His answer was yes and Samuel has been an important part of the leadership team at the church ever since.). We were able to deliver some very exciting news to him. Dare to Share is going to move him and his family to the city to make it more conducive to grow the business. We could not be happier to deliver this news to a better person. It is hard to put into words what this means to him.

After a very quick lunch of goat it was off to visit a Doctor that Jonathan met on the plane from Johannesburg to Harare. It is very interesting how God works. They had both missed earlier flights that put them on the same plane in seats right next to each other. He is the director of a Hospice care program in Harare and the surrounding area of about 40 km. Although they deal with many terminally ill patients the major focus is on HIV/AIDS. They have some very innovative programs that we were excited to hear about. We spent the afternoon learning about what they do and meeting some of the nurses, trainers/training coordinators, and administration staff. We also spent time exploring possible partnerships. It is a conversation that has just started, but please pray if/how we may move ahead as Dare to Share looks to develop/expand a Medical Program.

We finally sat down to dinner about 7:30 with the whole team and just relaxed. Tomorrow will be another busy day as we take a five hour drive out to the rural area to visit a hospital and clinic. We will not post again until Thursday. Please continue to pray as many challenging needs and issues arise each day. They are very complex and not easily addressed. We serve a big God!

Wednesday December 19, 2007
Thank you for your partnership

Greetings to you all! The Bible says "seek and you will find, ask and it shall be given to you"... and that is exactly what has happened. We had asked for people to help out the families that are being helped by DTS so that we could provide an extra portion of their monthly food. Thank you all for such a kind gift! Because of your kindness, we were able to give everyone double their normal monthly share! This was all a surprise to all of them, and I wish you could have seen their gratitude and thankfulness. A picture alone could not have captured the moment! From the bottom of our hearts, we at the office of DTS want to THANK YOU!

Christmas is around the corner, and everyone is getting ready for it over there in America by putting trees up and gifts under the trees for their loved ones. Praise God that many will be able to do just that. Our Christmas thoughts in Zimbabwe are focused on trying to figure out how in the world we are going to do the following two things: 1. Due to hyper- inflation at the beginning of January, we need to come up with $12,500 for the school tuition and $25,000 for school uniforms (to cover the costs for all 250 kids we have in school). These kids cannot be in school unless they have these two things. It seems like a lot of money when you look at it altogether, but if you look at it one child at a time: it is only $150 per child for the first trimester. We are praying that can be a dream come true by January the 8th when the schools open. Ever since we have started this ministry we have always faced this challenge, and the Lord has always come through! So please join us in fasting and prayer that the God of Wonders shows us a great Christmas by the provision of this one term fee. The next two terms should not be that expensive, because the price will not include the uniforms. Mind you these kids use only one uniform for the whole year until it falls apart.

Thank you for your help in all of this work! We have made great progress because of your partnership, so thank you for being part of such a great cause. God gets all the glory for what He is doing through you and countless others! The more I sit down and talk to people, the more I realize that God's timing for a DTS clinic is right around the corner. The number of people who are dying from common illnesses in Zimbabwe is staggering. I think I better stop right here, because my vision has been blocked by the tears of being overwhelmed. I love you all. I will send more information and pictures soon. Be patient with the computer issues I have been facing on this side. THANKS again. --JD

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