In September 2006 I quit my job, boxed up all my belongings, packed a suitcase full of necessities, and purchased a one-way ticket to Zimbabwe.
I made a one year commitment with Mama Makeka House of Hope to serve with a local woman named Tecla, and to set a foundation for the organization to begin ministry there.
Four months later I received a disheartening phone call from the office of President Robert Mugabe. It was nearing the height of the political strife that has plagued the country for years, and Mugabe was on a mission to clear the country of foreigners who could possibly shed light on the ugly situation to the outside world. Reporters were being thrown in prison, missionaries and humanitarian organizations were being removed, and locals who held oppositional political views were being silenced by violence, and even death.
The voice on the line told me I must leave immediately. They threatened to throw me in jail, but worst of all they threatened the local people I was working with. The people I had grown to love fervently. My family.
Feeling defeated, I left.
I spent some time in South Africa, hoping and praying for a message from my family in Zimbabwe that I could come back. The call never came.
The time I spent in Zimbabwe was one of the most stretching times of my life. In the face of so many obstacles, so much was accomplished. We had laid solid foundations for the ministry, and built trustworthy and meaningful relationships. But none of that was easy. Spiritual warfare took shape in many forms. I won't go into detail, but I will say it was hard. Really really hard.
I left the country with a broken heart. Broken because I had to leave people I love, without saying goodbye. Broken because of the despair I saw and experienced there. Broken because God's beloved were being oppressed and abused and abandoned. Broken because the rest of the world seemed to turn a blind eye to the situation.
Since I left that day so much has changed. Many of the community leaders we worked so hard to develop solid relationships with have left the country.
People I love have died.
Children I love have lost their caregivers and have been thrown out on the streets. Boys have been forced to become men too soon.
And for this my heart continues to break.
For over three years now I have been homesick. For three years I have been seeking an opportunity to return, for God to open the doors. I have been on my knees in prayer for people and a country I love. I have been dreaming about the day I can hug my family and hold my little ones once again.
I am so happy to say that the doors have been opened, just a crack. It will take lots of faith. I will need to be covered in so much prayer. I will have to trust completely that God will provide financially and that He will protect me, but I am up for that.
In the works are plans for me to return to Zimbabwe, for just three weeks, for Christmas.
It will be a time to reconnect with family,
encourage those who have been on the front lines,
and give some very deserving children a wonderful Christmas.
There will also be goals in regards to the ongoing ministry we would like to support there, but there will be time to share more of those later.
Right now I would like to say that I would be so honored if you would join me in prayer for Zimbabwe and my upcoming journey.
Zimbabwe is a beautiful country full of loving and peaceful people. A country that God desires to restore. Please, pray for restoration physically and spiritually for this battered land.
Also, I will be creating a more detailed prayer list, but for the time being I ask for prayers of guidance and covering for my upcoming trip, and for God's hand to direct my path every step of the way.