Saturday, August 22, 2009
As we travel back to the States tomorrow, a huge portion of my heart will remain here. I know I speak for the rest of the team when I say that we each have a huge investment in this place. Many of us are already talking about returning in the near future if it be the Lord's will.
Our hosts here have been amazing. They have driven us around, made food for us, and taken care of us very well. Today we were pleased to use some donation money from Solid Rock to bless the staff with some tools to make their jobs easier. We were able to purchase for them a microwave, a silver pot, a new toaster, and several other kitchen and household appliances. We are so in awe of the way they have denied themselves and taken care of us these past nineteen days. They will always be in our hearts and in our prayers.
Speaking of prayers, please pray that we will have a safe journey home. Our first flight leaves Harare at 1:15 pm local time (4:15 am Pacific) for Johannesburg, South Africa. Our second and longest flight leaves for Atlanta at 8:45 pm local time (11:45 am Pacific). We will be in the air for about 17 hours. Finally, we will leave Atlanta for PDX at 8:22 am Eastern time (5:22 am Pacific). We are expecting to arrive in Portland around 10:35 Pacific. If you could lift us up in prayer during this time we would be very glad.
Thanks again for your support. You have been essential to the success of the team. See you back in Oregon! In Christ, --AJBrady
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So as I told you, the last VBS went great. That one took place last week and was attended by around 45 kids. This week God is throwing much more responsibility at us. We have close to three hundred kids and are expecting even more tomorrow! Instead of splitting the kids into three groups like we did last week, they are in nine groups. This means that each of us is in charge of three sessions (teachings, crafts, or games depending on the person) each day. Since the people at the Highfield Church over here want their youth to gain more experience in teaching and leading, we are doing a bit more delegating this week. For instance, I have been doing the first two teachings every day and then having my Zimbabwean assistant (Daniel, who also interprets for me) teach the third.
Just like last week, we are teaching on the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. We taught about the first three seeds (falling on the path, the rocky soil, and among thorns) on Monday, Tuesday, and Today. Tomorrow we will talk about the seed that fell in good soil and give them kind of a recap. I am sure the kids have been very blessed this week. They've learned lots of new songs, stories, and scriptures. But they have blessed us far more. Tom and I were talking this morning about this. Tom pointed out how we came here expecting to bless them, only to be blessed by them. And it is so true. Working with these kids has been amazing for all of us. They are so joyful, especially considering their circumstances.
After VBS, the rest of our typical day is relatively free. On Monday, some of us used this time to go out to an area where there are lots of huge rocks perched atop one another. Picture Pride Rock from The Lion King. There is a very poor community of people living behing these rocks. Mikayla and Christiana were able to share with some children with Jephat as an interpreter. Evan, Becca, and I were allowed into the village where we met the community leader, handed out a lot of snacks, and practiced some Shona. We believe that God used us to plant seeds in that small community.
Yesterday's free time was spent partly at the market where we had a chance to find some souvenirs. Some of us even acquired intense bargaining skills! Then we spent today's free time driving through some wildlife parks. We saw lions, cheetahs (and bears, oh my!), wildebeast, and warthogs. Girikai and I even got to chase a small herd of wild zebras and catch it on film! As you can see, we have had a wild time! God has blessed us in so many ways on this trip!
In closing, I would like to list a few prayer requests. Number one is that God will do His will in us as we spend our last five days here. Second is that Glenn Miller is returning to the States tomorrow to undergo hip replacement surgery. Pray that he will heal quickly and that he would be a messenger of God to the nurses and surgeons in the hospital just as the apostle Paul evangelized Roman guards. Number three: pray that the remainder of VBS will run smoothly. It has run pretty well so far, but if I told you that it has been without a hitch, it would not be the truth. This week has had its share of trials. Just pray that God will go with us as we complete the week. The fourth request I would make is that you pray for our team's unity. God has put together a great team to do His work, but among any group of people there will likely be a few disagreements. Please pray against anything that Satan may send to cause disunity among us.
Thanks for reading and thanks again for praying for us! In Him, --AJBrady
Saturday, August 15, 2009
P.S.: We are going through the book of Philippians right now as a team. Feel free to follow along. Today we did chapter three up through verse eleven; tomorrow we are looking at the rest of the chapter.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Hey!!! Thanks again for your prayers! Just wanted to give another update on our progress in Zimbabwe...
On Saturday, we sat in "The Upper Room" as a group and planned the whole VBS thing. We have now had two very successful days of VBS. It is still a work in progress, but praise God that we get to practice on a group of sixty for this week before putting on the VBS for three hundred next week!
Christiana and Sarah have been the organizers of everything. Their job is to make sure everything is running smoothly. The other nine of us work at different stations through which the kids rotate by age group. Julie, Becca, and Mikayla run the Arts and Crafts station. They have been quite creative with that. Tom, Abby, and Evan run the Games station. They have played many games and, so far, no kids have been injured. John, Tim, and myself run the Teaching station where we teach the Word. Side note: I have had tons of fun preaching and teaching through an interpreter. I'm really not sure what is so cool about it. It's hard to explain really. Try it sometime!
The theme for this week is the Parable of the Sower. We always open up the day with an assembly of all age groups. There, we sing songs, read the memory verse for the day, and read the parable. We then dismiss them to their various stations.
The kids have responded very well to the entire structure of the VBS, praise God! We have been able to work together and mesh very well as a team. It has been such a huge blessing. This has reminded me of the passage in Romans 12 which says that we as a church are all members of one another. Each one has his or her own gift that God has bestowed upon them. And there has been absolutely no shortage of gifts given to us on this trip. We will continue to chase after Jesus and His will with total confidence that He will do more amazing works through us.
Thanks for reading and continuing to pray for us! We appreciate it more than I can even tell you! God bless you all! Oh and.... please comment so I know you are reading. --AJBrady
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Jess and Ash here... Quick recap about yesterday's happenings. Started the morning off taking care of the kids, getting them ready for the day, and no big deal... there was a pleasant poop surprise under one of our little ladies' dress.
We were able to draw pictures with the kids, help them with writing, and played a few hand games.
Some of the ladies spent the day cooking an "American meal" for the team and Irene and Roshan. Some others spent part of the afternoon finishing up last minute details for our sarees.
The rain has been coming down really hard and the boys spent the day fixing the holes in the roof. After a long, but fun afternoon, we came home to a fresh, home-made meal: mango salsa, guacamole, and vegetable salad. The beef for the tacos was so fresh that apparently it was slaughtered 15 minutes before we purchased it..?
Later that night, after cleaning and helping around, us ladies were able to play dress up! It felt like Prom night all over again... India style.... We got the opportunity to feed the kids in our sarees. They were so excited to see us dressed up, they were screaming "Supaaaa!" and applauding us.
It's beginning to be more and more of a struggle to tuck the kids in bed and say goodnight to them as we've grown closer to them each day. The concept of time has completely escaped us, and it still hasn't hit us that we're leaving them Saturday... These beautiful kids have become our teachers... We came here to bless them, but more often than not, we feel as though we've been blessed. We try and serve them, but they insist on serving us. We have all learned so much from these kids. All the things we worry about on a daily basis seem so trivial as this place: Happy Home, has been a place of provision and God's grace.
There's so much more we have to share with you all when we get home. Thank you for your prayers. We are all healthy and we look forward to this next week to see what else God has for us.
His therefore yours,
Ashley and Jess.
ps the picutures