Zimbabwe 2007 makes front page news

This entry is part 1 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Our local newspaper carried a front page article covering the Zimbabwe 2007 project that I’m a part of.? It’s exciting seeing the word of this project being spread throughout the community.? We really hope that people catch the vision for helping these children who have been orphaned by AIDS and the opportunity to give the people of Zimbabwe hope.? It is our prayer that when we go, we will be able to take along a great contribution that will help towards the building of this community.

What am I getting myself into?

This entry is part 2 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

I believe it was back in May of last year that one of the men in my church first approached me expressing his desire to go on a short term missions trip in the future and wanting to present a questionarre to the men’s group to see if there were any others who had an interest. Little did I know the way events would unfold and how not only is this missions trip actually happening, but I’m one of the ones going!

Why Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe became the point of destination for the men in our church because it is a natural fit with the partnership our church has established with Gord and Anita Cooledge who run a Village of Hope in Harare. The purpose of this project is to make available the varying gifts and abilities of the men who go, the resources we are able to take with us, and the willingness to serve wherever there is a need to aid in the work that the Cooledges are doing in building this community to help children orphaned by AIDS.

Why did I decide to go?

The closer we get to departure date, the more I start thinking that very question! Just kidding – well not entirely – I am nervous – nevertheless I”m committed to going and am looking forward to the experience. Here are some of the reasons why I decided to go in the first place…

  1. Inspired by what others have done.
  2. In the months leading up to the actual opportunity being presented our men’s group had a few different speakers who had been on Short Term Missions trips and shared of the impact their experience had on their life. As they shared there was no doubt that something changed in their life as a result of the selfless act of stepping out of their comfort zone in order to help those less fortunate than themselves.
    I’ve also been inspired by Barry Mutrie, who is the man leading our team. As Barry entered into retirement (from being a teacher) he wanted to do something with his life that would make a difference. I’ve been inspired by the transformation occurring in Barry even before going on a STM! It’s hard not to catch the passion and vision that Barry communicates!

  3. Broken by the impact of AIDS
  4. As we’ve communicated with the Cooledges, our adopted missionary family and have become aware of the impact AIDS has had on Zimbabwe, and particularly the children there, it has moved my heart and created a desire to be involved in helping in some way. Certainly, I can write a check but I’ve always been the kind of person that would much rather help in “hands on” work and this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up to help out with the village.

  5. To expand my horizons
  6. One of the stronger motivations for me making the decision to go to Zimbabwe is a desire to do something radically outside of my comfort zone and to put me in a place where I need to be dependent on God. That’s not to say that I don’t depend on God, or that I’ve not been stretched in my life, but the sheer magnitude of this experience is way beyond something I’ve ever done in my life. Not only is there the hurdle of getting there, but there is also the challenge for me to overcome my nervousness due to my hearing impairment and the resulting communication difficulties that will pose to me.
    Another aspect of expanding my horizons is this whole desire to gain a perspective of what life is like outside of our Western Culture.

  7. The whisper of the Holy Spirit
  8. The clincher for me signing my name up to participate in the project is of course the result of spending some time in prayer regarding the opportunity. In that quiet way God often speaks He gave me direction to go and be a part of this endeavour.

Certainly it is also the love of Christ that compels me to go and I’m looking forward to opportunities to express God’s love when in Zimbabwe. I’m excited about being a part of bringing hope to the people of Zimbabwe and particularly the children!

The dreaded needle…

This entry is part 3 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Well today I got my (hopefully only round) first round of shots in preparation for traveling to Zimbabwe. Even though the actual journey is still nearly 4 months away I want to make sure I get any necessary medical stuff out of the way. Did I tell you I hate needles yet? Well then, let me tell you, I HATE NEEDLES. But I was surprised, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. At least not as much as getting bloodwork done. When I visited the lab due to doctor’s orders to get my blood checked out for who knows what, I didn’t think they were going to take THAT much blood! Did I tell you I hate needles yet? Yeah I hate needles. I nearly passed out when they stuck that instrument of torture into my veins…at least the kind nurse found my vein on the first try! (clump, the sound of my body passing out and hitting the floor).

Save Time on Passports

This entry is part 4 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Yesterday I made the journey to the Canada Passport office in Kitchener with one of the other team members, Alex Pendergast, so that we could get our passport applications handed in and begin the processing. Ordinarily I wouldn’t post something as mundane as this but we learned something that I think will be beneficial for anyone looking to get their Canada Passport in the next few months and so here’s the post.

Due to a recent U.S. Law entitled the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), Canadians who want to travel to the United States are now required to have their passport (currently only required if traveling into the U.S. by air, but in 2008 will be required for border crossings as well). As a result the passport applications have skyrocketed and the wait time for getting passports has gone up as well. Not only that, but you can expect when going to a passport office to deliver the application in person (which speeds up the actual processing time vs. mailing in the application), that there will be a long waiting line for that as well.

Countdown

This entry is part 5 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Had my latest meeting with the Zimbabwe 2007 Team last night. Things are really progressing well with the planning and preparation. From my end:

  • My passport has been received and placed in a safe place (I actually got it two weeks ago – earlier than expected!) – of course my photo makes me look like a mobster hehe.
  • I’ve started receiving the necessary vaccinations (HepA and B, Typhoid) and have received my Malaria Medication. I still have to get my Tetanus shot and a second dose of HepB. The needles aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. I don’t like needles but the prick came and went before I had a time to react!
  • Fund-raising planning has been going along great and we’re gearing up for some great events in April/May (see the fundraising page on my church website).
  • My personal support is coming in fairly well. I recently had a $40 donation via the “chipin” widget here on unfoldingneurons.com (Thanks Colleen!) which was a pleasant surprise. I wish I could add-in support I’ve recieved other ways as the tracker isn’t really reflective of what I’ve had donated to me to date. I’ve actually received around $900 (including the $40 through ChipIn) towards my personal support goal.

The Cable Guy…

This entry is part 6 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

No, this isn’t anything related to the movie but I thought it was a “pull-in” title so I used it.? Disappointed?? Shoot me. (well actually please don’t).

The title really refers to two interviews I participated in with two local cable companies regarding the Zimbabwe 2007 Project I am a part of.? The first interview was with Persona Cable News Channel 6, where I was interviewed for a 1:30 minute slot to promote one of our fund-raisers.? Needless to say it went pretty fast.? Laurita (think I got the name right) was the girl who interviewed me and she did a great job.? I wish I had a video I can post but unfortunately it’s not available.? Oh well.

The next interview was in Owen Sound for a Rogers Cable program called “Faith Works”. ? Rev. David Shearman, the pastor of Central United Church in Owen Sound is the host of the show and he shared with me that the program tells stories about people of faith working out their faith in their lives.? He invited two of our team members to come to be interviewed after reading about our project in the Owen Sound newspaper.? James Giles, and myself went along as representatives from the Zimbabwe 2007 team.? We had a good time talking about what got us the Zimbabwe 2007 project started and had lots of opportunities to emphasize how we are going to serve the Village of Hope.

Interviewed by A-Channel

This entry is part 8 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

I was interviewed today by Mike Lorentz from A-Channel News about my participation in the Zimbabwe 2007 Project.? Two other team members (Barry Mutrie and James Giles) were interviewed as well.? I don’t know when the interview will be broadcast (more than likely only will be a snippet of the actual taping) but it was a good opportunity to think through once again some of my personal motivations for going on this missions trip.

Event Update (getting closer to Zimbabwe)

This entry is part 9 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Just thought I’d give a little bit of an update as to what’s happened in the past few weeks with the Zimbabwe 2007 Project that I’m a part of.

Day at the Sugar Bush Fundraiser [04/07/2007]

The unexpected snowy weather for this time of year turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it really contributed to the success of the day. The snow certainly gave a more appropriate backdrop to the whole experience of being in the sugar-bush.

When I arrived at the Schaab’s barn I quickly attended to my pre-arranged pancake duty. It was while making my extra special “flap-jacks” (all I did was coat the pan with oil, pour the mix, and flip) that I realized how many people were attending this fundraiser event. We were kept pretty busy making the pancakes and there were times that we couldn’t keep up with the number of people arriving!

All in all the day was a fun day – and thanks to all the volunteers and the generosity of the people attending we made just over $2,000 between the sale of Maple Syrup and the tickets for the day.

Walkathon, Retreat, and Countdown

This entry is part 10 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

Time for another update about my Zimbabwe trip. Between the Fundraisers for Zimbabwe 2007, the 50 Days of Prayer and Fasting that I’ve been participating in (which includes writing and publishing the devotional that my church is using) and my normal day job – I’ve been kept extremely busy and have barely had time to maintain all the websites I manage/own let alone put posts up. Yet, it’s really no excuse, I guess the creative part of my brain is just exhausted by the time the night rolls around and I haven’t been able to muster up the energy to put words down. I haven’t even twittered!

Anyway, tonight I’m finally taking some time to write up another installment in my Zimbabwe 2007 series.

Walk-athon Fundraiser

This was held on Saturday April 28th and all participants walked 10km (The number of average steps in 10km = number of kilometers to go to Zimbabwe). We collected pledges for each km or for the total distance. At last count there was close to $1200 collected for the project!