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!
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…
- Inspired by what others have done.
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!
- Broken by the impact of AIDS
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.
- To expand my horizons
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.
- The whisper of the Holy Spirit
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!