A Day for Joy

In playing with a new service called Animoto I decided to create a short video highlighting one incident from my short-term missions trip to Zimbabwe in June 2007.  As part of that visit to the Village of Hope in Zimbabwe, I went to the “plots” which are a slum-like area with terrible living conditions that the workers from VOH go to every day to help feed the kids and give them some teaching. One day we passed out some toys we had brought with us. Their gratitude was priceless! I was ruined on this trip.

By the way, Animoto is a really cool app – you should check it out.  It only took me 15 minutes to make this vid.

Stay tuned, Zimbabwe Updates only 9 days away…

This entry is part 12 of 27 in the series Zimbabwe 2007 Project

While I am in Zimbabwe I am going to be posting here daily (as long as I have internet access/power) .? I will be posting to the Zimbabwe 2007 series that I started when I first announced my participation in this project.? If you’d like you can also subscribe to the series.

What am I going to be writing about?? At this point I really can’t say.? All I can promise you is that I’ll be chronicling my experiences and thoughts on what I am experiencing.? Kind of broad isn’t it? 🙂

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!

Gord and Anita Cooledge and their family were with us for that weekend and it was great getting a chance to meet the directors of the Village of Hope. Since I walked with Gord on the walk-a-thon I had a great chance to get to know him and talk about what its like for them in Zimbabwe. I really enjoyed our conversation and I’m really impressed by the faith and genuineness of this couple. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when I go to Zimbabwe in June.

STM Team Retreat

I joined the rest of the team this past Saturday at the Schaab’s cabin for a day retreat. We spent the day working on some conflict resolution exercises (I’m an owl and a teddy bear according to the test…) and we also spent some time looking at our spiritual gifts. Brian O’Gorman, a leader of a team that went to Zimbabwe in March, came and shared with us some of his experiences and there were a number of helpful tips he gave our team. We also heard from Dr. Stretch who has been on numerous missions trips to Ghana. Dr. Stretch gave us some health and safety tips for traveling to Africa and there were a number of things we wouldn’t have known otherwise had he not shared with us (I’ve crossed sandals off my list…don’t want to be invaded by egg laying bugs..) All in all, it was a great day to bond closer together as a team and get more prepared for the trip.

Countdown…

As of this post there are now 36 days until we depart. It’s hard to believe there is just over a month to go! As we get closer to the date I’m getting more and more excited about the adventure that awaits. Of course, there is also a bit of nervousness due to the vast distance we will be traveling and the stability of the country we are traveling to!

I’m also really excited that fundraising goal for the project has already been exceeded! We are well over our original goal of $27,000 and are quickly approaching $30,000. As a team we are praying and hoping that between now and our departure we’ll have raised an additional $10,000 (for a total of $40,000) to add to the amount we can give to the Village of Hope for their ongoing projects. It certainly is within reach! If you want to contribute please feel free to chip-in using the widget in my sidebar.

One of the things we discovered as a team when Gord and Anita Cooledge visited the church is that we will most likely have internet access each day. That means I’ll be able to post updates about what we’re doing while in Zimbabwe. So if you are following my journaling about the project you’ll be able to continue reading as I send posts from Harare. I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to keep all my supporters up-to-date!

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.

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.

While the coverage area of both programs won’t be huge – at least it is an opportunity to spread the news about this very worthwhile cause.? If any of you readers live in either the Hanover or Owen Sound area and happen to see either interview, leave a comment to this post!

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.
  • My brother-in-law has produced an awesome promotional DVD that captures what it is that is motivating us to go to Zimbabwe and help the orphans. I’ll be creating a format for the web and I’ll post it here on unfoldingneurons.com, on my church website, and on YouTube hopefully before the beginning of next week.

Like I said, things are progressing well! Hard to believe there’s only 85 more days to go (as of the date of this post) before departing from Pearson International Airport in Toronto!