I spent several weeks in Zimbabwe with various groups from Ebenezer Ministries in both 2009 and 2010. In 2010 I went back to Zimbabwe to live and work with one of the families that I met through the trip in 2009. My time in Zimbabwe was absolutely life changing. I experienced times of great solitude and struggle as well as times of amazing fellowship and worship. I sometimes think of Zim as a crucible, a place where the core of an individual is examined and refined. All of the comforts and distractions of our normal life are stripped away and what is left is a raw and exposed surface.  In my time in Zimbabwe I was challenged physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and felt like I grew to understand myself in a more complete way. I know that the refining process that I went through in Zimbabwe has continued with me and will continue to impact the way in which I grow and mature.

My favorite part of the trips I participated in with Ebenezer ministries was our group prayer times. I loved listening to how different people in completely different parts of life related to God and expressed their hope, love, exhaustion, tears, etc… in so many ways. I was deeply touched by the experience of being prayed over and encouraged by a group of people, and still remember the blessings and encouragement that many of them spoke over me.

I have a lot of fun memories from Zimbabwe, including bleeding all over John’s clothing while he laughed at me (and then stitched me back together), waiting for various locals who assured us they would be ready “just now”, and watching baboons terrorize our camp at Manna Pools. I loved how in Zimbabwe it’s completely normal to drive past 12 locals in the bed of a tiny pick up truck, and how everyone remains remarkably unaffected whenever the power stays out for a few days at a time (except for the cooks!). In all seriousness, I think what I most appreciated was the friendship and affection that everyone offered to me during my time there. It was humbling to be encouraged and served so frequently by the very individuals I had thought needed my encouragement.

Sam Ferguson

Sam Ferguson

When I was in Zimbabwe, one of our hosts said to me, “You’re on the beginning of a great journey. It’s going to be huge for you.” I had no idea at the time how right he was.

Zimbabwe began my journey in listening prayer. 

Lots of prayer happens on these trips. At any given time, you are quite likely to be called on to pray for MANY people you’ve never seen before who desperately need to be blessed and encouraged. John and Sue taught us how to listen for God’s heart when we prayed; to be confident that we’d heard Him, and able to release what He was giving us to bless the people in front of us, even without knowing their stories. That kind of praying was new for me then. Now it’s my favorite way to intercede for those in my sphere of operation.

Zimbabwe began my journey in radical financial trust. 

Did I mention that I had no money to go to Zimbabwe? And that the Lord said I was to trust Him for the money without “raising support” the traditional ways? One night after many arguments with the Lord and missed deadlines, I sat down with Sue and said, “Am I just stupid? Doesn’t no money = no?”

Sue said something I’ll never forget: “The money isn’t the point. What God said is the point. Did He say you’re going?”

“Yes.” I sniffed.

“Then we’ll wait for Him do it.”

And they did. John and Sue waited on God with me and we saw Him provide in miraculous ways. That history with God gave me the confidence to take a risk and trust Him when He called me to ministry school across the country. I left for California without a job, a house, or a vehicle – just God’s provision for the first school payment and His promise that He’d keep me. And now God and I have more history.

Zimbabwe began my journey towards healing ministry. 

Going to the hospital in Zimbabwe (which was unimaginably wretched) and praying for God to heal the patients challenged everything I believed about His goodness and His power to break through impossible situations. That very challenge inspired me to intern in the healing rooms during my year in mission school. And now I work in a ministry whose primary purpose is to see God’s healing released in impossible cases.

My journey is far from over, but I know that God used Zimbabwe to set a trajectory that has changed the way I do life with God. I pray He does the same for you.

– Laura Jones

Laura Jones

Just arrived at the Chinhoyi Christian Center church for the evening service.   Dark everywhere, no lights in the building except for a couple powered by a noisy generator, and certainly no lights outside either.   Standing there, wondering what to do, where to go, what’s next, just a myriad of questions, when I became aware of someone standing next to my right leg.   Looked closely hoping for more light than was present, and there stood a young man, frail but solid.   Awkward greetings, but we talked a bit.  (His East Tennessee accent wasn’t too well developed)   Shortly it was time to enter the building so he lead us in and we took a seat near the front, he on my left and Sue on my right.   Well into the service he whispered, “I’ll be back,” and he ran out the door.   Shortly, he came back wearing a ball cap, took it off when he sat down, and held it on his lap just as I was holding my hat.  Bonded?   Absolutely!!!   Praise Jesus for Rabson.

Sekuru

Having returned to Zimbabwe four times with John and Sue Dee should speak for itself. The experience is life changing and worth repeating. I have had the opportunity to make friends with many of the people we worked alongside with. The time is such an amazing blend of being with friends, working with the various ministries and orphanages, and seeing the country and its animals. The Dees are nationals and have such close connections that it makes the travel and arrangements flow with relative ease (considering it’s Africa and quite untamed). It’s such a rich experience to interact with the Dees’ contacts in a wonderfully different culture. It makes life so much more interesting.

The highlight seems to always be the time we spend with the Croudaces at Lasting Impressions. They are a tremendous example of “servant leadership” in a country that knows mainly leadership through power and control. Their work and perseverance with the Zimbabwean peoples and their culture is a great testimony as to how to do ministry well.

Altogether, it’s a tremendously rewarding experience.

Maurice Rawlings, M.D.
Mission Trip Participant

Kids everywhere, all running about and greatly excited.   But, there was one in particular that came shyly toward me, all the while others were running around all of us “visitors.”   We had been writing to Brenda for a little while, and she was so special to me.   Just seeing her picture brought uncontrollable tears, in abundance.  John got her attention and explained to her in Shona that I was the one who had been writing letters to her.   Immediately, she began to jump up and down exclaiming that, “My mommy is here, my mommy is here,” over and over again.   Finally she came to greet me and we hugged a hug that I had waited to experience for much too long.   For the remainder of our visit, she was glued to my leg.

Ambuya
Hug A Child Sponsor