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.