From Oria in Zimbabwe

Here’s a great report from our Oria in Zimbabwe – please be praying for her!
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HOPE in a thousand words or less…

i have recently positioned myself in zimbabwe…beautiful zimbabwe.
some have said “for such a time as this”, others have said “why…at
such a time like this?” It certainly has not gone unnoticed that I’m
choosing to live in a place that thousands and thousands of people
have left.
bad governance and hyper-inflation have crippled the economy here,
leaving the store shelves virtually empty. i heard someone recently
joke that zimbabweans have become hunters and gatherers again… these
days its not far from the truth, in the scramble for a balanced diet.
me and a friend often get in the truck and drive to several different
stores throughout the city hunting for food on the shelves. after a
quick round in the supermarket the other day i found soup noodles,
toothpaste, copious amounts of ketchup, toilet cleaner and local beer.
no milk, no toilet paper, no rice, no flour, oil, sugar, or bread.
this food shortage combined with power and water shortages, an
irresponsible and greed driven government, lack of freedom of press
and speech, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and the lowest life expectancy in
the world today, has made living very difficult for millions of
zimbabweans.
the list of could go on and on…..but regardless, this beautiful
country is home for me now. and as much as i see restoration needed
on so many levels all around me….i also choose to see and believe in
the good and beauty and strength of this nation. thats what it comes
down to in the end, choosing to position ourselves in a nation or
place or sphere or industry that we believe in and want to see jesus
impact and invade for his glory. to see the gifts and strengths of
that place, however hidden they may seem at the time. to speak life
and love over a place. to be a part of positive change. to
acknowledge what the enemy has stolen, warped and robbed but instead
help to usher in god’s redemptive plan.
my journey with this nation is still in its early days, and there is
much to learn but this much i know already….i am here to champion
hope.
i recently sat in front of a high-school headmaster in a rural area of
zimbabwe. a few of us had gone to visit him and chat about the current
situation at his school, needs, concerns, etc. there i sat in front of
a tall, strong, very capable and determined man who was holding back
the tears as he explained his desperate circumstances…no teachers,
no food, the majority of the teachers he had were not trained
properly…some were just finished high-school themselves…everyone
else had left…i will never forget the utter hopelessness i saw in
his eyes. he was barely living one day at a time, waiting, clinging
to a smidgen of hope that something would change…ease his situation.
across the road was the primary school…they had food thanks to an
international NGO feeding program. we sat with the teachers for a bit
and they were beautifully honest with us…they said, ‘we are only
here still because of the children…things for us are desperate.’
nearly everyone we spoke to said they were waiting for the elections
to see what would happen. a lot of people’s hope is riding on these
elections. when a country’s motto can be ‘hurry up and wait’, this
can drain all hope.

and hope is precisely what has been attacked since the moment i
arrived here. of course. i have found over my travels these last 10
or so years that often where god asks us to position ourselves and our
physical lives and situations in that place often end up reflecting or
running parallel to what’s going on in the spiritual of that place.
perhaps because we carry around in us the presence of god and he
chooses to use us to impact and affect the world around us…perhaps
because our battle is not against flesh and blood. whatever your
experience this has been mine. and this time, here in beautiful
zimbabwe, this parallel has been a battle with hope. i have never felt
it this hard to cling to this titanium string called hope. i have
never found it this hard to believe that the dreams god has put inside
me will come to pass. that he will indeed carry out to completion the
good works he has started. and yet i recognize that this fight i find
myself in is not just about me…it’s never just about us. its always
so much bigger. no-one lives only unto themselves. in my feeble
prayers one night i clearly heard god say this battle you are in to
hold onto hope is a tiny glimpse into the fight my beautiful people of
zimbabwe are in right now and have been in for quite some time. stand
with them in this and don’t take your eyes off of me…set your face
like flint.
in my hopeless freak out i had forgotten that actually HE is our hope.
hope is never totally void…yes it really can deliver the hardest
punches, seem impossible to continue on with it, and sometimes even
seem to hide from us altogether…but it is never void and it is
relentless in its ability to bring life and strength to all who choose
to fiercely hold on to it…to Him. and that right there gives me the
strength to go on. to believe for change to come in this nation, for
justice to prevail, for reconciliation and redemption to take place,
for this dream of zimbabwe to shine again in all its strength and
beauty.


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