Missions Trip Experience – PART 2
In the city, we found ourselves being led to two primary schools where we ministered to groups of orphaned children and their teachers. Some were double orphans who had lost both parents. They were beautiful children who happily shared with us their hopes for a better future.
They wanted to be nurses, policemen, and teachers. Most were wearing torn uniforms and others were barefoot. The teachers fedback that they were experiencing a large number of school drop outs and absenteeism. The children often came to school hungry and struggled to concentrate. They at times missed school so as to spend the day looking for food.
There was a group of dedicated school teachers who were committed to do the best they could for these school children. This included sacrificing their time to tutor some of them so that they could catch up to their peers as they were lagging behind. Some teachers recalled stories where they had no choice but to share some of their own lunches with these children as they would approach them and recount how they haven’t eaten for days. When we asked what would help, the teachers on both schools said a school feeding program whereby they identified these children and organised for them to have at least one hot nutritious meal at school would go a long way in alleviating the situation. They had a group of locals as well as some of the parents of these children who were willing to prepare these meals. After this, we left and came back with food for the children to eat as well as cooking supplies for the feeding program. We started thinking about how we can be involved in the school feeding program.
In terms of education, it was clear these children wanted to continue attending school but were affected by hunger and lagged behind due to absences. Also inability to afford school fees, uniforms and stationery. The teachers strongly felt that school sponsorships to those children that showed great potential would be of great assistance. We prayerfully considered facilitating and coordinating school sponsorships to help these children from poor families have an education.
Just like the families in the villages, the children showed great gratitude and sang Christian songs praising God. We motivated them in the Word and prayed for them. After we left, we promised that with God’s grace, we will do the best we can to help these children in our own small way.
We didn’t plan to minister to families in the city. However, we found ourselves led to this widow whose husband recently passed away leaving her to raise four children in a single rented room. When we got there, all the children were home including two younger ones who had missed school because they couldn’t afford fees. The older siblings had dropped out from high school and spent their days looking for jobs to try and help their mother. They were all Christians.
Figure 6 Sharing the Word of God in encouragement
We prayed for them, shared the Word of God and they were overjoyed when we gave them bibles! They had one bible they shared as a family; they couldn’t believe it when we left them with two more. We prayed for the older ones to get jobs and the younger ones to continue attending school. We also left them with food and some basic groceries.
Next stop was another family who also used to be Christians but were finding it hard to continue believing due to their various challenges. Some of the younger children we had met in one of the primary schools we had visited earlier on.
Figure 7 Family recommitting their lives to God
Finally, the last family we were privileged to meet was a grandmother looking after two young orphans in a rented home. When we arrived, they were cooking with fire and they had no water as they couldn’t afford the electricity and water bills. We shared the gospel with them, they all got saved. They were also left with a bible.
Figure 8 looking forward to preparing a meal for her family
There were times I felt overwhelmed and inadequate upon hearing and seeing the different needs and challenges faced by these brave families. I felt small and heartbroken, that as much as the families were overjoyed by the basic gifts we gave them, in reality the clothes will eventually wear out, and the food runs out then what? Especially where young children were involved it just pierced me. We had tried together with our team in Zimbabwe to make sure we narrowed the assistance to those widows and orphans who truly had no one else to help them.
However, one of the lessons I learnt from this trip was that it’s about being faithful, reaching out with the little that you have and trusting God to do the rest. Furthermore, God loves each and one of them and He will take care of them in His own infinite wisdom. He knows, cares and understands their needs better than we do. “For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.” Psalm 9:18.
I was also encouraged by the fact that we were giving them more than perishable food and clothing. We were sharing the gospel with them, strengthening their faith in God and reminding them of God’s love. That’s eternal!
Despite working twelve hour days and driving hundreds of kilometres, we just felt energised. I always say to people, I have never felt more alive my whole life than when I was ministering to these people. I just knew this is what we were meant to be doing, looking forward to our next trip!