Thursday, March 20, 2008

GRAND FINALE FROM ZIMBABWE

As I close out the blogs from Zimbabwe, let me say a big thanks to all who kept up. You've given me a lot of good feedback about the pictures and commentary. In this final blog (who knows, maybe it won't be the final one) I will post a mixture of some of the favorite pictures from our team members.

This was a common roadside sight--natives selling their fresh fruit and vegetables.

Thursday evening entertainment at the orphanage
This was the kitchen in first orphanage we visited. Supper is being prepared. A couple of the boys killed a rabbit earlier in the day. So they had it for supper that night.
Below are some of our favorite pictures of Zimbabwe children. Look into their faces and you will see beautiful creations from God.




What a privilege it was to have Gary Walton, pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist, partnering with us. On the right is Marvin Bozard, our trip leader.
On Sunday afternoon as we headed out of Harare to Mudzi, we stopped for an "American" meal--chicken, fries, coke-It would be the last American meal until we came back to Harare.

What an awesome sight! Two Clemson grads with the village chief!

LeDoncie and Cyndi are having a blast grinding meal the way it's done in Zimbabwe.

Cheryl almost figured out how to balance the bucket. It took a speed lens to capture the split second she had it balanced.

We saw some beautiful sunsets south of the equator.


A typical classroom scene--bunches of children sitting on concrete floors.

Once again, our team is very grateful for how you prayed for us. Your prayers were answered. Keep praying for the people of Zimbabwe. Who knows? We may go back one day.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."
















Sunday, March 16, 2008

STILL MORE FROM ZIMBABWE (7)

This one and one more--but don't hold me to it. Hopefully the pictures and comments have given you at least a glimpse of the great things we experienced last month in Zimbabwe. By the way, pray for this country. They have national elections on 3/27 that will largely determine their future directions.


Our return to Harare (capital) on Thursday from Mudzi (our ministry outpost) was quite an eventful one. Trying to find gasoline was a huge chore. I believe I mentioned earlier that gas is often bought on the black market because it has become so scarce and expensive. Our hosts finally rounded up some near the border of Mozambique. So after a couple of hours delay we were on our way. But we had to make a couple more stops to negotiate for more gas.

We made a planned stop halfway back to Harare at an orphanage that Crusade has begun a relationship with. We all thought we would take a short journey off the main highway and be there. About 90 minutes later we arrived. What a trip! None of the roads were paved. At some points our vehicles had to come to a complete stop to maneuver around huge potholes and gulleys. We also had to drive across a stream that had me wondering if we were going to end up bailing out of the van.

Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was already dark. And we were rushed. So we didn't get to accomplish what we hoped to. We were welcomed by all the children and enjoyed a performance of a tribal dance from the boys and girls. It was high energy.



The orphanage was operated out of a modest home (my guess around 1400 sq. ft). They housed 70 orphans, 40 of which were HIV positive. On one of the bedroom floors 25 of the boys slept jammed up to one another. Their most recent orphan, six months old, was received after being discovered in a toilet hole. This experience was an eye-opener for us all.
We arrived back in Harare very late but thankfully our final night's lodging was a nice bed in a guest house. But the shower on Friday morning was freezing. Reminded me of an Oconee State Park stream.
The family who owns the guest house also operates an orphanage on the property. This orphanage seemed to be more proficiently operated. We helped serve breakfast on Friday morning before leaving for the airport.

The typical breakfast was a generous serving of some type of grain--not sure if it was rice or one of the more native grains. No untensils--they grab it up with their hands.




I love their vision as can be seen by this sign at the orphanage.


Then it was back to the airport for our "brief" flight back home.


In my final blog I will share some of the team's favorite pictures.

"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."








Wednesday, March 12, 2008

STILL MORE FROM ZIMBABWE (7)

One of the highlights of our trip was surprising the pastors with brand new bicycles on the last day of the conference. You would have thought that we had given them new Escalades. They were so appreciative. The Campus Crusade staff knows how to throw a celebration. There was music, dancing, singing, praying, shouting, crying....the whole works. I will never forget the experience.

Here's a shot of the room full of bikes.



Take a look at the name brand of the bikes. Isn't that a divine coincidence?

One of our team members brought the bikes up one at a time. The name of the pastor was called out, and he and his wife came forward to receive the bike. Here is LeDoncie bringing up one of the bikes with celebrating going on in the background.


Here are a few shots of the pastors receiving their special gifts.





This lady pastor was so overwhelmed with emotion she was on her knees giving praise to God and gratitude to us.



I know you're not supposed to pick favorites. But I had a good connection during the conference with this salvation army pastor and his wife.

I've got to show you the one below. We had a box full of baseball caps that we gave away. The women, I believe, liked them more than the men. They wore them proudly.


The Crusade staff got their dibs on the hats as well. Check out Mavis and Pauline, two great hosts for us during the week.



Before the pastors got on their bikes to return home, they took time to write thank you notes.



I wonder who got to ride the bike home--the husband or the wife. You may wonder how they carried their luggage. After all, Crusade hosted the pastors and spouses for a few days, including food and lodging. My best answer to that question is: What luggage? They had none. Maybe a tote bag. But mostly just the clothes on their backs.


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."












STILL MORE FROM ZIMBABWE (6)

After the great experience on the soccer field, our team was treated to a oxcart ride. Not good for the bottom, but it sure was fun.
We had no clue where the drivers were taking us. We road down a bumpy dirt road through tall corn and sunflower fields. Our destination was worth the whole trip. They took us to one of the village residences. Almost every Mudzi resident lives in a hut that looks like this.


This building of one room serves as their kitchen, family room, dining room, etc. Here are a couple of shots from the inside.




Here is a picture of the bedroom that is detached from the other area.


That evening we went to another outreach event, the showing of the Jesus film. The movie was shown outdoors on an old movie projector and portable screen. It had poured rain that afternoon and the grounds were very wet. But that didn't stop the people from coming. No tailgating chairs. They all sat on the ground, some sitting on blankets or shawls they had brought with them. We didn't get a count; but I'd say close to a thousand showed up. Many of them accepted Christ when an invitation was offered. One more indication that the people of Zimbabwe are hungry for the gospel.


I love to see our church members challenged to try new things and be stretched out of their comfort zones. Jamie was asked (without any preparation) to speak to a group of local businessmen about ethics in the business world. He was up to the challenge and group that had gathered were glued to his every word. Great job, Jamie!


Still to come--the great bicycle event and a trip to two orphanages.


"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."








Sunday, March 9, 2008

MORE FROM ZIMBABWE (5)

I believe I could write for the next few months about our trip to Zimbabwe. But I'll try to wrap it up with only a few more posts (don't hold me to a few though). Wednesday was a huge day for our team. Gary and I continued with pastor training. Then we joined the other group at the school. The Campus Crusade staff arranged a couple of soccer matches between two local schools. I'll try to capture these events with some shots and brief commentary.

Before the first soccer picture, I've got to show you another common sight in Zimbabwe. Who needs a stroller? This is how moms carried their babies around. I never once heard one of the babies protesting. I guess they were too squashed to make a sound.


Here is part of the crowd who made their way to the soccer field.


Here is John, one of our hosts, getting to try a courtesty kick into the goal . From the picture you can see the tall grass and the general field conditions. Take a look at one of the goals (the other was a carbon copy.





During the match a couple of sideshows broke out. Notice my 37 inch vertical leap.



Cheryl and Denise had more attention than the soccer players.


Gary and I (especially Gary) hooked up with a prominent village chief. He is the "top dog" for about 35,000 people. And, by the way, he has two wives. He couldn't understand why it was illegal in the U.S. to have only one. His rationale--a man has two eyes; so he needs two wives. He assured us that the two wives got along with each other.




After the matches were over, cash gifts and new volley balls and soccer balls were presented to the four teams. Then with a captive audience I had the privilege of a lifetime--telling several thousand people about how God loves them and wants to give them the gift of eternal life.



Words can't express the emotions I sensed when probably three-fourths of the crowd raised their hands to indicate they had given their lives to Jesus. Eleven people made this trip at $3,000 a piece. That's $33,000. Are 3,000 souls giving their lives to Christ worth that investment? There is no greater eternal investment. Chapin Baptist Church had a major role in leading many Zimbabweans to Christ. We give thanks to God.



"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."









Wednesday, March 5, 2008

MORE FROM ZIMBABWE (4)

Here are some more thoughts and photos from our recent Zimbabwe trip. Two things that still stir in my soul are the extreme poverty and primitive lifestyles. We didn't see much of the extreme hunger scenes like you see on television fundraisers. But poverty was evident. Outside of the clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads, the people where we served had nothing materially speaking.

Here is shot of one of the classrooms our team helped paint.


For those who work in our educational system, take a look at the staff lounge.



Here is a better shot at one of their classrooms. Below it is one of the outdoor blackboards.





The picture below was a common site and represents one of the more luxurious means of transportation.



The class of disabled students appreciated the gifts we brought them. Two of the students are blind. The lady in the picture is Pauline, one of our Campus Crusade hosts.


The kids brought their lunches to school with them. A single fire-cooked corn on the cob is probably the most common lunch.



Or maybe some sugar cane (I believe that is what this is).



One of the most remarkable things I saw was women carrying these buckets on their heads. You won't believe what these particular buckets are filled with. Rocks. That's right. Rocks. Rocks were needed to mix with the mortar used in pouring new floors in the classrooms. The women did their part. They walked back and forth throughout the day with more buckets filled with rocks.




Some of our ladies tried the bucket balancing act--unsuccessfully I should say.

Here is a shot of Dana. She's in her element. Whether it was mingling, singing, or helping the children make their Jesus bracelets, she was an exceptional asset to our team.

Still more later.



"For our email subscribers, please visit Ken's full blog page at http://www.pastorkenkelly.com/ to view previous blogs and many other helpful links."