Journal entry August 25, 2014:
It’s the night before I leave and I have been prayed up and prayed for by so many people! I’m excited to see what You will do not only in the hearts and minds of the people in Zimbabwe but also in my own heart and mind.
Boy did He answer. I had never been out of the country so this was a big step for me. Having grown up in a small Midwest town surrounded by cornfields and cattle, I had never been exposed to much culture or color before.
Journal entry August 26, 2014:
I am surrounded by beautiful skin tones and hair wraps and baby wraps of color. I listened to a lady across the aisle praying for our flight—in Jesus name—it was beautifully said in her native tongue.
Same flight but the next day, journal entry August 27, 2014
What a flight! Kids are everywhere. Babies crying. I met a little girl, Divine, she’s 7, in the 3rd grade and likes science. Her tooth was loose and she sat wiggling it, worried about coming our on the plane. We (people) are so alike in many ways…no matter the culture.
Another woman…same one from across the aisle had brought her baby girl to college in the US. I asked her how she was handling it. “It’s a long way from home but it’s such a good opportunity for her. I only want what is best for my daughter.”
That’s when I began to understand that God was showing me early in the trip that: We Mommas aren’t much different even though 8000+ miles separate us. (From the same journal entry above)
He would weave this message for me all throughout those 10 days. There were differences of course. The landscape, homes and culture were different. The food, animals and language were different. But some things you didn’t need to speak the same in order to understand.
Like the way the women were getting aggravated with a young Mom when her baby wouldn’t stop crying during one of the trainings.
It was interesting to note the eyes (looks) and body language is a universal thing. One little guy kept crying and his Mom wouldn’t take him out right away. You could see the women start to fidget then look back like take him out of here! A shaking of the head and a tsk tsk is the same in any language.
The sounds of grief are universal. We were able to attend the funeral of an 18-year-old young man who lost his fight with lymphoma. The witch doctors had done all they could do. The grandparents who were raising him refused to allow modern medicine to intervene.
Their beliefs and ours were different but when we pulled up to the house where the wake was going on, we could hear the wailing from inside the home. We made our way into the tiny house where the women were all sitting on the floor side by side all the way around the room. There was not one piece of furniture anywhere. One woman was weeping and wailing uncontrollably. I’ve not experienced anything like it before. Once we got all the way around Denford very quietly started to sing and as others joined in the wailing stopped and weeping died down. Soon the entire house was singing this local church hymn.
You didn’t have to speak their language to understand the depth of their sorrow and the comfort of praising the One true God.
When you look at this picture there are obvious differences: Our eye color. Our hair color, texture and curl. Our skin tones. Our ages.
But what I learned is all the things that are the same. We have the…
Same love for our children. Just like the woman across the aisle from me. These beautiful women wanted the best for their kids and would move a mountain to get them what they needed.
Same love for gardening and chickens! Their gardens were gorgeous! And I got to meet a fellow chicken lady by the name of Fortunate.
Same love for candy! Janet became the pied piper of Twizzlers for both young and old!
Same need for community. We got to stay at GoGo (Grandma) Sarah’s compound. She cried when we left because she missed her own family who moved south to better themselves.
Same desire to keep a clean home, put dinner on the table, and keep their family safe from harm.
One woman told us, “Brown and white make a whole loaf.” I’m not completely sure what she meant by that but perhaps if we would start seeing each other by what we have in common, how we are the same, this world would be a much better place.
When I started out on this trip I was nervous because of the differences in culture and language. What I came home with is how much we’re the same. Because of that trip and those people, I never will be.