Even before 2020, the poorest of the poor in Zimbabwe faced seemingly insurmountable odds. Some of those people, like Linda*, lacking even a home after her husband died, fled to unoccupied stretches of land and constructed mud huts by hand. Even as Linda lost so much, though, she accumulated grandchildren as their parents died or fled to S. Africa in search of jobs, leaving “immigration orphans” in her care. For Linda’s family and one hundred other “squatters” subsisting on V-Farm, hope loomed as out of reach as normal life during a pandemic.
When challenges assail us, as many of us have discovered in the past year, it’s all too tempting to hunker down, shrink in tighter, and do our best to simply ride out the storm
Stepping out boldly to take on more does not come naturally.
And yet some of the boldest people I know flourish amid some of the most mind-bending dangers and challenges.
People like Paul and Lydia, who dared to dream that a spattering of squatters could become a caring, connected community. Conditions on V-Farm began to change when they, with the blessing of a national church denomination and partnership with Hope’s Promise, turned their attention several years ago to the desolate stretch of land. Under their leadership, fields sprouted from the windswept soil. Greenhouses and chicken pens were constructed. Paul preached in a metal sheet church, inspiring care-worn souls. And Lydia, Hope’s Promise Zimbabwe Country Coordinator, identified caregivers who had been unable to pay school fees, like Linda. Hope’s Promise sponsorship helped children return to their studies.
When I visited V-Farm with Paul and Lydia in Jan 2020, hope hummed as warm as the sun on my back.
Then, the global pandemic invaded Zimbabwe, already pummeled by 95% unemployment. A national lockdown eliminated the only jobs available, those day laborers created for themselves. But Lydia refused to hunker down and focus on her own family’s survival. When Hope’s Promise US partners generously donated funds for emergency rent and food, Lydia boldly churned it back into the ministry. She financed the residents of V-Farm, including Linda, a greenhouse worker, to plant, tend, and harvest basic food supplies for all the Hope’s Promise families.
This cycle of compassion inspired another Hope’s Promise caregiver to step out boldly.
Karen* already nurtured a niece and nephew in a tiny, three-bedroom home, shared with two other families, when lockdown eliminated her income as a day laborer. She and her family survived on the V-Farm produce. Still, she noticed a very sick friend struggling with even greater need. When Hope’s Promise miraculously received a grant to add six kids to the program in Zimbabwe (amid the economic challenges of the pandemic, no less!), she recommended her friend’s children. But she didn’t stop there. She welcomed one of the boys into her own family!
Under some of the harshest living conditions on earth, Zimbabweans like Paul, Lydia, Linda, and Karen are stepping out boldly to notice, give, and care for others. Challenges seem only to make them more bold. What if their examples were to inspire us? Help us choose not to be afraid or hoard our resources, but to step out boldly with even greater courage and generosity than in times of plenty?
What if we were to boldly join Zimbabweans in setting off a mighty, unstoppable cycle of compassion?
* names changed to protect privacy
As published in the Hope’s Promise e-newsletter: http://www.hopespromise.com.
7 thoughts on “Be Bold”
Thank you so much for this beautiful article Colleen. How the Lord wants us so much to rise up and use us to pour his heart of love out.
I included this story with today’s Maranatha Mirror posting called “The Leaders take the Lead and the People Offer Themselves Willingly”. The test post I sent to myself, wasn’t coming in, so while waiting for it your email popped up, so I read it. I couldn’t think of a more fitting example of leaders taking the lead… so I copied and pasted into the post. This time, the test post worked! I attached a PDF of the posting.
God bless you Valerie
On Fri, Jan 29, 2021 at 9:55 AM Colleen Briggs Art & Writing wrote:
> Fragments of Light posted: ” Even before 2020, the poorest of the poor in > Zimbabwe faced seemingly insurmountable odds. Some of those people, like > Linda*, lacking even a home after her husband died, fled to unoccupied > stretches of land and constructed mud huts by hand. Even as Linda” >
Thank you so much Valerie! I pray others are inspired as much as I am by the brave leaders I know in other countries. I need them far more than they need me!
The spirit of Ubuntu lives on. This resilience and collective love is how we survive and will someday thrive
I admire Zimbabweans greatly and pray for this country often.
Stories like these remind us to be grateful, giving and more!
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So true Denise! The beauty in the photos you create prompt the same response in my spirit.
Great questions in closing… after these stories of courage and compassion. It never ceases to amaze me the range of responses human beings are capable of, from the most beautiful acts to the most outrageous, and everything in between. We still haven’t quite figured out what it is that isn’t working about the world we’ve made… and I hope with grace the day comes soon when we do!