Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Zimbabwe and Mbizi Game Park

When I was asked if I could step in and help with a medical missionary training in Zimbabwe, I really didn't know what would happen.  My expectations and the reality were very different in MANY ways.  Working with God certainly does lead to a lot of unexpected surprises.  I was told that the training was scheduled, people were coming, but the group that was to facilitate could not come.  I was asked if I could help.  After prayer, Doug and I decided I could go.  He would teach the last few days of the medical missionary course in Kibidula.  I would travel by myself to Zimbabwe!

I left my guys for 2 1/2 weeks to help facilitate the medical missionary training.
It seems that when God has something great planned, many challenges can be expected.  My luggage didn't arrive the same day I did.  I was in a strange country, staying in a house with someone I had never met before, and wearing her clothes.

It was very strange being in a place where they use US dollars for most purchases and they speak ENGLISH!  It was a treat to teach without a translator!  Zimbabwe is much more developed than Tanzania.   It is a lovely place to visit.  The people were wonderful.  It seems much safer than Tanzania, too.

The training was 10 days at the Mbizi Game Park in Harare, Zimbabwe (  So after a few days of getting ready off we went to the park.  Our training rooms were very well ventilated, causing us to wrap up diligently early in the mornings and late in the day.  I am so thankful that it would warm up each day.  We got lots of good fresh air and sunshine.  Winter is even colder there than it is in Kibidula!
 We would take three walks each day.  It was really nice being able to walk in the game park area where the wild animals are living.  We saw zebra, giraffe and other animals almost every day.
 We didn't have to go anywhere to find the monkeys.   They would find us.  We had to be careful not to leave things out.  We had been warned that they will most definitely take food, but they also take other things.
 I really enjoyed my early morning walks out with the animals.

 We had to wash our clothes by hand and try to find someplace to hang them.  This tree was close to our cabin.  Do you see the monkeys checking out what is going on?
 There were four of us facilitators, and we all are currently from four different continents!  Dr. Bev is living in Australia, Richard is from England (Europe), Monica is from Canada (North America) and I am living in Africa!

 Some of the early morning sunrises were breathtaking.  I highly recommend Zimbabwe to anyone that would like to come visit Africa.  It is a beautiful country.  I was not able to go to Victoria Falls while I was there, but it is in Zimbabwe.  The Mbizi Game Park is a very lovely place to visit.  I have been told that the country is twice as beautiful during the rainy season.  It was still lovely even during the dry season.  I was told that the wild animals are all contained in various game parks that are fenced in to protect the animals and the people. 

 We had a great group of people.  There were 41 of us total between facilitators, organizers and attendees.  It was a great team of people.  I was blessed to be part of the program.
Mbizi has many nice places to enjoy, including this area of boulders and even rock paintings.
 The  owners of the park became our friends.  They came and ate with us at each of our meals and attended some of the lectures.
 This was my home away from home while we were doing the training.  Five of us camped out in this bungalow.  Two on each side and Richard in the middle outside with only a curtain between him and the world. 
 After the meetings were over, one of the organizers took us to several places.  One quick stop was the lion park.  We were able to drive the vehicle right in to their area.  Those cats are beautiful and huge.
 I am so looking forward to heaven when all the animals and we people can be friends again.  It is amazing how much beauty still exists in this world after 6000 years of selfishness and sin blighting it all.  God is so amazing.  His creativity, His love for beauty and variety still shine through.  Heaven is going to be great.
We were able to visit two future homes of a training center and an outreach center.  One was several hours away from where we taught.  We also visited several other sites including some health outreach facilities.  In addition to that, we also visited an orphanage. 

The children ranged from newborns to young people that are in college now!  It was wonderful to see all these young people with real peace and purpose.  The work they are doing there is AMAZING.  If anyone is interested in working with orphans, I highly recommend this orphanage.  The name is Newstart Chidlren's Home.  Here is the web address.  They need volunteers.

It was a great blessing to be part of the facilitation team.  I made many new friendships that I hope will last through all eternity.  If I don't see any of them again before Jesus comes, I hope to see them all when He does!

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