Mission to Zimbabwe


My closest friends would tell you that I often find myself in some situations that are somewhat out of the norm for most folks (especially when it comes to being in other countries).  I would tend to agree.  About a month ago, I fairly quickly decided I was going to Zimbabwe this summer.  Maybe this doesn’t seem so crazy to some of you, but to others, it might seem like the kind of decision that you don’t make overnight.  This actually isn’t so crazy…I have had a heart for Zimbabwe for nearly 10 years when a friend from seminary made plans to live there and work in a children’s home.  I’ve prayed for her (and her adopted twins) over the years and we’ve had several SC students from Zimbabwe who I’ve come to know and love.  I’ve always thought I would go to Zimbabwe one day, but didn’t think it would happen so soon!

Here’s the story:  I learned last summer of a mission opportunity for some SC students to join a team that was going from Ashland, KS.  I recruited students, talked with them about the trip, and prayed for them as they prepared to go.  I even invited the trip leader, Benjamin Anderson, to speak in our chapel service in February.  I fairly quickly dismissed the possibility of going, financial and time concerns, being chief among my reasons.  I’ve also always imagined going with the UMC when I when to Zimbabwe.  You see, the Kansas West Conference of the UMC has a partnership with the Harare East Conference of the UMC in Zimbabwe.  This mission is not with the UMC.  However, I have continued to feel drawn by the the call of the mission that will go in July this summer, partly because of the team that I sense God is putting together.  From June 29 to July 13, 3 Southwestern students and myself will be joining a team of nearly 20 people based out of Ashland, Kansas, on mission to work with Eden Children’s Village in Doma, a small village that is home to a large number of children, many of whom are AIDS orphans.  They have found a loving school, family, and Savior through Eden Children’s Village.  Our team will be made up of people ranging from 10 months to 91 years old, it will include professionals, students, artists, and people who are willing to put their skills and gifts to work.  We will do some physical labor while we’re there, but we will also teach some skills to members of their community when we do the labor.  We also will have some medical staff in our group, so those with that background will serve and teach skills to friends in a medical clinic.  I will have an opportunity to share in some bible teaching in the homes of children, among other things.  We are excited about the group that God is assembling for our team and are confident that it will be both a significant learning and sharing experience!

I am looking for partners in the work that we’re doing this summer.  I do need financial supporters, but I also need people to come alongside me and serve through their prayers.  John Wesley said, “Nothing happens except through prayer!”  We have already witnessed God’s providing hand through the team thus far and we are excited to meet the people whom we know only through pictures and stories.  If you have any interest in supporting me or our team financially, let me know, but we are also looking for some items to take along with us.  If anything jumps out at you as something that you have, please let me know:

  • funds for lumber
  • durable fabric/thread
  • bicycle parts
  • medical supplies (wound care, vaseline, needles)
  • sports equipment (children’s size, balls of all kinds, nets)
  • art/educational supplies
  • clothing/shoes (Crocs, child-sized t-shirts, underwear)
  • personal hygiene products
  • tools

This mission to Zimbabwe has been an unexpected mission that I wouldn’t have anticipated.  That is actually part of what compels me the most about my experience.  I think it is tempting to tell God what we want to do and expect God to bless it.  I’m finding my willingness to step out in faith and go to Zimbabwe, even though it wasn’t in my plans initially, to be an exciting reminder that to live a life directed by God, it could mean that I could go anywhere.  I would love to take you with me through your prayers, your gifts or your support.  Let me know if you’re up for it!


About ashleealleycrawford

I am the Clergy Recruitment and Development Coordinator for the Great Plains United Methodist Church. I particularly enjoy helping people see what God is calling them to do and knowing how to respond to that. I'm an ordained deacon in the UMC. When I'm not deacon-ing, I run, or read, or spend time with family or friends.
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