Thursday, April 1, 2010


On Wednesday I received $150 from my sweet friend PS. I received $100 from the precious KE. This morning I had breakfast with a treasured friend for many years and was blessed with $500 for the truck fund. In a moment of utter joy I tossed more in as well. The total in pledges is now $9,300!!! I attempted to wire the funds today but discovered that I am missing one piece of info regarding the receiving bank, and so I have emailed Fatima asking her to obtain that info. They are 7 hours ahead of me, so she will hopefully have that info by the time I wake up tomorrow and can go to the bank first thing in the morning. I will post an update tomorrow!

I am feeling such intensity over all of this. I am now so greatly anticipating the news that Fatima has purchased the truck. She promises to send me a picture so I can post on the blog. I know that will be a sweet gift for all of us to see with our eyes, of what this effort has provided. Again....this is not about an automobile, it is about a ministry.

I rememembered something this week that I honestly cannot believe I had forgotten. The first time I traveled to Zim...upon landing in the capital city and attempting to collect my luggage, it was quickly discovered that about 40 passengers, including myself, had no luggage. All of our luggage had been left in Johannesburg, South Africa, apparantly on purpose. See, the airport in Zimbabwe didn't have any fuel. They were utterly empty of everything at that time. No fuel, no food, no currency....the country was in a shambles. Awful things were going on between the peoples as a result of political unrest. It was truly terrible. There had been a horrible cholera outbreak, which was a virus being spread by contaminated water. People were dying. Tons of people were dying. They couldn't get the medical treatment that they needed to stay alive. They needed hydration, but couldn't get hydration because all they had was contaminated water. This almost scared me enough to cancel my trip. But I went. SO - at the airport....the plane carrying me had to leave our lugguage behind so that they could carry fuel for re-fueling, instead. It took about 5 days or so for me to finally receive my luggage... WHILE I was still in the airport waiting in the ridiculously long line (at the end I might add) to fill out that paperwork to identify my luggage, I met a beautiful young Zimbabwe native who sat with me. She and I were both exhausted and just troubled over the circumstances. Not that this matters, but she was SO beautiful. I was surprised by her because she was very hip and fashionable. I was expecting tribal. She was urban and chic. I was expecting poverty expanding to the horizons, but she was likely more financially secure than I am. But her voice was so gentle and her gestures so sweet. She was so kind to me. She inquired about my travel to Zim and I explained I was there to serve in orphanages in the capital city of Harare. She questioned that... Orphanges in Harare? I replied, "yes, to my knowledge, at least 4". She was stunned. She stated "I had no idea there were orphans in Harare".

She lives right in the middle of it all and doesn't even know what is going on. I was floored by this. Now that I have been there even again and seen that there are in fact tons of orphanages in Harare....I wonder, how could she not know? But this is life as we know it. I live in Middle Tennessee and I know there are homeless shelters here for families because somehow I found out long ago. For several years my oldest son and I served monthly in a homeless shelter in West Nashville. There are orphans, wards of the state right in our city. I know this because I know people who have adopted them. We have no idea truly the brokenness that surrounds us. We live in our little worlds and they become so comfy....and we drive back and forth to the grocery store to replenish the milk and the bread. I get treats for my kids. Today I bought bird food, yet again, for my dang piggy birds taking up residency in my back yard. Tomorrow I will take my children to an Easter celebration at a gorgeous farm where they will play endlessly, and they will fall into the arms of the mother that adores every little hair on their heads.

We all have a ministry. If you think you don't have a are simply incorrect. You have a ministry as surely as I do. For whatever reason, my heart breaks for orphans. My heart especially breaks for orphans who can never be adopted because their governments will not allow it....therefore, forever orphans. Fatima has a ministry. She is one Zim native who has not only been made aware of the plight of the orphans in that country, she is one who has stood up and said "I will not stand for this!". She has rescued children from some incredbily horrible situations. And she isn't done. She is doing more. I doubt she will ever be finished. She will find them, rescue them, feed them, send them to school, get them to the clinics for the anti-viral HIV medications, and she will teach them about the love of Jesus. They will be restored. They will be valued. They will be hopeful. They will serve in return.

The truck is a ministry. It will be loaded up with food to deliver to the various orphanage homes that are spread far apart. They will courier the children to the clinics for their vaccines and meds. The truck serves a beautiful purpose. It is a tremendous blessing in a critical time of need. Fatima has been without a vehicle period for about 2 weeks now and has been traveling by bus.

If you are inspired to serve but you don't really know where or advice is to serve in your community. Find the homeless shelters and begin delivering meals. Deliver clothing, tennis shoes and games to the local boys home. Do something. If writing checks is your that....but get your hands dirty. You will never feel as alive as when you serve selflessly, having compassion on those who are less fortunate, or those who are emotionally wounded. Everybody just wants to be loved. Love is what we're all after. Everybody doesn't have money to give....but we were made to love. We all have love. And we all have plenty to share. Slice off a piece of yours and pass it around.

I dare you.

1 comment:

Pete, Yvonne, Yvette, & Bill A. said...

Hi Melissa,

Your story about the lady in the airport who didn't know there were orphanages in Harare really struck home with us. We've seen so many needs and so much of that "unawareness" wherever we've lived here in the US.

When we've been able to help financially, we have - at times with food, at others paying for someone's doctor visit or even an operation. And sometimes, when we have no money (unfortunately, now is one of them) it's just visiting, bringing flowers, or giving encouragement.

That's all part of "loving our neighbors." In Zimbabwe, Haiti, India - and next door. God bless you for what you're doing raising money for Fatima's truck (and I'm sure he already has). We hope next time we'll be able to do more than cheer you on and pray for you.

BTW - still looking forward to the book. That's not your fault; the PO will get it here. But I-80, the route both UPS and the Post Office take to get here from the east, was closed for snow most of last week. (We call the part between Laramie and Rawlins the "Sno Chi Minh Trail.") But this time we got a bad shock, too. A lady we knew, who'd been in our home just the week before, and about 4 times in the last month, was killed in a 20-car-and-truck pileup out there on ice and in fog.

Enough - I really don't want to go any further in that direction. What we all do want to do is "rejoice with those who rejoice" - you, Joe and Fatima.

God bless you,

Pete, Yvonne, Yvette and Bill Ahlstrom