Bright and vibrant colors painted by the hand of God can be appreciated in every direction through brushed jade green grasses, aqua blue skies, and stark black and white zebra stripes; the smell of smoldering coals from inside circular outdoor kitchens paired with the scent of elephant dung; gentle laughter from children as they curiously peer out from behind a Baobab tree to see the Murungu walking among the local village; to stained red feet after walking barefoot in the African soil; this is how Africa arrouses my senses.
In a small S-10 pickup truck, tucked between my father and an energetically passionate African, I found my love for Zimbabwe. The sun generously shared its warmth with us one spring morning in 2012 as we drove to Mapfeni Primary School. Windows were down, the ride felt as if we were maneuvering moguls, and the scent of burning wood made my eyes water. Or, perhaps it was my own tears as they cascaded down my cheeks, stained by the red dirt. We listened intently as our new friend shared his vision for communities and the legacy of African children. The final corner as we approached the school could have compared a fireworks finale. Hundreds of beautiful, bright, vibrant, curious, intelligent, loving, and inspiring children stood in a single file line with royal blue school uniforms and awaited what could be their only meal of the day. In that moment, a piece of my heart was planted beside the Baobob tree at Mapfeni Primary School.
It has been over eight years since my virgin trip into a community of people that have forever changed who I am, how I process life, and how I show love through actions instead of mere verbiage. I have had the honor and privilege of working hand in hand with the Nhaka Team and have personally witnessed genuine care and concern for the well-being of the communities in Zimbabwe. Team Nhaka concerns itself with holistic efforts of care through the promotion of early childhood education, to community gardening, to sustainable projects, to parental and community ownership, to school feeding programs, and the health and wellness of the young children. As a sister organization, we, the Rock Forward team partnered with Nhaka Foundation to create a program that both psychologically and spiritually promotes growth.
The parable passage from Matthew 25 resonates in my soul as that of a blaring trumpet. Just as the parable of the bags of gold, we have been given much. Hundreds of opportunities are available for us to invest our resources, both that of time and finances. I can almost hear the audible voice of God asking me, “Amy, how will you invest in Me?”. In verses 34-40 Jesus says, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Then the righteous will answer him, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
May the resounding sound of the trumpet echo in your heart, mind, and soul as you consider how to effectively use the gifts that God has given you to do unto the least of these.
August 30, 2020