Reflection on the GMP Discovery Trip, by Trevor Gordge
Until a few years ago, Africa was not on my ‘bucket list’. However over the years, my wife Valerie and I have become passionate about Zimbabwe through our involvement with GMP.
We read about the ministry of Khayelihle Children’s Village (KCV), we heard stories from others who had visited Zimbabwe, we hosted Boniface Mpofu (Showers of Blessings Project Director) in our home a few years ago, and we have participated in Safe Water September for a long time now.
So when the opportunity arose, we excitedly joined the GMP discovery trip to Zimbabwe!
Our group was keen to embrace as much as we could during our nine days. John Gilmore with his knowledge, and our fantastic hosts, BJ and Chipo Mpofu, contributed so much to our experiences through their dedicated organisation of the trip – God’s miracles from my perspective!
Between us we were able to share at 12 different local church services. We joined in lively worship, with joyful singing and dancing. With the help of translators, we preached and shared our testimonies with the congregations. We felt particularly moved to pray for and with the people in these churches.
We were inspired by the depth of the Zimbabwean churches’ commitment. At the rural Gudo church, some people had walked 10 kilometres to attend. Women, wearing the Churches of Christ red and white uniform, cooked big pots of rice and sudsa(with chicken and vegetables for the visitors) over open fires for lunch. Their generosity embodied the selflessness of Christ.
We also had the opportunity to visit some of the 240 wells that have been drilled by the Showers of Blessings program. We saw the amazing impact these wells have had on local communities, enabling them to expand their vegetable gardens, as well as having greater access to clean water for personal needs. These communities were so appreciative and are working to increase the impact of their cherished well.
I welcomed the chance to talk with Boniface again when we visited the wells. It was wonderful to see his passionate commitment for the program, and his collaborative and productive relationships with each community.
We also had the opportunity to stay at KCV and engage with the children there. Mrs. Vuma and her team were generous with their hospitality. It was encouraging to see KCV working well, despite the challenges that they face with their work.
Our proud hosts were keen for us to see the world-renowned Hwange National Park. We appreciated the local staff and spectacular park so much, although we had some discomfort with the attitude of other ‘tourists’!
Victoria Falls (one of the seven ‘Natural Wonders of the World’) and the Zambezi River were similarly spectacular! It was great to share these experiences with so many local people, similarly enjoying the spectacle.
Even the quieter moments came with an impact. Our times driving between places were great opportunities to share our Christian journeys with one another, reflecting on common and different experiences.
Our return to Australia was only a physical departure. Our experiences of Zimbabwean hospitality, culture and joy, despite significant hardships, will never leave us.