Last week I was in Zimbabwe visiting our VOH location. What’s really cool about each Village of Hope is that although each Village follows the same standards and policies, each one is unique, especially in the way that they reach the surrounding communities. All of our VOH locations have an on-site feeding program where they will feed the school and community children a nutritious meal each day. Last week I had the opportunity to visit VOH Zimbabwe’s off-site feeding program.
VOH Zimbabwe provides the meals for the children at a government school in a nearby community called Beta Bricks; a community largely identified as one that manufactures …bricks! A staff member from VOH arrives to the school every morning and helps serve meals to these children. When I arrived on Tuesday, a group of children came running to get into a line to get their bowl of porridge. I asked the staff member how many children were in that kindergarten class, and she simply responded “124 students, 2 teachers”.
I don’t know the exact demographic of that particular community. I don’t know how many meals each family is able to cook a day. What I saw while driving through the community to reach the school were compounds filled with small, shanty homes, piles of bricks everywhere, and people busily walking around. What I do know is that there is a great need in that community to feed children, and VOH Zimbabwe has the opportunity to reach out and serve a community outside of their own walls. It was so amazing to be a part of this program, even if it was only for an hour. It was humbling to see the women cooking and distributing the warm porridge to the children on a very cold day.
That feeding program has been on my mind ever since. It was such a beautiful sight to see how simply a Village, and a group of women could be Jesus’ hands and feet. It was nothing fancy, or loud. It was simply being able to feed children that are hungry, because they have the means to do it. I have been thinking about the life God has given me. How nothing that I have is actually mine – God has provided it, and He can take it away at any time. He has provided me with the means to help others and I’ve been thinking about how when much is given to someone, much is expected in return. If none of what I have is mine, I should have no problem giving to others. But I do sometimes – sometimes I really struggle with giving money, food, or clothing to someone else because deep down I feel like it IS mine, and that I am entitled to it all. But again, God is lovingly teaching me that none of it belongs to me. I truly believe that God is calling all of us to live a radical, extreme life – where we strive to live lives that actually exemplify less of me, more of Him.
In his book, “The Radical Question”, David Platt summarizes the cost of following Jesus found in Luke 9 where three men approach Jesus wanting to follow Him. Platt writes:
Trust me, even if it means becoming homeless.
Follow me, even if it means letting someone else bury your dad.
Love me, even if that means not saying goodbye to your family.
We can read those words, and convince ourselves that Jesus must not have really meant that! That’s way too extreme, right? Yes, it is extreme but it’s also a reminder that our purpose in life shouldn’t be to please ourselves, but to live for Christ – to tell others of His saving grace, to give of ourselves, and serve Him in every area of our lives.
Ask Him to change your mindset. Ask Him to help you let go of things that you’re holding onto too tightly. Ask Him to help you understand that nothing you have is really yours, but His. I’m asking Him all of that too. It’s hard, but that’s ok. Life was never meant to be easy.