Friday, November 19, 2010

If you want me to

I have a Zimbabwean friend who is living in the States right now and I love her heart and how she is sacrificing that desire to chase her own will and instead following the will of God in her life.  It takes just as much strength and faith and obedience to leave her home and live in mine as it does for me to leave behind the USA and head to Zimbabwe! I love you Lisa Rouse, and I am so very proud of you!When chatting I mentioned a song that moves me and she said it's one of her favorites too.

I think that music speaks to our hearts so beautifully, it's a precious gift from God.

This is a song that has been kind of like a theme song to me during my time in Zimbabwe. it serves as a reminder that no matter how easy or how difficult each individual moment or day is, that I am here and I will be here in Zimbabwe for as long as God asks this of me...for no other reason than because He wants me to.

I hope it blesses you as much as it does me!

If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens

Here are the Lyrics:

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

ya oh oh no

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Praising Than Prayer...

Thursday November 18, 2010 is the day that I have been waiting for... the day my file for application of a work permit in Zimbabwe will make it's way into the meeting room of the Labour Board with a seal of approval from Zimbabwe Immigration.

There is no guarantee that my file will even be looked at, and if it is, there is no guarantee that my request will be approved. I am praying that my file (which is one of hundreds) somehow find it's way into the hands of the board and that they look upon it with favor.

So for now, I am praying. And praising.

I had a great reminder from a very dear and wise friend this week. I had sent out an email asking people to pray about this and her response was,
"It'll be approved! We know how God works ;0) I'll do more praising than prayer!"

What a great reminder that we all have so much to praise Him for, and that even in the midst of asking for our hearts desire we can thank God for providing just that!

Thanksgiving is such a great time of the year to praise anyway! So just in case you needed a little reminder too...

Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name. Psalm 18:49

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28: 6-8

You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. Psalm 59:17

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

I have so much to praise God for today...5 years ago today I stepped foot on Zimbabwean soil for the first time, and a journey began that would change me for ever! Praise the Lord that He knows what we need so much more than we do!

I am including some pictures, random snapshots of some of the special, early moments of my time in Zimbabwe  for a more complete assortment of pictures, you can visit my facebook page!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Africa is Different

Another story from long ago….
March 2006

I love being with Pastor Chris and Rhoda. I am trying to adapt to life in Africa. I am in Zambia, and not really feeling settled yet, I know that I am supposed to be in Zimbabwe and I am trying to be patient and to wait for God to send me across the border. I am so close, I could walk there, and yet it seems so very far away!

It is hard to get in touch with everyone because we either have to use dial up internet at home that is so very slow or wireless internet at a café that is so sow and unreliable. I am lonely and homesick but trying to push through.

All of Pastor Chris’s family is so great to me. They are so patient and they laugh at the fact that I am amazed by the lizards and some of the other things I see running around the house and yard and they really find it funny that I am so afraid of the spiders, and bugs and RATS!

Rhoda is so hospitable and every meal has been served with such love. I am trying to eat everything that they cook for me (but they feed me way too MUCH and way too OFTEN) but I have to be honest… not everything is amazing… some things are scary.
It seems as if every night that I taste some meat that I don’t recognize and I ask, “Rhoda what kind of meat is this?” the answer is usually something I would rather not hear, like, “intestines or stomach or livers” of some sort of animal.

But tonight was different. This evening when I got home, I saw that we are having fish for dinner. Delicious Bream from the Zambezi. Finally something familiar—I can eat fish, I like fish! I noticed in the pan that the WHOLE fish is cooked—from the head to the tail. Different than what I am used to—but fish is fish, right?

But then, just as we were sitting down for dinner, the phone rang and it was my boss, Glen calling from the States. As I listened and answered his questions, I kept thinking “they are probably waiting for me for dinner, I need to go.” But after about 30 minutes I could hear that they just went ahead and got started. It was so nice to talk with someone from the States, that I almost didn’t mind missing dinner with the family.

After I got off the phone, Rhoda apologized for the family eating without me and then said, “but we saved you the best part” I looked at my plate and there was the head of the giant tasty Zambezi bream – it’s mouth open seemingly mocking me and it’s eye staring straight at me!

I didn’t really know how to eat the head of a fish, but with the whole family sitting around talking to me—I did the best that I could!
I wonder how long it will be until I can cross over the border to the place that calls to my heart. I am waiting (sometimes patiently, sometimes not). Zimbabwe here I come!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I have a new friend who has made a commitment to move from the States to spend a few months in Zim. After less than a week he called and changed his ticket to return home immediately. After spending a little time with him it became clear that he was homesick. My friends and I embraced him and loved on him and are trying to help him settle in here. I am glad that he changed his mind and decided to stay where God has called him, but it was a good reminder for me that we all get homesick.

Even after four and a half years in Zimbabwe, I have days when I am lonely for my friends and family and homesick for America. Today is one of those days… nothing is really wrong, so many things have gone really well today… and yet I am still just a little sad in my heart and I know that the reason for that is just that I am far away from my HOME.

This past week we started 2 new sessions of Training Hearts for Jesus. We have one group of parents meeting on Mondays and Fridays and another group meeting on Saturdays – I have been so pleased with the turn out and the reputation that Training Hearts is developing in Zimbabwe. In order to meet the needs of all the parents who want to be in the class we have to run two at one time. Please pray for me that I can keep up with the added hours to my schedule and give these parents all the time and effort that they deserve, and that God will use this class to help the people who come to it to make the changes their families need!

For more information about Training Hearts for Jesus or to find a class in California, check out this blog

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Throwback Thursday!

I often get emails/ facebook messages from people who read this blog asking about how I came to live in Zimbabwe, or what it was like when I first moved here. This blog was started long after I moved here for a couple of reasons:
1. I didn’t really think the stories were interesting enough that people would want to read them and
2. The internet access in Vic Falls, where I was living at the time was atrocious and the effort it would take to post a blog would have driven me mad with frustration!

As some of you know, I made a commitment to a very special new friend, that I would write one chapter a month this year, so that at the end of the year I will have what might possibly be, my first book. As I am doing that (sometimes more faithfully and more skilled than other times) I am being reminded of some of the stories from when life in Zimbabwe was so new to me.

I am going to start posting one of these “old” stories every Thursday! I hope you enjoy them!

November 2005

(My first Zimbabwean experience:: On a two week short-term mission trip with ROCK of Africa to Victoria Falls, Gwaayi River and Livingstone)

I didn’t want to come to Zimbabwe. I don’t honestly understand how I got here, but I know that I don’t like it. I know that it is hot, dusty and I am sweaty.
Today my heart has changed. If I am honest, this place, Zimbabwe meant nothing to me. I knew nothing of its people, its history or its landmarks.

The first few days here, have been frustrating. I know that I am missing the big picture. I know that God is trying to show me something and I am missing it. I am standing in the midst of children in poverty stricken villages who are hungry and I am feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t know how powerful my selfishness was until now.

Today I met some boys who live on the street. They could draw sympathy from even the most uncompassionate heart, standing in a parking lot- dirty, smelling like a mixture of dust, sweat and gross beer. They are young. One of the first things I noticed is that most of them are barefoot.

For some reason my heart resonates this deep feeling of understanding, as if I have known them before, as if I am like them. I have never looked like them. I have never smelled like them. But after talking to them for a bit, I know that I have felt like them.

It might surprise people to hear that a girl obsessed with shoes would relate to a group of barefoot boys, but I did.

They each tell stories of abandonment or betrayal. Some have been abandoned because their parents have died; others have parents who left the country to work elsewhere. Some feel betrayed because their parents divorced and remarried and they don’t fit anywhere. One of them has a blind parent who sends him to the street to beg. I know that some of their stories are lies, some are true. But one thing I believe is that each of them, regardless of whether it is true or not, feels unloved.

I know that feeling. I have felt it since I was 8 years old. Since my parents divorced and left me and my little brother with my grandparents in 1987. Whether it was true or not was irrelevant, for more than 15 years my wounded heart carried a banner that said, “I am unloved”. And it made the world a much less beautiful place. This feeling caused me to run away, just like many of these boys. I sometimes physically ran away, but I often emotionally ran away- hiding in alcohol, drugs, sex or later shopping and food.
I sat with these boys for quite a while. I bought them a meal of sadza (the staple diet of the people in Zimbabwe- really it is a lump of corn meal) and beef with vegetables and listened to them. We might have looked like an odd bunch, me and these boys. But what people couldn’t see and wouldn’t know is the truth that stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I laid eyes on this group of street kids:

I am just like them.

What they look like on the outside is what I feel like on the inside.
They wear the truth of their abandonment on the outside in the form of dirt covered pee stained clothes. I wear the truth of my abandonment on the inside in the form of mismanaged emotions and the need for excess and control.
We are all the same, me and these boys, and my heart will forever be changed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 26th... were you praying?

South Africa is looking to you, Zimbabwe to show Africa how to manage race relations.

That is what Angus said, when he spoke Saturday night to a group of about 4,000 (mostly white) Zimbabweans.

This event kicked off Operation Trumpet Call which is a call to the churches to unite together for the transformation of the country. It is obvious to anyone who spends even a short amount of time in Zimbabwe, with either white or black Zimbabweans, that racial tension must be dealt with before the nation can be transformed, unity is necessary. Operation Trumpet Call rolled out its vision on Sunday morning after asking all of the churches in Harare to cancel their services and meet together at the Civic Centre. They announced that Zim is facing record food shortages this year and that in order to feed the nation, we are going to have to find a way to come up with the 1,000,000 tons of maize that we are estimated to lack. Scott Marques, the visionary behind

OTC said that we only have 3 options:

1. Beg (Once again taking aid from organizations and nations that have created donor dependence in Zimbabwe for decades now.)

2. Steal (Seems unlikely)

3. Plant (Individuals must make up what the commercial farmers are not producing)

OTC is asking each Christian home to plant 25 meters x 25 meters of maize in the manor Foundations for Farming teaches. Obviously not every family will have the space but if some do more and some do less we will average out with a surplus of maize to feed our people and our animals! Zimbabwe will not NEED maize donations this year!

On Sunday morning, Angus Buchan joined forces with Zimbabwe’s church leaders to encourage Christians to do what they can to make a difference. However, for me the true “trumpet call” was when Angus stood on stage Saturday night and spoke to a much smaller group of people. The stage was in Chisipete a suburb of Harare and the audience was mostly white. As an observer I would say that many of the people there, would not be found at the Sunday morning meeting the next day, nor would they normally be found in a church.

Angus started by saying “I am a foreigner, I was not born in Zimbabwe, but I am here because I love you.” Tears poured from my eyes as my heart deeply related with the words that caused this older man’s voice to crack as he spoke.
He spoke of love, which he called the greatest of all forces. He spoke of the love that Jesus has for all of us, and the love that he personally has for Jesus- which motivates him to come to Zimbabwe now. He told a story of the night that Jesus took a towel and washed the feet of His disciples. He said that Jesus chose to wash the feet of these friends, even though He knew that Thomas would doubt him, that Peter would deny knowing him- three times and that Judas would betray Him and hand him over to the ones that would crucify Him. Even knowing all of that, Jesus still chose to humble himself before His friends and wash their feet.

Angus called us to forgive. He said that he knew that many people have been hurt, black and white alike. He said that many have lost farms, loved ones and cherished possessions. He related that to the story of Job who in the Bible, lost everything. That many have been betrayed, mistreated and oppressed. He recognized the sin of this nation and he said like Job’s friends, he came to us- the nation-of
Zimbabwe to weep and mourn with us in our time of greatest loss.

But then he got on his knees and He prayed with us, asking for forgiveness where we have been wrong; wrong to God and to each other. And He asked us to pray as well. He asked us to unite, to put aside our prejudices and hardened hearts and to forgive one another- to walk in love with one another.

And then He said, tomorrow (Sunday Sept 26, 2010- the international day of prayer for zim) that many people around the world were going to be praying for the people of Zimbabwe. And he said that the people of South Africa who have their own racial problems were looking to Zimbabwe, to the Christians of Zimbabwe, to lead the way. To mark out a path, showing others how to overcome the injustice and hate in the world.

I know that Zimbabwe has faced massive difficulties. I know that people have been killed or beaten in wars for this land; people have been killed or beaten as land has been taken from white farmers. People have been oppressed and mistreated; others have been retaliated on in violent ways. This country has been separated by hate, pride and greed for far too long. I believe that if the church will step up, this nation CAN unite together to overcome the circumstances we have caused for ourselves by hate, pride and greed and we WILL find a way to forgiveness and unity.

The transformation of the agriculture in Zimbabwe that Operation Trumpet Call is asking us to be a part of, is only possible if we unite: black, white, Indian or Asian and put aside our differences and our bitterness and work toward a common goal: the feeding of our people.

Please continue to pray with the people of Zimbabwe for this nation. As one pastor said as we departed on Sunday, “This is not over, this is just the beginning”. My prayer is that each Christian home in Zimbabwe is preparing their plot of land, getting ready for November 25, when we are told by FfF to plant, and preparing their hearts to forgive, for we cannot accomplish such a massive task as producing 1,000,000 tons of maize, with the heavy load of bitterness weighing us down.

My heart is grateful that I am blessed to be in Zimbabwe as such a time as this. I hope the world is watching as this nation united together to display what can happen when people allow God to heal their hearts!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Big things are happening in Zimbabwe

This is such a fun time to be in Zimbabwe. Joyce Meyer visiting Harare with amazing worship from Hillsong and a phenomenal group of pastors from the States really WAS the start of something great!

This weekend Angus Buchan (the real life farmer from the movie 'Faith Like Potatoes') will be here to speak on Saturday night. He is then taking part in Operation Trumpet Call which is an event that hopes to unite the church to transform the nation (especially in regards to agriculture which is a hot topic as always in Zimbabwe!) For more information please see

"The condition for a miracle is difficulty, however the condition for a great miracle is not difficulty, but impossibility" Angus Buchan ~Faith Like Potatoes

I believe that we are in a miraculous time for this nation!

THEN, next week I am even more excited because Nicole C Mullen is coming for a worship concert! I have loved her music for quite a while! She is most famous, I think for a song called "My Redeemer" however, my favorite song of hers is called "Music of my Heart"

The lyrics to the song are:

I'm not ashamed to tell the whole world, oh
Without you, I'm nothing at all
That I have strings in need of mending
I'm out of tune in certain parts
So strum the chords of mercy
Restore my soul completely
Lay your hand upon me
And this instrument will breathe

'Cause you're the music of my heart
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The melody within my soul
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The song that holds me in the dark
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The fire that warms me when I'm cold
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The symphony that calms my fear
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The lyric that I long to hear
(Yeah yeah yeah yeah)
The masterpiece, the work of art
Complete before I start
The music of my heart

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Creator of all that is lovely, oh
Write a tune upon my heart
And when you finish will you play me
Like a beautiful guitar?
Strum the chords of mercy
Restore my soul completely
Breathe life into me
And this instrument will sing

[Repeat Chorus]

Of my heart
I'm captivated
Of my heart
My soul's elated
Of my heart
Every single line's full of love divine
Write me like a valentine

[Repeat Chorus]

Yeah, the music of my heart
Of my heart
The music of my heart
Of my heart
The music of my heart

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sometimes Music Says it Best...

For anyone who has ever been in a relationship, you will probably relate.
I have a friend who is hurting deeply right now, and I think this song will help her....I thought I would share it here, in case it can help you too!

I was blessed to be able to hear Sara sing live in February and have been singing along with her music on itunes ever since!

Sara Groves "It's Me"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lessons from a (Coach) handbag

As most of you know, I am a shopaholic… a reformed – or at least reforming shopaholic, but one none-the-less! I am a follower of Jesus and currently serving as a volunteer missionary in Zimbabwe. I will tell you this, there is no surer way to kick a shopping addiction than to move to Zimbabwe! For many of the past four and a half years that I have been here, we have had to leave the country even to buy groceries! But, I haven’t changed completely and when I visit friends and family in the States, it is a challenge to not become overwhelmed with the lovely things to behold at every shop I walk past!

On my last trip home to the States (at the beginning of 2010), I saw a handbag in a department store that I fell in love with. It was a Coach bag, but not just any COACH bag, it was gorgeous. My (2nd hand, no brand) purse had been stolen in Zimbabwe in June of 2009 and I was desperately in the market for a bag, any bag would do, when I stumbled across the bag that would change my life. (Now, I know I sound dramatic, but stay with me—this bag has indeed changed my life!)
I didn’t buy the bag. I wanted to buy the bag, but remember I have been living with no salary for years…come on people; I wasn’t going to be able to afford a coach bag. My grandma (as usual) was right, “a missionary in Zimbabwe does not need that bag”. BUT, this missionary to Zimbabwe, WANTED that bag. Badly. Like, so badly that I considered giving up this life, getting a job and buying the bag. But I quickly realized I was never going to be able to justify giving up my current lifestyle over a purse—that was pushing it, even for me.

A month after seeing the bag, I had gotten over it and realized as I prepared to go back to Zimbabwe, that I didn’t really need the bag. (But I still wanted it). I have to raise all of the money that I spend living and working in Zimbabwe. My friends and family, (mainly you great people who are reading this) make this possible by donating generously to ROCK of Africa, who sends me here. I was having a garage sale to raise some of the money I needed to return and when I took all of the items that didn’t sell to the local Goodwill, my mouth dropped open on the last of multiple trips. By then I had made friends with all of the men who were helping me unload the car and they knew that I was getting ready to return to Zimbabwe. My mouth dropped open in shock, when I was getting ready to leave because I saw my bag, that beautiful, special, I-just-gotta-have-it Coach bag-sitting in one of the Goodwill trucks. I quickly asked, “Is that someone’s bag or is it a donation?” My new friend said, “It’s a donation.” My heart got so excited! “When will it make it into the store, I just have to buy that bag!” This man will probably never know that his next few words would mean so much, “Here, it’s yours.”
This bag changed my life, not because it was a great bag (which it was) but because of the lessons I have learned from that beautiful-just for me- Coach bag… and here is what I have learned.

Lesson #1: God really does care about the desires of my heart.

The Bible says in Psalm 37:4 “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I love this verse. I have learned so many lessons around this verse in the past few years. I have learned that when I find my joy and pleasure in the time I spend with Lord the desires of my heart begin to match His will for my life and then, pretty quickly, they start to materialize.

Even still, I often find myself thinking that God couldn’t possibly care about the silly little desires of my heart, like wanting a sunny day on the beach for my birthday or a coach purse that I saw in a shop… but He does. He cares about every aspect of my heart and when I opened that Coach bag for the first time and saw the card that said, “Thank you for purchasing Coach” my heart swelled with joy. Not because the bag was new, and free and beautiful, but because the miraculous way in which it made itself to me, was proof that God loves me enough to care about even my silly little unimportant desires. I am important to Him… just as I am.

Lesson #2: Jesus loves me.

From that day forward, I have called that amazing bag, my “Jesus loves me purse”.
People ask me why and I love telling them the story of how it became mine. People LOVE the story. Not because I tell it with such excitement, but I think deep down, when they hear the story, something resonates with them as well. Such a small thing as a purse has helped me to share the Gospel with people in several countries and in a non threatening way. It is my hope, that they walk away thinking of all the little things in their life that point to the truth that “God loved the world so much that He gave his only son” (John 3:16)

Lesson #3: From time to time, I need a reminder about how much I am loved.

There are some days that are just hard. Bad, grouchy, ugly days. I do not like those days. On those days my heart doesn’t naturally whistle the tune to the song I learned so long ago in Sunday School, “Jesus loves me this I know…” Because even though I do KNOW, I don’t always FEEL it. On those days I need a reminder. For me, my purse served as a reminder. On really bad days I could look at those gold rings, the chocolate leather and especially the hot pink squares and remember, “You love me so much that not only have you saved me from certain death, an insignificant life and a bleak eternity, but you also bless me on a regular basis with more than I need and want and hope for.” That purse from Jesus was a reminder of His love for me as bold and clear as a husband sending his wife roses to work for no reason at all. Or a teenager giving his girlfriend a mix CD of all the songs that remind him of her. We all need reminders that we are loved, out of the blue, very obvious, statements of love. My purse was that, clear and obvious enough for me to grasp even when things seemed to fall apart and confuse me.

Lesson #4: I have an enemy who does try to steal, kill and destroy. I must pay attention

This is the hard one. This weekend, I was sitting in my car after speaking at a youth event. I needed a break. I needed some quiet time. I needed to be alone. I parked my car in a church parking lot and I read, and I sat by myself in the quiet, not having to answer to anyone. It was amazing, for about 15 minutes. After that I saw a car park behind me. Then a big man got out of the car and walked past my window to the church door. He immediately turned around and went back to his car. I went back to my reading and my peace of mind.

A few minutes later my car was shaking. I saw in my mirror a man was by my tire. I thought he had fallen. I asked “Are you ok?” Then saw his HUGE knife. “What are you doing?” He said, “Oh sorry madam” and then ran to the car and they sped off… with my purse. My just-for-me-gift-from-God-beautiful Coach purse. And all my money, my driver’s license, house keys, Bible and all the other goodies a girl keeps in her favorite purse. And they left me all alone, with a flat tire.
As I was filling out the police report (4 hours later as that’s how long it takes to get a new tire on a Saturday afternoon in Harare), my heart kept hurting as I realized that I would never again look at that bag and be reminded of God’s love for me. And at that moment, I could have really used a reminder. That night as I was praying and thanking God for keeping me safe, in what could’ve been a very awful situation, I learned another lesson from my purse.

The Bible says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). The two men that took my purse have no idea the story behind it. They know it was valuable and they know that they stole my money and my things, but they do not know what it means. But Satan does. He gets it. He hates me, because he hates my God. In a silly but very real way, that purse helped me do what I do here, which is to bring Glory to the God I serve. The enemy of my soul despises anything that brings Glory to God. That means me and anything that helps me remember who I serve. That means my purse. Sometimes I forget how real of a battle is going on around me. The enemy will steal anything from me, hoping to distract me from the love of God. He will destroy anything (my marriage, my family, my church) if it means I will forget who I serve. He will even try to kill me if that is what it takes, but no matter what happens to me I can still choose to stand firm and praise my God.

Lesson #5: If I let Him, God will take even the worst things that happen to me and make them seem alright, and maybe even good!

There has been an amazing man in my life since May 2009. His name is Nyasha. I love him. I have loved him for quite a while. I have prayed for him since the day I became a Christian. He is everything I have asked God for in a husband: He is a REAL- ON FIRE Christian. He understands, loves and respects my work. He wants to adopt babies. He listens to me and (although not as much as I would want) talks to me. He shares openly about his heart, his fears, his hopes. He works hard and is very smart. He is in Bible school. He is really, really good looking (I put this last so that you will think I’m less shallow than I am, haha)

I fell in love with Nyasha last June, at the Avondale police station in Harare. My car had just been broken in to and my laptop and basically everything was stolen. (It might sound like it, but this is very rare… I have had so few experiences with theft in Zimbabwe, but with the economy being so bad—I guess it happens). Nyasha and a few of my other friends went with me to fill out the police report. It was traumatic, I was sad. Nyasha took care of everything, all the questions all the details and in between questions from the police he sat next to me and prayed. He sent me text messages about God’s faithfulness. He calmed me down and stole my heart.

(This is relevant so please stay with me)

My life in Zimbabwe is hard. It’s harder than I ever wanted it to be. I live so differently than anything I ever imagined. I am an outsider everywhere I go now, even in the States. I miss my family, my friends, my dog, my career, the American lifestyle, shopping, being independent. If I allow myself to think of my life and what I miss, it is overwhelming. I can get depressed, angry or just feel sorry for myself so quickly.

Over the past 15 months since I fell in love with Nyasha life has beaten us up. Both of us. Nothing has been easy. Zimbabwe is a racially charged nation because of all of the hurts and injustices that have taken place here. Everyone has an opinion about the politics and somehow race=politics. Nyasha is black, I am white. That means life is hard. Nyasha is African, I am American. That means life is harder. My family is worried about me living in Zimbabwe, marrying someone here would mean more permanence than any American parent would want for their child. On top of that, life happens. Work is hard, finances are harder. Friendships are strained and relatives die. There are ups and downs and celebrations and sadness and throughout them all we have an enemy that hates us. We have both made mistakes and both hurt each other and through it all, we have had an enemy that enjoys stealing.

I have let the same enemy that stole my purse, steal my love. He didn’t come with a knife and slash my tires, but he came with words. Words that were strategically whispered into my ears when my heart was hurting, words that said, ‘he doesn’t love you like he says he does’ or ‘this will never work’ or ‘you know that no one will ever love you because of who you were’. Those kinds of words can sound so believable when life is ugly and hard and exhausting.
The enemy wants me to leave Zimbabwe. For those of you who have been on this journey with me, you know this to be true. Sometimes I consider it, but God always reminds me of what He has called me to.

I broke up with Nyasha recently. He is the best man I have ever known and I listened to the words of a thief that told me it wasn’t enough.
But the Bible promises me that no plan formed against me will prosper. That God will take the bad moments and make them good.

When the thieves stole my purse and left me with a flat tire, I called Nyasha. He loves me still and he came to my rescue… even though he had other things to do, important things, like cricket practice. 4 hours later we ended up where we began: at the Avondale police station making a report. I looked at the man sitting next to me, once again taking care of everything. He is not the same as the man I fell in love with a year ago. He is changed. He is stronger, he is older, he is wiser, he is funnier, he is more godly, he loves the Lord more and he is better to his family. He can now change a diaper and hold a baby and he refuses to stand for injustices in his nation. He chases his dreams and fights for the people he loves.
Sitting at the Avondale police station, I wanted to cry for what has been stolen from me. Not the purse that seemed to say, “Your God loves you so much that He will give you the silly desires of your heart.” But the man, whose presence in my life said, “Your God has been listening to every prayer that you have you ever said, every thought you have ever had and every tear you have ever cried. He loves you so much that He will not only give you a man that meets all of the criteria you have asked for, but one even better than that. He has granted you the desires of your heart that you didn’t even know were desires.” That is what I would have heard if I had not been listening to the lies whispered by the voice of the thief.

But God can make good out of bad. I am trusting that as God has changed my heart, and allowed me to see the truth again, that it will not be too late for me and the man I love. Please pray for us. I am not sure what the future holds for me and Mr. Nyasha Chari, but whatever it is, I know that God loves us both and He can be trusted. I know that God has a plan that meets the deepest desires of BOTH of our hearts.

And just as the purse on my arm was a reminder of God’s love, the absence of that purse will now serve as a reminder that if I am not mindful, the great gifts that God gives me will be stolen by the one who hates me. And a reminder that even in the ugly moments, God is bringing beauty from ashes, blessings from curses and good things from the bad.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mozambiquan Birthday Adventure

I am officially 31!

I had the most amazing adventure traveling from Harare to Tofo, Mozambique!

I will be posting pictures and stories soon, bur for now if you want to see them, you can check out my facebook page!!/album.php?aid=184113&id=743503576

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I am the President of the Taps Fan Club!

Taps and Simba trying to make a fire at home!  I love these guys!

I love this kid!  Whether he is ministering to the kids where he grew up at St. Josephs, playing with the little ones at Harare Children's Home, messing around with his best friend Simba at home, singing to kids at a school or old people in a retirement community or even revealing his song to gigantic crowds of people with Joyce Meyer and Hillsong, he brings joy to this nation as soon as he steps off the plane.

I miss him so very much when he is not here, but he inspires me with the courage and humility in which he chases after his dreams.  Taps really is one of a kind!

The cake we had made for a surprise party for Taps and the guys at St. Joe's. I think he was overwhelmed with the reception he got when he walked in the room!

Rehearsing with a class of kids before they sang at their school's assembly. They had planned to sing "We are the World" and asked Taps to join them.  He also sang Africa for them!  Here he was giving them a private "concert".  They all fell in love with him!

Serenading the old folks!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Longing for the kitchen...

Hi everyone!

I would really appreciate your prayers! I have been living in Harare since April, when I returned to Zimbabwe and it's been a bigger adjustment that I anticipated!  I miss Vic Falls terribly (the people, my old house, the weather, the high density and especially the magnificent falls).

In Harare, I have been staying in Borrowdale (a wealthy suburb) with an amazing family.  You have all heard me talk about Sue and Graham Williams and their amazingly beautiful and special daughter, Asher.  When I used to visit Harare, I would stay with the Williams family and their beautiful home has become a sanctuary for me.  But, now that I am living here something is not sitting well with me.  I have avoided that typical "missionary" picture that we see in Africa, where white missionaries come from the western world and somehow manage to live a similar lifestyle to what they left behind.  I have been very intentional about living in the high density, so that I can understand the lifestyle of the majority of Zimbabweans and to help immerse myself in the culture more quickly.

I am hoping to find a situation in Harare similar to the one that I had in Vic Falls.  When I first moved to Vic Falls, I lived with Bheki and Jannet--in their kitchen!  Some days I thought I would never survive, but I did, we all did and those first 18 months are the most special memories I have of my time in Zimbabwe.  I don't necessarily want to move back into a kitchen, but a bedroom in the home of a Christian family in one of the high density of Harare would be amazing!  Please pray that God will provide a home and a family for me soon!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Joyce Meyer

This was a HUGE weekend for the nation of Zimbabwe.

Joyce Meyer brought an amazing lineup of pastors to share with us and they even braced the very difficult subject of RACE RELATIONS!!!! I was so excited! I think that this is going to be one of the moments that we look back on years from now with a united, integrated church and say, 'WOW! That's where it started!'  I feel so blessed to be a part of this weekend!

Darlene Zschech and Hillsong were here for worship and it was AMAZING.  I can honestly say that at this point in time, the only thing better than Hillsong worship in Sydney... is Hillsong worship in Harare! They had an amazing time, the church had an amazing time and I know that God must have REALLY enjoyed it as well!

My all time favorite moment of the whole weekend...well actually there are two, are:
1.  After one of the day sessions, going to a prison with Joyce Meyer Ministries and Hillsong and hearing Joyce minister to the inmates.  Darlene at one point got up and sang Amazing Grace ACAPELLA and even as I type this I am getting goose bumps.  It was the most amazing thing, standing behind her staring into the faces of some of the most forgotten men in Zimbabwe as her voice ministered to them.  I think that years from now I will still remember that experience.  As one of only 3 people invited to come that weren't a part of their team, I know that this experience was a gift from God.

2. Taps on stage singing his song, 'Africa' for 100,000 people in an open field as Hillsong stood in the wings of the stage.  Even though less than 10 people had heard the song before, everyone joined in singing, "Africa, Africa" and I watched as one of the guys from Hillsong said to the head of Joyce Meyer Minstries, "You mean WE have to go on after THAT?" Again, 20 years from now when I am bragging about Taps  after he wins yet another Grammy, I will still be telling the story of this weekend!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Scary Scary!

Getting a flat tire anywhere is no fun...

For anyone in Zimbabwe, you know that getting a flat tire on the corner of 7th and Tongogara is a DISASTER!

Yes, on Friday morning in rush hour traffic (not the same as LA, but still traffic) I managed to get a flat tire in the turn lane in front of the State House.

I have heard so many horror stories about this, people being beaten, arrested and threatened... but thanks to the fact that I am covered in lots of your prayers, I was fine!  Nyasha came to save the day, along with Walter and Takesure, they were able to get the tire changed and send me on my way to the Seed Sowers Prayer Summit with little problem!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Missing My Family

This weekend was my little cousin Noah's first communion. Noah is one of the most special little boys that I know, and that says quite a bit, because I know a lot of kids ;-) My Aunt Cricket is like a mother to me. She helped my Grandma raise me and has been a part of my daily life since I was a little girl. Noah is her only child. He is 8, she had him later in life as she and her husband tried for years to get pregnant. When Noah was finally born our entire family knew he was a miracle. He has brought so much joy to all of our lives.

My Aunt Cricket and Uncle RJ are Catholic and they are raising Noah as a Catholic as well. This weekend my family gathered together to celebrate his first communion. It is another family event that we can add to the list of the ones I have missed. The weddings, the funerals, the births and birthdays, the Christmas's and the graduations… for years I have missed them all, because I am in Zimbabwe. It is not an easy thing, to miss out on the events, after a while I start to wonder when they might feel like I am no longer a part of the family at all. As hard as it is for me to understand, it is even harder for them. I know that. I am here, living out the calling on my life. No matter how great the pain of any given moment I know that His grace is sufficient and that I am able to walk through the moments that hurt. They miss me terribly and cannot truly understand why I have this life that takes me all the way to the other side of the world to a country they have never known. The relational sacrifice, is the greatest of all the sacrifices I have made to move here, to follow God.

I miss them so very much. My love for my family hasn't changed, if anything it has grown immensely. As I learn to love a nation of strangers, I also learn to love my own family more. This weekend, I couldn't be more proud of my cousin as he takes such a big step in his spiritual journey. I am not Catholic, but I understand the importance of what he is learning. I also could not be more proud of my aunt. She waited so long for her son and I love that she has for the past eight years, remained faithful to God in the way that she is raising her child. This morning as I read Proverbs 3 I thought of her, the chapter starts with "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments" and continues on to say "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." It is the deepest prayer of my heart that Noah will not forget these teachings of his early life and that he will learn to trust in the Lord.

Thank you for letting me take the opportunity to brag about my family J

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

3 departures and one most fabulous arrival!

I made it!  This trip back to Zimbabwe was filled with miracles, love and gratitude!
I was flying stand-by on a buddy pass because of a very generous friend who works for Delta.  This meant that my travel was significantly less expensive than normal, but that I would not have a solid flight plan, and whether or not I would get a seat on my flights would be dependent on whether or not there were seats available!  And with all the travel being stopped through Europe and airports full of people going nowhere, no one could guarantee that I would get anywhere, on flights that looked overbooked!
But I went in faith to LAX on Monday night.  My dear friend Deborah dropped me off at 10:30 at night for a 1am flight, and not only did I get a seat on the flight, but I got a FIRST CLASS seat on the flight! Wooohooo, that meant that I got a few hours of really good sleep!  I had a long wait in Atlanta, and no knowing if I was going to get a seat on the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa, I tried to make a plan to spend the night if necessary.  I was able to spend the day with some friends and it was so nice to be loved on and to visit with people I haven’t seen in a long time, and when they dropped me off at the airport, I was once again given a fabulous seat on the VERY long flight to Joburg.  I sat with a group of men, about my dad’s age who were traveling to South Africa for a hunting trip together.  They were so much fun and so sweet to me!
When I made it to Johannesburg, I was too late to make the South African Airways flight, and thought I might have to spend the night in South Africa, but again I found favor and was able to get on a seat on an Air Zimbabwe flight to Harare and was in Zimbabwe by 10:30pm on Wednesday!  It was an unbelievable trip and, thanks to all of the prayers, I think my best travel to Zim ever!
I have been here for 6 nights now and I am pretty much on schedule and over the jet lag! I most of Thursday and Friday except for a few visits with friends and a trip to my favorite orphanage to spend some time with some very special kids and a little girl names Ruthie that I have missed so very much! 
Then this weekend, my dear friends Walter and Tatendwa got married, it was so nice to be a part of that celebration!  What a great time!
This week is filled with meetings and preparation to get back to work!  I love and miss you all so very much! Thank you for all of your prayers, encouragement and support! I will be updating my blog as often as possible with stories and pictures so keep checking back!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's time to go back to Zimbabwe!

I have had a great visit to the States! I have spent time with my family, my churches and my friends and have been filled up, loved on and given many opportunities to share what God is doing in my life and in Zimbabwe! What a blessing!

I can still remember the first time I traveled to Zimbabwe in 2005. I had no idea what to expect and my heart became so burdened for the children I met!  The desire to make a difference has grown with each year that I spend in this beautiful place. 

This past year in Zimbabwe, we have seen many exciting changes.  Not only change in the nation, but also in the work we are doing!  I have traveled throughout the country establishing relationships in many villages and towns by helping families stay together and work through difficult situations.  Our work has also greatly expanded.  I have begun counseling children in several orphanages throughout the nation and helping to train staff members in these orphanages as well.  Praise God, we are seeing improvement in the lives of so many hurting children by providing love in these homes and by teaching staff members to parent in a God honoring way.

I am returning to Zimbabwe with ROCK of Africa Mission in about 2 weeks.  I will no longer be based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; I will be living in Harare, the capital.  My focus when I return will be to learn the Shona language.  I have been living in a region that speaks Ndebele and have been learning that language for years; however, most of the children and families I am counseling now are Shona speaking.  It is clearly time to take a step back and learn this language as well.  As I learn Shona, my work will focus on counseling children in several orphanages that have invited me to help, as well as to continue to minister to the children living and working on the streets of Zimbabwe.

As always, when it is time for me to head back to Zimbabwe, I must raise the funds for my travel, my living expenses and the funding of the work I do.  I am continuing to serve as a volunteer, as I have been for the past four years.  We kicked off the fundraising this past weekend with a very successful garage sale! Over $1,000 was raised with the items donated by friends in Southern California!  Thanks to all who helped, donated, prayed or shopped! 

If you would like to partner financially in the work that we are doing in Zimbabwe, you can join my support team by sending a check to ROCK of Africa Mission, 19781 Briarly Lane Huntington Beach, CA 92646, with "Regina's personal support" in the memo line. You can also donate online at by clicking on the 'Give Now' box and typing "Regina's personal support" in the description.  All of your donations go directly towards funding my time and work in Zimbabwe and are tax deductible.

You can keep up to date with my work and life at or by becoming my friend on facebook (
With love and gratitude,

Regina Jones

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blessed Beyond Measure

I had a great day with an amazing woman today.  Sharon started a Christian school years ago, when she couldn't find a school to send her children to.  Cornerstone Community School is a wonderful program that incorporates classroom time with a home schooling component and teaches parents how to parent in a godly way with a program Sharon designed called Training Hearts for Jesus.

I met Sharon when I was looking for a parenting curriculum to use in Zimbabwe and was so frustrated that I couldn't find one that was rooted in the Word that would be able to work to meet our needs.  I found Training Hearts and then met Sharon.  We have become friends and has been such an encouragement and blessing in my life!

Today I got to spend the morning at her school and was so blessed to (once again) see how beautiful it is when parents parent and teachers teach, all while loving the Lord and teaching their children to do the same!

I am waiting on God.  My heart wants to return to Zimbabwe, but I know that I am being delayed for a reason.  I am trying to trust Him in every moment, knowing that His timing is perfect! Days like today make waiting a little bit easier!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mr Who?

I first met Mr. Who in November, 2005. It was my first trip to Zimbabwe -- I was going for 2 weeks. Little did I know that this old man, with a heart on fire for the Lord would become my dear friend.

In the four years that I have lived in Zimbabwe, I have spent quite a bit of time with this man and his family. At first glance, it would appear that his family is poor. And in terms of material possessions, yes they are lacking, but in love and in spirit they were rich... and their most precious gem, was Josiaha Martin... Mr. Who.

Mr. Who got his name, when he lost his eye sight due to cataracts. I never knew him when he could see, but I loved that everytime I would walk down the hot, red, sandy path in Monde that before I neared his gate I knew I would hear "Who's there? Who's there?" He was always excited when someone would take the time to stop and pray with him, sing with him or read him the Bible. Those who have met him, as any of my friends who have come to Vic Falls have, know that as soon as you begin to pray with him he shouts "Amen! Amen!" His joy is contageous! His loss of vision was a constant source of frustration for him, and he was forever asking to be taken for medicine to restore his vision. Tonight, my heart rejoices at the thought of Mr. Who, with perfect eyes singing and dancing on streets of gold. He will never be hungry, cold or lonely again. He has been waiting for this day for a long time, although I will miss him, today my heart rejoices for him.

Mr Who, lived with his daughter and eight grandchildren. It appears that most of his children have died, as is so common with this generation in Zimbabwe, leaving behind many orphans. His one daughter stayed with him to help take care of the children, and as he aged, her father as well. Because he was so well loved in his community his daughter and these children have been provided for. People in the community, as well as ROCK of Africa, have seen to this, however one thing is important to note: A male presence in the home (Mr Who's presence) has kept them safe. Without a male in the home a woman and her children are left vulnerable.

Please pray for his family as they carry out his funeral this on Sunday, but also pray for their continued protection and provision in this time. The story of this man, Josiaha Martin is not rare, as a matter of fact, it is commonplace in this nation, but it is heartbreaking.

I will remain close to this family, and will do my best to help his daughter provide a safe place for these children to live. This is what I do in Zimbabwe, on the most intimate level.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Each year a group of volunteers from ROCK of Africa head to Nashville for the National Religious Broadcasters convention.  This is always an important time to spend with other Christians, learning about how God is moving in the world and being encouraged! It is also a time of long days, longer nights and not very much sleep.

One of the highlights of the convention each year is Kay Arthur.  She is often found speaking at either Women in Christian Media, or NRB...this year she did both--BIGGER BLESSING!

I met so many amazing people this year and heard so many great things, however I was most blessed by a talk at Women in Christian Media in which Kay Arthur, Vonnette Bright and Thelma Wells shared insight into their ministry--and gave lots of advice on marriage!  What priceless wisdom to be able to behold from these godly women!

I have also decided, with the encouragement of several people that I met at NRB, and so many others over the years, to begin writing a book.  I had been collecting stories from my experience in Zimbabwe, but when my laptop and all of my data was stolen, I was discouraged and kind of gave up.  I have a renewed sense of purpose after this convention and made a commitment to a woman I am respect very much, to write a chapter a month.  So here we go... someday ROCK of Africa volunteers might see my book on display at NRB!  If my story can be an inspiration be an inspiration to someone--or more importantly to bring glory to God, then how can I not tell it?

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Revelation 12:11

Saturday, February 6, 2010


(Noah reading to me!)

This year, I was so blessed. I was able to spend almost a month visiting my family.  Here are some fun pics from that month.  There are too many funny stories to tell, but all in all it was so great to be able to spend time with my grandma, my dad, Jimmy (my brother), Noah (my 8 year old cousin), Jaylin (my 5 year old neice), Aunt cricket, Aunt Sissy and Aunt Laura... along with all of my extended family as well!  I ate a lot of food (coney dogs, white castle and lots of home-made meals) played in the snow and played a lot of Wii, and had lots of great conversations-some with laughter and some with tears!

People used to ask what it was like to give up so much to live in Zimbabwe.  The physical sacrifice has been immense, to live without my normal diet, environment and possessions has been a learning experience.  At this point I rarely think about those things as a sacrifice anymore, however I doubt that there will come a day when the relational sacrifice doesn't hurt.  To  be so far away from friends and family is difficult, but for me, i have to think it is worth it to be able to serve God in such a way.

Noah & Grandma playing Wii
Aunt Cricket

Jaylin at our valentines day sleepover
Grandma and I are both in this "tent" with
her while we read our valentines!

Noah wanting to show the kids in Africa what snow looks like!

Me making snow angels in the driveway!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saying good-bye

It's never easy. I imagined that the more practice I have in saying good-bye, the better I should become at it. However, leaving Zimbabwe today is harder than it ever has been before, however when I went to say good-bye to the chidren at a local orphanage that I spend a lot of time at, I found that bringing bubbles made saying good-bye so much easier!

I love Zimbabwe, and although I will be faraway for a little while, I hold her people in my heart.