Wayfaring by Faith :)



So much has happened in the last fourteen days, it makes me grin like an idiot with utmost gratitude as well as excitement and anticipation for what is yet to come. As if all these things were not enough, another amazing thing transpired this afternoon.

Remember I posted a status on the day I arrived in Zimbabwe on the 6th of December? I wrote briefly about meeting an amicable white Zimbabwean couple named Bruce and Sue Douglas. On my flight from Johannesburg to Harare, I found myself seated beside them. Interestingly, the lady Sue, decided to strike a conversation with me. I thought that she was being exceptionally friendly. By her accent, I figured she must have been a white South African or Zimbabwean. Anyhow, as the conversation progressed, we soon found out that we were kindred spirits as they were fervent believers in Jesus, just as much as I. You know, it’s funny how you get that ‘feeling’ when you meet people who share the same mind and heart concerning such matters. I just couldn’t shake off the sense that they might have been Christians too. When I asked, true enough, they were.

Sue then jokingly said, ‘Aw, God gave me an easy one today!’ When I gave her a puzzled look, she chuckled and explained, ‘You see, whenever Bruce and I get on a plane, we make a pact to talk to people, and if the opportunity arises, we share with them our faith in God.’ She leant towards me and smiled, ‘Whenever we see a lady in our row, it would be my chance to sit beside her and strike a conversation. If it is a gentleman, it would be my husband’s turn! So today when we walked along our aisle and saw you taking a seat, I was to be the one to sit beside you. I was wondering if you’d put on your headphones as most young people do, then I wouldn’t have the chance to talk to you. But well, you didn’t!’

Funnily enough, my phone was running out of battery, otherwise I most probably would have put my headphones on. Anyway, our conversation turned out to be a most intriguing one! Bruce and Sue told me a bit about their background. Bruce was born in Kenya and could speak Swahili, but he later moved to various cities and finally settled in Zimbabwe, which was then British-ruled Rhodesia. Sue was born a white Zimbabwean. They had two biological children, and two more adopted black Zimbabwean children. 18 years ago, the couple decided to foster and adopt two abandoned babies from a Zimbabwean orphanage, one of whom was tested HIV-positive. It was only about ten long years later that they were allowed to formally adopt these two children – David and Deborah. The regulations concerning adoption are very strict in Zimbabwe. It was certainly no easy route for white Zimbabwean to adopt black Zimbabwean children. Nevertheless, by the grace of God, this amazingly tenacious and faithful couple managed to pull through and take these two children as their own.

They told me how in 2008, when things were so bad in Zimbabwe both economically and politically, that they were forced to leave their farm and flee the country for a time. Many of their fellow white Zimbabwean friends and family left the country for good. But for some reason, Bruce and Sue knew that God would eventually call them back to Zimbabwe. And that is exactly what they did. Despite the dire situation and perpetual uncertainty, they came back a year later and established their farm land and butchery business in the area of Chinhoyi once again.

Now the really cool part is when they told me why they came back. Bruce and Sue knew that God was calling them to reach the people of rural Zimbabwe. Four years ago, Bruce began to take his fishing boat out to Lake Kariba in the north. He would sail along the coast of Kariba and stop by at the rural fishing villages along the way. Knowing nobody, and often finding it difficult to communicate with the villagers, he nevertheless felt that God wanted him to build relationships and friendships with these people. Soon enough, Sue also began joining him on these trips and eventually, they also had friends from other parts of Zimbabwe, Africa and around the world who would go on missions outreaches with them along Lake Kariba. What I loved about their testimony was the way God had inspired them to reach out to these rural Zimbabweans. They told me that all they wanted to do first of all was form trusting friendships with these families. They did not want to give out charitable donations as many other organisations – both secular and Christian – were doing. Over the last four years, these friendships have been forming and the bonds between them strengthened, despite the cultural, racial, and religious and communication barriers. Eventually, when they have had the opportunity to assist these communities and individuals with material aid, the support was regarded not as an impersonal ‘donation’, but as a gift – a symbol of true friendship and caring that demonstrates God’s love to these people in a way that is real, relatable and lasting.

Just before we touched down in Harare, I asked Bruce, ‘What is your prayer for the nation of Zimbabwe and for your work in the rural fishing villages?’

He gave me a knowingly sincere smile and said simply, ‘We are just praying that the people of Zimbabwe will come to know God’s love and its transforming power. Both people in the city and in the villages need Jesus. It will begin with that love.’

As we landed, Sue kindly gave me their business card and phone numbers. She told me to call them as soon as I got my Zimbabwean number, and I would be welcome to visit and stay with them any time that I like while I am in the country! I was so amazed by their open-hearted generosity and genuine willingness to look out for perfect strangers. I could hardly believe it – here I was, having barely touched down in Zimbabwe, and God was already crossing my paths with such incredible folk! Can I say it again (as I often have in many of my recent posts): MIND-BLOWN.

So anyhow, that was the long story of it. Today, after two weeks of pure hectic missions and travel in Harare (and it seems such a long time since my encounter with the Douglas’s), I decided to contact Sue. Now here’s the amazing thing about all God encounters or ‘divine appointments’ as they call it – the timing is absolutely perfect. It turns out that Bruce and Sue will be coming down to Harare (from Chinhoyi, which is about one and a half hours drive north) on Sunday tomorrow, because they are dropping their daughter at the airport. When I told Sue if it would be okay to visit them before Christmas, she immediately offered, ‘Oh tomorrow we’ll be coming by Harare and we can definitely pick you up in the afternoon!’ How easy was that?

They said I could stay for as long as I could. Well the plan is that I want to be back in Harare for Christmas with my friend Marc and his family, whom I’ll have the privilege of staying with during the holiday time. Sue chirped cheerily, ‘Oh no problem, we have a driver and we can certainly arrange for you to be back in Harare before Christmas!’

Can I say it again, mind-blown! You just have to know that these guys are perfect strangers. I chatted with them for about one hour on the plane, and they left their numbers with me, and that was it. I didn’t have to call them again, but for some reason, today I felt compelled to. And it turned out to be the best timing to call. I still can’t believe it. I’ll get to see this other side of Zimbabwe – living with this white Zimbabwean couple and their two adopted children, now teenagers. I’ll get to visit their rural church and also hear more about their missions work along the fishing villages up Lake Kariba. I’ll get to live on a real farm!!! And Bruce has told me about his library of many biographies and Christian literature, he is excited to show me some of his favourite titles. And, Sue has also mentioned that they have an upright piano in their home that I could have a tinker on! Oh my word, I am just so happy and full of joy that I cannot contain it. Thank you God!

It is certainly beyond my imagination and all the prayers I have made before coming to Zimbabwe and even as I was travelling here. I asked God to lead me to the right people. I wanted to experience different sides of Zimbabwe. And now I believe this is one of the many answered prayers! It’s just so cool. Maybe it just seems like coincidence to many, but I know it isn’t – because the kind of people I’m meeting is just way too specific to the kind I have asked God to cross my journey with. It’s this specificity that just takes my breath away. When I started this website ‘Wayfarer By Faith’ before my trip to the Middle East, I wrote in my vision statement that I want to be a wayfarer by faith. I wanted to cross barriers and build bridges across those gaps in between cultures through my music, my words, my life and my faith. It is happening as I have committed it to God. Now I can write about things like this, because it’s really happening as I am taking it step by step. I just want to get to know people in different places, see life through their eyes, share my faith and let others share theirs with me. This is travel, this is missions, and this is living for a purpose and making every opportunity count for God’s glory. Although you and I may fail a thousand times in the making, God never fails you and me.

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The Difference

Wayfarers walk by faith and dream with eyes wide open. Living simply, they go places, break barriers, embrace people, and build bridges. They're cool if things go wrong; it's the journey that counts. They like being on their own, but love the company of like-minded people anytime! Wayfarers love to hang with the locals, make music in unusual places, and share stories. They're creative about ways to touch the world both on the home turf and on the road. Wayfarers are on the life-long odyssey of discovery with hearts anchored in Faith, Hope and Love.

 

The Wayfarer

The Wayfarer
Get in touch with Janielle: janiellebeh@gmail.com :)

About the Author

Hello, my name is Janielle, a 23 year-old muso based in Melbourne. Join me on my unpredictably audacious quest to embrace people of peace in tough places, use music to inspire creative education, spark spiritual conversations that challenge the status quo, and collaborate with like-minded young people to catalyze passion for Jesus' mission of reconciliation through acts of justice, truth and compassion among the young & free. Being a nomad at heart, I find ‘home’ when I stay with people on the ground, encounter the culture & discover what life's like for others. One Life | One Love | One Legacy.

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