Ashley H., a college student in North Carolina, recently travelled with our CRU team to Zimbabwe. Below she shares about how she saw God at work.
Saying that my trip to Zimbabwe was life changing, is an understatement. Those 10 days were some of the happiest and most joy-filled days that I have ever experienced. Before I went, I would look at pictures and see beautiful little African children, who all looked the same. They all had the same facial expressions, all wearing the same clothes, and all had the same life story. Two weeks later, I am realizing how wrong I was.
These children are real, they are more than a statistic, and more than just a picture. I was able to build relationships in such a short amount of time and learn so much about them. I was only with them for a couple of days, but I know that I will never forget them and how their little hands grasped my heart. When I looked into their eyes I saw the Kingdom of Heaven—Jesus is in their heart and portrayed in their life. These kids are living off of maybe two meals a day, walking close to 20 miles each day, and wearing the same clothes every day, but they had such joy in the Lord. How great is our God! How beautiful are those people to have such a deep love for Christ when they have less than we do.
I loved on every person that I encountered in Zimbabwe, even if it was just by saying, “Hi, how are you?” I saw how much of a difference that made in my happiness. I began to feel convicted because I realized how back in North Carolina I never took the time to see how people were doing or go out of my way to greet a stranger. A simple “hello” can start a conversation that could eventually lead to talking about Jesus. God showed me that in His will there is endless joy. Whenever I live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him, I am joyful.
We visited schools, helped out with the kid’s feeding programs, helped with their annual camp, and visited their homes. During the camp we listened to sermons, worshiped, and prayed together. We were all one—one church and one body in Christ Jesus. I imagine that is what the Kingdom will be like. While we were worshiping by dancing and singing, I looked around and God was everywhere. He was there, with us in what felt like the middle of nowhere in Africa. I saw Him in our faces, heard Him in our voices, and felt Him in our presence. His loving presence is international, how amazing! God was in more than just these peoples worship time, God was in their everyday lives. Whenever we went to the schools or in their homes, the people made sure to talk about God, to thank Him for everything that they have. I saw that even though they are materially poor they are spiritually rich, while for us so often it’s the other way around. How would I react if my money, home, job, and possessions were taken away? How would I react if I had to truly work to survive everyday? Would I be thankful?
A good friend of mine told me that we are not meant for this world. We are meant for so much more—to be with our first love, our Creator, in Heaven forever. Living in His presence and inside of His will here on earth will bring true joy. This trip taught me that we can see the Kingdom of Heaven in loving people, helping people, and giving God the glory in all things.