Shepherd Project is headed to Zimbabwe to produce the Pure Truth pastors conference with Christian World Outreach, Imagine Africa and Compassion International. This is our travel log:
Saturday, May 25
Because of some bad weather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, some of us missed our connecting flight to Harare, Zimbabwe, but Ethiopian Airlines was great. They re-booked us for tomorrow morning, put us up in a hotel and paid for our meals. So, we got to have a little peek at Ethiopia:
Sunday, May 26
Most of our team has arrived in Harare, Zimbawe. We are still waiting for some of our team members from Compassion International, but all of the Shepherd Project and Christian World Outreach staff are on the ground and ready to go. Today we will meet with the rest of the Zimbabwean planning team, spend the night in Harare and then travel out to the conference location tomorrow morning.
Interesting experience of the day: several of us took a walk in downtown Harare but were stopped by the military because one of our team members had a camera. “Taking pictures is not allowed,” we were told. “Go where you are going.” They followed us for a it to make sure we weren’t trying to sneak any illicit photos, but all was fine once they understood that we were complying. Apparently the tense political climate here is responsible for this restriction. We were near a set of government building and they don’t allow any press…which we were by default simply by having a camera. Ok, lesson learned!
Saturday, June 1
The conference ended this morning. Sorry we weren’t able to make updates throughout the week, but there was simply no internet service. Now that we’re back in Harare, we can post at least a few pictures, but a full update will have to wait until we return to the U.S. In short, though, the conference was an AMAZING success. You cannot imagine how powerful it was to be part of an event like this that combined speakers from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and the United States, all working together to equip the leadership here to do God’s work in their context.
The church leaders were so grateful for little bit of training we could provide in biblical interpretation, theology, conflict resolution, mentoring, tentmaking and more. I lost track of how many times we were asked to “please, please, consider doing more of this kind of thing. We need these tools so much!”
Our team is healthy and happy, if very weary!
Here are a few pictures to tide you over until we can make a full report:
Harare, Zimbabwe at sunset
Team member Stacey Tuttle enjoys a little morning coffee before the session begin:
Outside the meeting facility:
View of the conference in session:
Team member Megan Isaacson and friends leading worship:
Team member Stacey Tuttle with a conference delegate:
Praise and worship Zimbabwe style:
Team member Lynae Smith runs worship visuals for the conference:
Team member Craig Smith with one of the primary conference organizers, Onias Tapera:
Team member Coletta Smith with a conference delegate named Patience:
Megan Isaacson giving a gift to one of the worship team members (check back soon for the full details…you don’t want to miss this story!)
The night sky in Harare:
View from the conference center grounds:
Team member Lynae Smith with Odessa:
On the conference center grounds:
Team members Craig Smith, Onias Tapera and Mark Chadwick: