Bringing dead lives to life
Pastor Bob Chimboo from south-east Zimbabwe shares his experience of working with ZOE.
With ZOE’s help, between 2003 and 2016 we envisioned 135 churches in Masvingo to care for orphans. A lot of lives that seemed dead have been ‘raised to life’. Churches have found many different ways to meet the needs of orphans and widows. These include paying school fees and teaching skills in hairdressing, motor mechanics and sewing. Some of these orphans now have jobs and can provide for their families. We are training orphan families in gardening, fish farming, candle making, goat breeding and peanut butter making. We have also been advocating against child marriage and all forms of child abuse.
The ZOE model has helped us as pastors from different churches to be united for the cause of orphans. We meet once every month to discuss the issues volunteers from our churches come across during their visits. We are now a relevant church in our communities.
ZOE staff use these inspiring ideas as part of their training for church volunteers. Could you make a copy of this handout (PDF 325 KB) and use it in your church?
God created us with a heart, eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet. Church volunteers can use these God-given resources to build supportive relationships with orphan families.
A heart filled with love because of the cross of Jesus. A heart like God the Father’s, to love and care for orphans.
To see the soft brown hair and swollen hands and feet that speak of kwashiorkor (malnutrition due to a lack of protein and other nutrients)… To look into the child’s eyes and see ‘abuse’… To observe the home – the hole in the thatch, the absence of pots and pans etc…
To give messages of hope from the Bible and wise advice. To let families know what help and services are available in the community. To speak out and be a voice for the voiceless through advocacy.
To listen to the children and understand their pain… To listen to the old grandfather who now has six children in his care and knows he has four more on the way when his next son dies… To listen when no relative has asked: ‘How are you?’ or ‘How are the children?’ But now this volunteer comes to visit, and asks: ‘How many children are you caring for? How are they? How are you?’ This volunteer says they want to help in any way they can, and gives the old man a chance to talk for the first time in months. Then the volunteer asks if he can come back – and does come back!
For practical help, such as mending thatch, preparing the ground for planting, teaching sewing or carpentry etc.
For taking messages, bringing supplies, escorting children to the clinic etc – as well as for playing sport and games!
God has given us these abilities to care for others and to reveal Jesus’ love. They are totally free! Church members can use these resources to begin to build a strong orphan care ministry.