Thursday, October 6, 2011


The Bond Family in front of the Adventist Union Headquarters in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The last week has been a hurricane of activity. When we arrived in Bulawayo, we barely had time to settle in before launching into our first round of sermons for ShareHim.

Originally, we had planned that I, my wife, Conna, and our two older daughters, Emily Beth and Cheslea, would each preach at our own sites, and our younger two, Taylor and Adriana, would preach tag-team, at the Queen Elizabeth Adventist Children's Home, an orphanage here in Bulawayo. When we arrived, we were told that there were several sites that were without speakers, and Taylor (13) volunteered to take his own adult site.

On Wednesday evening. we met our elders and drivers for each of our sites. Taylor and I would be heading to the same general area on the outskirts of the west side of town. Our driver's name is Comfort, and his name fits him perfectly. He's a gentle giant—calm, gracious, and capable.

A group of elders and young men from my site. My translator,
Mkululi (Redeemer) is on the front row with a thumbs up.
Thursday was spent doing last minute shopping, and practicing sermons that would carry us through the first weekend. On Friday afternoon, I spent all my time making sure each of our computers were loaded with the sermons and everyone had the appropriate adaptors and extension cords to make everything work at the churches. Since Taylor decided at the last minute to take a church of his own, we found ourselves one computer short. I let Taylor use my computer and I borrowed a Mac from my buddy James Bokovoy, who is here taking pictures and supporting his daughter, Avery, who is preaching. James' computer is brand new—which is great—but  I forgot that it didn't have Keynote installed. So when I got to my site with my presentation on a thumb drive, and realized that I didn't have any way to open the file and read my notes, I started to panic.

I should tell you a bit about my site at this point. My site is not unlike many of the sites around Bulawayo. There is a One-day church at the location, but they've already outgrown the 150 or so people that can fit in a One-day church. They are using it as a Sabbath School facility for the younger population. There is an olympic pool-sized slab that will be the foundation of the church when all is said and done. And that is where my meetings are being held. Under the stars. And open to the wind.

I had a printed version of the notes, but with no moon, and no ambient lights at my site, it was pitch black. I thought, I could use my iPhone as a light source, and just read off of my printed notes. But I quickly found that with the wind blowing, there was no way to hold my microphone, my notes, and an iPhone flashlight to make it all work. My stapled notes were more like a flag, and it was nearly impossible to read from them.

I said a quick prayer, and put the notes down, and started to preach from memory. I was miraculously able to put the slides up on the screen using a "preview" app on James' computer... No notes. Just the basic slides. So with my plan B firmly in place, I started preaching my heart out to the 200 plus guests and visitors attending my meeting. And ya know what? God came through! I was able to preach the entire first sermon from memory, and it went great! I realized that if I could make it through that situation, I could survive anything. It's all been downhill since then.

We are each having a wonderful experience preaching at our individual sites. There has been rain, wind, blowing sand, power outages, generators running out of gas... you name it, it's probably happened... But through it all, God is working, people are responding, and we are being blessed.

Please keep our entire group of more than forty would-be international evangelists in your daily prayers. And pray for the thousands of people who are attending meetings here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and in Livingston, Zambia!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

River Side Farms

Our adventure started with a seemingly endless flight that took us from DFW to Dullas (Washington DC) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and then finally to Lusaka, Zambia.

Just as we were about to land in Ethiopia, Taylor had a reaction to the anti-malaria pills, and started heaving. We were afraid that he would get quarantined in Ethiopia, and our trip would be delayed, but an anti-nausea pill seemed to do the trick and by the time we landed in Lusaka, he was feeling better, though completely wiped out.

We arrived in Zambia the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 22. This was the day that the winner of Zambian's presidential elections was to be announced. The US Dept. of Transportation had issued Travel Alerts warning of potential riots and violence when the voting results were announced. What great fortune to be landing in Zambia on the afternoon of the potential mayhem! Thankfully, the results were receive  for the most part peaceably, and there only a few isolated incidents that we were far removed from.

There were twelve of us traveling in our group, and with the extra carryon bags loaded with projectors and computers for the ShareHim meetings, we had more than 20 bags between us. Thankfully, there were two Land Rovers, one of which had a cart attached to the back and a roof rack. We completely filled the little trailer cart and the roof as well with all our baggage.

We started to take in our first sights, sounds and smells of Africa as we made the 70 kilometer drive from Lusaka to Riverside Farms, on the bank of the Kafue river. Riverside is a supporting institution for the Adventist Church. It's mission is to train Bible and health workers for sharing God's love to the people of Zambia. They have a wellness center, a health clinic, and classes for everything from sewing to carpentry to gardening to health outreach.

Riverside is supported largely by the staple crop that is grown on their property—bananas. Their banana plantation stretches over more than 50 acres, and produces thousands of pounds of bananas for sale to local markets. They also produce wheat, and corn as well.

But it's not the bananas that make Riverside a memorable place to visit, although they were the best bananas we've ever eaten. It's the people that make it a very hard place to leave. We were very warmly welcomed at Riverside, and made so many wonderful friends there.

During their worship services in the small Adventist church on their campus, we were blessed to hear rich, African harmonies from robust voices. You've never lived until you've listened to a cappella music streaming from the sanctuary of an African church.

I was invited to preach the sermon on Sabbath, and I enjoyed sharing a message about unity in the body of Christ.

One new discovery we made was the joy of a new food. "Shima" is a corn meal staple that they serve with most meals. It's kind a cross between grits and polenta. It's a think, white corn meal that you roll into a small ball in the palm of your hand. Then you eat it with your hands. It is generally eaten with the vegetables or other ingredients on your plate. We all fell in love with shima, in spite of sticky fingers.

Today, we sadly said goodbye to our Riverside friends, and boarded a coach for a six-hour bus trip from Lusaka to Livingston. We arrived in Livingston just in time to head to the Zambezi River for a sunset cruise on the African Queen. We saw hippos, a couple of giraffes and tons of birds. The cruise was a great adventure, and really made us feel like we were really in Africa.

Tomorrow, we will go on our first photo safari at the Chobe Game Preserve across the boarder in Botswana. We will also get our first glimpse of Victoria Falls.

Our evangelistic meetings will begin in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe on Friday evening. We meet up with the rest of our group on Tuesday, and will over together on Wednesday.

Please continue to pray for us as we travel and prepare for our meetings.

God bless,


Friday, August 12, 2011

Thanks for stopping by!

We leave for Africa on September 22. I'll be posting little reflections on our journey as we go. If you follow this blog, you'll receive notifications when content is added.

Please keep our family in prayer as we prepare for this exciting opportunity to share our faith and experience a part of the world we've always dreamed of visiting.

God bless,