As I’ve learned from former missionaries in the classroom and now from personal experience, you never know what a day will hold on the mission field. On Saturday, August 14th, we were set and ready to go to the youth rally in Bulawayo. However, our plans quickly changed when we were told a man needed a ride 80 kilometers to the Hayhill village to baptize two men.
After we push-started the van, our group, Bruce Vimba and another local preacher piled in for the hour ride. With time, the roads disintegrated into nothing, until we were travelling with two ruts as our guide. We finally arrived and found three mud huts in the clearing.
We all gathered into the meeting place, the center of the three buildings. Again, women sat on the floor on one side and men on the other.
Bruce introduced us and translated for Shak as he gave an on-the-spot devotional to the villagers. Ten people stood and responded to the message. I may not have known the words to the songs they sang, but I could feel the excitement and conviction in their voices and actions.
So…we loaded up and headed to the river. When we travelled as far as we could by van, we started on foot. I smiled to myself as we walked through the dried-up riverbed, following a group of women with babies on their backs. “Now THIS is more like it,” I thought. “This is what I expect when I think about Africa.” I also could not help but sing this song in my head:
“As I went down to the river to pray, studying about that good ole way, and who shall wear the starry crown, Good Lord, show me the way…”
We walked through the riverbed and then on a path through tall reeds and bush grass. When everyone finally reached the water, we began singing. Ten people were immersed into Christ. Some were school-age children, some were young adults. It was plain to see that Brother Austin Vimba, Bruce Vimba and other local preachers had spent a lot of time teaching at the Hayhill village.
We never expected to drive that far or to fellowship with our brothers and sisters at Hayhill that day. We never expected to witness ten baptisms in the riverbed either. And I never expected how much I could be blessed and encouraged by that day.