Just a bit of summary of this years trip...
This years team was unlike any other...we took 15 total team members, 10 of which were Zim newbies! Our main plan was to build the loft area in the dining hall, but with Micaela's wedding coming up, Alistair asked us to also build a pallet wood dance floor. I honestly wasn't sure how we were going to complete both projects, but God had already planned the team and we could not have picked a better one!
Our trip started with a trip around the farm (460 acres) and a chance to get to know one of our hosts, Alistair Croudace, who knows everything about everything when it comes to his land and what's on it. After an introduction to the land, we walked around the camp so the new team would not only see where they'd be working that week, but also, all the things God has let Lasting Impressions do and build not only in the last 20 years, but especially the last couple. It's so incredible to witness firsthand the growth of this place from when we started sending teams in 2008...God's hand truly is in this land.
First thing on the agenda...draw up a plan for the steel supported loft area. Taylor, Al, Bryan, Noah and Clarke were the brains behind that one...each with their own set of construction skills, but Taylor did the drawing and they were off! Each piece of steel was carefully measured to make sure they were getting the most out of everything and they really outdid themselves.
The next few days were spent doing different tasks. Sadie & Ashley were put in charge of organizing and counting and sorting all the medication that was brought from the States. It was so awesome to have a couple nurses there to just help Shelley were they could on medication or helping those that came for medical attention. Taylor & Clarke were on the loft area, while Bryan, Noah and Steve were between that and the pallet wood dance floor. Both were projects that had to be thought through well before we started, but those are some amazing guys we have and they were able to make it so that all of the girls (who had little to no experience for the most part) could take over and get the job done! The girls had so much fun learning to saw, drill, hammer, strip boards, tile, grout and anything else the guys would teach us...even a little welding!
Amidst all the construction though we had the chance to work with (2) short camps. Mark, Sara and Stacey really took to those kids and had a blast running around with them and Sara, Steve and Mark even gave the end of the night talk to the kids each night and they were all so different and amazing! Each team member connected with the kids in a different way & it was wonderful to see.
Saturday, we had a day of rest...sort of...we had the great honor of doing to eat lunch with Peniel & Memory at their farm. They showed us around and then we all crammed into the kitchen hut (girls & guys separate) and we had an amazing traditional meal. Going to see their farm and seeing the joy on their faces and they take us around and show up everything God has blessed them with is honestly one of my favorite things to do every year and add a traditional lunch on to it and it was even better! For those of y'all wondering what we ate, we had sadza (cornmeal made to the consistency of thick mashed potatoes), beans, regular and peanut butter kovo (like greens), peanut butter rice and beef in a stew...it was all delicious!!!
After our delicious meal we headed out to Tariro Orphange, which I was excited about since I hadn't seen the new duplex they now live in. Each kid now has their own bed and there's a big enough kitchen to feed everyone in addition to a tutoring room! We had so much fun playing soccer and coloring with the kids and just hanging out with the little ones. It was quite a feat getting all 15 of us and Shelley there though, haha...there's a video of the carload we had!
Sunday we went to church and had a bit of a lazy day. Some went hiking, canoeing or napping while some went HUNTING! Finally, Bryan got his baboon! It was so fun to see how excited he and Taylor were :)
The rest of our time in country was spent finishing the loft and dance floor (I even learned how to grout with Ashley, Sadie and Alexis!), getting to know the camp instructors, the Croudace family, and then finally having a bit of fun seeing some African wildlife at Thetford Reserve.
This was just a glimpse of our time in Zim, but I would encourage people to ask our team members about THEIR experiences and what God taught them, because in all my years of coming to Zim, one thing I learn is that God teaches us all something different and amazing if you just listen and let Him speak.
Thank you to Calvary Chapel Chattanooga Missions Department and all our our financial and prayer supporters. We quite literally couldn't have made this trip happen without you and I know the kids, teachers and LI staff thank you as well for the encouragement you sent with our team. We've been told many time over the years how much it means to them to know that a group of people 8,000 miles away cares about them and is praying for them...and that's why we go back year after year.
If you'd like to know more about Lasting Impressions Wilderness Camp, visit their website at
www.lasting-impressions.org. And to get a glimpse of the heart of the camp, watch the Leadership Camp and Environmental camp videos on the Programs page!
Enjoy the pictures and videos! They're not really in order...sorry...