arrived safely in Harare Monday night. As we were
being escorted to our hotel we were told about the
economic hardship and food shortage that Zimbabwe
is facing right now.
It's been very evident so far in the fact that meals
are nearly $20 U.S. dollars each, and we seem to be
eating chicken and rice for the majority of our meals.
The economic disaster was also evident when we left
for the airport Tuesday morning and we saw people
lined up around the block outside of banks, waiting
to get cash. Later that day, we were standing in awe
of God's beautiful creation at Victoria Falls. It's
hard to describe in words the scene that we saw and
welcomed with open arms. The waterfall was so powerful
that it created amist that soaked us, yet formed the
most beautiful rainbows, visible wherever you were
Wednesday was a relaxing day enjoyed by all and filled
with swimming in the pool and sleeping in the sun.
It was a good time to gather our thoughts and prepare
for World Conference.
Wednesday night, we were on a train all night, for
fifteen hours, to get from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo,
about a 300 mile trip. Six people were crammed into
each small sleeping cabin, along with all their luggage.
It was tight, to say the least, but we made it and
are ready to praise God in Bulawayo with other Christians
from around the world.
Ryan Schrock writes:
next thing on our agenda is the Global Youth Summit
(GYS)--a gathering of youth from around the world
before Mennonite World Conference. I consider myself
lucky to have this experience. I also think I can
speak for the group when I say that this is one of
the highlights of our time in Africa. We've experienced
worship services lead by youth from Asia, Europe,
Africa, North America and Latin America. These services
have been the best part of GYS for me. Energetic is
a good word to describe the worship services at GYS.
It is amazing to see complete strangers breaking through
strong barriers such as differences in culture and
My personal favorite was the Latin American service.
The singing not only gave an accurate representation
of that part of the world and its people, but also
brought back fond memories of Fridays in Ray Horst's
Spanish classes. The energy that was shown is something
that I would like to see back home more often.
It's been a blessing to see that energy in many different
worship services, such as at GYS, Olepolos, and Mathare
in Kenya. I like hymns and four-part harmony, but
when I get home, I think I will experience a little
culture shock due to differences in worship style.
On the other hand, we are also seeing reminders of
home here in Bulawayo. Our time in Bulawayo has not
been just spent at GYS meetings. We have "snuck
out" with our leaders to a local market, a pizza
place, and an ice cream shop. After a mini service
project at an orphanage, we stopped at an ice cream
shop to celebrate Doreen Shirk's 20th birthday. We
also went out for pizza one night for some bonding
Hearing the radio and eating pizza felt good. For
me, a little Buffalo Springfield, pizza, and "getting
lost in the rock and roll and drifting away"
really hit the spot. Going to these places has also
given us a chance to experience more of Bulwayo than
just our compound where our dorms are located and
where we'll be living for the next week.
Seeing and talking to people who live here is something
that I've really valued. Seeing the people struggle
to get food and gas at $8 U.S. per gallon has really
hit me and some of the others in the group pretty
hard. Experiencing this has made me think about things
just as much as the worship services have. Rich and
poor, poverty and wealth, have been central themes
throughout our trip, and it continues in Bulawayo.
To sum things up, seeing 300-450 youth from around
the world worshiping together is an awesome experience
that I am VERY thankful for having. It looks as if
GYS will continue on for a long time and I, for one,
want to see it happen. It is important to the youth
to have this event.
The delegates and participants both did a good job
of speaking their minds. Many say that youth are the
leaders of tomorrow's Mennonite church, but GYS has
shown me that youth can also join in as leaders for