Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy
By Ashley Weed
As a military kid, I grew up far away from extended family. We always visited family, but in my day to day life, my local church community became my forever family. This lifestyle gave me a glimpse of what a family of global believers looks like. My journey to Zimbabwe was a long time coming. About a year before we left, I was ready to go. One of the interesting facts I was told, about Hands of Hope, was that each person remembers who you are, even if you only go once. To me, this told me about their heart for family. Every word of that fact was true. From the moment we touched ground in the Harare airport, we were part of their family. In the midst of my utter exhaustion, after nearly 48 hours of travel, I was still taken in and accepted into the lives of different people. They called me their own from the first moments.
This was a unique trip for me in a couple different ways. Usually, I spend all of my time holding babies and playing soccer with children. This time I was behind the lens of a camera. Also, I was still taking online classes. Since the only internet was at the HOH office, I got to take a little road trip with Uncle Jeph so I could finish an assignment. Here I was, having spent a week in Harare with Hands of Hope and getting a chance to have a chat with Jeph (HOH National Director). This moment was my highlight. We got into the car and as soon as we left, we began our conversation. Jeph was interested in my life. We touched on what could have been an awkward topic, dating, but it wasn’t. It’s a topic that is universal and since Jeph has a daughter, he’s familiar with it. We also talked about the importance of having a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy in our lives. A Paul is someone who mentors us and can provide wise counsel and leadership. It is someone who will always point us to Jesus. A Barnabas is a friend and encourager, someone we can simply walk through life and champion the cause of Christ with. A Timothy is someone that we mentor and are pouring in to. He encouraged me to have those people around me (and to date people who have those people in his life) and to be that person to someone else.
That car ride conversation showed me more about who Jeph was and what Hands of Hope is seeking to accomplish, than any other program we participated in. They want to be a global family. They love people like their own flesh and blood. Jeph’s message to me sounded much like him saying “you and I are brother and sister in this family, let’s take care of each other.” In that moment, I was his Timothy, he was my Paul, and we were each other’s Barnabas’. That is the way family works.