Zimbabwe: Hands of Hope

by John Ross


Around 10 years ago, I decided to commit my life to 3 causes. One of these being, that every child in the world would have a home.

Through connections at Westside and through HTC, this led me to taking a trip to Zimbabwe where we served with Hands of Hope (hohafrica.org). Zimbabwe has the highest per capita of orphans in the world, with estimates of between 1.5 – 2 million orphans out of a population of 14 million people. Think about that…

…children living without either parent. …children growing up in the streets or in the wilderness. …children without food and shelter. …and many children living each day with their only hope and dream being to survive until the next day.

When in Zimbabwe, our team from HTC visits and serves at various HOH feeding projects and transformational centers. It’s hard to fathom when standing at a project with hundreds of children, many who have come for their one meal of the day, that they make up just a small fraction of the orphans in their country, and even a smaller fraction of those around the world.

I had always desired to find a place to commit to and serve children such as these. In Zimbabwe, specifically with the staff and partners of HOH, I found a second home, a people to serve alongside, and a people that became family to me.

Not like “that was a cool experience and I got some great photos” but like, “I’ll see you next year. And the next… And the next…” “I’ll pray for you, and support you, and give of myself to you.” And I know that they do all of that and more for me, and their family in “Portland” and A Jesus Church as well. Our friends in Zimbabwe remember every team member that has ever visited from Portland and they want updates on everyone. It’s such a beautiful and hospitable culture.

There are the classic, “You can’t do it all but you can do it for 1 stories,” you know, like the ones about the starfish. …And they’re classic because there is truth in them. They make sense.

You can make a difference for one. And you have no idea the ripple effects of your pouring some time, prayers, and support into ‘one.’ Whatever God has put on your heart, it’s likely too big for you… but it’s not too big for us. Each of us can lead and inspire. We can build a team. We can do great things together. People are waiting to be a part of something beautiful, something healing, something redemptive.

I personally invite you to reach out to me and talk about Hands of Hope and Zimbabwe, to invest in a child in Zimbabwe or another country through HTC child sponsorships, or to simply search your heart for where God is stirring… and then chasing that dream with every ounce of your passion and commitment.



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