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Daniel, Brent & Jake's experience...

"Equal parts inspirational and impactful.  Living at Morning Star (Chris and Norma’s farm in the Matobo Hills) in the confluence of rolling savannas and protrusions of granite dwalas was the best experience of my young adult life. Chris and Norma welcomed myself and my friends into their home and life for over five months as if we were intimate family members. Our idea of a trip to Morning Star was born with service in mind as the main objective; but it also was a personal search for purpose and self-identification which seamlessly overlapped with the foundational goals of Green Island Vision—that is, to provide a place amid their community where anybody can come and find support, empathy, and love.

After graduating from university, my roommate and I decided we wanted a change of pace from the prototypical pursuit of the so-called ‘American Dream’. We wanted an outlet for the over-exuberant and affluent lifestyle that has become all too common in American life. But mostly, we wanted a chance where we could serve others without forethought, judgment or consequence. By chance or design, we met Chris and Norma through our church/YoungLife and immediately found they were the prime exemplar of our conception of an endless, Christ-like will to give and serve. Chris and Norma are truly incredible people in countless ways, and living with them was really what made our trip so great as they always made us feel at home while also teaching us endless amounts of wisdom and knowledge about Africa, serving others, and life as a whole.

Our plan thus was simple—to stay with Chris and Norma for an extended period of time to help serve their community in any manner that they saw fit. We helped work in primary schools by taking small groups aside for reading and math lessons, as we also gathered a number of local kids to play in some after-school recreational soccer/football games. We helped work in family farms and gardens by doing things like: planting seedlings, sowing crops, hoeing and tilling crop beds, and building compost piles for fertilizing plants. We also helped with numerous construction and building projects by helping to assemble a school playground and some living quarters.

As we served with our simple plan in mind, we faced many challenges, but in turn learned invaluable lessons as we saw many of the same struggles that we had already experienced elsewhere. Difficulties such as: learning the plight of others and empathizing with different perceptions and struggles, building trust and relationships, determining ways to serve in a sustainable way, and most importantly—serving with the intention to take on our neighbors’ load to any extent necessary. We learned a concrete lesson of what Jesus meant when He said to walk two miles when someone asks you to go one, to also give up your tunic when asked for a cloak, and to do all things without complaining or arguing while delighting in each others tasks. Consequently, our journey to Africa was more impactful and enlightening than we could have imagined because we were able to learn about a different nation, people, and culture while also learning how to serve in a way that revealed new aspects about others and our own personalities and lives."