"I went to Zimbabwe on a business trip in June 1997 to assist Mark and Helen Begarly with a master plan for a Christian camping facility south of Chinhoyi. I was a registered landscape architect, and at the time I was working in a large architectural firm in Indiana. I did master plans and large-scale land planning as a part of my job, and I knew that I could save the Begarly’s tens of thousands of dollars in fees while generating all the plans and illustrations to assist them with fundraising and construction. In my mind, my trip to Zimbabwe was going to be a two-week long whirlwind of planning and drawing. Father God had other plans, however.
Everywhere I went, I encountered orphaned children in dire situations, and it appeared that there was no real safety net for them. I met dear saints who were trying everything to reach out to children-at-risk. Derek and Aurell Olivier, from Chinhoyi, had two little boys living in their garage, who had been repeatedly molested by their uncle. They had nowhere else to put them out of harm’s way. Over and over again, I was brought face to face with children who needed immediate help, but were not getting the help that they needed.
As the trip unfolded, I became more and more appalled at the plight of the average AIDS orphan in Zimbabwe. God was in the process of breaking my heart. Prior to my trip, I had no concern for AIDS victims whatsoever, and I had no consciousness of the little ones left behind. I had never had any desire to go to Africa even for a visit, let alone moving there! God was working me over in a big way!
By the end of my trip, I knew that I could never live with myself if I did not do something for AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. Because Susan and I started our marriage in therapeutic group foster care, we were very familiar with the things children go through when Mom and Dad are permanently out of the picture. We knew the deep pain that children experience in the loss of the biological family unit.
Susan and I had a skill set that would be valuable to children-at-risk in Zimbabwe.
It was slowly beginning to dawn on me that God had been preparing us for our divine assignment in Zimbabwe for over 40 years. Everything Susan and I have ever learned would be useful in an orphanage setting. We were discovering the reason we were born – a rescue mission for some of the most vulnerable children on this earth."
Our History: Part 2 Coming Soon!