Sharing Life in Zimbabwe

Jack and Midge Barnes presented at Missionworks! in October, 2012. This is their story:

Jack and Midge Barnes presented at Missionworks! in October, 2012. This is their story:

The Barnes usually wait until Epiphany to take down their Christmas decorations. Last year was an exception. At age 77, the couple concluded a series of calls with Global Ministries in November 2011 when Jack answered the phone. “They called and said, ‘Zimbabwe.” The Barnes, of Bradenton, FL were being invited by Global Ministries’ Zimbabwean partners to go to Zimbabwe on Jan. 10, 2012. “We put up some of our Christmas decorations because family was coming,” says Midge. “But we put them away right after Christmas.”

An extension turned their initial three-month volunteer assignment into a six-month mission. “Global Ministries said, ‘You are there for critical presence,’” says Jack, a high-energy type who, by his own admission, “can’t even sit still. I have to be doing something.” So he became a hospital chaplain, visiting patients daily in four wards of the hospital. “I met with nurses at the nursing school every morning at 7 for 15-minute service of song and prayer.”

Meanwhile, Midge enjoyed her time at the Daisy Dube Home for Neglected and Orphaned Children. “I went most every day and played with them,” says Midge of the 38 children there. “They worked on English; that was one of my tasks.”

The Barnes, who hold standing in both the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), were told to be on their toes when they accepted the assignment. “The government is unstable there,” says Jack. “We were told by Global Ministries when we got there to be ready, at any moment, to be notified to get out of the country.” Adds Midge, “That’s what Zimbabweans must live under all the time, but they refuse to let that become their mentality. They are a warm and welcoming people. The children had a song on their lips, and I loved every one of them. I miss them.”