When I (Zachariah Baker) first left for Zimbabwe in 2009 I was on my way to pastor Jeffrum Jambilo. He picked me up from the airport and then became my guide, keeper and good friend through my stay there. I lived with him and learned from him over the months of my stay. I met his loved ones and friends and to me they became like family and certainly became good friends.
Pastor Jeff grew up in Zimbabwe and is a native of the country. He was a teacher in the school system there and lived through all the troubles of Zimbabwe. He met a missionary named Zachary and came to be under his wing. Zachary was from the USA and started multiple churches in Zimbabwe. Through that connection Jeffrum ended up helping a mission organization that was operating in Zimbabwe, in return for his help the organization brought him to the States and helped him attend school at Nyack Collage in NY. While Pastor Jeff was attending school there he made many friends, and it was a mother named Laura Knight that helped connect me to Jeffrum Jambilo. After completing school pastor Jeff was given a year to work in the States to help pay off his debt. When he completed his year of work he was given the opportunity to stay in the relative comfort of the United States, but he felt called to leave his well paying, stable job in Washington DC to go back to Zimbabwe to continue Zachary’s mission there and to minister to his own people.
When he got back to Zimbabwe he became a pastor over a few churches. Things were and still are very rough there though. Many things were going wrong for him. It was the death of his first child from malnutrition that caught Laura Knight’s attention. So she started sending him some of her personal money monthly to help him buy food and make it through the horrible circumstances there. One day she did a presentation at her church, Bennington Congregational Church in order to raise a little more money. I was going to the church at the time and as soon as I heard the presentation I felt called to go there. So this is how I first heard of him and started getting involved.
As I was in Zimbabwe with Pastor Jeff I grew to know him well and together the vision of Christ’s Initiative and the vision of “Friends of Zimbabwe” (FOZ) began to form. I also grew and fostered the vision with a man named Philip, he is an assistant pastor under Pastor Jeff and he is very dedicated to the Lord and to the FOZ project.
I saw many things when I was there; sewage running through the streets, people living in horrible conditions, children having to take care of their families, people dying, many diseases and many other horrible conditions. But what I learned in my time there was that my heart went out most to the children, because for many of them there is no one left to take care of them and they are too young to look after themselves. My heart also went out to the homeless there. I had a heart for them because in Zimbabwe there is nothing set up to help the elderly and the physically or mentally disabled, so people sometimes just threw them out and they ended up on the streets with no one to help them. They are left to fend for themselves. But if they are blind, or very old, or have some ailment, there is nothing they can do to survive on their own. They resort to begging, but everyone is trying to get by so many people have nothing to give even if they wanted to help provide. So many end up going to the hospitals where they eventually die.
So project FOZ is geared toward these two people groups. The homeless and the children, people who can not help themselves. People who need us to stand up for them, to rally and care for them, to show and bring the love of Jesus to them in a real and physical way. We will be renting a building to use as a “Community Center”. This Center we will be able to house children who have nowhere to go. We will run a soup kitchen out of it, provide classes to the public on basic nutrition and farming information, help coordinate local churches so their limited resources can go further and to provide Bible study’s, prayer and anything we can possibly do for those in need.
This is what we will aim to accomplish no matter the cost, we need to help these people. We will do it with your help, with the help of Pastor Jeff and Brother Philip and only by God’s beautiful grace. Thank you in advance for any support and contribution you make. Anything, no matter how big or small can make a huge difference in someones life.