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Healing Zimbabwe

$950 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 6 months
Created June 15, 2018
Fundraising Team
I first visited the nation of Zimbabwe in 1984. I had been looking for years for a place where people were living out Jesus peacemaking  mandate under difficult circumstances. I was desperately in search of a Peace & Reconciliation project I had heard about located there. I was told I would find it in a community just outside the southern city of Bulawayo in a part of the country then in the midst of a genocide. What I discovered at The Community of Reconciliation was truly amazing. Former enemies in an armed conflict had found the courage to face their painful past together.  They each invested heavily in frank dialogue, asking forgiveness for the wrongs they had committed and learning to forgive each other. The result was a racially integrated, agriculturally based community were they lived as equals while respecting and loving one another. This incredible group of people became both friends and spiritual mentors to me. I loved them dearly. 

Their vision for a unified and peaceful Zimbabwe was not shared by all. On November 25th 1987, 16 members of the community were brutally massacred and the infrastructure they had worked so hard to build was burned to the ground. Besides the intense emotional pain, the economic devastation was equally harsh as a whole community was driven back into poverty. On a personal level, it was a crushing blow which I had no idea how to process. 

After two decades of living in a state of confusion and despair and having found no way to cope with it other than compartmentalizing my pain, I finally found the courage to deal with it with the help of a trauma expert. Part of the healing process for those with Post Traumatic Shock Disorder is to begin to tell your story which I did in a book titled "Saving Zimbabwe" Life, Death and Hope in Africa".  On the one hand it was cathartic and healing for those of us close to the people who had been murdered. On the other hand, the book became highly controversial in Zimbabwe and I was threatened with arrest should I ever set foot in the country. Those who were in possession of the books hid them from the authorities.

In an amazing turn of events, I was invited back to Zimbabwe earlier this year to speak at a Peace & Reconciliation conference. As a result of my speech, a whole series of doors has opened up for me to become more intimately involved in the national healing efforts so urgently needed by this polarized nation. One of our first Compassionate Justice projects will be to restore the memorial site where my friends are buried. Due to neglect over the years, it has become overgrown and the fencing torn down.

I will be returning to Zimbabwe for another three month period starting in September of 2018. On November 25th, we will be hosting a significant event at the refurbished site which will be attended by dignitaries from all over the nation. The people buried at the memorial were the first national healers. After 30 years of their story being suppressed, and the work they had done seemingly destroyed, its time they were honored for the great sacrifice they made.  With the news media exposure, it is my hope that we can signal to other Zimbabwean communities that its time to come home and heal.

The funds I am hoping to raise will cover my airfare and expenses for the three months I will be in Zimbabwe with possible stops in Rwanda and South Africa currently being discussed. They will also underwrite the costs of putting on such a significant event including all the logistics involved.  I have a number of other significant national healing projects in the planning stages which I will announce in due course.  Your continued support is greatly appreciated and will be integral in the healing of a nation of people exhausted from decades of being pitted against each other by those driven by selfish ambition and greed. Despite all they have been through, when I returned, I found Zimbabweans still so full of hope, spirit and compassion. The people of Zimbabwe are ready to heal and I would appreciate your support in helping them realize their dream for a peaceful nation We are grateful.
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Now that the elections in Zimbabwe are over, Court cases settled , and Cabinet announced, we are able to proceed with our next Peace & Reconciliation event without politics getting in the middle of what we are wanting to do. The planning and logistics kicked into gear this week and there are a number of exciting developments. As the word has got out, what was at first going to be a regional event has become a national event! I couldn't be more excited as the various aspects which make up the nations long history of conflict will be joining hands to honor the nations 1st Peacemakers. We have named out event “Come Let Us Heal Together, Restoring Ubuntu” As you might imagine an event of this magnitude has a great deal of expense involved. I really need your help to pull this off.
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It was seventeen years ago today that Americans found themselves glued to their television sets in shock as we witnessed planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings. I was scheduled to make an IT presentation with my colleague Alan Parker at the US Department of Agriculture facility in Kansas City. I remember vividly the strange mood in the room as we all went through the motions of having a business meeting while none of our minds were really there. As we sat around the conference room table, planes were circling over our heads as they were not allowed to land at Kansas City International Airport. It was a surrealistic moment.

Tragically, my life and those of many others around the world, have been profoundly impacted by unnecessary violence where innocent people became victims. In hindsight so much of the death and destruction could have been avoided with constructive dialogue and education. Since the early 1980’s, my life has been driven by a desire to fulfill one of the key missions of those who consider themselves students of the teachings of Jesus and that is to be a Peacemaker. Over the last 4,000 years of human history, there are only 238 years we can find no conflict on the earth. It seems peace amongst us is elusive though we all claim to want it. Over time I came to realize that finding peace is a fight! That seems like a contradiction but it’s the realization that we have to be aggressive in our pursuit of peace in order to attain it. We have to work at!

If you have been following my story of late, you will know that I am in the middle of a rather extraordinary journey. God has asked me to return the place of my greatest pain, Zimbabwe Africa and be a Peacemaker. It’s a “big ask” but I’m at a place in life where if there is a crack in the door of conflict to bring peace, I’m running through it. It’s like the title of Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi’s book “Run to Daylight”. That crack of light appeared in March through May of this year and I’ve run through it at full speed.

It is T minus 35 days before I return to Zimbabwe and I find myself in a bit of a quandary...I am seriously underfunded! I had hoped to visit the Aegis Trust group in the UK and the Rwandan Genocide Museum in Kigali Rwanda on this trip. Aegis is the Gold Standard as far as conflict resolution and genocide prevention education. They cut their teeth in Rwanda after the horrific genocide which took place there in 1994. I need to visit the Genocide Museum in conjunction with some ideas I have for Zimbabwe. I have open invitations to visit both places from those running both organizations

My original goal was to raise $10,000 to cover my flights, lodging and two months of living expenses in Zimbabwe. Then there is the cost of putting on a regional Peace & Reconciliation event on Nov. 25th at the Memorial Site where Zimbabwe’s first sixteen Peacemakers were massacred. That event may turn out to have national impact. So far, I have only been able to raise $750 on Go Fund Me which won’t even cover half of my airfare! In order to get the best possible price, I need to purchase my ticket 30 days out which is Friday Sept 14th. Considering the current situation, I have canceled my plans to go to the UK and Rwanda until a later date.

As you can see, I really need some help even to pull off a pared down trip. I would appreciate you prayerfully considering giving a donation towards helping me with these expenses.
+ Read More
It was seventeen years ago today that Americans found themselves glued to their television sets in shock as we witnessed planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings. I was scheduled to make an IT presentation with my colleague Alan Parker at the US Department of Agriculture facility in Kansas City. I remember vividly the strange mood in the room as we all went through the motions of having a business meeting while none of our minds were really there. As we sat around the conference room table, planes were circling over our heads as they were not allowed to land at Kansas City International Airport. It was a surrealistic moment.

Tragically, my life and those of many others around the world, have been profoundly impacted by unnecessary violence where innocent people became victims. In hindsight so much of the death and destruction could have been avoided with constructive dialogue and education. Since the early 1980’s, my life has been driven by a desire to fulfill one of the key missions of those who consider themselves students of the teachings of Jesus and that is to be a Peacemaker. Over the last 4,000 years of human history, there are only 238 years we can find no conflict on the earth. It seems peace amongst us is elusive though we all claim to want it. Over time I came to realize that finding peace is a fight! That seems like a contradiction but it’s the realization that we have to be aggressive in our pursuit of peace in order to attain it. We have to work at!

If you have been following my story of late, you will know that I am in the middle of a rather extraordinary journey. God has asked me to return the place of my greatest pain, Zimbabwe Africa and be a Peacemaker. It’s a “big ask” but I’m at a place in life where if there is a crack in the door of conflict to bring peace, I’m running through it. It’s like the title of Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi’s book “Run to Daylight”. That crack of light appeared in March through May of this year and I’ve run through it at full speed.

It is T minus 35 days before I return to Zimbabwe and I find myself in a bit of a quandary...I am seriously underfunded! I had hoped to visit the Aegis Trust group in the UK and the Rwandan Genocide Museum in Kigali Rwanda on this trip. Aegis is the Gold Standard as far as conflict resolution and genocide prevention education. They cut their teeth in Rwanda after the horrific genocide which took place there in 1994. I need to visit the Genocide Museum in conjunction with some ideas I have for Zimbabwe. I have open invitations to visit both places from those running both organizations

My original goal was to raise $10,000 to cover my flights, lodging and two months of living expenses in Zimbabwe. Then there is the cost of putting on a regional Peace & Reconciliation event on Nov. 25th at the Memorial Site where Zimbabwe’s first sixteen Peacemakers were massacred. That event may turn out to have national impact. So far, I have only been able to raise $750 on Go Fund Me which won’t even cover half of my airfare! In order to get the best possible price, I need to purchase my ticket 30 days out which is Friday Sept 14th. Considering the current situation, I have canceled my plans to go to the UK and Rwanda until a later date.

As you can see, I really need some help even to pull off a pared down trip. I would appreciate you prayerfully considering giving a donation towards helping me with these expenses.
+ Read More
I head back to Zimbabwe mid October. We have a very significant Peace & Reconciliation event scheduled for Nov. 25th which is the 31st anniversary of the deaths of Zimbabwe's first Peacemakers. People will be gathering from all over the nation and I really need your help to put on the event.
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$950 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 6 months
Created June 15, 2018
Fundraising Team
Funds raised will benefit:
Compassionate Justice International Inc
Certified Charity
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Overland Park, KS
EIN: 262629547
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SM
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