Sunday, 12 January 2014

Back in Zimbabwe

It’s been an amazingly wonderful, busy whirlwind since leaving for Zimbabwe just under five weeks ago. We’re so happy to be back here, and being with our family over Christmas was perfect.

There have been a few things that we wanted to blog about, and just didn’t have time (not to mention we ran out of our internet data long before we were supposed to) so instead of doing a blog post for each one, this post will briefly update about everything… and then (now that our internet access is back) we’ll do our best to stick to our New Year resolution of regularly blogging! :)

Megan and I arrived in Zimbabwe on the evening of the 13th (after 2 ½ long days of travelling), and the EXV crew arrived only an hour after we did (despite leaving two days before us!). The very next morning, we all packed up the vehicles, and headed out to Musana, where we hosted the third annual Let’s Give Them Hope Christmas party. Megan and I had never been to one of them, and it was amazing to see hundreds of people from the community turn up: apparently they wait all year for the party, and immediately ask to have another one once it's over!

There was singing, dancing (EXV performs amazingly, even when majorly jetlagged!), and school prizes- which turned out to be a community favourite. The guardians/family’s of the winning children were even more excited than the kids!

After the party, the EXV guys headed home, for their three-week Christmas break, and two days later we all went back to Musana for the last day of program. It was such a cool day, as we were so blessed to be able to give a Christmas gift hamper and a live chicken to every single family in our program! It was very exciting for all the kids, and everyone left happy.

Our own family Christmas was one of the best we’ve had in years. We haven’t all been together as a family for Christmas since 2010, and the two Christmases in 2009 & 2010 weren’t the best either, as we were still adjusting to life in Africa, and weren’t living in the best situations. So this year simply being in a place we all feel at home in, and being together, made it wonderful.

We attended our church’s Christmas Eve service, where Ayana, Moses, Megan, and Joshua all had a part in the production (Ayana and Moses danced as an angel and a shepherd, and Megan and Joshua sang at the end), and it was a beautiful night.

On New Year’s we were back in Musana, where there was another community event, with movies on the projector screen, fireworks and, of course- because this is Africa- lots and lots of dancing! Our family left around 2am, but the party itself didn’t wrap up until long after we had left. (Our camera's flash wasn't working properly that night, so we unfortunately didn't get many good pictures)

The program started up again on the 6th, and Treasure arrived back at our place the next day. The rest of the EXV guys will all be back to live/work here tomorrow on the 13th, and then all of LGTH will be officially back up and running for 2014.

So, the month that we’ve been back in Zimbabwe has been busy, and amazing, and we’ve loved it all! There are huge plans in store for 2014, and we can’t wait to share them with everyone as they begin to come into play. I’m so excited for how God is working in Let’s Give Them Hope, and I can’t wait to see everything we’ll be able to accomplish in the coming year!!

Happy (belated) New Year! Welcome 2014 :) 
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013


The past four weeks have been some of the busiest of my life. Not only were we trying to finish up school, and get prepared to leave for Zimbabwe, but we also had the amazing blessing of getting the EXV dance crew sponsored over here to Canada! 

Arriving at the airport
Welcome to Canada!!

The five guys traveled here with our mom, our brother, and their choreographer/co-founder of LGTH, Adonis. They were here for just under three weeks, and got more done than I could have imagined. Those guys worked so incredibly hard, danced with such passion and skill, and touched the heart of every single person they came across. The trip was busy and stressful (and had a lot of young screaming & crying girls... who knew a dance team from the ghettos of Zimbabwe would turn out to be as popular as One Direction?), but it was so rewarding, and the guys literally had the time of their lives. 
Erin with the team at White Rock: (L-R) Trickstar, Brendon, Spyro; Treasure & Manu

Performing at Pacific Academy

-18 degree temperature at the top of Whistler, and still laughing :)

Not only did EXV get to share their skill and stories with hundreds of people, but they also experienced several firsts, including flying in a plane, seeing the ocean, and playing in snow (not to mention the fact that none of them had ever left Africa before). Despite the barely organized chaos, I feel so blessed to be a part of this ministry, and to have come to know these five guys better over the past couple of weeks. 

Seeing the ocean for the first time

Lots of snow in Whistler!!

On the Peak to Peak, and a little nervous

EXV's last performance in Canada (for now!)

Sending us off at church

They weren't excited to go, but they were excited that it snowed on their last morning in Canada!

The guys and our family have left now (on Monday night), and Megan and I are following them tonight. Probably one of the hardest things I experienced during their trip (and hearing the guys' stories multiple times is heartbreaking; none of them come from remotely good backgrounds) was seeing their faces on the last day in Canada. Apart from some excitement at the fact that it snowed overnight, the mood was very low. I came downstairs in the morning to find one of the guys sitting by the window, staring at the snow, and crying; he didn't want to "leave this beautiful country" and all the people he had met here. 

For these guys it isn't merely going home after a fun holiday; they experienced things here that they had never seen before, and stayed in beautiful homes beyond anything they've ever dreamt of. One of the guys on the team said that the thing he noticed the most was how clean everything was, saying that it felt as if they were "living in a movie," because these things just don't happen to them in real life. So after all of this, all of the cleanliness, and food, and love that was showered down on them, to go back to life in the ghetto must just seem unfathomable. My heart breaks for them. But we all agreed when they were leaving at the airport: Now that they've been here, they're going to work even harder than ever to come back. So life goes on, and Extreme Vision Dance Group will continue to pursue their vision, and dance their way out of the cycle of poverty that so much of their country is stuck in. 

EXV for life!

And on that note, I have to go to buy a toothbrush now, because we're leaving for the airport in an hour  and my toothbrush is nowhere to be found. 

Please pray for the team and our mom & Josh as they finish their extremely long journey with a 16 hour drive. And please pray for Megan and I as we begin our 30+ hour trip, and are reunited as a family again in the beautiful country of Zimbabwe! 
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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Fundraising Campaign

We've had quite a few people ask us about ways to contribute to our fundraising goal, so we have started a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo. The fundraising goal on the campaign is not the total amount we need to raise, but we wanted to start small and see how far we could go from there. 

Please follow the link below to check out our campaign: 

Any contribution is so hugely appreciated, and will go a long way in helping us to help the children and youth of Zimbabwe. 

If you are interested in other giving options, or would like to know more about what we'll be doing while in Zimbabwe, please send us an email at: 

Thank-you for your support, we appreciate all your prayers! 

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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Let's Give Them Hope

Nearly four years ago, in September of 2009, our family packed up our lives in Vancouver, BC and moved all the way across the world to the continent of Africa. For a family of 7, this was no easy task.

A few hours before the big move! ... the only ones ready? The 3 and 4 year olds.

At the airport

Our parents, Megan and I, and our brother, Joshua (12 at the time, but already a seasoned traveler), were all used to traveling and flying, but for Ayana and Moses (then 3 and 4) it was new, and exciting... of course, after two months of traveling, over 10 plane flights, and one suitcase between them, they became quite blase about the whole thing. Getting up at 4am to drive for five hours before catching yet another flight? No big deal for those two.

While we originally intended to live and work with an organization in South Africa, God had other plans for us. After spending several months in first South Africa, and then Uganda, our travels around Africa finally brought us to Zimbabwe.

South Africa
Ayana and Moses enjoying the South African sunshine



Cutest baby in Uganda <3

 Our time in both South Africa and Uganda, while providing us with invaluable lessons, was- ministry wise- extremely tiring, discouraging and, unfortunately, sometimes boring. By the time we got to Zimbabwe, the entire family was feeling pretty drained.

Thankfully, it soon became clear that Zimbabwe was where we were meant to be. Land belonging to some very good family friends was made available for us to use, in the area our parents hoped to work in. There were wonderful people there, who were eager to work with us, and, of course, the number of children needing help was staggering. And so, our parents' organization, Let's Give Them Hope, was born.

The first day of Let's Give Them Hope, 2011

The ministry started with a once-a-week feeding program, catered towards a list of the neediest children in the rural area of Musana. Now, two years later, Let's Give Them Hope [LGTH] has expanded exponentially. With approximately 180 children registered in the program (64 of those being sponsored), the feedings now take place five times a week.

The children of LGTH, 2013 
Lining up for their food
 Along with the feeding program, there is also a Saturday morning kids church, and pre-teen/teen girls and boys groups.

Pre-teen girls group doing arts and crafts

The other side of LGTH is the urban youth ministry, which works under the name Zimbabwe's Finest Dance Group [ZFDG]. Through ZFDG, we are able to engage the youth in urban Zimbabwe by incorporating their love for dance. Dance in huge in Zimbabwe, and we have found that it is an easy way to speak to them and gain their trust.

One of the main focuses of ZFDG at the moment is our dance crew, Extreme Vision Dance Crew [EXV]. Made up of six young guys from extremely poor situations in the ghetto, EXV displays an incredible amount of skill and passion. Despite their difficult backgrounds, we are beginning to be able to support and help them in their dreams, as well as teaching them valuable life skills. Not only that, but they have really become an extended part of our family, and live at our parents' house every other week.


Our crazy family :)

During our latest visit in Africa with our family, God really put a calling on both of our hearts to stay. Since then, we have decided to move back to Zimbabwe for a year. We will both be doing schooling online while there, as well as working with LGTH and ZFDG. We are back in Canada for the next couple of months in order to raise financial support, and sort out our belongings and jobs.

We are so excited to document this journey, and we would love for you to follow along with us. Please feel free to share our blog with friends and family! We would appreciate as much prayer and support as we can get :)

Thanks for reading!
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