A Message from Van about Leaving the Country

Through my many recent book signings, speeches and public appearances, I’m getting bombarded with questions about 2 upcoming things: my trip to Zimbabwe and my wedding.

About the wedding, I touched on that in my personal message recently on a blog. That may help put some of this into perspective. As far as the Zimbabwe trip is concerned, here is exactly what happened.

Some time ago, Becky called me and said she was interested in going to an informational meeting about a mission trip to Zimbabwe, perhaps the poorest nation on the face of the earth. She asked if I would like to go to the meeting. My exact answer was, “Nope.” I’ve always had the utmost respect for people that give of themselves and serve in this way, but I’ve never had any desire to go overseas for such a trip. I’ve always seen Iowa as my mission field, and that has seemingly worked out pretty well. But I told her I was so glad there are people like her that have a heart to give in that manner.

Later that evening, I was crawling into bed when I got a text from Becky who was at that meeting. The text was short. “Would you like to preach in Africa?” That question certainly spawned a hundred others in my mind, but I was tired and not ready to tackle them, so I simply texted back, “Yes,” and went to bed.

I knew the organizers would be calling me the next day, so I was ready for them with a list of questions that certainly, hopefully, would disqualify me from this trip. I’ll admit that was my goal. I was hoping for lots of “No” answers. So when they called I asked my questions rapidly and what I heard back to every question was, “Yes,” Yes,” “Yes,” “Yes,” and on and on. I didn’t get one single “No” answer.

So I asked the kicker question that surely would get me off the hook. “What are the dates of this trip?” He gave me the exact dates of my June vacation. Wooooooeeee!

I’ve never hear God’s voice audibly. Sometime I wish I would because I have a lot of things I’d like to know. But when my alarm goes off, after praying every morning at 2:45 am “Show me. Tell me. Send me,” I have found myself in some almost unbelievable situations. I don’t ignore that. This looked like another one.

Bottom line, at 1pm Tuesday, June 18, 2019, Becky and I and 8 other people are going to Zimbabwe, Africa. We will deliver shoes and shirts to people who have none. We will plant a church and I’ve been asked to do 3 sermons. We’ve been receiving notes that things in Zimbabwe right now are as bad as they’ve ever been. Frequently there is no water or electricity. Poverty is rampant as is political unrest. Major buildings have become brothels. And what little morale they have had seems to be waning. We have been

told that there will be a government official with us constantly to monitor everything we say and do.

Obviously we are not going to fix all that, but, besides the shoes, clothing, and messages of faith, we will deliver hugs, smiles, caring and hope for precious people that especially need it right now. If you would pray for us and for them I would be forever grateful.



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