In April 2005, I went to Zimbabwe, Africa with ZOE. Our team had a different challenge than the previous teams. We were asked to create a camp similar to one of the Conference youth events for a group of orphans from within the program. We planned for worship, music, crafts and fun.
I met Tatenda at this camp. Tatenda was a beautiful girl, who was 15 years old and in the eighth grade. She had been out of school for couple of years due to lack of money, supplies and uniforms. ZOE provided these things for her so she could re-enter school. She was full of life, had great leadership skills and wonderful charisma.
We bonded quickly and I loved spending time with her. As I was approaching the time to leave Zimbabwe, she came to me, placed her hands on my shoulders and said “Suzanne, we may not see each other again here on earth, but I know one day, we will be together in heaven.” We embraced, shared a few tears and parted ways. I remember reflecting on that moment and thinking to myself, “I have never experienced such assurance of salvation.”
“One day, we will be together in heaven.” I came home and told our story. I shared it whenever I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of ZOE. I preached it from my pulpit and I especially shared it with the youth who have been a part of my ministry.
In late fall of 2005, I was invited to lead a team to Zimbabwe. We were asked to do another camp but for a different area of the country. I agreed and we had another successful camp. The day before we were to leave Zimbabwe, one of the local leaders wanted to show us where a new church was to be built and we agreed to go. When I found out we were going to Epworth, the village where Tatenda was from, I couldn’t believe it! She had heard that there was a group coming to visit and when we saw one another – well, there was an explosion of joy!
When we finally settled down and began to talk, I told her that when I got back to America, I had told everyone who would listen about my new friend – Tatenda. She was overwhelmed; she did not understand.
“Why do I matter to the people of America?”
I asked her if she remembered what she said to me; she remembered. I told her “Your story is important because your faith is one of the strongest I have ever witnessed!”
Black lives matter- because “one day we will all be together in heaven.”