Anthony’s Appetite (Zimbabwe Edition)

My Appetite

Several years ago I started writing posts about food, but I haven’t done any for a long while. The “Anthony’s Appetite” segments were meant to give me a reason to play an amateur food critic in hopes of getting free meals😉 Well, I never got any free meals, but I did get to eat some interesting dishes.

*Speaking of several years, I just learned from WordPress that today is my 7th anniversary for blogging! Cool, huh?

Anyway, I will eat a lot of things at least once. I’m not as brave as Andrew Zimmern, but I am adventurous for an American. Therefore, it’s a little easier for me to travel to new places and eat food I’ve never seen before. My wife, on the other hand, would die of starvation.

Zimba-food

The average food I ate in Zimbabwe was chicken. This was the main staple meat. However, the main food of Zimbabwe is a thing called sadza.

One day I was the guest for lunch with a high-ranking professor at the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT). That day he took me to one of the small hotels that the university had acquired for its hospitality program. There, right in the open, food was prepared in an iron wok over an open fire and served buffet-style. Beef tips, fish, “vegetable,” and sadza was on the menu.

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What is sadza? Well, think of grits, only ground finer, then the consistency of heavy mashed potatoes. It’s made from corn meal, is designed to be eaten with your hands, and has the taste of grits with no salt or butter.

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Speaking of open fire, most all the food I ate in Zimbabwe was prepared by some lady in a mud hut. If it wasn’t made in a mud hut, it was made in an open area, but in every case there was a fire. And speaking of fire, I was terribly impressed with the way the folk in Zimbabwe were able to cook with such little wood! Where we in America would need to fill a fireplace, these people could cook a whole meal over three little limbs!

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The Taste Test

One night we decided to try a Zimbabwe version of a truck stop diner. Frankly, it wasn’t that bad. The only thing that stretched me was one of the little foods I was told people drive for miles to get – to eat with their sadza. It was called dried Matemba (kapenta).

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You know, Google it if you’d like, but whatever this fish was…I only ate one. One of these chewy little critters tasted like concentrated fish  – the kind of taste you try to cover up because it “tastes like fish” – and river water (river water around here tastes like fish). I about gagged. I can’t imagine eating a whole meal of these things.

Pizza Heaven

Our number one most frequently visited eating establishment of the trip was a little pizza place in Chinhoyi called Pizza Inn. Actually, it’s a combo type of place with a Chicken Inn, also (“with the flavor you’ve loved since 1987!”).

I’ve eaten a lot of pizza, but let me be very honest…Pizza Inn makes some seriously good pizza! And let me tell ya, Peri Peri Chicken pizza is da’ bomb!! Yessir! The pizza in the picture below was from the last night we ate there. It was four different types of pizza in one. AND, on Tuesday nights you could get two for the price of one!

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Every night after our individual revival service meetings, the three of us preachers and our driver, Agayi, would stop in for pizza. For crying out loud, a loaded medium was only six dollars! And that could literally feed two people! Good stuff.

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The other things was that Pizza Inn was the only place open that late (after 8 pm), and it was consistently clean.

But I Did a Bad Thing

Now, before I end this I must tell you about the worst thing I did while in Zimbabwe (except when I filmed myself in an area in the capital – who knew doing so was punishable by death?)…. I turned away some food.

Yes, I know it. How could I, right? One of the worst things you can do in a foreign country is offend your host by saying, “I’m sorry, but if I eat any more of this I’ll puke on your pretty table.” Well, that’s not exactly what I said, but it was close.

Most of the time when we think of dessert we never think of questionable contents, only sweet stuff. I mean, there’s usually nothing gross in dessert to offend the Western palate, right? Well, this time I ran into a culinary brick wall, one I could not get through or go around – I had to say “NO!”

What was it? What made it so hard to eat? How about I just show it to you and list the ingredients.

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The above dish didn’t look toooo unappetizing, especially since I recognized sliced bananas. And since I’d been to the Luck’s Bean factory and eaten desserts prepared with beans (like pinto bean pie which tasted like pecan pie), I was ready to give this food a try, even if I’d never thought of banana and bean going together.

But then the rest of the ingredients had a hard time going down my throat – in combination with the bananas and beans: Onions, leeks, yogurt, and a thousand island-like dressing.

One spoonful was all I could handle.

Fellowship, Not Food

But really, it’s not about the food – it’s about the fellowship…something of which we’re in short supply in the States.

Sitting around at lunch or dinner – or even around a table in a pizza joint – would be nothing much to write about had it not been for the great people we ate with. Our hosts and friends in Zimbabwe treated us like family, even royalty. It really didn’t matter what food was served, the fellowship with these dear brothers and sisters in Christ was the sweetest parts of every meal.

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If nothing else, anything is better than airline food!

 

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Filed under community, Countries, Food, places

We Preach Jesus!

Revival

The main reason I went to Zimbabwe was to preach in a series of revival services in two different Baptist churches, both of which were started along several others by Chinhoyi Baptist in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. Of course preaching wasn’t all I did; I went with different pastors into various villages, visiting and praying with Christians, evangelizing those who’d never heard the gospel.

The other reason I went to Zimbabwe was to get revived myself. I needed this trip! And, praise be to God, it was life-changing!

Here are some photos from different services.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member's front yard.

People starting to show up for church. River of Life met in a tent in a member’s front yard.

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Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Worshiping Sunday morning at Dolomite Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Lively and energetic African worship at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

Being introduced at Chinhoyi Baptist.

The Final Service

The final service in which I preached was at Chinhoyi Baptist Church. It was a celebratory farewell service where all of the churches which had hosted our team of three (Dr. Eddy Rushing, Marshall Kellett, and myself) came together as one. And man, was it a service!

The honor was mine to be selected to preach the final service, and what an honor it was. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett were responsible for personally leading scores of people to Christ during this trip, so who was I to be the one to preach? Nevertheless, they asked me, and I jumped at it!

The beginning of the service was full of extremely lively music and dancing – not something the average Baptist in America is used to😉 When all of that was over, the music shifted to hymns. Dr. Rushing and Bro. Kellett both gave stirring testimonies before the final hymn “Higher Ground” (sung in the native language of Shona) set the tone for the sermon to follow.

Oh, Rev. Luckmann Chiasaru was my interpreter for this service, and man was he good! He even sang with me! Awesome!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They're well on their way!

Chinhoyi Baptist Church in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe. This congregation hopes to plant a total of 50 new churches in 10 years. They’re well on their way!

The following was recorded on an iPhone 6s, then edited on Audacity. I wish it could have been a better recording, but it was all I had. I pray it is a blessing🙂

CLICK HERE for link to the audio of “We Preach Jesus!”

 

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Filed under baptist, Countries, Preaching, worship

I’m Totally Heartbroken

Many of you  know what it is like to lose a pet. Many of you know what it is like to lose a family member. Some of you may understand what it is like when you lose a pet that is more than just an animal, but a family member. Well, that’s what my wife and I are going through.

Friday morning our daughter Katie let our little dogs out to do their business…two came back inside, but one didn’t. When I got home from Atlanta Friday night, little Nugget was still nowhere to be found.

We enlisted the aid of neighbors and a couple of church members to help look. All of us drove around our entire neighborhood, calling, praying, and just hoping there would be some sign…but nothing. And now it’s Monday.

Nugget is a Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie), and in a disturbing “coincidence” two other Yorkies are missing from our same part of town. Was he stolen? Will we find him for sale online? We are hoping.

But another possibility is that our little Nugget, a precious little dog we’ve had since October of 2009, when he was only 2 months old, was taken by a coyote. If that’s what happened, well…

You see, a coyote has been seen a couple of times around our house. One night just a week or so ago my wife and daughters came home, got out of the car, and found themselves being threatened by what they thought at first was a fox (they were wrong – it was much bigger than that). It was at that time Nugget, the bravest little dog you’ve ever seen – a dog whose chased off large dogs and dear – wasted no time tearing off after the coyote, running it out of the yard.

My fear is that the coyote showed back up early Friday morning and Nugget got into a fight he couldn’t win. If that’s the case, our little dog died a hero. And if I find that coyote, I’m going to give it a taste of multiple gut-shattering personal defense 9mm rounds. Yes, I will.

Nugget was such a good little dog. For example, he was always obedient and house trained. If we came to the stairs, either in the house or outside, Nugget would always stand and wait for us to go down first…he would never trip us. When offered treats along with the other two dogs, Nugget would always sit back away from them and patiently wait his turn.

"No, I don't want a steak biscuit."

“No, I don’t want a steak biscuit.”

Nugget loved to go for a ride. Many times on Saturdays I would go out to McDonald’s for a cup of coffee. Nugget knew where I was going and would insist to ride along. When I’d get to the drive through Nugget would stand on my leg, put his front paws and head out the window, and practically place his own order – chicken nuggets. And whenever we went to Chick-fil-A, his favorite was a small scoop of ice cream.

Nugget was the only one who would stay up late into the night with my wife during tax season. He would stay right with her, either by her feet or on a little bed she made on her desk. Wherever she would go he would follow. And, yes, he slept with us.

He didn’t shed. He rarely did anything that got him into trouble. He loved to run and be chased. He loved to be held. He thought of himself as more human than the other dogs, for toys were out of the question – he just wanted to be with us.

I know it may sound crazy, but losing Nugget, although not a human child, is almost as painful as losing a human loved one. Nugget was my “little boy.” Because we lived in a house with so many females, Nugget and I would have our “guy time.” Now my little buddy is gone, and there are tears in my eyes and a broken heart in my chest.

My wife and I both are very heartbroken.

Now, some of you may find all this ridiculous. I mean, Nugget was just an animal, right? Sure, but God has created us with the ability to show emotion, to grow attached, and even to love little animals that are so faithful. After all, it could be argued that the best earthly example of agape love is a faithful dog.

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One year old in 2010.

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Making a profile pic.

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Christmas pajamas – for dogs, too.

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Learned behavior? It was always MY pillow, too!

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Jack and Nugget arguing about something, I know not what.

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Running out to meet me as I got off the bus.

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Always ready to play.

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Waiting to place his order, Nugget would even expect chicken from the bank.

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After all the other Easter Sunday family pics, Nugget got to be in one, too.

 

And, should you read this and think of yourself more spiritual than one who would be heartbroken over a dog, consider the following verses:

And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle? – Jonah 4:11

A righteous [man] regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruel. – Proverbs 12:10

We will miss you, Nugget. You were the best.

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Sleep well, buddy. You earned it.

 

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Filed under animals, Life/Death, Struggles and Trials

Monday Monkey in Zimbabwe

I’m BACK!

On Friday afternoon of last week I felt the wheels of the Boeing 727 (I think) hit the Atlanta airport runway. It was the final touchdown that came after a long, long trip back on Ethiopian Air from Harare, Zimbabwe.  Seriously, the worst part of my trip to Africa was just getting there and getting back home – too many hours in airplanes!

Nevertheless, I made it back, and I’m happy to be back in the USA.

So many of you prayed. Others were able to lend financial support. No matter what you did, if you helped in any way, the trip to Africa was more than a success – it was a victory! And all of you had a part.

Monkey in Africa

If you know me at all, you know that I could not pass up an opportunity to take Mr. Monkey to Africa. I mean, if he couldn’t fit in there, where else could he feel at home? A zoo?

Mr. Monkey went out with me to several places, not the least of which was to church. But before we went to church, there were times when he was able to climb real African trees…image

He got to visit a real African kitchen made out of mud and thatch…image

And he got to ride in a mini-bus with the local praise team from Chinhoyi Baptist Church.image

Mr. Monkey got to make plenty of friends, too. So many children were drawn to him and amazed with expressions. Even one of the pastors had to try his hand – literally – at bringing Mr. Monkey to life.image

Who’s Unique?

The message of the video I’ve attached is that Mr. Monkey (Buddy) was not entirely unique, for he was made in a Chinese factory on an assembly line. The children, however, were most certainly unique and one-of-a-kind.

The following video was filmed with my iPad Mini 2. The camera woman was the pastor’s wife, Mary. More about these dear folks in a later post.

Oh, by the way, there were 367 people who prayed to receive Jesus Christ on this evangelistic trip. If that doesn’t qualify as an unmitigated success, I don’t know what does. And more about that later, too.

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Filed under animals, Countries, Monday Monkey

In Marriage, Dependence is Good

The following guest post was written by Madelyn over at Messages from the Mythical (she says she’s someone who’s not supposed to exist).  Go visit her blog and see if she does😉


In our culture, dependence is acceptable only for small children and invalids. Contemporary young women shrink  from the slightest suggestion of dependence on anyone, and mock the suggestion that they should in any way be dependent on their (future) mates.

A United Front

But hindsight is 20/20. Do you know any older couples? What are some signs which show you that a couple is actually happy, rather than only enduring one another? Do they mention one other kindly? Do they smile at one another? Do they praise one another to third parties? Do they tell stories about their history together?

Do they roll eyes and make signs of exasperation, grit teeth or openly take jabs at one another, or do they actually seem to like each other?

Doesn’t that happy older couple begin to seem like a united front, or a society unto itself?  One way that successful relationship can be described is dependent.

Dependence doesn’t happen automatically; it is the result of intentional and mutual investment.

A Solid Rock

In investing in your spouse, you are actually developing all kinds of dependence on each other. That is good.  And years of daily investing creates a unique and solid relationship. Dependence becomes not a weakness but a solid rock. Mutual dependence becomes an interdependence, an intertwining of  selves. There is a sense in which two together become one entity. And that entity is stronger and better, in many ways, than either person alone or even two people together in any other kind of relationship.

For all the life learning, all the skills and wisdom I have now that I did not have when I was young, you’d think I was more independent than ever before. In many ways, I am.

But I’m more dependent on my husband than ever. And he is on me too. We are more and more dependent on each other because we have chosen to throw away all other options and to invest all our affections on one person. We have invested all the things which belong to a spouse, including our loyalty, our respect, and our mutual submission.

Planned Disappointment

Openly and insidiously, our culture discourages young women from forming a dependence on their spouses. That is a recipe for marital conflict and disappointment. If a young woman notices she is depending on her spouse, she is taught to be ashamed, and that she has diminished herself, that someone has perpetrated an injustice upon her, and that she is a victim of systemic oppression.

We fight the impulse to depend. We cultivate conflict. But we could instead be validated and grateful. We could cultivate investment and unity.

When you’re on your deathbed, do you want a spouse to give you respect for the strength you’re showing while walking that lonely path? Or do you want a spouse who has practiced carrying you, through rushing rivers and arid deserts, and sharing that path with you as though you were one being?

In marriage, dependence makes us stronger. Dependence is a good thing.

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Moving Into November

This guest post was written by Susan Irene Fox. Her blog is appropriately called Susan Irene Fox. If nothing else, go to the about page on her blog and read her story of coming to faith in Jesus…good stuff! You’ll be impressed with Susan’s openness and sincere desire for Christ.


Okay, I watched both conventions: the RNC and DNC streaming live into my living room.

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I heard the speeches, saw the videos, watched the family members, the protests, the name-calling, and the calls to action. And while I’m concerned for our country, I’m mainly concerned for those of us who call ourselves, “Christians.” If we’re Christians, then we must follow Jesus who is the Christ, the Messiah, right?

Jesus said “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” He said these were the two most important commandments. Ah, but he also commanded us to love one another, to love our enemies and to obey all these commands.

Often we are at odds with each other over these commands, preferring to moralize at each other over who belongs in God’s kingdom.

“We believe in grace but not enough to do any serious damage to the walls that separate us from others.” Jud Wilhite

In his book, Generous Justice, Tim Keller explains this division:

“In Western society, these sets of concerns have often been split off from one another. Each of America’s two main political parties has built its platform on one of these sets of ethical prescriptions to the near exclusion of the other. Conservatism stresses the importance of personal morality, of traditional sexual mores and hard work, and feels that liberal charges of racism and social injustice are overblown. On the other hand, liberalism stresses social justice, and considers conservative emphasis on moral virtue to be prudish and psychologically harmful. Each side, of course, thinks the other side is smug and self-righteous.”

And consider what Jud Wilhite said in his book, Uncensored Truth

“We believe in grace but not enough to do any serious damage to the walls that separate us from others. But when your eyes have been opened to see [the] thousands of people the religious world has considered too far gone [to] actually experience transformation through faith in Jesus, you can’t help but be forever marked. God’s grace is beyond my small-minded boundaries and categories. His love 
 consistently amazes me. His mercy – astounding.”

How do we do unify? How do we stop the infighting? How do we rise above the constant swirl of hate, lying and division that suck us down the drain accusation and blame?

  1. Resist from watching or listening to talking head rants.
  2. Refrain from responding to or repeating social media rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons.
  3. Abstain from posting your own rants, sarcastic comments and cartoons that violate Matthew 5:21-22.
  4. Pray for our leaders whether we voted for them, intend to vote for them or not.
  5. Wear the label, “Follower of Jesus” above any other label.

 The glory you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one so the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (John 17:22-24)

Generous Justice, © 2010 Timothy Keller, Riverhead Books, Penguin Group, NY, NY

Uncensored Truth, © 2010 Jud Wilhite

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We Are Family

Friends, all I know to tell you is that I have now had the privilege to meet one glittering jewel of a young blogger. Courtney’s blog is called 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl, and she is certainly “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation…” I’m excited to have her write a guest post for me. And in case you didn’t get it, she’s still a teenager!!


What does it mean to be a family?

Ask ten different people and you’ll get ten different answers.

To some, it’s the parents and siblings that they were raised with. To others, it’s their current family unit that they’ve created for themselves, through marriage and procreation. Still to others, it’s a grandparent or relative who raised them.

familypic.jpgFamily is a concept that is embedded deep within the human heart. We all long for a place to belong and feel at home.

A place to kick off our shoes after a long day.

A place where we can be fully ourselves—quirks and all.

A place to love and be loved.

Society tells us that family is limited to those related to us through blood or marriage.

The Bible on the other hand, tells a different story. When ­asked about His brothers and mother in the book of Matthew, Jesus turns previously held assumptions about family upside-down.

“Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:48-50)

Jesus broadens the definition of family to include every believer who has been washed in the blood of Christ and saved by God’s amazing grace.

You are my brother. I am your sister. We are one giant family connected through the blood of Christ. Whatever your experience with your biological family, you have the guarantee of a family in Christ. This concept is reinforced throughout the New Testament, as familial language is repetitively used (1 Timothy 5:1-2, Hebrews 13:1, Philemon 1:15-16). The Bible even goes into detail about how to live this out, instructing us time and time again to love one and other and walk with fellow believers through times of trouble.

We live in a world that is starving for love. Look no further than the local news station to find that divisions between people are running rampant. This should not be so among believers. If we want to love a broken world, we must start by loving each other. Despite our many differences, we are one in Christ. This point is presented beautifully in Galatians 3:28. “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Imagine how amazing our witness for Christ would be if we truly lived out Jesus’ vision for believers. I have seen the concept of family practiced vividly in the Christian blogging world and pray that this becomes a reality worldwide. No one should ever feel left out in the body of Christ. The first thing that a person should know when the walk through the doors of our churches is that they are loved. When Jesus hung on the cross, His arms were spread wide open, embracing everyone willing to come and follow Him. We are called to live as a reflection of that, and live out God’s radical love here on earth as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Connected as one big, crazy, awesome, beautiful family of believers. 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Unity, Christianity, community, Love of God, Relationships and Family