I sit amazed at what the Lord has allowed JVMI and our partners to accomplish in a year that must be planned in pencil and when everything points to the need for flexibility. 2021 has been a year filled with opportunities through doors that only the Lord could open, as we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of COVID restrictions and international travel.
We have been able to visit and minister in two new Jewish communities in Ethiopia and encourage over 120 Messianic Congregations in Zimbabwe so far this year. Even when plans have changed, the Lord has worked it out for good. While we were disappointed to postpone the June Outreach due to a COVID lockdown in Zimbabwe, that postponement opened the door for us to have a successful scouting trip that revealed a new location for the October Medical Outreach in Western Ethiopia.
During that scouting trip, we spent a week in Ethiopia meeting with our congregational partners. In this season of uncertainty, it was so encouraging to hear how they are standing on the firm foundation of Yeshua. The joy of the Lord is unquestionably their strength!
Our staff was able to visit with Jewish community elders in an area that we hope will be a future outreach location. This area is challenging for many reasons, but we received an invitation at the end of our visit that opens the door to future opportunities. As the ministry strives to reach all tribes in the coming years, these types of meetings are essential.
After completing three Outreaches this year (two Medical Outreaches in Ethiopia and one humanitarian food distribution in Zimbabwe), the fall schedule is shaping up to be a fitting end to a surprisingly active year.
As I mentioned earlier, the upcoming Ethiopia Outreach will be our first visit to this location in the western part of the country. The area is home to a newly planted Messianic congregation, and the Jewish community is eager for us to arrive. Our long-time congregational partners from the Beta Kedan (BKMC) will be serving alongside our team of international volunteers, local medical professionals, and JVMI staff.
Ethiopia has been struggling with combatting COVID and internal fighting for the past 12 months. We are so blessed to report that, despite these difficulties, the Lord has allowed us to provide free medical care and minister the Gospel to Jewish communities and their neighbors four times.
The final outreach of the year is scheduled, in pencil, for November in a new location in Zimbabwe. We hope to hold our first medical campaign there in over 24 months. This would be our second outreach in Zimbabwe following a humanitarian food and LifeStraw distribution that was conducted in April. Due to a spike in COVID cases, the country reentered a strict lockdown at the end of June which caused us to postpone a LifeStraw distribution we had planned for this summer. But, the government has loosened the restrictions over the last few weeks and we believe the November outreach is a real possibility. Please join us in prayer that the Lord will open the door for us to minister alongside our Messianic brothers and sisters once again.
We are so thankful to report all the Lord is doing through JVMI and our partners. Our incredible Outreach Partner volunteers have joined us in each Ethiopia Outreach in 2021. This year we have broken ground in two new locations with two more in the plans. The Lord continues to open doors and we will continue to run through them. Thank you for supporting us in prayer and action. I look forward to updating you on all He does through the remainder of this year. See you in the field.