To provide ongoing counseling, coaching, and encouragement to missionaries, global humanitarian workers, and organizations who are impacting the world overseas so they might thrive and maintain resiliency on the field.
For every missionary and global aid worker to be thriving in their mission, healed up and whole in body, mind, spirit and soul so they might effectively transform the nations they serve.
Zion Project began in 2006 as a ministry that brought heart healing to Africa through rehabilitating girl child soldiers in Uganda and rescuing women/girls out of sex trafficking. In 2016, we transitioned into full time member care.
From our founder Sarita Hartz in her own words:
In 2006, at the age of 24, I started my own non-profit to help rehabilitate girl child soldiers in a post conflict region of Uganda. I didn’t go with a missions sending organization. I loved what I did and my passion for the women and children I worked with fueled me. Over time, the ministry grew and we quickly had a children’s home, an employment program for Congolese women who’d been sex trafficked, discipleship and counseling programs, and a holistic response to those who needed heart healing and practical needs met.
As a missionary and humanitarian worker, I lived full time in a war torn region of Uganda for over 6 years providing ongoing daily support and training up national staff to lead alongside me and run the organization. The work was grueling. The constant stories of injustice took a toll on my soul. The corruption of government systems were taxing. I was worn down from the constant demands and responsibilities of a growing organization, and yet I felt the need to keep up the idealized image of the “perfect” missionary and stay on the pedestal people in the church put me on. The model I had before me to follow was one of the missionary who is always dying to self and who never stops to take care of one’s self because that would be “selfish.”
I had no one who was watching out for or caring for my soul. I had no one I could be truly honest with about my struggles because most were donors, or supporters or churches who supported the ministry and I was too afraid to lose their support if I was honest.
Inside, my heart was slowly dying from my soul being rubbed raw by the accumulated griefs, emergencies, and compassion fatigue. My body was failing through constant illness and adrenal fatigue. I was suffering from PTSD. But I didn’t realize it at the time. Slowly, I noticed bitterness creeping into my heart towards the country. I became angrier and more exhausted. Everything felt like I was forcing it. My marriage suffered. My faith suffered. But I thought I just had to keep going because I couldn’t fail the women and children I’d come to serve. I thought it was a missionary’s job to martyr one’s self for the cause.
I was there to love people and yet I wasn’t loving myself or allowing myself to be filled up so I could have more to give. The cracks began to widen. Finally, an ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and the realization that if I stayed in Uganda, I could die, forced me to make a decision to begin to implement self-care.
I didn’t even know how burned out I was until I came home and completely fell apart.
It took me three years of therapy, and constant self-care to be healed and restored. I realized I had to go backwards and heal myself before I could help heal others. I broke free from the mold of perfectionism.
I began to write about my experiences on my blog and many missionaries began to resonate with my same heart cry.
Through these experiences I began to see that many missionaries were suffering the same fate I had. They felt burdened and alone.
One day the Lord gave me an idea to provide ongoing support through counseling and coaching missionaries by having weekly to bi-weekly Skype dates to process life and grief as they were experiencing it.
This has turned into a growing international ministry. I finally found my true calling in healing the healers, in making sure they are healthy and having adequate soul care on the field. I also love to work with organization to ensure they have a thriving culture. The ripple effect of pouring into a missionary is that every life they touch is impacted by their own transformation. Every unreached people group, every child in an orphanage, every girl rescued out of slavery benefits when that leader on the field is healed up and whole, thriving and serving out of fullness, not emptiness. I believe this is highest leverage way I can impact transformation in nations.