Ken's Faith

“I always knew there was a God out there, a divine creator, something greater than myself who was in control of everything, but I didn’t know who he was”

I don’t believe there is a perfect way back to God because we are all imperfect but I know now that the only one true way back to him is through Jesus Christ. We all have our individual lives, unique experiences and choose different journeys to return to God; for me it was my ski accident that precipitated the journey back to him.  I needed to be hit in the head hard to wake up and realise the spiritual importance of all eternity waiting for us is everything and the mortal life we live on earth is nothing. This why I like to converse and share my testimony and experience with vast and varied people throughout the world. I have great relationships with people of all faiths, cultures and race. Since I we were baptised in 2007 my wife and daughter have felt that part of our spiritual change has been to become devout Christians; accepting Christ into our lives and willing to do anything for his cause.

Growing up, I was christened as a baby in an Anglican church by my devout Catholic Aunt Margaret (who is my late Fathers sister). I learned about divinity at “O” levels in an Anglican boarding school, but I never personally related to God and thought the bible and scriptures in them were written for a different time and generation past and they didn’t apply to my life. Little did I know, I couldn’t have been more wrong, and began to realize and accept the truth of this soon after the accident.

When God our father in heaven told me I was his son, he loved me and gave me a 2nd chance it changed everything. I knew that if he called me “his son” then He was my father, and from that point on I adopted a mindset that “in all places, at all times and whatsoever He calls me to do, I’ll do and be obedient in exactness” I’ll willingly give Him everything. All my time, all my money and everything I have belongs to Him. My life belongs to God. I know He wants to use me and give me more and to do more for him and his Kingdom on earth. I know that when Christ died, he did so out of obedience, but he also did it out of love. Today, I’m trying to follow that lead.

After much soul searching, reading the scriptures, prayer and fasting about what church I should join, I received a very clear and audible answer from God and was baptized in September 2007 and became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Harare). I have served in three official callings (positions) as of September 2020 namely; Elders Quorum President of the Highlands Ward in Harare, from November 2007, National Affairs Director for Zimbabwe, from October 2012 and 2nd Councelor in the Bishopric for Borrowdale Ward from 2016.

I’m proud to be a member of the Lords church, and as a member I’ve been privileged to receive and uphold the Priesthood role in my family. In our church, all the callings of clergy are non-paid and voluntary; which are given out by-and-to church members. The callings are from God and you are free to choose to accept and uphold the callings or not accept.

But as I’ve mentioned earlier, I love people of all faiths and denominations and have spoken at several Christian Conference including the YPO Bahamas Christian Fellowship Network (BCFN) in February 2010 where I met my best friend and spiritual brother Lee Paris.

I am also fortunate enough to have a great man as one of my spiritual mentors in Dr. Ed Silvoso… An Evangelist from Harvard Evangelism. www.harvestevan.org

 

Philanthropy

‘An altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes’. A former Russian partner once called me an altruist (I guess I have always been one). I have also been called a dreamer as have my ancestors for several generations; I have known about it from the time of my great great Grandfather Sir Joseph Wilson Swan who invented the first light bulb (and yes it was before Thomas Edison- google will help you with that story).

“It is more important to leave a Legacy rather than just a Heritage for our children. I believe to achieve this legacy, we also have a responsibility to give back to the people environment that we live and work in and to those who are less fortunate than ourselves!” – Ken Sharpe, 2012

We’ve all heard of the old adage, “to teach a man to fish is better than to give him a fish” however my view is that in Africa you cannot “teach a man to fish” if there’s no pond to fish from. Therefore you need to TEACH them how to build the fish pond first, and how to stock the fishpond with fish and then provide the means (capital) to ENABLE them to do it.

I want to make a difference that will last far beyond my time. My life’s not so much about leaving an inheritance, but more about leaving a legacy for my children. Being a game changer in the world. Leaving a stamp on the earth by doing something different. Times are changing in this world; especially in Africa. The way of “giving” these days isn’t “let me give you a dollar and you go and spend it,” but rather “let me give you something that can help transform your life so you can invest into it and become sustainable…” I personally feel it is demeaning and disrespectful for a human being to continuously receive “handouts.” It makes no difference if the handout is food, or things that people need or want; why should someone feel like they have to beg for food in this day and age. I feel it’s much more empowering and restores their dignity when you give someone them a “hand up” and ability with the capital to enable them to start a business and create employment for themselves; to feed themselves, clothe themselves and support themselves and their families. Thus the term ‘give a hand up rather than a hand out’.

My wife greatly taught me the importance of giving back to the less fortunate in our family. Many years ago we set up a foundation called “Kusimbisa Trust” (Kusimbisa means “uplifting the people” in Shona) and we decided as a family to back that trust with a significant portion of our wealth and will continue to do so as we progress and monitor it’s success over the next decade. My wife Joanna is the patron of the trust. Our hope is to help communities throughout Zimbabwe access funding through the Trust. We believe this is possible through micro-finance; we can invest into home and cottage production based businesses that can be produced using local materials (agriculture, clothing, wood products, stone products and the like). Capital in the Trust can loan these ambitious entrepreneurs small amounts – US $100 to $1000 (but no more than $5000) as loans. Preference will be given to young adults and women who bring projects to Kusimbisa. The profits of these businesses are split 50% to the entrepreneurs and 50% to the Trust. The 50% that comes back to the Trust will be used to feed vulnerable, impoverished and needy children; taking care of orphans, giving them clothes, food, medicine and education; like a perpetual fund, as well as investing further into the needs of women. The more we invest the more profits that come and hence  more income we will have to give back. In order to be long lasting, unless in emergency situations, of course, every form of charity we do must be sustainable.