Ministering to Future Pastors
Whilst most prospective pastors have left Zimbabwe, there are still a handful that choose to study at the few remaining seminaries in Zimbabwe. We had an opportunity to give presentations at two different seminaries. We met a Missionary from America at a Bible College Consultation earlier this year who is a lecturer at one of these seminaries. He invited us to lecture there for a whole week. David and Joseph gave presentations on Old Testament Survey and also on Expository Preaching. I had an opportunity to give a presentation on Animism (or African Traditional Religion) at both seminaries. We also discussed with the students how the ‘health, wealth and prosperity’ preachers have replaced the witchdoctor in many communities. These fraudulent, so-called ‘men of god’ are thought to get special revelations from God and have special healing powers, using ‘faith’ as a magical force. The students agreed that animism is still a big problem in Zimbabwe.
Many of the students did not know how Jesus fits in to the Old Testament. Arturo G. Azurdia in his book, Spirit-Empowered Preachingaptly summarises how each book in the Bible points to Christ:
The inscripturated Word centres its attention on Jesus Christ. He is the Seed of the woman who will crush the serpent’s head. He is the Ark to rescue the people of God. He is the holy Angel of Yahweh. He is the Seed of Abraham in whom all the families of the earth will be blessed. He is the Passover Lamb. He is the Prophet greater than Moses. He is the Pillar of Fire in the wilderness. He is the Rock struck by Moses. He is the Heir of the Davidic throne. He is the thrice Holy Lord of Isaiah 6. He is the greater Shepherd of Ezekiel 34. He is Mary’s baby, Herod’s enemy, and Simeon’s joy. He is the twelve-year-old boy in the Temple and the beloved Son to be baptized. He is the Healer of the blind, the Provider of the hungry, and the Friend of the outcast. He is the New Temple, the Source of Living Water, the Manna that gives life, the Light of the world, the Resurrection and the Life, and the Father’s True Vine. He is the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and the resurrected Lion from the tribe of Judah. He is the ascended Lord, the Ruler of the Church, and the returning Judge of all men. The Sacred Scriptures are the instrument by which the Spirit of the living God glorifies Jesus Christ.
David vs Goliath and the Connection to Jesus
I also had several opportunities to give a devotion(or short message from the Bible) at different church meetings. During one devotion I spoke about David vs Goliath. One of the things we emphasised in our lectures on the Old Testament at the Seminary was that each Book of the Bible points to Christ. In my message, I showed how Christ, the descendant of David, is the Lord of Hosts and the true Deliverer of Israel that David spoke of in 1 Samuel 17:45:
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the Name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’”
Government Schools Bureaucracy Restrict Religious Freedom
I tried to get an opportunity to deliver a presentation at a government school. They told me that I must get permission from the Department of Education. After standing in long queues at the Department of Education, they told me I must get a letter from the Department of Education in Harare! It is sad that government bureaucracy is stifling Christian ministry in these schools.
Fight the New Drug at a Christian School
Thankfully, I did get an opportunity to give a Fight the New Drug (freedom from addiction to pornography) presentation at a Christian School in the area. The children at this school were the best behaved I have ever seen compared to all the schools I have been at in South Africa. Even though pornography is illegal in Zimbabwe, many youth are accessing it on the internet or on their phones.
During a street evangelism outreach, I took the initiative to open-air preach three times. The only good thing about 90% unemployment in Zimbabwe is that most people have nothing to do and nowhere to go! A tall white man preaching in the streets was a novelty for them, and large crowds gathered to hear the straightforward Gospel message. The street vendors selling everything from fruit to cell phone airtime were also open to engage in conversations. We distributed over 500 Gospel booklets in Shona during this one afternoon. The people literally queued up to get a Gospel booklet! At the beginning of every conversation, people would always ask, “Which church are you from?” They expected us to be recruiting them to a particular church meeting. They were surprised when we told them, “No, we are not trying to get you to join a church, we want to talk with about the Gospel and the Word of God.”
Love Boxes for the Elderly
The elderly in Zimbabwe who did earn a pension, lost all of it when the economy of Zimbabwe collapsed. It was a great privilege to once again deliver boxes of non-perishable foods and other useful items to these elderly folk and to hear their stories.
Innovative Pastor from a Rural Area
With over 90% unemployment in Zimbabwe, some pastors who are not exploiting people through fake “healing and deliverance ministries”, have implemented innovative initiatives to provide for themselves an income. Frontline has ministered at one such pastor’s area in rural Zimbabwe several times and our teams always consider it a highlight of any Zimbabwe Mission to visit his church. Despite the fact that he is also a school principal, he has developed a chicken business to provide himself with extra income.
I was encouraged to see that most of the congregation stayed behind after each presentation or service to discuss the message given and how they are going to apply it to their lives. I gave a devotion on Eli’s Failure to Discipline his Sons and the Responsibility of Parents (1 Samuel 12:12-36) at a meeting and was encouraged by the enthusiastic questions and discussion time afterwards about how they were going to apply this message in their families. It is sad, however, to see so few men coming to the meetings. Even though these people have very little income, these males still manage to get money from somewhere to go and get drunk at the local taverns!
Caring for the Elderly
We also distributed some Boxes of Love to the elderly in this community. We read the Bible with them and prayed for them. One woman cried with joy when we came to visit her. At 93 years of age, she still collects her own water for herself and her animals!
Dry and Thirsty Land
Drought has severely hampered this community’s ability to grow crops. Water from the only bore hole is also taxed and the other bore hole available is unusable due to the fact a pipe fell into it. A new bore hole would be of great help to this community.
Despite the fact that our host pastor could have sold each chicken for $7 each, we were generously catered for with chicken meat at almost every meal. His reading glasses are old and cracked, and sometimes the lenses fall out, yet he continues to persevere in seeking to uplift his community, seemingly unperturbed by these challenges. I was encouraged and challenged by the sacrificial giving of our host congregation.
Pray for Zimbabwe
Please continue to keep the people of Zimbabwe in your prayers. Pray that the drought and lack of good water sources would remind them to thirst after Living Water. Pray that they would humble themselves, turn from their wicked ways, and seek His face, so that He would hear from Heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa