Zimbabwe Mission Trip

By Josef

In March 2014 Rafaela and I, members of Family Care Ministries, travelled to Zimbabwe for an exciting week of teaching young women and men in the word of God in Banket, a small  farming town about 95km north of Harare with a population of approximately 4000 people.  Last year one of our South African friends, who had participated in a church planning trip that his congregation had organised to this area, had given our contact details to the local pastor of this rural town.

P1010817-600Pastor Gabriel, desperate for teaching materials, contacted us not long after. He called and visited us in Johannesburg in February and invited us to please come and train the elders and pastors of his 14 small rural churches. He is a very sincere and earnest man desiring to be used of God and help the poor and downtrodden, the forgotten people on the farms.

Banket was once a thriving town with many large companies and commercial farms that have closed down a long time ago. The commercial farmers had been driven off the land which were then taken over by others who for the most part don’t know how to run these large farms or keep them profitable. The companies, unable to export their products, were forced to close down due to sanctions that were imposed on the country. This left the majority of the people unemployed trying to eke out a meager existence on the bit of food grown in their back yards and the occasional temp job. Today the little town center consists of 3 dilapidated petrol stations along the main road travelled by large cargo trucks going to Zambia & Congo.

P1010695-600The people who used to work on the big farms are only able to do some subsistence farming and so remain poor and struggle to earn their own support. Though Pastor Gabriel has a church in Banket town as well, the offerings and tithes barely cover the electricity and rental of the church. Other pastors are not too interested in ministering to people there; they prefer ministering in “greener pastures.” There are no tithes or offerings to be collected here. We admire Pastor Gabriel’s courage and determination to carry on despite the many challenges he faces including financial difficulties.

P1010640-600A bit expectantly, the meeting was attended by mostly young women and a few young men. But it was God’s set up. These young men and women had a real desire to learn and they took notes and eagerly listened to every word we shared. We had morning and afternoon classes for 4 days.  It was a joy to teach them and an encouragement to see their eagerness to learn.

Here are a couple of the responses we got:

  • Mildred: I learned about healing. And I learned about praying by myself and the 2 commandments: (1) Love your neighbor as you love yourself (2) Love your God. I learned about having faith and also about casting out demons. I learned that when my child is sick, I will pray for her. If you are sick, God is the medicine. And I learned about preaching the Gospel to the others. If you hear the Word you should tell others. Also I learned about how God loves the world that He gave us his only begotten son that whosoever believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Only Jesus died for our sins. If you have faith everything in your life would be ok. I learned about giving and about giving tithe.
  • Godknows: This was a joyful seminar. I have learned many things such as how I can be growing in faith. And I have also learned that to praise God all the time brings peace and joy in my life. I also know that God´s purpose with people is to have a better life, and to have dominion over the earth and the things which is around us such as vegetation and animals.

P1010802-600After the daily classes we went to visit the farming communities that Pastor Gabriel ministers to. On one of the evenings we held a service at the largest farming community which was attended by over 30 women, children and some youth. To reach the community we had to travel nearly 30km over dirt roads and a small flooded bridge but we made it safely there and back. You would not want to have a car break down as there is no one around to help you, especially at night. 

2014-03-19-327-600Pastor Gabriel had no money to buy food for the 4 day meeting for the 25 attendees so we had brought some non-perishable food and bought the rest at the meeting. We gave him a box of Gospels of John, training manuals and gospel literature for his members and outreach and left them with a gift to help with the many needs. It seems the Lord is leading us mostly to the poor servants of God who care for the poorest of the poor.

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