OICB (Authority In Christ Ministries) have returned from a recent outreach to Zimbabwe over the period 6-13 August 2012. The team consisted of seven men, of whom five were from the OICB group and two were friends of OICB who were invited to minister on the outreach. All of us have ministered in Zimbabwe before.
The aim of the visit consisted of two parts: The first objective was in support of a local pastor in planting a new church in a rural area, whilst the second part was to minister in the vicinity of Masvingo at various churches and at conferences which take place on an annual basis. During the planning phase of the outreach, we decided on our team and spiritual leader JC (Johan) being part of OICB. His leadership and support was a blessing throughout the trip.
Our hosts in Zimbabwe, Gerhard and Trudie Burger live in Masvingo.
The team departed for Zimbabwe on Monday morning, 6 August 2012 at 3:30am from Pretoria in two vehicles hauling a trailer each. The supplies carried, were destined for the churches and the Burgers. Bibles, tracks and the Gospel of John were part of our load including each person’s personal kit. The loads stretched our transport and trailers to their limits, which later manifested in a breakdown in the rural area. The team led by JC, approached the outreach with much prayer, knowing and understanding our Lord was first in all and that we would be subject to Him in all our doings. At the borders, roadblocks and other opportunities tracts and the gospel of John in Shona, were freely distributed by the team.
On arrival at Masvingo we offloaded much of the needs that we transported, at Pastor Sonykiss’ home; there after continuing to overnight at the Burger’s, who always have a meal ready for visitors. Their hospitality and support can only be commended.
The next morning, day two of our visit was spent on the purchasing of supplies for the outreach in the rural areas and repacking of vehicles to accommodate three pastors on our mission to the rural area in the Mutare area in the Manica province, some 300 km distance by road from Masvingo.
We arrived at our destination at 15:00, after a breakdown on one of our trailers. An axel spring broke due to the weight of our supplies. The trailer was innovatively made mobile by our team members on a “Boer maak ‘n Plan” method and we were able to complete our trip with the trailer fixing it later in Masvingo.
We offloaded, prepared for the occasion and as a team met up with the local chief who gave us permission to operate in his area.
People in the area are very poor and money is scarce, trying to sustain themselves on subsistence farming, planting of crops and owning livestock. Living off the land, with the present situation due to drought has resulted in a food shortage in the area.
For two nights we ministered with the pastors and local pastors at two venues, of which the first was to plant a church. We thank our Lord for enabling us to assist and plant a church which will be served by the local pastors in the future. The “Jesus Film” was shown in the open skies on a big screen set up by the team. On enquiry to some locals, they mentioned that the last time any of them saw anything on a screen was in 1971. The “Jesus Film” resulted in many giving their hearts to the Lord and received Christ as their Savior. The team of 12 supported and prayed for the sick and for other requests. Due to support from South Africa we were able to supply many with maize meal, beans and soap. Pre-prepared food to all, was also supplied after the ministry on the first evening.
The mornings following, people gathered for further ministering and received tracts and the Gospel of John. We were grateful that the Spirit of God had moved in the two communities and many of them were baptized in the nearby local river. We therefore were full of joy as God had blessed the area and the people.
After returning from the rural outreach, the team repaired the trailer and rested for a day, visiting the Kyle Dam, whilst the remainder of our stay was with the Burger’s in Masvingo.
On Friday 10 August 2012 preparations started for a conference in a local venue for the Church of Christ Ministries International which is led by Pastor Sonykiss. Many people attending came from the rural areas. In the congregation were mothers with babies, HIV positive people, orphans and the elderly. Once in Zimbabwe, one cannot come back home but unchanged. One only realizes that we in South Africa have been blessed to have so much, although the poor are here too. At least, when babies die, it is in the news. In Zimbabwe people and babies die of hunger, and nothing is said about the situation. They have truly lost a lot of what we take for granted, but they hang on to Jesus as their foundation, as there are many testimonies of God’s hand in their lives. Our own experience at our hosts was the scarcity of electricity and water that are cut off at random for long periods.
During Friday evening and Saturday the focus of the team was on the conference of the Church of Christ Ministries International, where our team members were involved. On Sunday our members were invited to minister at various churches and conferences.
One also has to realize that a whole generation in their communities has been taken out, due to persecution, war and aids. This can be observed in the women who have lost the ability to knit or sew, a skill that has not been passed on due to the situation. There is continuous excitement at our hosts’ home, because women are being trained in the ability to care for families in the making and repairing of their own clothing.
We returned to South Africa on Monday 13 August 2012, knowing that our Lord had used the OICB group in a wonderful way in His kingdom. Praising God for support from the Burgers and the opportunities we had there for the Kingdom. On arrival we received a sms message from one of the pastors who was supported by our outreach in Zimbabwe:
Thanks for the visitors you send to our church many people were healed and the teaching was so good many people know the truth may God bless you and your wife. Pastor Gwara”
The team was blessed by all the prayers and support to enable the outreach.
We greet with the following:
“We give thanks to God always for you all,
making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord
Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,
knowing, beloved, your election by God.”
1 Thess. 1:2-4