2016 News

Evangelists in the Midst of Challenge

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

GMP partners with evangelists in Zimbabwe, like Hlambelo, who face many challenges.

Hlambelo pastors four churches in southern Zimbabwe (Nkankezi, Anglesey, Xalanga and Filabus), which have over 160 members in total. “I rotate between the churches and I train the leaders. I have some youth and young men to assist me, and I also train the women to do some work like preaching.” The four churches are in rural areas. To get around to each of these churches, Hlambelo uses a motorbike. “The motorbike helps me a lot. The churches are about 20km apart and without the motorbike I would need to walk long distances.”

Pastoring a church in Zimbabwe is not easy.  Zimbabwe is still struggling economically, and also in terms of basic health, education and social services infrastructure..  Zimbabwean roads are rough on motorbikes – so there is a challenge of motorbike upkeep and maintenance. There have been no rains this season, so the food is scarce: “You know, when you lead people who are hungry at times it is difficult and we need to inspire them to carry on. Their answers come from kneeling down and praying. I know that Jesus will always intervene.” There is financial hardship, shortages of drinking water; health issues (for both evangelists and church members) and political tension – sermons can be reported back to the government if they are considered to have ‘political’ overtones. Many men still believe that church is primarily for women and children, thereby creating a gender imbalance.

Despite these challenges, the work that Zimbabwean evangelists accomplish bears great fruit in difficult circumstances. Seven evangelists recently reported over 40 baptisms, numerous recommitments, four new church plants, people being prayed for, the sick visited, and the gospel being announced and demonstrated. GMP believes that these evangelists make a life changing difference. In an often grim context, they speak and personify hope and light. This is why GMP is committed to partnering with the Associated Churches of Christ in Zimbabwe through International Church Partnerships. Our partnership with them is dependent on Australian donors catching the vision of how the Zimbabwean evangelists – like Hlambelo – are making a life changing difference, and pledging to support them in prayer, encouragement and finances. Hlambelo is encouraged by Psalm 46:10 – “When I think about this verse I am reminded of the problems that exist around me in my community, that I don’t need to be overwhelmed, but to be still and know that He is God.”

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