ZIMBABWE TRIP 2018
Greetings to all my brethren. This is sent to all, assuming that all have an interest in the various evangelistic mission works going on in the church today. We live in exciting times, with gospel outreach efforts active in various parts of the world.
This letter concerns Zimbabwe, in southern Africa. Brother Ron Courter and I (Roger Boone) have been making regular yearly trips to Zimbabwe since 2012. We preach in the churches and work to train gospel preachers to carry out the work of the gospel.
A group of seventeen gospel preachers spread throughout the country has been assembled. Some of these men are older, some are younger. Some are biblically very knowledgeable, some are less knowledgeable. We work with all of them trying to teach, train and encourage them in the work of our Lord.
This year we faced the obstacle of a cholera outbreak in the country. This prevented at least one of our yearly meetings.
I left Sacramento late on a Tuesday night. After joining Ron in Detroit, we arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe about 9 pm on Thursday night. Friday is always consumed by practical work of becoming established in the country. But we begin with Bible study Friday night in Glenview suburb at the home of Wickson Dzilekwa. This is followed by Bible study Saturday at the Rugare church building with leaders from throughout Harare.
Saturday afternoon we traveled southwest to Selous, 2 ½ hour drive, where we work with preachers Louis and Roderick Banda; this year trying to re-establish a congregation on a rural farm. One person was baptized. It is our hope that Roderick will be able to help the few people who will assemble on this farm to establish a faithful worshipping congregation.
The next Friday, September 14th, we travelled to a new area for us, Honde Valley in south eastern Zimbabwe along the border of Mozambique. This congregation was established this past year by preachers Thomas Mwadiwa and Dickson Thukuta. So far over 70 persons have been baptized in this area. While we were there 13 persons were baptized, becoming Christians. After we left, another six persons were baptized. This congregation faces the challenge of having many “babes” in Christ and no experienced preacher close by to help them practically and doctrinally. We hope that preacher Thomas Mwadiwa will relocate his family to this area to assist and work in this area of Zimbabwe. Support will be needed both for his moving expenses and for his living expenses in Honde Valley. After returning to Harare Sunday night, on Tuesday we traveled to the rural home of Stephan Zyanga where he gathered some of his neighbors together for afternoon Bible study.
Thursday, September 18th, we travelled eight hours to Mpakati congregation, a relatively new congregation established in 2014. Ron and I preached Thursday night and several times on Friday. One thousand dollars has been contributed to help these people get started on building a church building to assemble in. Another $1,000 will be needed next year to help them further with the building.
On Saturday, September 22nd, we met with six local preachers in the Mlibizi area. Our goal was to know them better and discuss various problems they experience as preachers. The exciting part is to hear about their efforts to establish yet more congregations of the Lord’s church in this part of rural Zimbabwe along Lake Kariba, and in the surrounding mountains. Ron and I stayed in our tent Saturday night at the home of Mathias Munsaka. Sunday we worshipped with the Manoombe congregation
The following Tuesday, September 25th, we travelled to the farm of Brother Chidoti, where there is a small church building. We conducted bible studies Tuesday night and Wednesday morning; discussing further the work of the church with the men who attended the study. $200 was given them to pursue the building of outdoor pit toilets at the church building.
While at these rural locations, Ron and I share an eight foot by eight foot tent; specifically a Eureka Copper Canyon four-man model tent, that I carried over in my suitcase this year. Each year I try to take a few more camping supplies as we always sleep in a tent when we are out in the rural areas.
Friday, September 28th, we traveled south again to the Boche area in the chiefdom of Chief Marenge. We had to meet with Chief Marenge and his family council to gain permission to preach in this area. There are just a few Christians in this little rural town. Preachers Wickson Dzilekwa and Kelvin Mhindirira are trying to draw these people back together into a working congregation. We bible studied Friday night, Saturday and worshipped with them on Sunday morning.
October 5th, we set out on yet another eight hour journey to the area of Zhomba; where we assembled and studied with Christians October 5th, 6th, and 7th. In this area we work with preacher Ezekial Ndlovu. He travels, by bus and foot, out to the area the week ahead of our coming to organize the Christians for the meeting. Often on journeys like this we take younger preachers with us. On this trip we took preachers Washington Kaviya and Wickson Dzilekwa; both capable and talented men.
Finally, we began our study back in Harare in the Rugare compound, where local leaders in Harare come to participate in the Friday and Saturday bible study. Most stay also to worship on Sunday.
Our six weeks in Zimbabwe nearly at an end, we gather eleven preachers together at 90 Blakeway, Belvedere, to discuss solutions to problems they are facing and to plan a schedule for our 2019 visit to Zimbabwe. We plan to return again in September and October of 2019.
Gospel work in such an economically challenged place as Zimbabwe has its challenges. Including our airfare, food, gasoline, car repairs, housing expenses, church help, preacher travel money, it costs Ron and I approximately $10,000-$12,000 for our six week trip to Zimbabwe. Some of which is paid for by congregations here in America that assist us in this work and some of which we pay out of our own pockets.
We are convinced that this is a valuable and worthwhile work for the Lord.
If there are any that might be interested in participating in a work such as this, please contact either Ron Courter or myself.
May God Bless us all in His work.