The picture that we see in the book of Acts in as far as how the Apostles planted churches is a great encouragement, and a model to follow for church planting. The Apostles preached the word in trying times: through arrest, persecution and danger. The Church was born in the midst of danger, but flourished. The Covid-19 pandemic and response to it has left the church in all sorts of problems. It has served to expose the church to the loss of what it, in essence, is, and what the Lord Jesus Christ has mandated it to do.
As a church, we have started street evangelism on Sunday afternoons. We do this every fortnight while alternating this with an afternoon Bible Study from Ecclesiastes. Before going out, we pray together and then split into small groups.
While out in the neighborhood of Westgate, we met a man named Shepherd. When we presented the Gospel to him, he vehemently downplayed the existence of Christ and the sufficiency of the Scriptures. He dismissed the Bible as mere literature, not the Word of God, divinely inspired or written by men who were under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Continue to pray for Shepherd as the Gospel is preached, that God may save him from sin.
Shepard is an example of many people here. What is interesting about Zimbabwe is that many people are becoming atheistic. This may be aligned with the economic and political hardships that have plagued Zimbabweans as a people for a very long time. The common questions are this; “If God is merciful and loving, why am I suffering like this, and if God exists, why has He turned his back on Zimbabwe?”
The church’s ministries have been more intentional about reaching out with the Gospel to the people of Harare. Our ministries are more outward focused despite the low attendance. We still have the Children’s Bible Club every other week, and the members who are gifted to teach take turns to teach the children. We usually have about twenty children that attend. One of the intriguing aspects of ministry to children is that they sometimes don’t verbally state when they have been saved, but you see a difference in the behavior of some that seem to point toward salvation. We continue to labor and pray for them, trusting in the triune God to save them from sin.
The “Issues Affecting the Church Today,” Bible study has evoked us to be on the search for a minibus for the church. Many university students have expressed the desire to attend the Bible Study, but don’t have the means to come to our home or the church building. There is just no transport to take them back home after the study. The numbers for this Bible study have gone up, and if we do not get the bus very soon, we believe that we will miss a huge Gospel opportunity. Thankfully, the Lord has answered prayer in that regard.
The ladies’ ministry has continued with their fortnight Bible studies through the Gospel, according to Matthew. One of the attendees says the following about them, “I like them because they are interactive, and the fact that we read the Scriptures together helps me to not come to my interpretation of the Scriptures.” The ladies have been meeting up with women in the community by reaching out to them with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was quite shocking to hear women who call themselves Christians say that they didn’t know that they are sinners, and that they don’t know what sin is. Biblical literacy is scarce in our community, and our prayer is that God would strengthen us for the task of meeting this critical need.
For our Lord’s Day meetings, I am still preaching through Ephesians, and hope to finish the letter before the end of this year. It was so encouraging when one of the church members, Felix Nazombe, preached on one of the Sundays in the beginning of July. He did an exposition on Ephesians 6:10: on the foundation of spiritual warfare. That is, to be in Christ, and thus one can stand against the wiles of the evil one. It is really encouraging as a church planter to see some of the men in the church taking up preaching.
We were also able to have a men’s breakfast, where I taught a lesson titled “Why Men Need the Church,” from Acts 2:42-47. This was evoked by what we see in society: where men have abandoned the church and believe that it is for women and children.
From July 14th through the 21st, I took a week long leave from work to go to the city of Bulawayo in the South of Zimbabwe. We had a great time with my side of the family, and my dad was excited to meet his granddaughter, Neraya. Whilst in Bulawayo, I was invited to a “City to City” Intensive. City to City came from Redeemer Presbyterian church in New York, and their main mission is educating church planters on how to reach people in the urban areas with the Gospel. It was quite helpful, and I hope to implement some of the aspects to the work here in Harare.
Grace and Peace!