The sea of people, dressed mostly in red, blue and white, sang and moved rhythmically in tune to the music. At strategic locations, they stopped and upped the tempo, sang louder, clapped their hands and danced, before allowing the group’s leader to address passers-by entranced by the unusual spectacle.
Moving beyond the area of the few grocery shops and other utility buildings, the team of almost 60 men and women crossed the residential area, pausing to praise and preach at many locations before converging at the home of Mark Muringani, 67, who has been ill since November.
“My father has not been able to walk for almost five months now. My mother and I move him from the bedroom and place him under the tree shade where he sits daily. He is in pain from the waist down to his legs,” his daughter explained to the group.
The weekend of March 13-15 will remain firmly entrenched in the minds of villagers in the Mahusekwa area as the weekend the Chitungwiza-Marondera District of The United Methodist Church brought to town a revival unrivaled by any they had seen.
The annual district revival of the church’s men’s union of Mubvuwiwe United Methodist Church was on the sprawling grounds opposite the police station at the Mahusekwa rural service center. Huge colorful tents, including one that comfortably seated 1,000 people, were put up to shelter congregants at the bushy site, 90 kilometers southeast of Harare, the nation’s capital. The church is popular nationally for its singing accompanied by drum beats and rattles.
The Mubvuwiwe church on Saturday afternoon conducted door-to-door evangelism, known as vhuserere in the local language chiShona. One of the five randomly selected teams landed on Muringani’s doorstep.
After a mass prayer, Pastor Rufaro Magomo prayed for the elderly man’s healing and the group contributed $17 to assist him.
Muringani’s home is adjacent to land that was first allocated to The United Methodist Church to construct a church sanctuary before congregants realized the area was too small. The congregation has since filed an application with local council authorities to obtain a bigger property for the church sanctuary. The vhuserere team prayed at the temporary rundown grass shelter where church services are now.
The evangelism team trekked for about three hours and more than 6 kilometers (nearly 4 miles) inviting residents and informal traders they encountered to the three-day revival. Their final stop was the state-of-the-art Mahusekwa Government Hospital where Magomo prayed for six patients at the facility.
Tarisai Zhuwao, 31, and Fatima Hatendi, 34, have been undergoing treatment for Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis for more than three months. The two women were overjoyed to receive more than 30 visitors from the church that Saturday afternoon.
“We could hear people singing church hymns since yesterday afternoon and yearned to attend the church service,” Zhuwao said. She expressed a desire to become a member of The United Methodist Church when she is discharged from the hospital.
“Before I fell ill with MDR-TB, I was not a strong Christian,” Hatendi said in a tearful, moving testimony. “When I was hospitalized, I was semi-conscious, unable to walk or eat, and cannot even recall what happened on the day I was brought here. I did not know the implications of my condition and only learned later that I was suffering from the most deadly form of tuberculosis.”
However, she testified that she has witnessed a miracle since tests carried out after three months of treatment have shown she was almost cured of the disease. Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis does not respond to Isoniazid and Rifampicin, the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. Its treatment requires isolation and about six months hospitalization since it is highly contagious.
“By God’s abundant grace, I have been healed. Laboratory tests have shown that I no longer have the bacteria and look forward to going home soon,” said Hatendi. She asked for Magomo’s contact details and said she wanted to join the church when she returned home.
Great commission of The United Methodist Church
The door-to-door evangelism was part of the great commission drawn from The United Methodist Church’s mission to go forth and make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. More than 20 people whose homes had been visited attended the Saturday night service.
Constable Martha Madzitire of the Mahusekwa police Victim Friendly Unit also presented a paper on domestic violence and child sexual abuse. She said the unit was formed in 1995 to create a conducive environment for women and children to report abuse cases at police stations without being subjected to embarrassment and humiliation. Madzitire said Mashonaland East Province, where Mahusekwa is located, has the highest reported cases of sexual abuse of children in the country.
Stewart Kamusha, chairperson for the union’s evangelism committee, said the revival had “powerful messages from the guest preachers and it was indeed a life-changing experience.”
Kamusha said more than 1,000 people attended the gathering and eight souls were won to Christ during the three-day event, which included the traditional all-night church service on Saturday. He said the evangelism team had identified Mahusekwa for this year’s venue since they believe the area has potential for church growth.
Preachers at the convention included the Rev. David Mupaya, the Rev. Archford Muchingami and evangelist Rangarirai Nyahodza.
Taurayi Mbengano, the church’s chairperson for Chitungwiza-Marondera District, said the revival was spiritually uplifting. “Many people from Mahusekwa repented and joined the church during the revival. We witnessed the sick being healed and experienced the power of the holy spirit during the services held,” he said.
Chikwanah is a communicator of the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference. News media contact: Vicki Brown, news editor, [email protected] or 615-742-5469.