From December 7, 2022 to January 4, 2023, we, Annemarie Visser and I, went to Mbuma. There is a lot to tell about our visit to Mbuma. About the bumpy roads, about the work in the hospital, the heavy showers, the dirt roads that suddenly turned into rivers, the deafening sound of the chirping crickets, the electricity that kept going out, the fact that no water came out of the tap, so that we had to boil rainwater, the encounters we had, the special conversations with various people, the bond you can feel when you experience that there is only One God who rules. And that the Lord God is the same everywhere, whether you are in the Netherlands or in Zimbabwe.
We could also tell you that it was so special to see that in the Mboma magazine of February there are pictures of the water pump during the month of September, where everything is barren and dry and where four to six men are needed to pump up the water. In the month of December it was completely different! Everything was beautifully green, the sandy plains have turned into grassland, the cows look healthy again and there is enough water available for people and animals, even outside the pump. All nature has been revived!
But every period has its peculiarities. That is why I am writing a little about the question: What is it like to be in Mbuma at Christmas and the New Year?
Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Zimbabwe
It was the first time for us to experience the time of Christmas and the New Year abroad, and that at Mbuma in Zimbabwe! It was a very special experience.
While it was getting colder in the Netherlands, we left for the warm south at the beginning of December. It was high summer in Zimbabwe, where temperatures of 37 degrees in the shade were no exception. Everything was beautifully green. Then you notice that the weather conditions we are used to also play a role around Christmas and the turn of the year: we in the Netherlands are used to cold, dark days around that time. And the whole month of December is dominated by Advent. That is different in Mbuma. That’s because the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland does not connect the event of the birth of the Lord Jesus on earth to December 25 and 26. Although the sermons we heard in Mbuma were not Christmas-oriented, they were very educational. (…)
Around Christmas and the New Year in Zimbabwe there are a number of “public holidays,” days when everyone is off. In Zimbabwe, they generally do have some sort of ‘Christmas’, linked to December 25/26, but unfortunately this often only involves thinking about presents.
At the hospital, it was also noticeable that the adults had the day off; mainly because of the heavy drinking and its consequences. Several people were brought in with wounds from fights. But most poignantly, two young men died from the effects of excessive drinking. One was 26 years old. Married and had recently become a father for the first time. Oh, what an impression that gives. It has become eternity for these young people….
From Mbuma, Keith Mpata, the evangelist, Sister Willie and several others took the opportunity to engage in conversation with the people around the shops in the nearby villages. To point out to them the wrong way they are going and that there is only one right Way, the Lord Jesus Christ. We hope it may be a blessing!
At the turn of the year, communion was held in Nkayi, which we also attended. Rev. Khumalo administered Holy Supper on January 1. How special it was to be able to start the new year 2023 like this. Then all circumstances fall away. The Lord is not bound by time or place, and His eyes roam the whole earth.
Our wish is that the Lord will give His blessing over the many works that are taking place in Zimbabwe; above all, that the proclamation of His Word may touch and shatter people’s hearts, to His glory!