All prosperity is not a blessing; all adversity no punishment

Towards the end of the year 2021 in the beginning of December, Mbuma Mission Hospital received an elderly sick male patient into its care. Accompanying and assisting him was his eldest son and they came all the way from Mukoko Village which is situated in Gokwe deep in Mashonaland, 136km away from Mbuma Mission Hospital which is about a 2 hour and 20 minute drive. The Word of God tells us in Acts 17 vs 26-27 that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us.” In the Lord’s all wise Providence, the suffering ordained in the lives of this father and his son were used by the Lord for good to bring them into contact with the everlasting Gospel message. They came to Mbuma seeking physical healing but their spiritual senses were awakened by their contact with the Word of God and two experiences in their lives which will be detailed below seemingly provide evidence for the above.
The father’s health when he was admitted at Mbuma was not admirable, in fact, it brought fear to both nursing staff and those observing that perhaps soon he would depart from this world because it would deteriorate with each day. This was a heavy trial for his son who initially had no hope for his father’s survival or any hope regarding the difficulties of life because in reality; he did not have a spiritual comfort for his soul which would give him hope in God and in the purposes of God which come through suffering. His church, the Roman Catholic Church seemed to have never taught him about suffering or point him to the God of Comfort “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”- 2nd Corinthians 1:4. But in the Lord’s wisdom, the period of time in which this family arrived into our premises was a period in which the sermons and Bible studies seemingly were focused on this area of life. The Lord’s Day Bible study  which is open to all within Mbuma was focused on the second coming of the Lord and how through suffering God draws His people closer to Himself and opens the eyes of those outside His Kingdom to see that there is no other hope of salvation but Him through faith in Christ. When talking daily with the son of the sick father about these lessons from the Bible studies and sermons, and praying with him as well as listening to his own expressions about his father’s health, it was a pleasure to hear him say these words: “I have been in pain about my father, I do not want him to die. But now I know that God allowed this suffering for us and I see that suffering is designed by the Lord for our spiritual good. When I came to Mbuma, I was disappointed in God, far from God, running from God; but since this trial with my father’s illness I find myself reading more from the Word of God, growing closer to God and praying to God. The Bible studies of Mbuma have helped me to understand this and the sermons have been a blessing, that whatever brings me closer to Jesus it is good.”
On the 28th of December, at midnight, the understanding which this son had attained was put to the test. He called me over the phone and woke me up in tears asking that I would come pray with him for his father because his father in his unconsciousness mumbled the words that he is about to die, and physically he was both pale and frail. I immediately got up and ran to the hospital, and for the next hour I prayed with this family. We read together as well as comforted each other from the Word of God. What happened the days following was a miracle – through the Lord’s intervention working through the dedicated nursing staff at Mbuma, the Lord heard our cry, and the father regained consciousness! He awoke from his bed and could even now walk on his own and talk coherently. The Lord answered prayer, and both this father and his son rejoiced and saw the hand of God in it. This was especially comforting because in the rural community, the first port of call in times of distress is the village witchdoctor for help, but they did not bow down to Baal, the son sought the face of the Lord “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”-Psalm 34 vs 4.
After some weeks when Dr. Snoek was now satisfied with the condition of her patient, the father was now discharged from hospital and allowed to go home and be with his family. However what was so peculiar now about their departure was that they no longer wanted to leave, especially the son because in his own words in shona he said “Kuno dzidziso yaIshe Jesu Kristu yawanda, yakasiyana neChurch yangu inonongedzera kuna Maria, apa wotaura nezvaMambo mambo Jesu, kuti iye ega ndiye nzira yeruponeso uye zvinondiita kuti ndinzwe rugare. pano.” In English he said: “There is so much teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ here, it is so very different from my Church which points to Mary, here you talk about the King, King Jesus, that He alone is the way of salvation and it makes me feel at peace here.”
The Psalmist expressed it well, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” -Psalm 119:71.

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Church in Zimbabwe – Somakantana

Of all the stations established a cross the Shangani River, Somakantane was favoured by the Lord, in that ln 1960 Nathaniel Mpofu came to teach at Sipemba Primary School where her got married to Julia Sibanda. He had already met the Lord at Ingwenya Mission. He then preached that gospel at Sipemba and Somakantane area. He was then deployed at Somakantane in 1963 to open a Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland school. This was the beginning of preaching of the gospel in earnest, as the school was under his Headship.

Mbuma area with the Shangani river in the middle of the picture and Somakantana opposite the river.

With the support of locals, Mkhulunyelwa Ndimande and Msweli Tshuma, Mr Mpofu got assistance from Mr Van Worden of Mbuma Mission to put up a church building. By God’s grace the church survived the ravages of the liberation war in that whilst other public structures were demolished not even a single brick of the building was touched.

Several members were admitted to the church notably his wife Julia, Mjobhi Ncube, Nzomba Dube, Mrs Zeblon Mpofu, Mrs Rachel Aaron Sibanda and Mrs Makhanda Ndlovu. Mr Norman Khumalo, Mr Aaron Dube and Mr Elijah Mpofu with their wives were also members. From 1963 communion services were held on the last Sabbath of July. Members from Somakantane, Sipemba and Makhwatheni being responsible for making arrangements, are joined by those from the Mbuma side of the Shangani. Whilst there have been notable additions in the Makwatheni congregation, the Sipemba congregation is now non-existent, due migration to cities, death and with a few joining other denominations.

In his report to the Synod in May 1965, Rev P Mzamo wrote, “Last winter Roman Catholics have been trying to catechise people around our schools across the Shangani River. At Somakantana School where Mr Nathaniel Mpofu teaches and conducts services, we had a chance to talk to two young African men who were appointed to catechise. We warned them of the danger to their own souls and the souls of those they instruct on such damnable heresies”.

The war of liberation only disturbed the means of Grace in this place but did not extinguish the flames of the gospel. As the war intensified Somakantane Immediately Schools was burnt down, Mr Nathaniel Mpofu immediately left for the city, and church services ceases for a while. In 1979, before the war ended, with the return of Mr Nathaniel Mpofu from Bulawayo, and Mr Albert Sibanda, who had been a member of UCCSA, came to settle at Somakantane, church services resumed smoothly as the church building had not been destroyed. enabled the smooth resumption of earnest preaching by Mr Nathaniel Mpofu after the war leading to the holding of Communion services in the mid-1980s up to this day, on the Lord’s Day which falls on the second weekend of August.

However, of late besides the Corona virus there have been other challenges to the work of the gospel. The roof of the church building was recently blown off by the wind, making the building unusable. The walls are also badly cracked. Church services are conducted in a classroom, with permission from the School Development Committee and the Head. It has to be noted that the school is no longer under the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. As Communion services have resumed in Zimbabwe, the church building need urgent repairs for it to be ready for use by August, 2022. Even now, on the Lord’s day the services are held with the disturbance of Pentecostal churches, who also use other classrooms at the school, with their drums and other instruments. It’s quite a challenge.

Somakantana Primary School where Church services are held.

To make matters worse death has robbed the church most members such that only 6 members have remained and among these one is old and seldom attends services due to old age and ailments. With only one member gainfully employed and one adherent a pensioner it’s quite difficult if not impossible to renovate the building.

 

Ds. T. Mwedzi bevestigd tot predikant in Zvishavane

Ds. T. Mwedzi is op 10 mei jongstleden bevestigd tot predikant van de gemeente New Canaan (Zvishavane) in Zimbabwe. De gemeente Zvishavane (New Canaan) had geen vaste predikant meer sinds het overlijden van Ds. Z. Mazvabo 10 jaar geleden. Dit is een grote verlichting voor ds. Khumalo die de enige predikant was. Ds Khumalo: “Dit is een opluchting voor mij en ik ben dankbaar voor de Heere wiens genade voldoende is om mij te ondersteunen in zeer moeilijke tijden toen ik als enige predikant de zorg had voor alle gemeenten in Zimbabwe.   Moge de Heere het werk van het evangelie zegenen en dat velen mogen komen tot de zaligmakende kennis van de Heere en Verlosser Jezus Christus.”

Een uitgebreid verslag staat in het Mbuma maandblad van juni 2022.

Kerkhistorische wandeling in Gouda

Kerkhistorische wandeling in Gouda

De zendingscommissie van de GGiN te Gouda heeft een kerkhistorische wandelroute gemaakt door de mooie stad Gouda. De opbrengst van deze route is voor de Mbuma-zending. De routebeschrijving is te bestellen door € 8,- over te maken op het bankrekeningnummer van de GGiN te Gouda: NL49 RABO 0322 4636 45 met vermelding van ‘wandelroute Mbuma’ en uw adres. Dan wordt de route u toegestuurd. Ook de fietsroute rond Gouda is nog verkrijgbaar voor dezelfde prijs. Voor € 15 ontvangt u zowel de wandel- als de fietsroute. Voor meer informatie bel: 06-25181258.