Rev Trycot Mwedzi was interviewed for the Reformed Daily Newspaper in the Netherlands in January 2022. The published text was rather short therefore the full text is published in our magazine and follows below.

1. Introduction

My name is Rev Trycot Mwedzi and I am 45 years old. I am married to Norah Mwedzi and we were blessed by three children two boys and one girl who are all in school.

I am currently a Probationer Minister in the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland in Zimbabwe currently under New Canaan Zvishavane Congregation in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. Before I have been an elder in the same congregation for 6 years.

In 1986 when I was 9 years, I met a Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Minister preaching under a tree. He was the first Missionary of the FP Church in the Shona speaking people of the Midlands Province. I got interested in his preaching and became a regular attender until in 1993 when the Lord spoke strongly to me from Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.”

2. Church information.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has been in existence in Zimbabwe for 117 years and the congregation which I belong has been in existence for 40 years. The whole presbytery is spread over four provinces with the farthest distance between station being 530km, Munaka in Masvingo province on the South and Somakantana on the north. There are six congregations in terms of Kirk sessions and each congregation has several preaching stations adding to a total of about 50 preaching stations.

My congregation has 10 preaching station spread over a radius of about 110km covering two Provinces and two Districts. There are 6 stations in Zvishavane District in the Midlands province, 3 stations in Mberengwa District in the Midlands province and 1 station in Chivi District in Masvingo Province. The Minister has to go around all the stations having at least 3 visits for each station every month. The Minister has to go to other provinces also for Communions and occasional visits to vacant congregations. About 230 people from the 10 stations attend services and when the minister is not able to be present at a station, elders would exhort the brethren. The average distance travelled by congregants to the nearest preaching station is 8 km.

About 84% of Zimbabwe’s population profess Christianity, with 69% being Protestants and about 8% being Roman Catholics. The rest are Apostolic sects. The remaining 16% is shared between African traditional religion, Islam and Judaism.

3. Difficulties

This church in Zimbabwe is undergoing a spiritual decline and most people are being carried away by the gospel of prosperity where their faith has much hope in getting much wealth. It is a time when true shepherds are needed. There is a competition from members by the hypocritical preachers who have left the commandments of the Lord and removed the fence of the Word. Sin is not being spoken of in many congregations and there seems not to be any need for godliness. There is therefore much pressure among the young generation, hence the need for them to be warned all the time, giving more demand for true preachers. The elderly have however continued to hold fast to the Gospel of Christ and have not been much affected by the mushrooming of the false teachers.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has been much hit by the current situation of religion. The Zimbabwe Presbytery has been facing much difficulties in the past years. After the dearth of one Minister in June 2020, and I was still studying for the Ministry, there was only one Minister, Rev Khumalo, moderating all the 6 Kirk Sessions. Although at the present moment the two of us share the duties, there is much demand for travelling. Speaking with an example from my congregation, the Minister has to take at least 3 services on the Lord’s day and at least 4 prayer meetings every week during week days. This means the minister may have to drive for 250km on rough roads on the Lord’s day. This has increased the demand for fuel and the small car I am currently using is often in the garage for repairs. There is need for a fuel-efficient four-wheel drive vehicle for such duties. There are also some members who are now too old to walk to church and the minister has to visit them in their homes either to take them to church or to speak to them in their homes. This is very expensive for the people of a country which has undergone a massive economic decline with most industries having closed and a few civil servants are earning US$140 when the poverty datum line is around US$571. Much being used on travelling expenses has also led to difficulties in maintaining church buildings and currently our two main buildings need roof repairs.

The Free Presbyterian Church has struggled more than other churches mainly because they don’t have any false promises and have not attracted the young and the rich. This is a temptation which we pray that the Lord would uphold us in the true faith. It has kept the very few ministers but faithful to the Lord and the ministers have to travel a lot. Another reason is that it is much in the rural areas and most people in the rural areas have no income. Only 4 stations out of the 50 stations are in town. The church runs 6 schools, a hospital and 3 rural health clinics and a Children’s Home for orphans, all which have not been commercialised since the aim is to spread the Word of God. Ministers need to visit these institutions regularly working with the teachers and health workers as well as the Home mothers. It is at these institutions where the church can speak to the young. When I visit the boarding school, I feel much duty speaking to more than 600 children but economically and physically I cannot speak to them every Sabbath.

The major concerns of the church at the moment is a reliable vehicle and the roof of one of our churches. Despite all these difficulties, we have experienced God’s grace that the Gospel in the church has not changed since it was brought by the first missionary in 1905, it was and is still the grace of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the same Psalms and the dignity of worship. The lockdowns have failed to destroy it and the zeal for the Word is still being witnessed.

4. Looking Ahead

While we are beginning a new year, my prayer to the Lord is that He would strengthen me in the heavy duties ahead of me. The congregation has been without a minister for nearly ten years now. Some sheep got lost, some are sick and some are asleep. I hope to visit all who stopped coming to church and some who were carried away by the false prophets. I need to exhort the elderly and give them a word of comfort. I pray that the Lord use me to speak to the children in the schools and that the Lord will pour down His spirit and bring light to them. I pray that the Lord will enable me to speak to those who have never tested the light of the Word. Much more that the Lord would send more labourers into His vineyard. I hope to approach the local leaderships, Heads of other schools and speak to them about the judgement that is upon our nation and the need for us to repent so that the Lord may heal our nation and moreover, grant eternal life to our people. This would require me to have more visits and attend more funerals because normally a time is given to me to preach whenever I am present. I hope many will be brought to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and that He will send forth all our needs by the hands of those to whom His Spirit was given that the true Gospel may be maintained to the Glory of our Lord. “The harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.”