Mission Day address 2024

 Rev T Mwedzi

Ministers of the gospel here pressent, elders of the Church of Christ, deacons, leaders of different organisations here present, organisers of this occassion and Beloved Brethren in Christ; It is a great honour for me to adress you at this ocassion. I am much thankful to the most High for His mercy which we can witness this day, how he has given the wisdom, the strength and the permission to organise and partake at this ocassion. All I can say is, I have witnessed the wonder of the Lord. Had Christ not died and rose again, there would be no such gatherings as this. Had He not commissioned the preaching of the Gospel, there would be no such gathering as this, Had He not a people scattered throuought the world to be gathered together, there would not be such a gathering as this, and had he not granted the wisdom, strength and resourses, there would be no such a gathering as this. So we can all say; Glory be unto the Lord who makes all things possible even the gathering of Hos own people: That He would gather together in one the children of God that were scatterd abroad John 11:52

If the Lord will help me, I will try to adress you in a few words. Having been part of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland since the young age of nine years, I can say I have experienced much of the work of Mbuma Zending in Zimbabwe. I got my first pair of trousers from a donation fascilitated by Mbuma Zending, Before that my school uniform was my church clothes. I received the first sound sermon in 1996 by a Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland Minister who managed through the help of Mbuma Zending, I got my first English Bible through the help of Mbuma Zending and this is just to mention a few.

You have probably heard much about the history of the work of Mbuma Zending in Zimbabwe through the Jewish and Foreighn Missions committee of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland. This will leave me with a little to say concerning the current work being done. The Mission is spread five Provinces in Zimbabwe, Matabelaland North, Matabelaland South, Bulawayo, Midlands and Masvingo. Two provinces are Shona speaking and three are Ndebele speaking. The Mission runs a big Hospital in Matabelaland North and three clinics in the same province. It also runs five primary schools and one High School. The other handmaid to the gospel is an orphanage home in Bulawayo. In all these institutions, the gospel is preached and the Westminster starndards of worship are taught, these include the westminster shorter Catechism, Larger Catechism and the Westminster confession of Faith. This leaves all who pass through the institutions having benefited in body and in soul. It is due to the surport of our friends in Scotland and in the Netherlands that the Istitutions are able to offer high standard servises in a poor country like Zimbabwe. As a result our institutions are all overcrowded. Overcrowding in our hospital is not only due to poor services in other hospitals but also due to poor health practices and poverty. Very few people in Zimbabwe have routine medical check ups so they only come to hospital when they are seriously ill, Eating habits are also not monitored because of poverty and reluctannts to take careful health precautions. The HIV Virus which causes Aids is still affecting a number of people which destroys the body’s immune system, Unavailability of clean water has also caused a number of cholera cases, poor roads do cause accidents and adds to the number of patients, alcohole and drug abuse is also a health hazard causing mental health problems and different forms of Tuberculoses. Diabeties is also a common chronic disease in Zimbabwe. This has caused a lot of pressure in our Hospital. Clinics were installed to relieve the hospital of the pressure but more patients are comming from other provinces for better medical care. This is good for the gospel but we are limited by resources for both spiritual care and medical care. Expansion has proved difficult due to daily running costs. Our institutions are not selective in making admissions.

Our High School offers the best academic experience in the province and is one of the best in the Country. This is not the only reason why it is overcrowded. Its strictness on Christian standards have been an attracting factor for many parents. I heard one of the pupils calling it a beautiful jail with its walls made up of the Westminister’s shorter catechism. One parent asked me why we are not opening many such high schools and my answer to him was: We can only manage to open other high schools by the resourses which we have if we lower the standards. Maintaining standards needs much financial surport. We are again much thankful to our Friends in Scotland and in the Netherlands for the financial suorport which has enabled us to keep the starndards.

Explaining reformed doctrines at our institutions is our task and therefore Catechists have been employed at the Hospitals and one at a community school to teach reforemed doctrines. In Schools, Bible Knowlwdge teachers are employed because the national sylabus on religion does not treat Christianity as the only true religion and in the community, elders and Ministers distributes fliers. Our Catechists, Bible knowledge teachers and some elders are receiving some Bible Knowledge lessons via skype from Rev B Jardine. All these activities would be imposible without the help of our friends from Scotland and the Netherlands who provides the Funding. We are currently involved in the translation of Sermons by Rev H. Cathwright and by Rev D Macfalane. These are used by our elders who help open the doors in the absence of a Minister. Currently we are two Ministers supplying fouty six preaching stations. We also have three Home Missionaries who help us open the doors and take pastoral visits. These are taken out of the roll of elders to be full time employees of the Zimbabwe Presbytery. They travel on motor cycles visiting preaching stations, the sick, the backsliding and funerals. The use of translated sermons is of importants in that they guard against error. Translation work did not begin with the sermons, The Psalms in metre were translated into Xhosa, Ndebele and Shona. The confession of Faith was also translated into Ndebele and is currently being translated into Shona. A number of bible stories were translated. Most importantly was the translation of the Bible into Shona and Ndebele. Being part of the translation team, I got a close contact with the help of our friends in the Netherlands and in Scotland. We received all the financial needs for the projects which took almost twenty years in total. With a Dutch speaker amongst the translation team, we were able to compare our translation with the Dutch Bible and the English Bible and the products were of a high standard. The printing and distribution of the Bibles is made posible by our Friends here in the Netherlands and in Scotland. We distribute the Bibles throuought the country. Even in provinces where we have no preaching stations. We thank our Friends from The Trinitarian Bible Society and the Reformed Bible Society in the Netherlands for making this possible. We are yet to meet the requirements but we can say Hitherto the Lord has taken us.

I will speak a few words concerning the fruit from our institutions. That one soul which was lost and is found is precious in the sight of the Lord. For us its not one soul but many souls have been found through our institutions. By listening to the Psalm singing from our Thembiso Home for the orphans you would wonder. The Lord has allowed one who was left to die and made him or her an instrument for the praise of the Lord. The zeal in some of them in the gospel is commendable. Students leave John Tallach High School after their ordinary level exams or some after their advanced level examinations. It is so encouraging that some just leave the school but cannot leave the gospel. They came from non believing families but they have continued coming to church more zealous that the children who grew up in church with their parents. I can speak of a woman who was harmed by an elephany during a communion season at Mbuma. She was admited in hospital where she received medical attention and food for the soul and she was discharged from hospital but never discharged from Church.

I have spoken about the general operations of the Mission but I will speak in particular about my area of operation. This will give an overview of the operations of Ministers in our Church in Zimbabwe. My congregation has the second number of preaching station after Mbuma. I have eleven preaching stations and Mbuma has fourteen. However the stations for Mbuma are within a radius of less than fourty kilometres while my preaching stations are spread in a radius of 140Km. With no handmaid to the gospel in my area, I spend most of my time at the preaching station and in the homes of the brethren. My day on the Sabbath starts as early as 7:00 am driving to preaching stations. Services starts at 9:00am to allow me to have at most three sermons and at least two sermons in a day. Sabbath schools starts at 8:45 and are led by elders. During Mondays I receive from elders reports of those who are not well and did not attend services. The next thing is to visit them and pray with them. From Tuesday to Thursday I am occupied with prayer meetings which help me to meet all the stations within a month. On Friday I am occupied with translation work, Mission office work and communications with stakeholders like Bible societies and distribution organisation. Preparing sermons is normally done during the nights and on Saturdays. There are two Home Missionaries to help me and one Catechist. The Catechist is currently taking bible classes at a community school where he is in contact with 334 children from four years to thirteen years. We hope to extend his area to involve Bible lessons at a nutrition garden where we received a donation of a borehole from a friend in Scotland. We hope if we could have resourses to extend such gardens to all areas where we have preaching stations. The gardens are not only for church members but also for the community. We hope people will benefit spiritually and get food for the body. Having a serious famine in our country this year, we feel the projects would have been of much benefit had they started earlier. 393 people are in need of food assistance in my preaching station and around 2000 in all our preaching stations in Zimbabwe just speaking about those of the house of faith. We normally receive help of mealie meal from friends overseas during these dificult times but a garden would add to give a balanced nutrition.

My dear Friends, It is for Christ that you offer yourself to take responsibility in the prosperity of the gospel. The Lord can work with means or without means. It pleased Him to have some from such great distances whom he gave a heart of giving to His cause. Through Mbuma Zending as Christ’s means, many souls are saved. While we pray that the Lord grant you more and strengthen you in your giving, we plead with you, to pray for Zimbabwe, that the people of Zimbabwe will be able to support the gospel themselves. Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources but its people remain poor and we believe it is in his providence. I have observed some Missions in Zimbabwe, They have separated the hospitals and schools from the Church. Much support is given to the institutions and that became a temptation to the church which sought unscriptural ways of sustaining itself. We believe that it is the Kingdom of God and the righteousness of God that should be sought first, and all will be added unto us: Mathew 6:33. May the Lord preserve this unity among us. May He grant more to the giving hand, may he grant a thankful heart to the one receiving, May he open ways in which the receiving hand will one day be a giving Hand. May the Lord bless all our nations that we will live to glorify him.

Thank you.