First Opportunities [David’s 2nd Blog from Zimbabwe and Malawi]

13 Feb

First Opportunities [David’s 2nd Blog from Zimbabwe and Malawi]

Philip and Sarah Mwarmba, both HIV-positive since before coming to Christ, who are now serving children who have lost their parents to AIDS

Dick Samuels and I have enjoyed four busy days in Zimbabwe, and I’m happy to say we’ve completed most of our objectives.

Dick spent two full days teaching our newest micro-banker and his two trustees, while I tangled with bank bureaucrats, government extortionists, and less-than-honest local business tycoons. It was all necessary to open an account in Heaven’s Family’s name that we can use for micro-banking, gain necessary transit visas, and rent a car for driving to Malawi via Mozambique. Without the indispensable help of a dear sister in Christ and our primary partner in Zimbabwe, Margaret Makimbira, a widowed pastor’s wife and true saint, I could not have done it. Margaret also mentored me in the finer points of driving on the left side of the road.

Dick Samuels training micro-bankers, and saint Margaret Makimbira

The highlight of my time here was yesterday’s dirt-road visit to a remote village named Dora. There I met for several hours with a group of 25 poor saints who, under Margaret’s leadership, have been caring for orphans and widows. AIDS has decimated so many of Zimbabwe’s families, and Margaret’s group, many of whom are HIV-positive widows and widowers themselves, have taken in orphans or are watching over child-headed households (where both parents have died). Naturally, we want to help them.

So we gathered to discuss micro-banking, a new concept for them, and I watched their excitement grow as they grasped concepts that, when applied, can help them lift themselves from abject poverty. Lacking any capital, they’ve never had any opportunities to follow their dreams or use their skills and labor to make things better for themselves and their children. Many shared business ideas they could implement if they just had some start-up capital. So we’ll be taking steps in that direction, and next time I return, I anticipate hearing some good testimonies.

My micro-banking meeting in Dora, and Susan Mapfunde, Elisabeth Gauchi and Irene Manjeya, all holding Sawyer water filters that will eliminate water-borne sicknesses in their villages

We didn’t neglect the more important priority of ministering the Word of God during our visit here. Dick preached at a Sunday morning church service that gave us a glimpse of what eternity will be like…it was four hours long (not Dick’s excellent sermon, but the church service). And I preached three nights in a field—under a canopy of stars uncontaminated by earthly lights—before a crowd of about 40 people who sat in the grass. They are the first crowd I’ve ever preached to, who, when I asked if any of them had ever eaten locusts like John the Baptist, answered in the affirmative! (They explained that they kill them first, remove their legs, and cook them.)

Most seemed to listen very intently to my evangelistic messages, and eternity will tell if there was any lasting repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus. I felt that the Holy Spirit was helping me.

Today we’re heading back to Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare. Tomorrow is a long drive across Mozambique—where I hope to practice my limited Portuguese (one word)—to arrive in Malawi, where we’ll spend the rest of our time. Looking forward to writing to you from there. — David

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