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Harare

I had a wonderful last week visiting with CCAP pastors and congregations around Harare, Zimbabwe. On Monday and Tuesday I spent time with Andrew, Claire, Libias, and Grace. We had some time to relax, visit, and walk through a few of the markets in Harare together. We also visited Mbare congregation to see the church and the centenary plaque. This year CCAP in Zimbabwe celebrated its 100th anniversary and it was great to acknowledge this milestone while we were together.

Claire, Grace, me, Libias, and Andrew at the Centenary plaque

On Wednesday I went to stay with Susan and Pattison Chirongo at Mufakose CCAP. This was the first church we visited with the MAPC folks in April, so it was fun to be back. On Wednesday night we went to the church’s prayer meeting, which was held at the home of one of the congregants who had just died. We gathered to sing hymns, pray, hear the Word, and be in fellowship with the grieving family. Then on Thursday I attended the Women’s Guild meeting with Susan. Every Thursday women in every CCAP congregation meet, sometimes in their own congregations and sometimes joining together with others. This week they were having their meeting locally at Mufakose. This meeting included beautiful singing from the choir, a devotion, and even a lesson on how to clean a stove. This group offers support to women in many aspects of their lives, encouraging them to put their faith into action with their families and communities as well as providing practical advice on things like housekeeping, childrearing, and ways to serve their communities.

The Women's Guild Choir

Greeting one another after the Women's Guild meeting

Friday I spent the day with Stella, who had been my hostess in April when I had come to visit with MAPC. It was great to see her and catch up. We walked together to the hair salon, shared lunch at her home, and enjoyed spending time with one another. At the hair salon we met another woman and got to talking about what God is doing in Zimbabwe. She commented that there is a lack of compassion in Zimbabwean society today, especially among the younger generations. Everyone seems to be looking out for themselves and doing what they can to get themselves ahead. I said we have a similar situation in the States and we talked about how one of the ways we as Christians can live out our faith is by simply putting others ahead of ourselves and showing compassion in our everyday interactions.

The woman we visited with at the hair salon

On Saturday I had the opportunity to see some of the other projects of the CCAP. We returned to Rock Haven, where some pastors from Australia had been conducting a preaching course for church elders. Pattison and Libias helped conclude this program by presenting certificates and encouraging the elders to use the training they had received to serve their congregations.

Pattison speaking to the elders at the preaching workshop 

Preaching workshop participants

Then we went to visit Nyabira school on Saturday afternoon. This school is run by the CCAP and has over 900 students. It was great to see their facilities and meet the headmaster. The school keeps growing and growing and they are working on several projects. They have a new toilet block that is almost completed, they are building new homes for the teachers, and they are hoping to add a library. Please pray that they will be able to continue providing a good education for the children there and that God will provide for the ways they are seeking to improve the school.

Nyabira school

Finally, on Sunday I preached at Mufakose congregation and Susan lead the liturgy for the service. It was fun to see some familiar faces from April when we had lead Bible studies there. They also had several great choirs including the kids’ Sunday School choir. In the afternoon and evening I had time to relax and chat with Susan and Pattison as it was my last day in Zimbabwe.

View from the pulpit on Sunday 

With Go-go (grandma) Chirongo and Susan after church

I had a great visit with our partners in CCAP Harare Synod. I especially enjoyed getting to know Libias and Pattison better. These men work very hard serving God, CCAP, and their congregations. Harare means “the one who never sleeps,” so they are fitting partners to NYC – “the city that never sleeps.” After spending a couple weeks around CCAP, I nicknamed Libias and Pattison “The Harare Brothers” because of their busy schedules and devotion to their work. The time flew by and I was sad to leave when I boarded the plane to Johannesburg yesterday.

The Harare Brothers - Rev. Pattison Chirongo and Rev. Libias Boloma

Please be praying for our partners – the CCAP Harare Synod – and also for Zimbabwe as a nation. With elections probably coming next year, there is the possibility of confusion and violence. Please join the church in Zimbabwe in praying for true rugare (peace) both in the election process and for the country as a whole. 

Rugare - this vegetable whose name means "peace" - is growing in gardens all over Zimbabwe.  Please be praying that rugare will also be growing in the churches, government, and society.


Posted October 9, 2012

Comments

You have been with three of my favorite people--Pattison & Susan and Stella. Wish you were still there to give Susan & Stella hugs and greet Pattison.

Sue Wright on October 9, 2012

Thanks so much for your detailed report on your time with our friends in Zimbabwe. It's fun to see them in your photos, and I'm thrilled to see our relationship broadening. I was interested to learn of the Australian pastors there to teach preaching. We shouldn't think we're the only ones wanting to help out!

Kathy Hoffman on October 9, 2012

I became somewhat obsessed with Nyabira when I visited Zimbabwe -- I'm so glad to know that it is growing! It's great to get news of our friends, the Abusas Pattison and Libias, and to see these photos of you all. God speed you on your travels!

Linda Field on October 10, 2012

Yes, Linda was a little obsessed with Nyabira :). But we are delighted to hear of growth and new projects! And I never knew what "Harare" meant. You are right, how appropriate is a partnership with New Yorkers. Blessings on your travels, Becky!

Mariam on October 16, 2012

Second all of the comments above. Bless you for finding time and energy to bring us all this good news. Stay blessed.

Carolyn L Patterson on October 18, 2012

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