In the discussion time afterwards, there was a lively debate about how the passage related to their own troubles. I had a real sense that here were faithful Christians trying to work out how to lead the church in very trying situations. It was not for me from my safe position to tell them exactly how to respond. Rather, I sat with them and was thrilled to hear accounts of how God sustained his people even when they believed that they were going to be executed.
As we read the Bible together and prayed together in the rest of the week, I perceived that God was doing something unexpected amongst the clergy. The plan had been to hold a silent retreat with conversation only at the very end of their time together.
But the situation had changed and the bishops’ decision to allow talking meant that the men could get to know each other much better and build friendships. They could also tell their own stories of hardship and faith – a new solidarity was being built.
At the end of the retreat, but before I returned home, I joined with Bishop Julius for two confirmations. One was at church in the city of Mutare, where I had preached before; the other at a school deep in the bush. Both were extremely hot, with 56 candidates at the first and 76 at the second. I was able to speak to both congregations – being translated into Shona. At the end of the second confirmation a churchwarden stood up and gave quite a long speech.
Then, as he finished, there was confusion at the classroom door and a procession arrived, of people carrying two goats, two guinea fowl and two chickens – to be shared between the bishop and me!
Transporting livestock – even in the back of the car – is tricky (well, illegal). I was not going to be able to bring my share home; they are now on a farm in Zimbabwe!
At Curves, you won’t just change your body, you’ll change your life
off joining fee when this ad is presented
Looking back, the week was not as any of us had expected. But it was a great encouragement to the clergy of Zimbabwe that they were remembered and prayed for in the UK; my presence was a symbol of that.
It was good to be in Zimbabwe sharing ministry with Bishop Julius. I felt that my visit was timely, in that through my talks scripture came alive for people who live in fear of their safety. And, as always, it was heart-warming to be part of the African church, even if just for a few days.
Call us and discover a proven 30-minute workout, commonsense weight loss and all the support you need.
020 3068 0077 77-81 Station Road, Hampton, TW12 2BJ
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24