“And what I treasure most is seeing God’s Artistry in every moment – how faith can change a catastrophe into a whole new adventure of opportunities!”
The last time I visited Zimbabwe I held a tent campaign somewhere in the bush and slept in an old ruin together with all the conference goers – men, women and children. At night the people washed themselves in plastic bowls of water and I took the example of the guy on the camp bed next to me and simply pulled the gray army blanket over my head to avoid seeing sights I did not plan to see!
I preached for 5 hours about the baptism in the Holy Spirit because the people confused it with receiving the spirits of their forefathers and went into fits and trances when they were prayed for.
We ate pap and liver together and I must be honest the one piece of liver was as hard as rubber and I took it to a nearby forsaken mielie field to see if I could still throw discus! At night pieces of the ceiling would fall onto me as I slept and once or twice there were huge spiders scurrying across the blankets. This was round about 1986.
When I arrived in Harare airport I took a shuttle to the city. They were playing George Beverley Shea singing ‘I come to the Garden Alone’. He used to sing in Billy Graham crusades in 1950…
I went for a long walk through the city to get a feel of the place again. I never saw another white face for a few hours. There was no animosity shown; only friendliness.
The next morning I had the privilege of seeing one of my university friends again after 35 years: David Peech. I recognized his voice behind me while I was signing out at the hotel. We immediately sat down and had some strong, black coffee and talked about the times we had together and what transpired in between. Dave has been like a brother to me and his friendship is something I have treasured all my life. It was a dream come true for me just to see him again. He has stood strong in faith during all these years of trials in Zimbabwe and although his family suffered losses and his brother was brutally murdered he and his family have been stalwarts for the cause of Christ and the Gospel as well as pillars in the community of Harare.
Pastor Joseph Jandura had heard that I would be in town and came to look me up. He had to flee Marondera, because he and his pregnant wife were thrown into jail for preaching the Gospel and not political persuasions. He started another church in Harare and they have 20 members. They relate to The Household of Faith for Apostolic Reformational Churches.
From Harare I took the Blue Arrow Bus to Chegutu, Kadonma, Kwekwe to Gweru where I met Apostle Alaster who also relates to The Household of Faith. Apostle Alaster has done a great job in raising a group of about 70 believers who are full of faith and the Holy Spirit, who can worship God and pray together like a well-trained team. The children’s behaviour during the service was impeccable. They were not restless or inattentive at all. I commended him for his work together with Samu his second wife. His first wife ran off with a Freedom Fighter!
We met in a school building where 5 other churches also met. When our worship died down, their’s escalated. It sounded like someone was directing all the meetings. I preached for about 40 minutes and when I demonstrated the Ascension of Christ I leaped onto one of the school desks to illustrate the point. I will never forget the faces of all the people and the children gaping open mouthed at me performing the Word of the Lord. (I did not bring a video camera because Nola felt it might have been suspect as I went through customs.
Several South African journalists have been thrown into jail without warning in recent years!) I also met with Alaster’s leaders and explained the need for reformation of the church to them. They agreed it was
time to change. I cannot help but tell the names of some of his members: there is Poland (and she does not speak a word of Polish!) and there is Good Idea (his son’s name is Idea!). I asked him what his grandson’s name would be and without hesitation he replied, ‘Good News!’
When I finished ministering to them, Apostle Alaster, closed the meeting with these words, ‘didn’t I tell you that you would hear things you have never heard before when Apostle Andre comes to us?’ They seemed to agree. I believe this church can make a difference in Gweru, especially if we can help them to start a satellite bible school of Miracle Bible College to teach the apostolic truths and prophetic dimensions of the
present move of God.
Gweru used to be the army base and there are museums harboured in hangers to remind the people of the once excellent military force of the country.
Fuel is hard to come by and one often has to resort to the black market risking water in the fuel that could damage a vehicle’s engine in order to reach your destination.
I was the only person in the Fairmile Motel that day. The next day two more families arrived. Zimbabwe has suffered severely: the people’s body language shows it: they are bowed down. “All we can do is pray…” one of the pastors told me.
What is needed is a fresh prophetic vision and a strong apostolic voice to raise the once self-sufficient nation up to its former glory. Without vision people perish. Who shall we send…I can hear the Lord ask…and who shall go for us?
We prayed for the present government that they would heed the voice of the Lord for the sake of the people. The barbaric slaughter of people and the horrors of the Freedom Fighter’s War have left the country devastated and the farms that were repossessed look forlorn and forsaken, the bush has rushed in and the crops have failed. Yet here and there independent farmers have seen the mielie fields grow like never before because of the incessant rainfall they have experienced this year.
Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe! How many times have the Lord tried to gather you under His wings, but you have killed the ones the Lord has sent to you! Therefore you are left desolate…empty, friendless, void of possessions, without hope. Yet I was greatly encouraged by the resilience among believers and the sense of hope against hope which was a trademark of Abraham, the father of our faith, who kept on believing that he would have a son even though he and his wife Sarah were beyond childbearing years.
I believe the church in Zimbabwe needs to reform to reform the land. When fresh spiritual principles raise a new standard the ruling spiritual principalities must bow to the divine authority. Reformation is a structural re-adjustment of internal systems that makes external manifestations predictable. For instance, a remote control for a TV has been wired to change channels at will. Once the church has had its mindsets renewed it can bring about the desired changes according to the will of God in any nation.
Just another revival will not do it. There is need for total reformation. When Zimbabwe begins to recognize the sent ones again and become willing to call the old mind-sets obsolete and embrace the new mind-sets according to the present truths God is revealing to the reformational standards brought by modern apostles, change is about to come in the natural. The Lord has mercy on Zimbabwe once again and is ready to gather them under His wings. Zimbabwe is being given another window of opportunity and if they are willing and obedient they will eat the good of the land. To break the curse of desolation they need to say, ‘blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'(Matthew 23:37-39)
Let us not call anyone father or teacher on earth, because there is only one Father of us all and Christ is our only teacher. May God cleanse us all from uncleanness and remove hypocrisy from our lives. May the restraining power of the Holy Spirit cause anarchy and lawlessness to cease in our communities; may the Spirit of Truth prevent us from being deceived by false doctrines and false prophets and false Christs.
May God empower us to endure faithfully to the end and keep us from falling until that great day of Christ’s return when He shall appear like lightning – suddenly and unexpectedly!
Dave and I went for a row in the great lake in front of Rambuvu Park and he told me of the five years after his first wife died from cancer. He used to row on the lake and talk to the Lord about all the trials of life and received strength to carry on and raise beautiful children. His second wife, Claire, is a lawyer of repute and they live on Hayhill Estates where they also have a weaving business where I also had a meeting and preached to the workers.
Dave took me to the airport at the end of the trip. We stopped briefly to greet Josie, the wife of Adrian, another university friend of mine, who had lost his farm and implements during the revolutionary war and had to go and work on the copper mines of Zambia.
On the way to the airport Dave dropped one of his workers who received news that his daughter was bewitched and dying and he had to rush to get to her. Dave gave him enough money for transport and food and told him we’d pray for him.
Then Dave spoke these memorable words to me as we drove off: ‘This is what I love about my life here in Africa: it is always so dramatic and exciting! Here’s Newton, one of my workers on the estate, having to get off at an obscure bus station and make his way over mountains to get to his dying daughter in a little village somewhere. All the threats and dangers he has to face on the way, the climatic changes…I suppose very few people will understand why I get so excited living here…perhaps you would, Andre, because you are also constantly facing challenges wherever you go and one has to learn to think on one’s feet, as it were, to find possible solutions in order to survive. And what I treasure most is seeing God’s Artistry in every moment – how faith can change a catastrophe into a whole new adventure of opportunities!”
“That’s well put!” I remarked, “It is certainly not living in an English country Garden, is it?” We both had a hearty laugh. We had met again after all these years, like Stanley and Livingstone, I suppose, and our camaraderie has remained intact all these years. It did my heart good to see my friend again and to hear how the Lord has preserved him during the most trying and difficult times one can imagine – and still have faith, hope and love and a sense of humour!
God’s grace is sufficient – even in Zimbabwe!
Apostle André Pelser