Zimbabwe East - Mutasa-Nyanga District/Wichita West


August 2014 brings partners together

Fourteen Great Plains United Methodists traveled to Zimbabwe in August. After attending the Ebenezer Convention in Harare, members of the travel group divided up to visit their specific partnership churches. A directory of partner churches is currently being updated. Here is the partnership list as of January 2014.

Bishop Scott Johns Blog
Kathryn Witte's Trip Blog

Pratt, Kansas/Honde North

Standing in front of the nearly completed Honde North Circuit parsonage are from left to right Patricia Chimuti, church member, Mutasa Nyanga District Superintendent Matthew Mutidzawanda, Wichita West District Superintendent Linda Louderback, Rev Mark Conard, Pastor John Mwaita and a church member that walked more than 10 km to attend the meeting.  

We met Pastor John Mwaita the local pastor serving there and Patricia Chimuti, the chair of the Pastor/Parish Relations Committee.
The Honde North Circuit is a Chabadza partner with the Pratt, Kansas, UMC. Together they have a parsonage nearly completed and a worship space nearly covered to accommodate inclement weather.
The Pratt church also equipped pastor Mwaita with a motor bike that he uses to travel the area to do evangelism work and to visit his parishioners.
He is enthusiastic about the ministry as are his congregants. Several spoke of how alcohol abuse has been a long-time problem in the area and how the church has become a place for ministry and sobriety to people who are reaching out for help.
Commitment was demonstrated by one man who walked about 10 km with a cane to attend today's "charge conference" meeting. The district superintendent used our visits to churches today as an opportunity for the circuits to report on their ministries so that we can bring back the stories from those congregations to their Chabadza partners.
Chimuti led the congregation in spirited singing and dancing to praise the Lord.
The Honde church served us yam, carrots, coffee, tea and soda; and treated us with extraordinary hospitality with what little they had.
The drive to Honde was beautiful with big flat rock mountains juxtaposed against Colorado Rocky Mountain-type terrain. In between mountain ranges were wide hilly low places filled with banana plantations (small farm-like plantings with residences, plus every so often roadside stands and people selling tomatoes, peas, peanuts, phone cards and more. Every few miles a series of buildings with shops would appear in strip-mall like fashion offering up  fashions, more phone cards and other services and wares.

Pleasant Valley, Kansas/Dambanda

We also visited  Dambanda UMC which is partnered with the Pleasant Valley, Kansas, UMC (near Wichita). Retired Pastor Mark Conard presented on behalf of the Pleasant Valley church where he once served, to the Dambanda the church, a soccer and net ball, school supplies and $150 in cash to help pay for tuition for about 16 primary school children in the church.

Pastor Ruth Maguta showed us the progress on a parsonage and we toured her office space and church. The  women of the church fixed us a fabulous lunch of sadza, rice, beef, chicken potatoes, carrots and tomatoes as well as beverages and of course, bananas. Maguta and members of the congregation expressed gratitude to the Pleasant Valley church for its generosity.

Part of the tour included seeing the hand-made bricks used to make the parsonage walls. We also saw an outdoor kitchen at work and the primitive means by which the cooking is often done and then presented in almost elegant fashion in chafing dishes and using China and glassware.
God is central in helping this worshiping community come together around agriculture. Several fields were in place to grow produce whose proceeds are earmarked to come back to the church and to also help the worshiping communities families. The church hosts about 100 worshipers on Sunday with another 2-400 members including children.
Maguta is a provisional elder working on her seminary degree from the Christian Theological  Seminary in Harare.

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