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.
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.