Mission Moment and Prayers for Zimbabwe:
Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of Israel’s God. He will teach us what he wants us to do. We will walk in the paths he has chosen. For the Lord’s teaching comes from Jerusalem; from Zion he speaks to his people. He will settle disputes among great nations. They will hammer their swords into plows and their spears into pruning knives. Nations will never again go to war, never prepare for battle again. Now, descendants of Jacob, let us walk to the Light which the Lord gives us. Isaiah 2.3-5.
When I first learned that Kumbirai Bindura, our housekeeper, carried water for his family a mile uphill, three times, before walking seven miles to work at our house each day, I was horrified. I was filled with sympathy for the hard life he leads. I was wondering why he didn’t get a job closer to home. Sometimes we would offer to give him a ride in our truck as far as the road would take us, but he would decline as often as he accepted. As time went on, I came to accept, even envy, his twice daily walk. I accept it as the normal mode of transport in rural Zimbabwe. In Western culture, it is not uncommon to commute an hour to work; a commute that typically includes snarled traffic, the guzzling of fossils fuels, road rage and the shortening of the life of our plant with poisonous emissions. In Zimbabwe, it is also typical to have an hour’s commute to work. One’s commute in Zimbabwe may include chatting with friends, breathing clean air, viewing the valley quilted with green tea, extending your life through exercise. You feel energized when you arrive at your work place. A lovely benefit of living in Zimbabwe, indeed in many less developed countries, is experiencing life at a slower pace than we are accustom to in Western culture. When one’s method of transportation is “footing” there are many things to be seen and many people to meet. One can stop to view the monkeys swinging overhead or the ants marching below my feet. I often walk with people who laugh at my (failed) attempts to carry packages or water buckets on my head. They tell me my hair is too slippery and I am going with that story.
I was happy to hear a familiar song being sung by the local people. “We are Marching in the Light of God.” (New Century Hymnal #526.) The singing is accompanied by drums, clapping and dancing. When you sing this song in your congregations, might I suggest you throw away the hymn books (well, not literally) and use your body to celebrate marching to God’s light. Sing with gusto and enthusiasm. Sing with an appreciation for life’s journey toward the Light.
Recently, I took a long walk with a friend. We walked sixteen miles down the “mountain” of Mt. Selinda to her sister mission of Chikore, following the footfalls of my missionary foremothers. We follow the narrow foot paths formed by the local people, down the rocky escarpment, through a local village punctuated by 10’ white termite mounds and across three rivers. We travel through forest and lowveld. If given a choice of a ride in a car or walking, I will choose walking every time if feasible. I have learned the art of slowing down, of traveling by foot and feeling envy, not sympathy, for those that have the strength and endurance to travel by foot.
PRAYER: Oh Creator of Heaven and Earth, bless those who walk. Help us to forge our swords into plows and our bombs into buildings. As you walk before us and alongside us, give us strength and guide our feet to walk with our brothers and sisters around the earth. Lead us together to the Light of God.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Maryjane Westra)
Video Resources on Zimbabwe:
- Interview with Rev. Fungaya Mutsumbe, UCCZ eastern superintendent: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/zimbabwe-mutsumbe.html
- Interview with Rev. Majaha Nhliziyo of the UCCSA: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/videos/video-mission-moments/zimbabwe-majaha.html
- College of Mission Interns Pilgrimage to Zimbabwe – July 2010: http://globalministries.org/resources/multimedia-resources/index/general-videos/zimbabwe-video-clips-from.html
Global Ministries International Partners in Zimbabwe:
- Christian Care
United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe
- Zimbabwe Council of Churches
- Zimbabwe Synod-UCCSA
- United Theological College, Harare
For more info about Zimbabwe: http://globalministries.org/africa/countries/zimbabwe/
Global Ministries Missionaries in Zimbabwe:
- Maryjane and Don Westra, members of Federated Church UCC, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, serve the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe. Maryjane works as a health and child care consultant atMt.Selinda. Don works on the staff of the Micro-Enterprise and Strategic Planning/Management program at Mt Selinda.
- Jack and Mildred Barnes, volunteering at Mt. Selinda until April 10, 2012.