Zimbabwe (Christian Aid Mission) — Economic ruin, severe drought, widespread poverty. and AIDS afflicted the remote area of Zimbabwe where a pastor quit his church last year under the stresses of trying to serve a congregation that could not financially support him and his family.The 2015 drought that has continued to batter southern Africa this year was emblematic of the spiritual brokenness that led 38-year-old pastor Mupungion Kudzanai Makanyaire to leave his flock last July. The Full Gospel Church he pastored was located in a rural outpost near the small town of Chivhu in central Zimbabwe, 93 miles south of Harare.
“I did not feel like continuing because of the hard economic situation. It was getting tough, trying to support my wife and children, especially with the children needing school fees,” said Pastor Makanyaire, father of three boys ages 6, 11, and 15. “We live in a rural area, and the rural folks could not look after themselves, let alone support a church pastor.”
Despondent, unable to feed his family, and with no one to encourage him, he gave up hope and did little else besides sit at home. Like others in a country reported to have an unemployment rate of 85%, his soul was weary. As the drought, considered to be the worst in southern Africa’s history, extended past the harvest season, he joined the 2.4 million people – 26% of Zimbabwe’s population – who faced food shortages.
The third week of February, after the drought prompted 92-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to declare a state of disaster in rural areas, the listless pastor was walking past the site of an evangelistic event when he overheard a Zimbabwe-based ministry leader preaching about being “wounded but still flying.”
Martin Bernard, head of Thy Kingdom Come Ministries (TKCM), was preaching on 2 Cor. 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” and Pastor Makanyaire did not hesitate to join the crowd listening to him.
“When the altar call was given,” Bernard said, “he came and wept bitterly. He told me he was a pastor but was having a tough time and was just staying at home because things were so tough for him. He said he had never heard a motivational message like this, which was directly in line with what he was experiencing.”
Pastor Makanyaire prayed with Bernard and rededicated his life to Christ. That week, about 60 people in the area put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior, and the pastor agreed to return to his church and shepherd the new Christians.
“I prayed with him and told him that the sheep that had scattered would be asked for by the Lord,” Bernard said. “We did tell him it would be in his interest and God’s to get the sheep back, and include the 60 new sheep. He said he would visit the sheep and also be faithful with the 60 souls newly surrendered to Christ.”
Pastor Makanyaire’s wife, 31-year-old Irene Joseph Makanyaire, was in awe as she witnessed this transformation. Bernard said she was on her knees as she expressed her gratefulness to the ministry team.
“In church I prayed and prayed for a day like this to come, when my husband would yield his life back to Jesus and serve Him the way he used to,” she told the team. “He was a man who had passion, so full of fire for the things of God. I am very grateful for you all whom God sent tonight. I will sing to my Lord.”
Bernard, in turn, thanked Christian Aid Mission donors for their support.
“What his wife said, we hand it back to you,” Bernard said. “Had it not been for Christian Aid Mission, Pastor Mupungion would have been lost forever. Thank you for all your support, your prayers, and your love to see souls saved. Your giving is definitely not in vain.”
Bernard has included a salary for the pastor in the next budget he will present to Christian Aid Mission.
Besides evangelistic campaigns and church planting, TKCM also conducts leadership training, operates a medical clinic and, when funds are available, provides food and clothing to impoverished children, including many orphaned by AIDS.
Please pray for God’s provision in Zimbabwe, for the work of the Gospel, and for the encouragement strength of the Christians there.
To donate to pastors like Makanyaire or to read the story’s original publication, click here.