After two years of stalled ministry in Zimbabwe due to COVID lockdowns, new ministry opportunities are happening. OC workers Jay and Sarah are excited about potential on many fronts.
Focus on Young Leaders
Pre-COVID, Jay and Sarah successfully helped to grow a discipleship ministry to local university students through The Base student ministry. The two-year lock down closed all in-class lectures. Internet challenges prevented them from consistent connection with the students and further leadership training.
Jay is now recruiting student graduates he and Sarah discipled to invest two years of their lives back into the student ministry as leaders. Jay says: “Many talented graduates are now at home, unable to find work. Knowing the impact of The Base student ministry in helping to transform their lives, they are the best people to reach the current students. The campus will only open for in-person lectures in August, giving us time to train and build the team before the students return, while also hopefully helping them find work or create new jobs.”
Over 50 percent of the population in Zimbabwe is under the age of 19. Most live in rural areas.
“In March 2022, our good friend and nationally loved pastor, Trevor Masuku, was unanimously ratified to be the General Secretary (read COO) for the largest Christian umbrella organization in Zimbabwe,” Sarah says. He is also the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Bible Society.
“Together we are now in conversation on how to successfully reach the youth in the rural areas, potentially combining a national Bible distribution and disciple-making movement.”
In an oral culture like Zimbabwe, particularly in the rural areas, people engage with the Bible more effectively using audial Bibles, which are sourced in the USA. They are available in four indigenous languages, and it would be amazing if hundreds could be made available locally to help disciple the nation.
New Strategic Partners
Moss and Baboki Tshuma, who have pastored for many years in Zimbabwe, have become new strategic partners for OC Africa in Zimbabwe.
About four years ago they were burnt out and at the end of their rope. “They joined a group we were hosting to help Christian leaders like them struggling with burn out and disillusionment,” Sarah says. “As we addressed various personal and ministerial issues, we watched them heal.” In 2021, during COVID, they planted a new church using a relational discipleship approach that is challenging people to grow in Christ.
When OC Africa became aware of the physical, emotional, and spiritual plight of many local pastors during the 2021 COVID lockdown, Sarah invited Moss to help with a pastors’ food distribution initiative and to come alongside them pastorally. “His own need to provide for his family at this time required that he farm his own land but it also raised personal issues which helped him understand other pastors’ predicaments,” Sarah says.
The agricultural organization overseeing this program then offered Moss a position to help pastors succeed as bi-vocational small farmers while also offering them pastoral support. A recent survey has indicated that many pastors are struggling with depression. OC Africa, together with Moss, is now working on how to best address their personal pastoral needs.
As strategic ministry partners, Moss and Baboki are not bound legally or financially to OC Africa and will continue to pursue their own ministry objectives.
“It is simply an agreement to intentionally strengthen our friendship and the Tshumas’ ministry through coaching, prayer, and ongoing fellowship both with us and our extended team in South Africa,” Sarah says. “They will also be able to receive ministry donations through our One Challenge Colorado office, which will help them with ministry costs and other significant financial needs.”
Soul Care and Training for Pastors
In March 2022, Jay and Sarah helped the same agricultural organization facilitate a five-day training for 50 of the pastors who had received food parcels last year.
The training addressed issues of soul care, revisioning the church post-COVID, and becoming bi-vocational farmers. It also included the initial resources for each pastor to start farming with 100 layer-chicks.
“The impact of the week was very powerful, and we are continuing to meet monthly to build into their personal lives, their businesses and ministries,” Sarah says. “A further 50 pastors were trained in May and many other pastors also want to participate. Bishop Patson Netha, the leader of the organization with whom we are partnering, is believing to assist 700 leaders this way.”
To train and provide each pastor with the initial 100 chicks and feed costs $150. “Pray the Lord would guide us into his provision of $100,000 to help renew, reform, and revision the soul of his church in Zimbabwe,” Sarah says.
Pray with One Challenge
- Praise the Lord for OC Africa strategic ministry partners Moss and Baboki Tshuma! Pray the Lord would bless them and their family.
- Pray for the many who are struggling to move past COVID due to exhaustion, grief, health, and finances.
- Pray for increased giving to help revive the church in Zimbabwe.
- Pray for the partnership with Pastor Trevor, that together the youth with be discipled and become leaders in faith.
- Pray for wisdom for Jay and Sarah, knowing where the Lord wants them to invest.
If the Lord is leading you to give to this ministry, here are some special projects. Giving options are explained on our website’s Give page. When filling out the giving form, list on of these in the “Name of Project or Mission Worker” section.
- Giving to the Tshumas’ ministry: Southern Africa Partners, Acct #830553
- Giving to the pastors project: Zimbabwe Project Fund – Pastors
- Giving to the oral Bible project: Zimbabwe Project Fund – Bibles