I spent September 24-October 4 in Zimbabwe on my first foreign mission trip. It was a small team. I went with Denny St. Clair, a man from The Cove Church who goes on mission trips regularly. We had a small team of national pastors and other leaders from Bulawayo who made the event happen. They served as interpreters, guides, technical support, worship leaders, and much more. None of what we accomplished would have been possible without them.
It was a very fruitful trip. We visited an area of the country called Binga, which is very rural. It’s so rural, in fact, that it’s usually just referred to as “the bush.”
The trip consisted of three major events. The first event was a two day “pastor’s conference” where we hosted about 60 church leaders from surrounding villages on Thursday and Friday. It was the most casual conference I’ve ever attended. We met under a tree beside a soccer field at Pashu High School where everyone sat on the dust. The content of our teachings were decided the night before we taught it. Nonetheless, it was a great opportunity to pour into some church leaders who don’t have much access to Biblical Training.
The second event was an evangelistic “crusade” on Wednesday through Saturday night. We don’t use that term much more in the US because it’s developed a negative connotation, but in the bush of Zimbabwe they know it’s a big exciting event. Every night we had more people show up than the night before. They would sing for hours. They would start singing in the mid afternoon and were still going after sunset. Only after it had been dark for almost an hour would Denny or I preach. Overall, we had 340 decisions for Christ at the crusade. On Sunday night we showed the Jesus film in Ndbele (think “in-da-belly”) at another nearby school. We had at least 45 decisions there, but since it was just one night and had less structure we weren’t able to get a completely accurate count.
The third and final major event was a soccer tournament. 4 high schools from the area came and played in a soccer tournament. Many players played barefoot because they don’t own shoes. Before the tournament Denny shared the gospel with the players and we had several more decisions there. Again, we weren’t able to get an accurate count of the decisions. However, we know that we had over 400 total decisions for Christ.
On Sunday we also baptized 38 people. In retrospect, we realized that we probably should have done it on Saturday. By Sunday many people had walked back to their homes that were several miles away. However, we celebrate the ones who followed through with their first step of obedience.
If you supported this trip with prayer, finances, or both: thank you so much. God was very faithful and we saw a lot of fruit. Please continue to pray that God continues to work in Binga. The names of the 340 people who made decisions at the crusade have been given to church leaders who served as counselors. They have a huge task of follow ups ahead of them, so please pray for them. We also want all of them to follow through and be baptized.
There’s much more to say about this trip, and there are many more posts to come. In the meantime, I wanted to give a brief overview of the trip, and what we saw God do. Stay tuned for more …