Trip to Mbungu Gokwe
From Stephen Tshabalala: Each time we travel to Gokwe, Zimbabwe, we plan to leave home very early in the morning. This is because there will be one or more police roadblocks. Also, the vehicle we use often gives mechanical problems, and we need to have time during the day to repair it.
This trip we left Bulawayo at 3 a.m. It was still dark and very cold, but we took enough warm clothes and blankets to keep us warm. Gokwe is also very cold at this time of the year.
After traveling for 185 kilometers (115 miles), we reached the gravel road, and the brackets holding the front bull bar of the truck broke. We removed the bar and left it at a home next to the main road. From that point on, we traveled safely, even though the condition of the road is now worse than ever with deep sand and potholes.
We arrived at Mr. and Mrs. Charumbira’s home at 12 midday, and members had already arrived. Some were already busy preparing food. They had collected enough funds to buy six goats, flour, sugar and rice. We bought bread, butter, vegetables and two more goats, as we were going to be there for four days. Some members would remain behind for various reasons, so we made sure that we had enough food for them as well. They had also collected enough firewood to last three or four days, as it becomes very cold in the evening and early morning.
We slept early, and we were up in time for breakfast and to prepare for the Sabbath service at 11 a.m.
Eddie Moyo gave the sermonette. He is one of the three young men I am training to lead songs and give sermonettes and splits sermons. I gave the main message, and I spoke on “Teaching Our Children God’s Way of Life Early in Their Lives.”
The next morning, the Feast of Pentecost, we started services at 11 a.m. Jealous Matopi, who has been very helpful to me in traveling between the two church congregations and keeping me updated, gave the offertory sermonette. I again gave the main message and spoke on “How We May Know That We Have the Holy Spirit Working in Us.” In the afternoon I spoke on “The Power From Above.”
We had planned to depart at 10 a.m. on Monday morning, but we discovered that the truck’s right side spring had broken. We removed it and sent it with some of the men to have it welded. They arrived back at midnight, and early next morning we were able to fit it.
We then traveled back home without any problems, arriving home at 10 p.m. We could clearly see God’s hand in everything, as we were only stopped once and paid $5 because one wheel nut was missing.
On this trip I was impressed by the number of young people asking to be counseled for baptism. We also had seven young people asking for baptism; all of them are children of existing members. There are two new ladies, but they also have relatives in the Church. The ages of these young people range between 22 and 28 years. They have a deep understanding of God’s way of life and the doctrines of the Church, and they are trying hard to keep the 10 Commandments, the Sabbath and the holy days. I want to return to Gokwe and spend time with these young people. Time will tell if they are sincere or not.
I was able to meet with the leading men and emphasized the importance of always striving to set a good example.
I anointed one woman and gave money to two others so that they could see a doctor. A lady became sick after returning home, but I have heard that she is now feeling better.
Many expressed their gratitude and asked me to convey their thanks for the provisions they have received from the Church.
The members at Mbungu will not need assistance from the Church because they had a good harvest, but the majority of our members at Chemba will need assistance once again. They were unable to harvest sufficient to feed themselves because after planting the maize, the rain only returned once the crops had already withered.
We have now identified sites on which we hope to construct buildings for Sabbath services for both congregations. Jealous will be going to see the council official and to pay deposits for these two sites when sufficient funds are available.
Summary of PCD Activity
From Cecil Maranville: For the second quarter of 2016, PCD handled 1,152 contacts (13 were phone calls from new contacts). That compares to 836 for the second quarter of 2015, a 38 percent increase, for which we are thankful. The sheer numbers make it impossible to offer a narrative report any longer.
We explained previously about a fraudulent real estate scheme that cited http://www.cogwa.org as a reference that would validate its offer. To deal with the many inquiries on this, we created a personalized form response. In it, we assure the contact that we are not associated with the organization offering the real estate—that it is apparently a scam. We contacted the organization, insisting that it cease using our website in its ads. Yet we continued to receive inquiries throughout the quarter. Through June, we responded to 16 people, some of whom had already put money into the deal. Many wrote back to thank us.
Another personalized form we use is for people who send us a thank you email about an article, blog or the website. We don’t send this when we receive just a one-line note, but we use it to reply to those who write in detail about their appreciation. Even though these thank you emails do not ask a question, we feel they present an opportunity to build a relationship with such new contacts. We sent this message—in which we explain the search engine and offer a subscription to Discern—to 35 people this quarter.
Here are some sample questions:
Of course, everyone looks for the occasional “unusual” question. Here are a couple from this quarter: