“When did we see you hungry, Lord, or thirsty? the disciples asked,” Junior says, quoting Matthew 25. “And Jesus will answer: Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe is committed to seeing Christ in every person – the hungry farmer whose crops refuse to grow in the parched earth; the young man staring into a future where 97% of people are unemployed.
They’re creating vibrant worshipping communities, providing training and meaningful opportunities for young people, responding to the lack of rain with drought resistant seeds.
They extend their hearts endlessly and get their hands dirty. “The work is so important because our people have such a limited ability to resist these kind of shocks – when they are already struggling just to survive, something like COVID-19 or a cycloneis really just devastating,” Junior says. “Many people here genuinely don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”
"Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me."
Junior grew up in rural areas wheregender-based violence, food security and lack of education were all major issues. As a woman in a leadership role, she’s felt God’s hand on her shoulder throughout her life. She studied environmental science at university but was keen to move into humanitarian work, completing a Masters in Development Studies before hearing the call to work with the Methodist Church. She wants to extend those same opportunities to others, and feels keenly the support of the global network of churches to which the Methodist Church belongs.
“Working with you as part of the Uniting Church in Australia makes us feel like we are one family, united for this mission,” Junior says.“You are always our fifirst partners to call to see if we’re okay after a cyclone or other challenge, and we appreciate your love and support so very much.”
Health & Education
The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe has a priority for ministry with young people,and oversees 11 primary and 9 secondary schools. The church is celebrating growthin the community and is training more ministers, especially women, to offerleadership and vision in a country with a dysfunctional government.
The Methodist Development & Relief Agency (MeDRA) works tirelessly to address poverty in the country, and respond to the droughts and floods that are ever increasing with climate change. UnitingWorld supports projects for income generation, sanitation and hygiene and disaster risk management, as well as training leaders in disability inclusion, safeguarding and preventing human trafficking.
1. Young People
64% of Zimbabweans are under the age of 25. They have reasonable education, but little opportunity for employment, and are at huge risk of exploitation and human trafficking. Pray for the youth coordinators who lead the church’s ministry for young people.
Zimbabwe ranks #150 on the United Nations Index of Human Development. 67% of people live in rural areas where economic mismanagement and corruption have led to inflation and high unemployment. Pray for the villagers in MeDRA’s income generation projects, that they learn skills and become self sustaining.
Pray for Presiding Bishop Rev George Mawire, General Secretary Rev Dr Martin Mujinga and MeDRA Missions Director Rev Blessmore Chinhara and MeDRA National Director Junior Vutoyi.
We can all do simple things to stand with our Partners and show support:
- Look in your fridge, pantry and bin. How much out-of-date or ageing food does your household throw out? Talk to your family/house-mates and agree on a way to plan meals and shopping so food isn’t wasted. Think about your food miles; can you plan your meals using mostly in-season local produce?