The plight of contemporary Christian missionaries is still as real as it was for those who paved the way for them generations ago.
From facing persecution in war-torn states, travelling for days without adequate food, sleeping in uncomfortable places, and even struggling to make converts, taking the gospel outside one’s own land has never been an easy-peasy adventure but is rather, a trying, exercise of one’s earnestness, dedication and endurance.
In his penetrating book Created for Greater Things, profound Christian writer Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
“I am convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation never was easy. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, this is the truth, and He is our Great Eternal Head. How could we believe it would be easy for us when it was never, ever easy for Him?”
To this day many missionaries go back to their countries thinking they have failed in their missions.
In 1912, a missionary, Dr William Leslie, went to live and minister to tribal people in a remote corner of the DRC. After 17 years he went back to the U.S. a demoralised man – believing he failed to carry out a jolt for Christ.
Sadly, he passed away nine years after his return. But in 2010, a team led by Eric Ramsey with Tom Cox World Ministries made a stunning and sensational discovery. They found a network of reproducing churches hidden like glittering diamonds in the dense jungle across the Kwilu River from Vanga, where Dr Leslie was stationed.
Well, he did not fail at all, did he?
Although he hasn’t pinned it up and stowed, zealous independent South African missionary to Zimbabwe, Apostle V.J Masombuka, is presently going through a similarly trying phase in his inaugural work in a foreign country as he is barely making disciples in the Harare avenues residency.
A cleric and a co-founder of the Living Waters Bible Church (LWBC), the apostle has been evangelising the CBD with door-to-door invitations for months now to a relatively underwhelming response.
Apostle Masombuka told Hallelujah Magazine:
“We planted a church in Waterfalls, Park town. The church is established and is growing. So we decided let’s come and plant another church in town which we came we came here to Courtney Hotel. We are here for about a number of weeks and we are working harder than we did in Waterfalls. But you will see the graph is moving very small and it’s not going up. Maybe we are impatient because we are not used to this.
When we are coming to an area to plant a church, at least after six weeks we see progress. But here we have been here for about 10 weeks. So we’ve been praying about it this morning to find out to the Lord what could be the reason why we don’t see some results like we normally see.”
The low yields, although apparently fazing the minister, do not seem to dwindle his dreams of establishing a parish in the section. He still has hopes that the young flock which assembles at the Courtney Hotel, Corner Eighth St and Selous Avenue, will one day swell into a thicker congregation.
“When this one is planted (Waterfalls Parktown church) and this one is growing (Courtney church) and it shows some fruits, then we will go to a densely populated area. In South Africa, we call them townships. So we will go there which will be our third church. Once that is established we will then work on growing the three churches. That’s the mission,” he said.
The response to the Waterfalls church which converges at Chivendera Villa was, however, distinct from the one he is getting from town. The inhabitants were more accepting of the good news than the later and it is baffling to the minister as there are more people living in Harare avenues.
“The reception in Waterfalls was really alarming because on just the first Sunday we had about six people. As we went on, we’d ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty people and the numbers keep on growing at a rapid pace. Here (in town) is different, and it’s funny because it should be different as there are more people in town than there are in a suburb like Waterfalls. We’ve got many flats here. There are too many people living here. I think we should be more effective here than on Waterfalls.”
In all this quest for fallen souls, Apostle Masombuka is all by himself. He outrightly shoots full of holes that his church sent him and expressed no desire at all to bring along any assisting personnel from his home country.
“Originally I’m from South Africa but I did not come with anybody. I came all by myself. I’m the General Overseer of all the churches in South Africa. So as we planted churches in there, I decided on my own as the General Overseer and said let’s try other lands and the first was Zimbabwe. I’m not sent by my church.
So, this is the first international that I’m doing. The reason why I came all by myself is that I just want to set a pace. I want to say to our churches back in South Africa, let’s go to other countries, it can be done. I have no desire to bring people from South Africa. I want to work with the people in the country that I am in,” said the Rev.
For the shortest or longest he has been in the country, the preacher has registered some miracles, healings and wonders.
One of them is praying for a 55year old man to get a high-profile job.
Mr John Magufa went to LWBC and approached the missionary for a job. The cleric prayed for him and told him that God would deliver him the job he so desires.
While walking around in town the quinquagenarian met two people (on different occasions) who recognised him by his name and said that their companies have been looking for him to give him his job (which he never held before of course). To this day the old John is he’s working at Nyaradzo Funeral Service.
“We have seen tangible results, even healings and miracles. We have had many answered prayers. I wouldn’t call them miracles but John’s case is a miracle,” said Masombuka.
Elsewhere, apostle Masombuka said that he embarked on Zimbabwe because he believes that every country needs a foreign flavour of the gospel as sometimes a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house”.
“I would say every country needs that. It’s good that you have local preachers, it’s wonderful. But you also need people who come from outside to add this flavour.”
Even if he is doing groundwork in Zimbabwe, Masombuka is still very in touch with the parent church in South Africa as he is its General Overseer, and he visits them timeously.
“I still am the General Overseer. Each church has its pastor. So I do have to be in all of these churches. From time to time I would go back to South Africa for some days and that way I would be able to catch up with them and address issues that need to be attended.”
After Zimbabwe, the proponent would proceed to Zambia. He said he is giving Zimbabwe a year of hard work until he moves to the north-western country.
“When these (Zimbabwean) churches grow, I will then get their favours and when I get their favours, you see what’s happening, I will get their money as well. So when I get their money then I will be able to build teams here in Zimbabwe. I will build one team. As it grows, I will grow another and we will then ask for resources to do it in a bigger way. After all is done, I will then go to Zambia.”
The Living Waters Bible Church’s main objectives and approach, as the apostle stated, are to plant churches, raise up leaders, and writing books and teaching the church.
Masombuka also said that his church would also want to reach out to schools and prisons.
Apostle Masombuka founded LWBC with his late wife Prophetess Masombuka.
Now in widowhood, the apostle is contemplating on remarrying and said that he will consider marrying from either Zimbabwe or South Africa, provided he found the one who will match him.
A concern, nevertheless, lies on whether the apostle will be able to stand the notorious thigh vendors in the avenues.
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