Elim in Zimbabwe
The first Elim Missionaries to Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) were Mr and Mrs Jessie Williams who went in February 1949 and were based at Penhalonga. A church and school were soon established. They were joined the following year by Dr Cecil and Dr Mary Brien who had already been in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) for two years but now linked with Elim. The doctors soon obtained permission to build a hospital, schools, housing and church at Katerere in Nyanga. In both Penhalonga and Katerere people turned to Christ, lives were changed and bodies healed. Over the next years other well qualified Elim Missionaries joined the team as pastors, teachers and nurses. In 1960 Peter Griffiths, a teacher from Elim Swansea, was appointed as local director.
In June 1978 the Missionary Team consisted of Peter & Sandra McCann with their children Philip (6) and Joy (4); Philip & Susanne Evans and their children with Rebecca (5) (their older children Timothy and Rachel were at boarding school in Harare); Roy & Joyce Lynn with Pamela Grace (3 weeks old) Wendy White, Catherine Picken and Mary Fisher. Joy Bath and Peter & Brenda Griffiths were on furlough in the UK.
Rhodesia was in conflict; the forces of the Rhodesian government under Prime Minister Ian Smith opposing the so-called “liberation” forces led by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe (now President of Zimbabwe). Because of increasing unrest around Nyanga, the missionaries and school had moved in July 1977 to the Eagle School at the Vumba, about 100 miles away.
On the night of 23rd June 1978 the dreadful tragedy took place. 21 Guerillas came over the border from Mozambique and attacked the missionaries with axes and other weapons. Twelve were slaughtered with the thirteenth dying one week later. The sheer brutality of this massacre shocked the world. There was worldwide condemnation of this needless slaughter.
The Elim Movement worldwide will never forget those who gave their lives. Today Elim Zimbabwe is a living memorial as it goes from strength to strength, with the hospital, schools and over 50 churches headed up by Pastor Pious Munembe. The Mutare Memorial church, which also houses the Headquarters of Elim Zimbabwe, was built with funds raised following the massacre.
To find out more about the Vumba Massacre, download 'Vumba - A Summary of the Tragic Events'
Africa Street Youth Ministries (ASYM) is guided by the philosophy that the gospel becomes more meaningful to its recipients if it is integrated with works.
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