Report from Zimbabwe, 8 – 14 August 2011 by John Casey
“I feel exalted in my spirit. I was oppressed; I felt a heavy bag was on top of my body. Something beautiful took place. Now I feel free”. This was how one woman testified after a week of leadership training, workshops and a weekend church conference in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, a once fruitful and productive country, is now infamous for its hardships, oppression and political corruption. Almost 4 million people, about a quarter of the population, have teemed across the border into neighbouring South Africa or fled to other parts of the world.
Most of those who remain live poorly. Education and healthcare, once the envy of Africa, are costly and inaccessible to many families. The rampant inflation that gripped the nation only a few years ago has been reigned in only by introducing the US dollar as the local currency. Many religious practices and self-serving ‘ministries’ have sprung up, seeking to exploit and abuse ordinary people.
This was the setting for Gareth Duffty, Peter Topliss and John Casey to visit from the UK. Some 38 church leaders had come together at the farm of Charles and Gladys Kudzerema on the outskirts of Gweru, a city of ¾ million people, 4 hours south of the capital, Harare. Here they had gathered pastors, educationists, and a trade unionist for teaching, dialogue and prophetic input.
Working with interpreters – Shona is the first language – Gareth Duffty, Peter Topliss and John Casey invited people to explore the meaning of the Kingdom of God and the restoration of all things.
Delegates engaged with a variety of topics:
- what does it mean to be church in the prophetic mould of Elijah?
- how does the message of the Kingdom transform us as individuals, our relationships, our communities and our world?
- are we captured by the same vision that captures God’s heart and how does that work out in practice?
- does our understanding of God’s desire for creation, and our partnership with him, affect how we live in the ordinary things?
Piri, a bright pastor, openly acknowledged his astonishment at hearing of the church as the corporate man, partnering with God in his passion for the Kingdom.
Particularly powerful were some of the conversations about relationships between men and women, husbands and wives. Cultural norms that work against Kingdom principles came under challenge – partnership not hierarchy, co-equals not mastery, talking and listening to those who traditionally do not have a voice. The younger men and women were plainly sensing the liberating and empowering nature of the Kingdom.
Throughout the week people were discovering new ways of talking with each other – essential if traditions and practices are to change. One morning people enjoyed acting as ‘consultants’ to one another, discussing potential business ideas, questioning and challenging and making practical suggestions in order to test and sharpen those ideas.
Many in Africa have got used to being dependent on others as a way of life. This was challenged in a big way. People were encouraged to see themselves as citizens of a Kingdom that is ever-growing, partners with God, with a new nature which reflects Jesus, and contributes rather than drains resources from society.
The weekend saw seven church groups come together with others from further afield such as the second city of Bulawayo and across the border from Mozambique. Energetic praise created an open platform for the word of God, with accounts of healing as the word was being preached.
The Holy Spirit empowered many individuals and showed them new ways of working with Him that perhaps were fresh to many people. Tendi, a teacher, had thought that tongues were for a select few. We watched and listened as God overwhelmed her and she began to flow, like a torrent, in a new language.
As visitors from the UK we were humbled by the sense of honour that greeted us. We enjoyed the friendship both in sharing our relaxation and in serving among the people. Their ability to celebrate God, in spite of their circumstances, is truly inspiring. There is such a need though for resolve and prophetic clarity to create a culture which hosts the Kingdom.
But is this different anywhere else?
Leadership School of Ministry - 08/08/11
Report from Jacob Mabika of New Covenant Church
It was a phenomenal experience; it was four days of refreshing, impartation, revelation and upgrade for the delegates, deacons, and their wives, elders and pastors, including their wives. They had journeyed from distant lands with great expectations to experience and be blessed by the teaching ministry of the men of God, Gareth Duffty, Peter Topliss and John Casey. We had delegates from Mozambique, Bulawayo, Kwekwe, Marondera, Lalapanzi, Gutu, and Gweru and from outside Gweru. The atmosphere was charged with excitement and anticipation when they arrived at the Leadership School. The visit offered the leaders the opportunity to be away from their homes to be taught the word of God.
The Leadership School was declared open by our Father in the Lord, Charles Kudzerema, who welcomed the delegates present at the venue and those who were still on the way. The attending leaders were inspired and enriched with the first teaching of Peter who spoke about 'The third Elijah' and he went on to say that the Church is us. On the following day Peter continued with his teachings on the third Elijah. Peter remained focused on his teachings. Delegates were inspired with deeper knowledge and understanding of the word of God from all the teachings of Peter for four days. During one afternoon session the Lord used Peter to speak the prophetic word to the leaders.
The Prophetic Word from the Lord. (FOR ALL LEADERS)
'When you seek me, there will be a change in your preaching and teaching. It will be accurate from a secret place, God will take you to a new level and when you read your bible the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you in a different way. Things that mean nothing will have a meaning. God will reveal things despite the experience'.
John spoke about Jesus being the head of everything and he encouraged the delegates to be in groups and gave them what to talk about. In his sessions John taught several insightful topics by the wisdom and power of God. He explained how the Lord spoke to him through the four corners; the voice corner, the capacity to sense things, soaring like an eagle and the corner of the new heart. On the third day John read Mark 2 v 1-12, the story of four men who brought a sick friend to Jesus but there was no room to enter. John presented an excellent opportunity for leaders from different places to form small groups to share what changed from the life of the man who was now healed by Jesus.
Gareth started his first afternoon session at 3.00pm by asking this question, “What is your relationship with God?” he went on to say 'Your relationship with God will determine the power in you'. A memorable highpoint of his teachings was the issue of 'What captured you?' He encouraged the leaders to be captured by the life of the people and not to be captured by material things. He also told the delegates that God himself was being captured, by staying among the people. Noah was being captured when he took 120 years, appearing stupid, by building an ark. He never knew what rain was but because he was captured he built the ark. The Lord propelled Gareth to give a prophetic word to the church through the leaders.
PROPHECY, 'I am bringing a forest of people, people from afar will come to be planted among you. There will be security and plenty, you will see what stands behind you. Let me be Lord to you says the Lord. The forest will come for the people not for itself, not small bushes but tall trees.
Peter also came in with another prophetic word after Gareth had finished speaking. Peters Prophecy, 'My fire is coming upon you, fire of acceptance. As God brings around you a forest of people, God will cause the forest fire through-out this land (Zimbabwe). The fire in you will not consume the forest and many people will meet their God.
THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE - GWERU ZIMBABWE
At Riverside Primary School under the theme, 'Discovering Gods Power for Restoration'.
The Conference kicked off with a colourful opening service, which depicted what the leaders had been learning during the week from Monday to Thursday evening and the rich mixture of the various places represented. It was a blessed night as our father in the Lord, Charles Kudzerema, opened the Conference by sharing the theme with scriptures from 1 Samuel 30 v5-8. The following morning Peter spoke on allowing the Holy Spirit of God to fill you, in the mid day service John spoke about the peace of God. Evangelist Peter took his readings from Genesis 28 v 10-18, he spoke much about Jacob, how he put his head on the rock, a picture of Jesus Christ.
Gareth took the evening service and spoke much on the Kingdom of God. How God took clay and spirit to make man. He also spoke much about the theme of the Conference. He took his readings from 2Kings 4 v1-7. His question was what is in your house-what do you have?
The Conference ended on a very high note on Sunday, it was full of prophetic words. There was enough food for everyone to eat, starting from the School of Leadership up to the Conference. No-one fell sick during the Conference.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY. AMEN
Zimbabwe & Zambia
by Gareth Duffty
It was on the 4th August 2011, that I began my journey to extend our love and greetings to the family of God in parts of southern Africa. I was traveling to Harare and Gweru in Zimbabwe and onward to Mwinilunga in Zambia.
The trip was to two nations, three cities, three provincial towns, six beds, eight flights and forty five meetings, no idea of how many miles, and all in twenty one days. We have been busy.
Having made an open invitation to everyone to travel with me and be with our African family, I found myself setting off on an adventure alone, knowing that much time would be spent in silent pursuit of God for me as well as ministry. I carried with me the Apostolic Families love and prayers and an expression of practical love through the generosity of your giving. I was also able to assist financially six families with other finance I took with me, getting vehicles back on the road, enabling one family to survive living costs, providing money for accommodation etc.
My calendar for twenty one days would be filled with conferences, and school and local church meetings on the African continent. I arrived in Harare and was met by Cleopas Guavava. I joined him at his annual ‘Family Conference’ at Harare. This was a renewal of friendship for us both. Cleopas was eager, after many attempts and years, to re-connect with our relationship. He not only wanted me to share at the conference, with people travelling from all over Zimbabwe, but to consider flowing together with them in an apostolic family.
The conference was a joy, being with people who were clearly eager to encounter God and His word. The preaching was received with great joy, with its impact being seen immediately. I find in Africa that the meeting may come to an end but the conversation regarding the word shared will go on into the small dark hours of every night and people will return the next day with greater hunger.
We thank God as we saw the grace of God at work through the manifestation of love, healing and miracles as the word was preached, along with the dawning of fresh understanding. It was a short yet powerful time in the grace of God.
On the first Sunday afternoon Charles Kudzerema came and met me and we went together to collect John Casey and Peter Topliss from the airport, they joined us on the next leg, taking a four to five hour journey to Gweru. Beginning with Charles and I then John and Peter and our luggage in an open back truck, the numbers travelling in the truck soon had swollen by another five people, with all their luggage plus the kitchen sink. We all travelled in a Toyota, nine people and their kitchen sink for this four to five hour journey. As the sun went down we travelled through the dark arriving late at night in Gweru.
From Monday to Friday we held a Leadership School with leaders from around Zimbabwe and Mozambique, followed by a ‘Covenant Churches Family Conference’. A report can be read on this by John Casey who has kindly written his insights.
The people in Zimbabwe are so resilient and able to sustain themselves, having come though inflation at over 1,000,000%. Now with the economy using the USA’s dollar as currency, stability and growth is certainly seen. There are still great strides necessary for the common people to be made, and many are struggling to make ends meet, but it is certainly moving onward in the right direction.
Zimbabwe as a country faces a challenge in the governing of the nation, this year they were due to go to the polls and vote on a new government. I was told several times that most feel that MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai would win with a growing majority. The feeling was that the MDC party had clearly won the last two elections, but we all know the outcome. The political games continue. Prior to the polls being opened, a new constitution has been commissioned which requires much work for completion. This has meant that the polls due this year will not take place until the new constitution has been completed. Mugabe can truly say that he is not holding up the national election, but the reforming the constitution is, true but? The election will probably be two years behind schedule. Pray that they can continue to grow and advance in those days and return once again to being a ‘bread basket’ for Africa, back to the success story of development it was fifteen plus years ago.
On completing the weekend in Gweru we departed on the Sunday evening, this time with an extra person making nine of us for the return drive with Charles to Harare, at least it was in daylight.
On Monday at 7am I commenced my journey onward to Zambia, and John along with Peter commenced their journey back to the UK. I travelled to Lusaka, Ndola, and Solwezi, finally arriving in Mwiniliuga for the Restorer Conference.
This was an amazing time for me personally. I had dreamt of the events, the leading and where the Conference was to be held, although I had wondered if it was simply due to a memory of my last time here in Mwinilunga some ten years earlier. I arrived there, after three flights and a six hour car journey with Thomas, some of you may recall him at Covenant College. All who were at Covenant College greet you, Silver, Willy, Ackim, Joackim and Rodgers. Everyone has such fond memories of their time in the UK; they hold you as their family in high esteem. Roma informed me that all these men are now influential in the work of God in Zambia.
The Conference began with such a moment of God, an appointed time with people clearly coming to receive a revelatory word and depth, along with a hunger for an encounter with God. The anticipation and faith was high with people looking to the Father for much.
We held four meetings per day in the open air making sure that no one sat in the sun for too long. The praise was high, the movement was powerful and the flow of the word was full, bringing empowerment to many. I trust that soon we will have a fuller report from Zambia direct from those attending the Conference.
During the Conference I joined Gary and Janet Pleasant along with Pat Broome, a number of people may recall her in the UK ten years ago at Covenant College, also Wendy Sloane who teaches in Cleveland at Cleveland State University, travelled with them to encounter God here. We not only heard deep calling to deep in the unfolding of transformational revelation but also the flow of the prophetic was strong and empowering for the nation of Zambia and its people. In the midst of the flow of word the Holy Spirit moved with gifts, healings flowed, cancers being dissolved, lame walking, blind receiving their sight, people who could not read being able to read. The evidence of Gods’ love for the people was wonderful, seeing that healings and health are the manifestation of the Fathers love to his children.
We rejoiced to see people set free in their thinking, from their cultural strongholds according to the word of God, along with physical transformations happening. One young boy who had been suffering with epilepsy had not been able to stand, he stood before the people in his right mind for the first time as God healed him. The signs following have continued after we left Mwinilunga. I love it when the signs follow rather than just happen when you are there.
We thank God for the people touched and the word deposited, to see a nation transformed.
Hello, the meeting was extraordinary, fantastic, with full anointing power. I could not believe that
you had ever stood before me and taught me, it was like fresh revelation from above. Personally
I was very much encouraged, you did open our understanding.
Hello Apostle Gareth, just want to say thank you for coming to Zambia. We thank God for using you and the whole team of men and women you came with, this was a life changing moment. In that place was God. What a wave of healings took place the day you left, the meeting place was jam packed. Yes indeed his Kingdom came down. Sandra we thank you for releasing the apostle, we are refreshed.