International Ministries

Faith Meets Sorrow

October 1, 2010 Journal
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Ndinoramba ndichinamata
Ndinoramba ndichinamata
Kunyangwe znikarema
Ndinoramba ndichinamata

I will keep on praying
I will keep on praying
Even if it becomes heavy
I will keep on praying

The chorus erupted out of the packed living room and was picked up throughout the crowd in the yard outside the house.  The night was lit by two wood fires in the yard.  By candlelight one could see the heads of the women rhythmically bobbing up and down inside the home.

In the center of the living room was the coffin, draped in white lace with a floral spray on top.  The deceased was a young woman.  She died of illness in her 30's, following her husband who had died the year before.  Children were now left motherless and fatherless.  The parents of the woman now had their daughter back in their home but in a way they never desired.  They also had new children to raise.

Baba tumai Mweya
Baba tumai Mweya
Baba tumai Mweya
Tumai Mweya wohutsvene

Father, send your Spirit
Father, send your Spirit
Father, send your Spirit
Send your Spirit of holiness

In the heaviness of their sorrow the family and their friends from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Harare, Zimbabwe reached out to God in faith.  They raised their voices in a hope-filled appeal.  They danced with energy that flowed like tears to Baba's mercy seat.  Many friends stayed through the whole night, women sleeping on the floor around the casket, man dozing around the fires outside.  Nobody would be left alone but would know the supportive love of extended families of blood and faith.

I was in Zimbabwe to lead a series of 2 and 3-day training workshops on conflict transformation and nonviolence.  We took a break one evening to attend this funeral held at the home of members of Emmanuel Baptist, the host church for the Harare training.  Pastor C.H. Chiromo is a peacemaking friend I've known since the 1992 International Baptist Peace Conference in Nicaragua.  He was a key organizer for my training trip to Zimbabwe.  Now I was seeing him in his pastoral role and was deeply moved by the outpouring of love to support a grieving family.

Zimbabwe has known much sorrow.  A once proud and ancient kingdom was battered by colonialism.  Blacks bore the oppression of minority white rule for many long years.  After liberation in 1980 hopes plummeted as power struggles turned violent.  But amid the suffering are many people of faith.  The light of Christ shines brightly in Zimbabwe.

As American Baptist congregations take the World Mission Offering this fall, we are partners with sisters and brothers around the world bringing the light of Christ to their communities.  We drive back the darkness of sorrow, violence and shattered hopes with the light new vision, transforming love, and God's amazing grace.  I urge you to give generously and hold the hurting world in your heart as you give.  Thank you!

Peace,
Dan