Story by Raymond Mungomezi

A high powered delegation of Cranborne Church leaders visited Rusitu Valley over the weekend and distributed goods to the community still trying to recover from the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai.

Rusitu Valley, our sister circuit, was heavily affected by the scourge of the deadly cyclone that ravaged the Manicaland region and neighbouring Mozambique, destroying homes,, infrastructure and left many dead.

The small community came alive on Sunday as Cranborne descended on the area located in the Chimanimani region with even members from other churches also joining in as the church’s presence brought the area to a standstill.

Reverend Noah Chikuni gave the day’s sermon which was followed by the distribution of food, clothes and sanitary wear to scores of congregants and villagers alike and fellowship.

The SPPR later visited the parsonage and had a great interaction with the local pastor.

The delegation had an opportunity to have a first hand experience of the trail of destruction left by the cyclone, visiting Copa where about 60 houses, the business centre, the police post, and the Jehovha Witness Church were all destroyed and vanished.

What remains of the once buzzing place are big granite stones.

Rusitu Valley is currently being led by Pastor Kufazvinei with Mr Mutidzawanda and Mrs Sigauke being the lay leaders.

The church was born in 2007 from Ngangu Circuit and now has three preaching points, the furthest being 8km away in Copa.

The current membership now stands at 165 with at least 15 members joining following the devastation of Cyclone Idai.

Pastor Kufazvinei described the church as less dominant in these parts which churches like United Baptist Church and AFM having significant stronghold but the last couple of months has seen the church’s mission work paying dividends with membership swelling with each passing day.

The area is blessed with spring clean water tested straight from the ground which is also free.

Coupled with vast banana plantations, people in this area have the unmistaken belief there is no place like theirs hence they find no reason to leave.

Their spiritual home, housed in a wooden cabin, lies next door to a finished Zion Church and the stand was donated by one Mr Makuza.

It was indeed a trip which conjured many stories, some of the sad variety, some boardering on an almighty miracle, a sojourn in which the Cranborne contingent had an encounter first hand with the realities of a tropical catastrophe.

In these parts however, there is an air of hope, resilience and unshaken faith this is just but a calamity they survived and will recover from and the smiles and the atmosphere around this community puts paid to that assertion.

The Cranborne delegation included Rev Chikuni, layleader Mrs Florence Mapenzauswa, Missions chairperson Mr Tendai Mazire, Connectional Ministries Chairperson Mr Liberty Maziti and members from the different boards and select committees under Connectional Ministries.

The contingent also had an opportunity to have an appreciation of the progress made in the head office construction in Mutare.

NB: Pictures from the trip to Rusitu are available on the Cranborne United Methodist Church Facebook Page on the link

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