By Byron Mutingwende
The Zimbabwean branch of the Christ Embassy Church has thrown its weight behind the carnival initiative and the Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo in a bid to drive tourism.
Christ Embassy Zonal Pastor, Pastor Ruth Musarurwa, speaking on the sidelines of a musical showcase by the Intwasa Arts Festival that followed a carnival procession at the Bulawayo City Hall, as part of the ongoing Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo schedule of events said carnivals bring together different cultures, different people and it showcases our nation internationally.
“As Christ Embassy, we have launched our annual program “REACH OUT ZIMBABWE.” Our goal is to Reach Out to various communities within our Nation with the gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ as we distribute free copies of Rhapsody of Realities. The Carnival brings together different cultures, different people and it showcases our nation internationally,” Pastor Musarurwa said.
The Woman of God said it was therefore fitting for the church to play its part in supporting such initiatives.
“Our support comes on various forms, mainly to support and ensure the success of the carnival and to feed the people with the word of God. So we are very much a part of the carnival in the preparation, execution, the fun, the joy and the dancing which portrays the loveliness of the people of Zimbabwe.”
The 2016 edition of Reach Out Zimbabwe (ROZIM) was officially launched during the first weekend of September, which saw the members of Christ Embassy Zimbabwe making a journey 45km outside Harare to Masiiwa Village in Goromonzi district.
The colourful launch which was presided upon by the Zonal Pastor, Pastor Ruth Musarurwa was the prologue to that year’s campaign themed; A Healthy Nation, A Healthy People. The Messenger Angel, the Rhapsody of Realities played a leading role in gathering the community of Masiiwa Village together and was distributed to over 2,000 households and families present.
Prior to the event, which also had influential community leaders present, a needs-assessment exercise had been carried out by Christ Embassy Zimbabwe, in which it was established that the village had inadequate access to clean water resulting in villagers resorting to shallow, unprotected water sources.
In addition, access to basic healthcare was precluded by the unavailability of nearby health facilities. This resulted in villagers travelling for extremely long distances to seek medical attention resulting in a highly undesirable maternal mortality rate among other effects.
To this end, the partners during the 2016 ROZIM campaign drilled a borehole for the community, which was officially handed over to them by Pastor Ruth. Medical personnel within the ministry (who had set up a mobile clinic working in liaison with the village health workers to provide primary health care to the villagers) also offered free medical services.
Partners also donated health kits that included medicines, thermometers, bandages, solar powered torches and latex gloves among others. On behalf of the partners, Pastor Ruth also handed over basic foodstuffs to the community who were touched by this moving act of generosity. The high point of the occasion was the leading of more than 2,000 souls to Christ who were proud recipients of free copies of the Rhapsody of Realities.
The smiles on the people’s faces told the complete story of the love of God extended through the man of God, Rev Dr Chris Oyakhilome who specially prepared this devotional and to the partners who took time out to make a qualitative difference in their lives.
The same generosity of the church is being extended to the people of Bulawayo and delegates from other parts of the country and visitors from abroad as free T-shirts were distributed as well as copies of Rhapsody of Realities daily devotional publications.
Engineer Walter Mzembi, the minister of tourism and hospitality industry said the country was promoting religious tourism as seen by thousands of people who flock into the country to visit popular prophets for healing and deliverance.
According to the 2015 United Nations World Tourism Barometer, religious tourism moves over 300 million people out of 1,2 billion tourists across the globe annually.