Construction of a multi-million dollar church which has the answers to Zimbabwe’s political and economic problems has been completed and it was used for the first time at Easter.
The Mbungo Church and Conference Centre which cost an estimated US$2 million was built by the Zion Christian Church led by Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi. It is about 60 km East of Masvingo town and will officially be opened later this year.
The church has a capacity of 15 000 making it one of the biggest in Africa. Construction started in October 2005. Initial projections were that the church would be completed within a year but the project has taken nearly five years.
The project was funded entirely by contributions from church members. The Zion Christian Church was founded in the 1920s by Engenas Lekganyane of South Africa and Samuel Mutendi of Zimbabwe. It is now being run separately with Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi, son of Samuel Mutendi, heading the Zimbabwe chapter.
The Zimbabwe chapter now has congregations in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zambia.
The church believes strongly in prophecy. Before constuction started it was prophecised that when the project is completed a cure for AIDS wil be found and the country will once again prosper.
The Zimbabwe dollar, which is now out of circulation, will regain its value and compete with major currencies in the region, the South African rand and the Botswana pula.
The prophecy has been widely publicised in the country’s biggest daily, The Herald, over the past three years when church followers make their annual pilgrimage to the holy shrine at Defe, in Gokwe in the Midlands Province.
Defe was the resting place of Samuel Mutendi who died on 20 July 1976. Church members make an annual pilgrimage to Defe on or close to that day every year.
The project was entirely being funded by church members because Bishop Mutendi said he wanted them to prosper while here on earth and go to heaven when they die.
Bishop Mutendi said Zimbabwe today is like Israel during the reign of Saul. The Israelites were so poor that they had to go to the Philistines to sharpen their ploughshares, mattocks, axes and sickles.
Zimbabweans have flocked out of the country into the diaspora to seek jobs so that they can feed their families and relatives at home.
After King Solomon built the Lord his temple, the Israelites were blessed. Today Jews and Israelis are among the wealthiest people on earth. Bishop Mutendi said the same would happen to Zimbabwe once the church was completed.
Every member of the church who contributed to the construction of the building, the bishop said, would proposer as stated in 1 Kings 4:25, with “every man under his vine and under his figtree”.
The Bishop told his followers that he had decided to embark on this highly ambitious project when things were at their worst in Zimbabwe because he wanted to demonstrate power of God.
Though the church is small by comparison to the conventional churches such as the Roman Catholic, the Anglican or Methodist churches, it has a strong influence because most if its prophecies have been fulfilled.
The construction of the Mbungo church was also a clear demonstration that Zimbabweans can develop their own country with their own resources. All that was needed was hard work and determination. The country did not have to rely on donors or foreign investors.
Mbungo Church and Conference Centre is a symbol of what can be achieved when there is trust between the leadership and members. The Mbungo project had a beginning (2005)and a completion date (2010). Compare this with all the 30 year rubble of broken promises, unrealised projects and looted funds without a trace or somebody being held accountable. Without trust in the Mbungo Church membership and intergrity in the leadership all the US$2 million would have been looted without a trace.- T. H.Mudzingwa- Sweden