Ebenezer Reflections from Zimbabwe

Sandra Matoushaya



It’s been a few months since a group of 15 Conference youth and staff returned from Zimbabwe, where we experienced the Ebenezer revival, but the impact is still being felt by all of us.  The Ebenezer brought together more than 55,000 people to mark the 117th year anniversary of the United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Among many great preachers, 12-year-old Chelsea Chipendo stood out with her “War Against Satan” sermon. Seeing, listening and hearing the word from Chelsea showed our youth that they too are capable of doing the same. Besides the revival’s impact on our youth, the people they met in Zimbabwe have forever changed their lives. 

Here are what some of them had to say about their experience: 

There wasn't really one thing that impacted me the most on this trip, except for the orphanage.  I was so blessed to have met a little girl named Blessing. She was so full of energy and when she sang, she had one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard. I was crying because I had to leave her, but I knew she was in a good place.  She had brothers and sisters in Christ and a mother figure in her home. I left with a happy heart because I knew God was in her life. -  Julie Wilson

A summary of the Ebenezer trip cannot be fit into one paragraph, article, or even book. This is because what went on in Zimbabwe was not only in the physical; physically making places of worship, physically giving people first aid kits to help their physical bodies, and playing with physical boys and girls at an orphanage, but a completely spiritual experience as well. We knew that the spirit was in the building we were placing bricks for, and that the first aid kits were going to be used to patch up a Temple of the Spirit, and that the kids at the orphanage had souls that were obviously spirit-filled. The Ebenezer trip can be summed up only with the revival of our church, through the revelation of love in the physical and spirit. Zimbabwe was the place where we experienced the church doing its work like Jesus commanded it to, and that is what the Ebenezer trip was about. – Trent Somes

The moment that impacted me the most in Zimbabwe was when I was talking to a man at the St. Luke's church in Harare and I said that I think America needs Zimbabwe as much as Zimbabwe needs America. He didn't quite understand me at first, and I don't know for sure if he ever did understand what I meant. I hope he did. What I meant is that America has very little physical poverty but has lots of spiritual poverty, while Zimbabwe has lots of physical poverty but is spiritually strong. This all dawned on me while talking to the man and has been what's impacted me the most.    - John Kolacz
The moment that impacted me the most was at the orphanage when we all went to the different house groups. I was with Abby and Denise at 7a, I believe. After we introduced ourselves and they introduced themselves, Mama told them to say hello to their new sisters and brother. Just the way that they accepted us without second thought; they barely knew us but they didn’t care. They accepted us and were so glad that we were there. That is the one moment that I have kept close with me throughout this time.  – Caleb Swineford
My favorite Zimbabwe moment was every chance I had to interact with the youth and the adults and spread the love of Christ while also enhancing my relationship with God. Being able to experience a new culture and being able to incorporate their customs into my own life is what impacts me the most. My philosophy is how can I truly know how a nation lives without immersing myself in the culture and incorporating key elements of their customs in life. It’s my greatest because I know if I do these things then I know I learned or gained something from the trip.- Lily Formosa

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