I was able to take with me three men from my church (Northside Christian Church, Columbus, GA) and it was fun to see it all again through their eyes. Although we spoke at length about the mission before the trip and during, I found it especially interesting what these men had to say when we came back and reported to our own church family about our adventure. Each man seemed to be quite amazed by the far reaching scope of this mission. I listened with great interest as they reported to the congregation how they had “no idea” that this mission had over 17,000 kids in their mission schools; that this mission ran hospitals and health clinics; that we were responsible for dozens of churches and the preachers who serve in them; and, that this great mission provided loving care for so many AIDS orphans through both the Children’s Home and Village. To a man, they were all incredibly impressed with the person and the breadth of work Zebedee Togaripi does serving HVCM as Managing Director.
It was good for me to see things fresh and new through the eyes of these first time visitors who previously had no knowledge of HVCM. It was good for me because it just confirmed in me the importance of this work. A work that must continue!
The last time I was in Zimbabwe and served on the board was shortly after John Mark Pemberton’s death. It was a time of uncertainty for the mission. We had lost the founder and patriarch, John Pemberton, not long before that, and then John Mark’s unexpected death left a real void. Five years later we would lose Bob Pemberton. Those are some great men and left big shoes to fill.
After being back on the board for the past six months, and now returning from my 13th trip to Zimbabwe, I have come to two important conclusions:
1) This mission is in good hands. Zebedee Togarepi is doing a tremendous job managing and overseeing the schools, churches, health care facilities, preaching conference and children’s work. In addition he has recently been named chairman of the board of Zimbabwe Christian College. His influence and leadership touch every aspect of ministry in this country. Therefore, the influence of this mission reaches every aspect of life and ministry in Zimbabwe.
When you think about it, seeing Zebedee so skillfully run this great mission is what John and Marge Pemberton originally dreamed. It is what John Mark and Bob Pemberton worked so hard to cultivate. Zebedee is a product of HVCM! He went to our mission schools as a small boy. His parents were led to Christ through the ministry of John and Marge Pemberton. He was recruited to the ministry by John Pemberton. He was the first graduate of Zimbabwe Christian College. After his higher education in the States at KCU and later earning his MRE from Cincinnati, he was brought on board as a full partner in the mission with John Mark and Bob Pemberton, a move that was almost unheard of at the time by other missionaries.
This mission is in good hands.
2) This mission must continue! Although I suppose I have always known this, revisiting the mission after a seven year absence and seeing it fresh through the eyes of my friends, just reminded me that HVCM is truly one of the great missions of all time in the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ. This mission truly reaches every aspect of the human existence; the body (health care and orphan work), the mind (17,000 students in our mission schools) and the soul (planting and growing churches). This is a great mission and it must continue!
I want to personally thank all of you for your faithful support of this important work. It is good to be back on board and I honestly believe that the greatest days of this mission are yet to come. Your prayers and continued support are vital at this point. Please contact our mission office to schedule a visit from one of our directors. We would love to come and talk with your church and mission team about HVCM!