“Hope for the Cities,” a mission to reach the cities of the world for Christ, launched by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, targeted Harare, Zimbabwe during May 17-31, 2015. Pastor Ted Wilson, leader of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, was the main speaker. He conducted his own evangelistic preaching in Chitungwiza, a suburb of Harare. Accompanying him were sixty international speakers who participated in and conducted evangelistic efforts in different locations in and around the city. The total number of meetings, running concurrently with international and local speakers, was 914! “Harare will never be the same,” was the impression on many minds and lips. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission was completed with astounding long-term results. Baptisms from all locations exceeded 2000 in number, and many more were preparing to follow.
Many evangelistic tools were combined to make the event a success. The public evangelism was supported by health evangelism in the form of clinics, health expos, free dental and eye services, and additional programs. The health expos alone served 34,000 people! Ted Wilson remarked, quoting from The Ministry of Healing, by Ellen White, “Christ’s method alone in reaching the people will bring true success.” This describes perfectly the combined efforts for this campaign.
Just as important as using the health ministry as the “right arm” of the gospel, God also instructed us to use the printed page, full of “present truth,” during such public meetings. Not only does gospel literature prepare the soil and plant the first seeds for the meetings, but the people come to the meetings with these special truths already in their hands. At home, the “silent messages,” under the working of God’s Spirit, will continue to bring these truths to minds and hearts.
One pastor estimated more than 17,000 lessons were distributed in all locations.
In order to prepare the soil for these meetings, the Zimbabwe Union Conference received a container from Light Bearers filled with Bible lessons and many other printed materials.
Churches worked together since the month of March to enroll people in the Bible study course. Teams of three were formed and sent out by local church leaders to reach every home possible. Nine thousand Bible lessons were circulated in the three main districts of the Chitungwiza meetings. One pastor estimated more than 17,000 lessons were distributed in all locations. Graduations for those who enrolled and completed the course were held before and during the meetings. More than 5,000 graduates received their certificates. At least three quarters of those who were baptized had worked through the lessons.
An article published in the local Zimbabwe Herald newspaper reveals some of the far reaching effects of the Bible lessons: “Eunice Mashakada, widow of the late musician, Cephas Mashakada, last week graduated with a certificate in Bible studies from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Correspondence School.”
I wanted to understand the true meaning of life and also, as a widow, the studies have helped in easing my stress.
Mai Mashakada, who is a member of the Salvation Army, said she decided to undertake the three-month course as a way of enhancing her understanding of the Bible.”I wanted to understand the true meaning of life and also, as a widow, the studies have helped in easing my stress.”
“Studying the Bible will also further enhance my music and help in preaching the word of God through music,” she said.
Eternity alone will tell the influence of these Bible lessons upon hearts.