Zimbabwe bishop to speak at Hillsboro UM Church

Bishop Eden Nhiwatiwa of the Zimbabwe United Methodist Church will be the guest speaker at a worship service at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 29, at the Hillsboro United Methodist Church, 905 E. D St.

A reception will follow about 8 p.m. in his honor. The public is invited to both.

For the past year the HUMC has had a partner relationship with the Fern Valley UMC of Zimbabwe. Through this partnership nearly 100 prayer-partner relationships have been established between HUMC members and youth and children at Fern Valley UMC.

Cards, letters and e-mails have been exchanged, as well as funding for a children?s feeding program, repair of a house damaged by fire, payment of school fees for a number of children, and other items.

Arrangements are being made to purchase mosquito nets for the children of Fern Valley to prevent them from catching malaria.

Bob Unruh, HUMC treasurer who recently made a trip to Zimbabwe, said, ?This may be our church?s finest hour,? speaking of what has been accomplished through this partner??ship.

Bishop Nhiwatiwa and his wife will be touring the state as the Kansas West Conference of the UMC establishes a partner relationship with the Zimbabwe East Conference.

?Zimbabwe is a country of great needs,? said Charles Grant, HUMC pastor. ?Unemploy?ment runs at 85 percent or higher, runaway inflation a year ago?up to 300 million percent?has made their money useless. They currently are using the U.S. dollar. Life expectancy is only 45 years.

?Yet in spite of all these hardships?or perhaps because of them?the church is growing like wildfire in Zimbabwe,? Grant added. ?Twenty percent increase per year is the norm there.

?Some churches meet in the open air with no building at all. Many churches have only an open air shed with a roof and dirt floor for their building. Church schools, which are usually better than public schools, have perhaps one text book for every eight children.?

Grant said Bishop Nhiwatiwa will be reporting about the church in Zimbabwe during the worship service and will be consecrating the elements for communion using a communion cloth that was used at the 100th anniversary celebration of Methodism in Zimbabwe.

For more information, contact Grant at 877-7773.

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