Wheelbarrows of Hope

How one congregation is digging their way to a new church


It’s 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning in Kariba, Zimbabwe.

The sun is shining bright. It isn’t unbearably hot, yet. In a few hours, the heat will be oppressive.

PatrickStory_3Without wasting another minute, members of Kariba Adventist Church hoist pick axes onto their shoulders and climb up a hill to carve out a flat ledge of land. In time, they hope to dig out enough space to build a church. Will you help build a church by making a gift? Thirty years ago, a small group of Adventists started the first Kariba Adventist Church. Today, there are four congregations with 500 members—and no church buildings. One group rents a classroom, another a boat shed, and another pays to use the shade of a tree. ‘People think Adventism is a small church with small people and no buildings,’ says Shadrack Makuvatsini, a member of
the Kariba church. Determined to build a sanctuary of their own, the congregation has been asking the government for a piece of land. They’ve been granted property three previous times—only to have it snatched away. At last, the government granted them this hill. For the Adventists, this was their opportunity to be seen.

So they’ve been digging for a year, steering wheelbarrows of dirt down the slope. And when they come across boulders—huge granite blocks—they burn a fire on top of it overnight. The next morning, they pour cold water over the stone to crack it open and chip it apart.

The work is grueling. The members believe that this time, the land is theirs to keep because no one else would want such a bad location. But Patrick Bafana, the chairman of the Kariba church building committee, thinks the site is perfect.

‘I know this will be a very, very, very good place to have a church, because our church [will be] up on a hill. If people are siPatrickStory_2nging… everyone in the road or where the town is where people stay—they will hear our voice.’

They will be heard.

And they will no longer be seen as a small church with small people.