Since 2005, the Presbytery of Denver has been in partnership with the Presbytery of Zimbabwe, part of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA). A cluster of the presbytery’s churches have also formed a mission partnership, Zimbabwe KidZ, to advance the educational opportunities for children in Zimbabwe, particularly through the 10 schools operated by the UPCSA.
Initially, the Denver churches envisioned collecting and sending schoolbooks and supplies. But as they talked with their partners in Zimbabwe and visited the UPCSA schools, it became clear that the schools’ greatest need was for safe and reliable water supplies. Because of climate change, drought, and failing infrastructure, many communities receive municipal water infrequently and irregularly. State regulations require educational facilities to have reliable water supplies before they can be registered, so this is a hurdle for the UPCSA’s goal of creating preschool programs in a number of congregations.
In 2014 Zimbabwe KidZ worked with Presbytery of Zimbabwe officials to develop a list of a dozen locations that were prioritized for water development and began to raise funds for the drilling of wells (known in Zimbabwe as “boreholes”). To date, seven boreholes have been completed. One of the most recent is at Mabvuku, on the outskirts of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The borehole’s solar-powered pump fills two 5,000-liter storage tanks.
“Every day we are able to give water to about 300 to 500 people who are not members of our congregation,” writes Rev. Talkmore Chilanga, pastor of Mabvuku UPCSA.
Chilanga said the need for water in Mabvuku has reached an alarming stage. “By 5 a.m. hundreds of people start queuing for water,” he said. In order to avoid putting too much strain on the pump, water can be supplied to a tank for only a few hours each day.
As a result, hundreds of people each day go home disappointed. The disabled and the elderly are the most affected by this critical shortage of water in Mabvuku.
“We pray that we can upgrade the water system in order to increase the supply of water in the area and the opportunity God has given us to minister,” he said. “As a church we believe that we do not live for ourselves but we live for the community in which God has planted us as his light. We give thanks to the Denver mission partnership and Zimbabwe KidZ for supporting us in prayers and financially; that enables us to minister in our community in such a special way.”
Douglas J. Tilton, Mission Co-worker and Regional Liaison, Southern Africa
Today’s Focus: Denver Presbytery
Let us join in prayer for:
Rev. Thomas Sheffield, Presbytery Pastor
Rev. Cathy Ulrich, Interim Stated Clerk
Rev. Amy Mendez, Pastor for Church Development and Multi-Racial Ministries
Beth Carlisle, Communication & Administrative Manager
PC(USA) Mission Co-worker
Doug Tilton, Regional Liaison, South Africa
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Heavenly father, your unconditional love inspires us to be loving, welcoming, and hospitable to our neighbors. Pour into our hearts your compassion; strengthen and guide us as we go forth to make your kingdom tangible. Grant us your peace and surround us with your presence. Amen.