IN UNITY, FAITH AND PURPOSE
Revelation 12:11 says: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; …”. When we tell testimonies of the Lord God’s power and saving grace on our lives, the devil slinks away tail between legs. So, let us share our amazing stories of God’s love in action and shame the evil one.
We look forward to reading your own story of faith in the coming weeks. Your well-written story should be about 1000 words. Send your story to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected stories will be compiled into an anthology of stories of faith.
Here is today’s story of faith told by Nkosana Khanye. Enjoy! Look out for the next story of faith.
IN UNITY, FAITH AND PURPOSE
We were looking forward to grand news when we met with the CABS (Central African Building Society) representative, Mr Maravanyika. We believed we had made a breakthrough towards the purchase of the Brethren in Christ Church (BICC) house in Budiriro, Harare. It was going to be wonderful to get approval for attaining a mortgage for the house since we had paid up the required deposit. But what he said left us bewildered and speechless.
“I am sorry you did not qualify for a mortgage!
We turned and looked at one another in disbelief. Mr Siso said,
“Aaah … but why?”
“Please check your records carefully, sir. We paid up the required deposit of US$4000.”
“No, you did not. Besides, the cost of the houses has been raised to double what it was. You can see what the economic situation is like. These houses now cost ZW$966,308.00”
What? My head spun a little. Our District Overseer, Rev Absalom Sibanda had just moved into the house at Budiriro. What were we going to do? Where would we place the family? And, the Covid-19 pandemic had just started. What a mess!
“You can salvage the house if you make a cash payment within the next 30 days,” Mr Maravanyika explained. Small comfort. Where would the church get that sort of money in a month? Mr Maravanyika continued matter of fact, “If you fail to make the payment, CABS will have no option but to repossess the house.”
It never rains but pours. We left the meeting disheartened but decided to have a meeting promptly to discuss a way forward.
As I went home, I kept turning things in my mind, wondering where we had gone wrong. As BICC in Harare, we had decided to buy a District house in the new development in Budiriro. There had been two options to purchasing the houses being built in 2018. Each house cost US$43,000.00 The first option was to pay a deposit of US$4,000.00, then obtain a mortgage loan to pay off between 20-25 years. The second was a rent-to-buy option where we had to raise the required deposit by June 2019. We decided on the second option as the church could not raise that deposit of US$4,000.00 immediately. We did manage to pay the deposit by June 2019 by rentals and other moneys the church raised. In December 2019, we decided to seek a mortgage facility. That is when we were then being informed that we never qualified as we did not pay a full deposit.
All stakeholders came to the meeting we called. After prayers, I opened the meeting by saying, “We have a dilemma before us beloved. An elephant has got into the house. How do we get it out? We have no money as a church. What is the way forward?”
That was followed by a barrage of questions.
“I don’t understand. Please explain what happened exactly.”
“Brethren, the instructions from CABS were crystal clear. Where did we miss it? Someone did not do their job well here.”
“Why were we not notified of this earlier?”
“You have messed up guys! This is bad!”
I must say, the emotions were very high and charged. The meeting was not going well at all. I was praying all the while in my heart. I then said,
“Good people, this is not the time to point fingers at one another. The damage has been done. The blame game will not help us at all. This is the time to work together and find a solution to our problem. It is a time to call on God to intervene on our behalf.”
We finally agreed that the best thing was to engage CABS as we felt that they also had not advised us well. We wrote a letter to them asking for a meeting on 16 April 2020 so that they could clarify issues for us. CABS responded on 28 April 2020 and they were agreeable to a meeting. We could not have a face-to-face meeting because of the Covid-19 Lockdown challenges. We agreed to have a virtual meeting. The meeting seconded four people to meet with Mr Maravanyika of CABS. These were Mr Bukhosi Siso, Rev Johane Ncube, Mrs Samukeliso Ndebele and I.
The meeting was cordial. Mr Maravanyika explained that we had not done things correctly somehow.
“You made a mistake. You flawed in the deposit you made because it was not adequate at the end of June 2019. The money should have been transferred to a loan account immediately to avoid various transactional charges that kept being plucked from your deposit. You only made amends in November 2019, but that was long past the deposit deadline.” Mr Siso, our Treasurer, explained that he had actually met with the CABS people earlier to seek a way forward and he had been told they were still reviewing the BICC House case and that we needed to apply for a mortgage. It seemed there were errors on both sides. Mr Maravanyika then concluded the meeting by saying,
“I do understand your dilemma. Please write a letter of appeal which I shall escalate to my superiors on your behalf. Do please attach your bank statements and any other relevant detail. We took the motivation letter to CABS on 8 May 2020. As the Chairman, I encouraged the committee to fast and pray even as the letter went to CABS. My strength base came from Luke 1:37 “For nothing will be impossible with God” (NIV). It also came from Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (NIV).
a)We prayed for Mr Maravanyika to be heard as he presented our plea.
b)We prayed that the CABS officials would reverse the new price for us and that we could still buy the house at the old price of $423,000.00.
c)We prayed that the Lord would be the fourth man in this case as he was for Shadreck, Meshack and Abednego in the furnace of fire.
I must confess, it was a long and anxious wait for the response. But when it came, we saw only the hand of God at work. CABS accepted our plea and also agreed to letting us have the house at the old price. When the amount was converted to US dollars, the cost price came to US$7,000.00. We were given two weeks to make the payment. There was no time to waste. We decided to meet that very Sunday afternoon. All the while, I had a song in my heart that we sang as we started the meeting:
Ohambahamba, phakathi kwethu.
(It translates thus, ‘There is a fourth person walking in our midst’.) The Spirit of the Lord was in our midst as we worshiped and gave thanks to what the Lord had done for us. Then we flowed into another song,
UJehova wasendulo ulokh’ enguye lalamhlanje (Leader)
Nguye, nguye, nguye lalamhla nje.(Other singers)
Ulokh’ engu—ye, Ulokh’ enguye lalamhlanje!(Leader)
Nguye lalamhlanje. (Other singers)
This chorus translates, ‘The Lord Jehovah of yesteryear is still the same One today. It is He, even today’. The worship was electric. God had done for us more that we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20 NIV). The big elephant was facing the door to move out. After floating on cloud nine, we had to come down to earth and find a way of paying the cash required within a short time. Though this was a better challenge, it was still a daunting task to raise US$7,000.00 within a week.
We decided to list the names of all the people in the church we thought might be willing to loan or give some money. We came up with so many ideas on how to achieve our goal. We thought of seeking a loan from someone we could pay back in instalments afterwards. We even approached the BICC Bishop and his Executive including the Finance Committee, trying to enlist their help so we would not lose this house. They were very sympathetic to our cause. It was then I said to the committee,
“Beloved, if we can have 70 people who would each loan us or give us US$100 each, the task would be accomplished in no time.”
Everyone agreed and we made a list and formed a WhatsApp group to campaign in that forum. We notified those we were requesting help from that we needed to raise the said amount by or before June 4, 2020. What happened from then on was mind-boggling. It was so astounding it could only be orchestrated by the Lord God Himself. People began to give and pledge US dollars, South African Rand amounts as well as local RTGS amounts. We watched in amazement and keen participation as brethren and their own contacts gave. People who made donations were both local brethren in Zimbabwe, and some brethren who are now in the diaspora. It was unbelievable. In Ndebele we have a proverb that says, Umfula ugcwala ngezifudlana , literally, ‘A river fills up and flows as many rivulets pour into it’. Some are big and others are small. But they all flow in and enable the river to flow. People gave as they were able. And we were so thankful and praised God as each sum came in. We also thanked all the givers profusely at the end.
As our amazing God and great Giver would have it, we received within the week slightly more than we were trying to raise. We transferred the donated money into the loan account at CABS who responded by giving us a memorandum of agreement for sale that we signed with joy. Then we ran with transfer of the property so the house may belong to BICC. We sang praises to God and thanked Him, thanked all those who gave unstintingly, and also thanked BICC head Office for their willingness to support us even though that did not materialise.
In all of this amazing venture, I also remembered the words of the Psalmist who says, “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame …” Psalm 25:3a NIV. How very true! More than that, I found it really amazing what can be achieved as people work in unity, faith and purpose.
Nkosana Khanye is married to Nobukhosi, and they have three children, Mdumisiwenkosi, Nondumiso and Siyadumisa, whose names denote worshiping God. Khanye is a Security & Investigations Manager at Steward Bank.