Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sveto Discards Witchcraft for Christianity

This is a follow up the the 'flight on a willowing basket story':

Sveto Discards Witchcraft for Christianity
Tendai Hildegarde Manzvanzvike
29 September 2009

Harare — The statement that life is full of arrivals and departures best describes Regina Sveto's saga.
Hers has been a life of embarrassment, pain, fear and defeat. On very few occasions probably has she experienced laughter, joy and triumph. However, the doom and gloom could be a thing of the past.
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Dear reader, this writer proclaims celebratory news of a transformed life. Regina converted to Christianity on July 10. Her husband Collen Zemba and mother-in-law Mrs Rosa Zemba were also born-again at the same time.
On May 23, the 21-year-old mother of two made stunning revelations that she and her father-in-law, Elias Zemba, and aunt, Philda Zemba, had "flown from Murehwa in a winnowing basket" with the intention of killing her brother-in-law Tobias Zemba through witchcraft.
The evil act was aborted when Regina refused to perform the ritual, and she was dumped by her in-law, resulting in her being caught.
This writer has followed developments since learning about the conversion on July 12. However, the weekend of September 19 saw the culmination of her conversion when a Harare Pentecostal church that led them to Christ launched a local assembly in the village where Regina resides.
More than 100 men, women and children from Zihute Village in Murehwa and worshippers from the Glad Tidings Fellowship Church (Harare) gathered at the Nyamanjiva homestead for the launch.
The worshippers travelled to Murehwa in a hired bus and several private vehicles and they included the church choir led by Elder Maziva Nyagura who leads the Tehila choir.
Elder Nyagura was among the church members who remained behind to lead the Sunday service, and set up the new church's administrative structures. A powerful public address system and musical instruments were part of the ensemble.
The place was a hive of activity with lots of praise and worship, dance, testimonies, preaching and good food. Several believers gave dynamic testimonies, including a former freedom fighter who is now a church elder.
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Another woman also testified that she had been miraculously cured of HIV and Aids. Those who testified made it clear that they had not been living rosy lives before they became Christians.
They gave testimonies and told the new converts that the Christian walk needed devotion and total commitment. They also encouraged them and said that it was the best choice they ever made. However, the person of the moment was Regina.
On both days, she gave powerful testimonies that captivated the congregation. When Regina, who was sitting between her mother-in-law and neighbour Francisca Chidawaya stood up, most people seemed to realise that she was the one.
For, she was smartly dressed, in a green two-piece suit, a brand new pair of tennis shoes and matching headgear. Regina narrated the May 23 events in Highfield and other acts of witchcraft they engaged in.
"Ndini amai vamakanzwa vekuenda kuHarare nechisero kundoroya. Anondiona, ndiani angandifungidzira? Asi zvakaitika. Ndinotenda Jesu vakandirangirira. Ndiri kufara," she said. (I'm the woman you have heard about who 'flew to Harare in a winnowing basket' to perform acts of witchcraft. If you look at me, would you believe that I would be capable of doing that? But it happened. However I want to acknowledge the Lord's favour upon me. He remembered me. I am now a Christian and I am happy.)
She said she was pleased that the Lord had shown her that he loved her notwithstanding what she had done, and that He had always loved her, and would always do.
"Jesus is in me and there is no turning back. I am praying for the family in Pfungwe to get converted."
Just before sunset on Saturday, two of her brothers-in-law, Simba and Clever, went forward and accepted the Lord Jesus, together with more than 40 other people.
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In a separate interview at the Zemba homestead, Regina told The Herald: "I am now at peace. When the men of God came and preached the word, we accepted it. They prayed for us and have been encouraging us.
"I haven't had those visions I used to have, where I would end up at the cemetery. We're sleeping peacefully. We used to fight a lot with my husband, but not anymore.
"Sometimes I ask myself where the Lord was when I had to go through all this. I regret the time I wasted doing this. But I thank the Lord. It's quite evident that we are not the people you saw the last time you were here", said the soft-spoken Regina.
Collen is also a living testimony of a transformed life.
Clad in a cream executive suit, Bible in hand, he exuded confidence as he gave his testimony -- 2 Corinthians 5: 17 was his password: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come."
The laughter and smiles showed that Collen was now a happy man.
He said: "This marks the beginning of permanent change in my family's life. I have faith in the Lord."
Mrs Rosa Zemba also confirmed that since members of the church held a crusade at her homestead, they had not experienced the problems that had been affecting Regina.
"I thank the church for responding to our plea. I am also grateful for the donation of clothes to my daughter-in-law since she lost all clothes at the cemetery", said Mrs Zemba.
Regina confirmed that she had so far received two suits, six skirts and blouses, a pair of shoes head scarves and a pair of shoes for their son from the church.
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"When I first received the skirts and blouses, we decided to burn the few old clothes I had. We know that the pastor had said that they wanted them destroyed, but we felt that having them in the house might lure the spirit.
"I also feel encouraged by my husband and mother-in-law's support.
"However, today was more special because many people (more than 80) received the Lord, and a church has been started here. Among the converts were my brothers-in-law Simba, who witnessed the events in Harare; and Clever."
Even Clever and Simba seemed amazed at the positive changes in their family.
They also said that since the evangelists started coming to their home, the weird things that used to take place at their homes (in Murehwa and Harare) had stopped.
Simba said: "The problem was that people who claimed to be assisting us were just 'faith healers' (taingoshandirwa). We could not pray on our own . . . One of the first things I'll do to celebrate this is to have my marriage solemnised in church. My wife has already agreed to change her denomination."
Had the church reached out to Mr Elias Zemba?
Collen, who was part of the organising team said: "I told him, but unfortunately he did not come."
But, how did this happen? The Herald spoke to the GTF leadership and this is what Pastor Wonder Matawu had to say: "We had had plans to plant a church in that part of Murehwa since one of their elder is from there. However, the witchcraft incident fast-tracked our plans.
"After media reports, we saw the need to preach the Word to the family. We first went there on July 10, spoke to the family, and preached the Lord Jesus Christ. We also prayed with them regarding the demonic spirits that were tormenting their family.

"We went and prayed at the cemetery -- the grandfather's grave -- which was allegedly used as the centre of all the evil activities.
"On July 11, the senior pastor sent back a team to Murehwa to pick up the family and they spent the night at his house. On Sunday, they attended church service with us. After that, we had evangelists visiting them every Wednesday and Sunday to teach the Word and pray with them.
"They only came to Harare when we had big Sunday services. The church provided transport. We are happy with where we have gotten so far. They have a positive mind towards God.
"We are being called names at the moment, but the Lord will reveal His power, and more souls will be harvested. We will not put pressure on the father-in-law because we believe the Lord's works should speak for themselves," said Pastor Matawu.

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