Meet Edwin and Christine Shumba, leaders of the Harare International Church of Christ in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Edwin and Christine Shumba went into the full-time ministry in August 2015 and started leading the church in Harare in August 2018. Last year, God blessed the church with 18 baptisms and three restorations, and they now have 245 members. Currently, like the rest of the population, the brothers and sisters are affected by an unstable economy and high rate of unemployment, limited Internet connectivity, erratic electricity supply, and a shortage of water in some areas in the city.

How were you met?

Edwin: Barnabus Chukwueke invited me to church one Saturday morning during my last year of high school in 1989. I was queuing to make a phone call at a public booth. Barnabus, who had come to Zimbabwe on the mission team while he was still studying the Bible, reached out to me. I was doubtful about attending but ended up doing so. The interracial gathering I saw blew me away. I struggled with honesty and insecurity during the Bible studies but was baptized in 1990. The rest is history.

Christine: A sister called Linda invited me to a Bible discussion in 1989. I was a working single at 19. The sisters lived in a household in my neighborhood and built a friendship with me. Their warmth and love drew me to the church. Although I had grown up in a religious family, I didn’t know my Bible. I was quick to respond to the scriptures because it amazed me that no one had taught me these things before. Two difficult things for me to change were to share my faith with strangers, because I was very timid, and I had to forgive somebody in my past. It took me a while to change these aspects as I battled to think, feel and be like Jesus in this area. Once I had gotten over this hump, by God’s grace, I was happy to become a loyal follower of Christ and was baptized on 17 January 1990.

What is your favorite scripture?

Edwin: My favorite scriptures are in five chapters (38-42) of the book of Job.

Christine: I have many, but I’ll quote Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV) that says, “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

If you could invite anyone in the Bible over for dinner, who would you invite and why?

Edwin: It would have to be Joshua, so I could learn about obedience and humility from him. I’d love to know how he humbly walked under the mentorship of Moses, even though he almost went unnoticed the entire time. I wonder how he kept himself humble despite experiencing the wonders he witnessed when Moses spent time with God. These encounters shaped his character, and it would be great to learn all that from him. Joshua was a man of great obedience and he followed through God’s instructions right up to the end. His discipline and great fear of God is something that I’d love to learn.

Christine: I’d love to serve dinner to Simon Peter. I’ve always admired his resilience and that he was so thick-skinned. Jesus said in his presence, “Get behind me, Satan.” The Bible doesn’t even show if he had an attitude towards Jesus… what a pure heart. Plus, Jesus told Peter he’d betray him when the rooster crowed and he did, but then he was there at Pentecost ready to serve in the Kingdom. I’d ask him about another exciting event: walking on water. That must’ve been an amazing experience until he started sinking, and Jesus had to rescue him. I wonder how he felt, and what he thought about all these situations. Peter is like a rubber ball–always bouncing back. In my Christian journey sometimes I’ve not been spiritually okay and experienced many challenges while working with people because we are all so different. I’d like to imitate Peter’s heart and keep bouncing back and move forward with a godly heart.

What’s the Harare church’s biggest strength?

Edwin: Resilience.

What is your family motto?

Christine: “Togetherness,” broken down as doing things together as a family, with our daughters Rumbidzai Kelly, Lisa, and Laura.