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Zimbabwe

Welcome to Zimbabwe, a land of dramatic scenic beauty, abundant wild game, and friendly people. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in south central Africa bordered on the north and northwest by Zambia, on the southwest by Botswana, on the east by Mozambique, and on the south by South Africa.

Ministry Vision

By faith, SIM sees its work through a partnership with the United Baptist Church of Zimbabwe (UBC) and other like-minded ministry organizations to which SIM and UBC are sympathetic and supportive. SIM desires to reach Zimbabwe with the good news of Jesus by:

  • compassionately caring for human need as exemplified by Jesus Christ in the Gospels.

  • using every opportunity to present the hope that comes through a personal relationship of faith in Jesus Christ.

  • encouraging both individual Christians and the corporate church to become like Christ.

  • instilling within believers a biblical burden and priority to reach other people groups with the Gospel of Christ.

Current SIM Ministry

Ministries of the church and mission include theological education, secondary schools, children's ministry, bookshops and Christian Education resources, church planting, radio, film outreach, Bible translation, medical ministries, and development projects.

SIM's Partner Church

SIM's history in Zimbabwe, through the Africa Evangelical Fellowship and its forerunners in southern Africa, dates back to 1897. The churches that were planted are now affiliated as the United Baptist Church (UBC). SIM missionaries enter Zimbabwe in fellowship with the UBC. As of January 2003, the UBC had 96 organized churches.

History of Christianity

The first Christian contact with the Shona was initiated by the Portuguese Jesuit Gonzalo da Silveira in 1561. Further efforts followed in the 1600s, but no permanent Catholic presence resulted until 1879; since then, there has been substantial growth. In the two main cities of Salisbury and Bulawayo, the Catholic Church has been most closely associated with the white community. Catholicism in Zimbabwe has been characterized by strong lay activity.

The first Protestant missionary to Zimbabwe was Robert Moffat who opened a London Missionary Society (LMS) station at Inyati in 1859. Several missions tried to follow the footsteps of LMS but were unsuccessful. It was not until 1888 that new groups began work in the country. The Protestant churches have had a significant role in education, medicine, and social service. Before 1970, 90% of all African students received education in government aided church schools.

The British Methodists and the United Methodists (USA) arrived in 1890. The former has a large white constituency while the latter is mostly African. The Salvation Army, which entered in 1891, has the largest single Protestant community, which is predominately Shona and is increasing in size at a fast rate.

AEF/SIM began work in Zimbabwe in 1897 when the first missionaries arrived from South Africa to establish stations in the eastern highlands. They aimed to reach the people of Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which was then a closed country. From this station, they were able to cross the border freely.

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