Small No More
Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe, then the world’s largest human-made reservoir, was completed in 1960. The first Seventh-day Adventists arrived in Kariba around 1962, when four BaTonga tribesmen moved from Malamulo Mission Station in Malawi to work in the lake’s growing tourism and fishing industries.
Of course, they started a church beneath a large mango tree, meeting Wednesday evenings and Sabbaths. The church grew. They rented worship space wherever they could find it, and even chopped out hillsides in hopes of constructing a real church building. Unfortunately, 53 years later the church members were still renting, chopping, and hoping.
The Lake Kariba Seventh-day Adventists become known as “the small people with no buildings.”
“We are OK with being small groups of Christians,” said Kariba pastor Benevolence Shonhiwa, “but we continue to work and pray for solid, permanent buildings.”
When Zimbabwe’s church leaders visited the lake in 2011, they asked a crucial question. “If you could only have one, would you prefer a church or a school?”
“If we have a church building, we will fill it,” members answered. “But if we have a school, we will need many church buildings to hold our new members.”
The leaders listened, helped the members secure a six-acre plot of land, and asked Maranatha Volunteers International to build a One-Day School campus at Lake Kariba.
Volunteers arrived on April 12, and a week later had completed nearly all of the 12 buildings overlooking Lake Kariba. Every concrete slab, every truss, and every wall was raised with prayer. The new campus includes space for more than 400 students—and a double-size multipurpose building to serve as a church!
“These buildings are a giant evangelism center,” says Enock Chifamba, executive secretary of the Zimbabwe Union. “No one will ever again call these members ‘the small people with no buildings’!”
Lakeview Adventist School began classes on May 7, 2013.
The One-Day Church program is a collaborative effort between the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI), and Maranatha Volunteers International. These stories come to you each month from Maranatha storyteller Dick Duerksen.