The month of May is special to Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (Zaoga) in two ways. The ministry celebrates the birth of Archbishop Professor Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti as well as its anniversary.
Apostle Guti turned 95 on the 5th of May, while the church turned 58 a week later.
This year is also extraordinary as Prof Guti is celebrating 70-years of non-stop proselytisation.
It all started when his mother visited an unnamed place where she heard about the punishment of sinners and decided to share the message with her children.
However, this touched young Ezekiel, who then regularly went into the bush to pray for his soul to be saved.
One afternoon in 1938, he heard a voice saying, “Fear not, sin not”.
This message has been the fulcrum of Apostle Guti’s teachings.
While praying in 1948, he saw the second coming of Jesus Christ in a vision and was immediately filled with the Holy Spirit.
He was given the power to preach salvation and prepare people for the second Parousia.
Five years later, God said to him, “I have taken your hand to heal the sick.”
However, as he preached the word of God and performed signs and wonders, some missionary leaders felt threatened and persecuted him.
A warning came: “Choose between two things, either to leave the church or take a seat on the bench and stop preaching.”
Prof Guti chose the latter.
However, as he set on the bench, he could feel the fire shut up in his bones, just like how Jeremiah felt.
So he started preaching again, much to the consternation of the missionary leaders who then expelled him from their church for insolence.
Prof Guti said when he left the church, he never asked anyone to follow him.
Some of the people who decided to follow him remained obstinate when he asked them to go back to their church.
The dismissal left him shuttered, not knowing what to do.
However, in 1960, the Lord ordered him to leave Highfield, Harare and go to Bindura, where no one would trouble him.
He obliged and on 12 May that year, he started preaching under a gum tree in the capital of Mashonaland Central, which marked the birth of a ministry that has now grown by leaps and bounds.
The ministry, which is also known as Forward in Faith Ministries International (FIFMI) beyond our borders, has now spread to more than 143 nations, including Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States of America, France, Germany, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, Fiji, Jamaica, Dubai, Oman, Qatar, Russia and China.
Archbishop Guti oversees more than 5 000 pastors and evangelists.
The agenda of the ministry is simply to preach the true and uncompromising gospel of Jesus Christ.
This gospel was not instituted on the doctrines of men, but of Jesus Christ, as fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.
He is a humble servant of God who has distinguished himself as a leading personality in the Pentecostal world.
Last August, while visiting Israel, Prof Guti had the honour of being given an opportunity to erect a new building in Bethlehem, which will be known as the “Lighthouse of Mercy”.
Bethlehem is the place where Jesus Christ was born.
Prof Guti has not stopped preaching the word of God as he, together with his wife Dr Eunor, go around the world winning souls to Christ.Many people are awe-struck when they see him jogging at his age, but he said in as much as he exercises physically, the secret is that God grants good health and long life to those who win souls to His Kingdom so they can continue being fruitful.
Mathew Nyaungwa is a journalist and a member of ZAOGA. Email:[email protected]
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