If you can’t leave your job to work in missions, why not be a missionary where you are? As many Zimbabweans are leaving their country in search of employment elsewhere, OM workers are encouraging them to make the most of their gifts in all contexts.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on the decline for over fifteen years. The economic situation has forced many Zimbabweans to move to neighbouring countries and even overseas to Asia and Europe. After realising a good number of nationals are scattering abroad, the local OM team has started working in colleges and universities to disciple and encourage students to study. Their goal is to help young professionals know that everyone was made with certain gifts, skills and abilities to bless others.
Wilfred Sibanda* is one of those young professionals. Wilfred is currently exploring opportunities to move to the Middle East to work as a pharmacist. His conversations with OM worker Alice Chisale – who came to Christ through campus ministry herself – have been a great blessing to him, he said. “Alice has taught me that you can be a missionary wherever you are,” he said.
In the past, OM’s efforts in Zimbabwe focused on motivating church members to realise their call and devote themselves to the mission field.
There was no direct invitation for professionals to join the work in the mission field, unless it was as a financial supporter or if the individual was willing to 'leave their job.'
However, with this new approach, OM has become more holistic, with new efforts dedicated towards reaching students and young professionals in the Generation X category.
“Zimbabwe is blessed with a skilled workforce, and most are able to function anywhere in the world. Our economic circumstances have forced us far and wide. God has scattered Zimbabweans across the world and it's time we empowered people to be able to share the good news in their new locations,” explained Jessica Shumba, the leader of OM in Zimbabwe.
“Though, somewhat forced by the prevailing poor economic conditions in Zimbabwe, there are many churches who have professionals scattered around Europe and Asia and these people want to be equipped on how to share the good news in their new-found bases, but have no idea how to,” continued Jessica.
OM is launching a campus ministry starting with Zimbabwe's biggest university. The ministry will seek to provide discipleship to the students and offer practical opportunities for them to serve in their chosen field of study in a least-reached nation.
Alice is the leader of the campus ministry in Zimbabwe and is seeing great possibilities.
“We seek to disciple and give mission exposure to students on campus,” she said. “Our hope is that after students leave campus, they will be able to join the workforce and use their God-given abilities to influence others for Christ locally or abroad."
Several young professionals including medical doctors and engineers have already enquired about the possibility of serving in the mission field since OM started the new initiative.