reprinted with amendments from The Sunday Mail

by Pamela Mwachumo

Passengers hustle to take their seats on a bus that is ready to depart from the Road Port bus terminal in Harare for Johannesburg, South Africa. Vendors are also not to be outdone as they push their way out of the luxury coach that is already in motion for the journey of over a thousand kilometers.

Amid all this jostling, suddenly a loud voice cries out, “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! This morning I am going to read from Proverbs 10:4 which says, ‘lazy hands make a man poor but diligent hands bring wealth’.” 

There is a sudden silence among the passengers who seem to have been taken by surprise. The preacher, Pastor Perseverance Hara of the Pentecostal Association of Zimbabwe, then continues with his sermon before the attentive audience. “I bring the gospel of diligent hardworking to the cross-border traders,” he says.

Pastor Hara quotes another verse, Proverbs 19:14: “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents…” — He then elaborates the teaching, “Most people just work not knowing that they have to work for their children and to leave them wealth after they are gone. I teach people to work hard for the sake of their children.”

This powerful speaker mesmerises the passengers with the way he addresses topical societal issues. After delivering the sermon, the pastor pulls another surprise as he transforms from a preacher into a trader offering Bibles for USD10 each and other books with topical titles such as Families Under Stress for USD2.  Children’s literature is also available for USD1.

He continues with this routine throughout the day and knocks off around 4 pm just in time to catch the City-Marimba freedom train. There, he continues with his business/service.

Pastor Hara is one of the many men and women of God who have taken to open-air services to preach the Word and sell Scriptures. The Scriptures used to be distributed for free but they are now being sold, and Pastor Hara explains why. “We used to get these Scriptures free of charge from donors, but they have since stopped that so we have to buy them for resale.”

Open-air services in Harare’s city centre are a common scene every lunch hour. Interestingly, two or even three pastors can be seen ministering near each other at the same time.

Pastor Ticharehwa Warenga of FEPAZI Good God Church is a regular preacher in the Africa Unity Square. While he conducts his sermons, a colleague will be distributing pamphlets inviting potential worshippers to join their church.

In the same square, Apostle Brezhnev Gwenzi of Royal Family of God International Ministries is just winding up his message. He then invites people to buy some DVDs for USD1 each for a follow-up of his teachings.