By Emmanuel Makandiwa
On August 30 2011, a dark cloud hung over Zimbabwe’s Christian community, as we had lost arguably the greatest evangelist to emerge from the land, Evangelist Phanuel Dzangare Chiweshe.
It is unfortunate the news broke out just four days after I had returned into the country from a spiritually uplifting time with my spiritual father, Prophet Victor Kusi Boateng. The great evangelist was no more.
I had known the evangelist from the time I was born. He was a close friend of our family and we lived at the same house as an extended family in the high-density suburb of St Mary’s in Chitungwiza.
From the time I was old enough to reason, I began to admire his walk; a walk I can best describe as blameless and upright, a model Christian walk. As I grew up, I had a chance to watch him minister at crusades. His passion and focus were evident every time he stood to take up the microphone.
His crusades drew large crowds, and were characterised by miracles, healings and deliverance. Thousands of souls turned to Christ after hearing the gifted and anointed evangelist. As the crusades continued, so did the man’s influence. One could now listen to his sermons on audio tapes.
It was not uncommon to hear messages like Baba veBenzi, Tsano Handei, Vaeni Vabvepi, Departure Lounge and many others being played in commuter omnibuses or loudly in homes, hi-fi-in-veranda style. As the saying goes, the tallest tree suffers the most wind; his influence also brought with it persecution.
Enemies of his soul-winning train were trying by all means to derail it, but the man remained resolute and committed to his calling. He was always applying the right approach towards his work and executed it in a business-like manner.
Every time I watched him do what he could do best, winning souls. And I drew closer to him; observing and learning from him. By the time I received a call to ministry I had learnt a lot from this evangelist. He was a willing teacher and even when he was silent, his life was there to learn from.
Through learning from Evangelist Chiweshe I have been able to hold successful crusades even though I was called to be a prophet and not an evangelist. I give full credit to Evangelist Chiweshe for the many souls we are winning at our crusades.
I started ministry in Bulawayo in 2003. When I moved to Harare in 2006 it was Evangelist Chiweshe who welcomed me into the province he was heading in Chitungwiza. And he gave me an assembly to pastor. As my overseer I could see his effective leadership style as he led by example.
He could call me any time to lay his hands on me or give guidance. I would not hesitate to say that of all the men I have come across in Zimbabwe, here was the only man I can boldly declare was full of wisdom and exhibited a high level of maturity.
The story of Evangelist Chiweshe would be incomplete without mentioning the good influence he exerted on his family, especially his wife and sons. After fathering many spiritual children including lots of pastors whom, if they are humble enough, would declare that he brought them to repentance and laid the foundation for their pastoral work.
He imparted his gift on his wife, who is a powerful evangelist. His biological sons have also exhibited what was in their father. We have lost a man who undoubtedly qualifies to make it into the faith heroes list of Hebrews Chapter 11.
However, all hope is not lost for the nation and the world at large because what I see, prophetically, is that Evangelist Chiweshe managed to deposit the same seed into his biological sons. Those who have listened to Bishop Talent Dzangare Chiweshe preaching would agree. So we need to pray for him and the rest of the family.
Rest in peace, great evangelist.
Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa is the Founder and President of United Family International Church.