By Veronica Gwaze
Exactly 40 years ago, Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (Zaoga) founder Archbishop Ezekiel Guti and wife Eunor tied the knot in a special marriage that was to stand the test of time and become an exemplary symbol of true love and commitment.
What makes this love story unique is that the couple walked down the aisle on their first date and a day after lobola payment.
Until he was introduced to the young Eunor, the now 96-year old Baba Guti had almost relegated the idea of marriage on the margins of his mind especially after the death of his first wife.
He had to stay in bachelorhood for 15 years but with Zaoga growing so phenomenally to about 80 churches in 1979, elders thought it wise and respectable that the man of God found a helper.
This had to take prayers and fasting as the church elders sought God’s guidance on Archbishop’s marital destiny.
“I was ready to die single as I had lived for 15 years without a wife. It was not easy as my mind was so much engrossed in God’s work. But when someone explained to me at the bible school what scriptures say about marriage, my perception of marriage changed,” said Archbishop Guti.
He reminisced about his early days as a preacher when he would visit Harare Hospital where a bevy of young nurses would admire him but he never paid attention.
This is how the long-time preacher became disciplined.
“The girls would say “mudhara wemagirazi uyo” (that bespectacled man) but I understood my calling. I barely paid attention to any of that save for preaching the gospel,” he narrated with a chuckle.
A young beautiful Eunor was also part of the single girls at Harare Hospital although she was a church youth leader.
As years went by, the Zaoga church elders made a decision which was to give birth to one of the formidable and admirable marriages in the Christian community.
It was time for the Archbishop to settle down again.
“They (elders) had meetings for three days praying about the issue and several names came up but failed to qualify. I then said there was a rich white lady in America who I could marry. The church elders requested for more time to search for a suitable lady,” said the Archbishop.
As the search went on, one of the elders suggested that Eunor would be an ideal partner for the Archbishop given her dedication and commitment to the church.
She had at the time moved from Harare Hospital to Morgenstar in Masvingo.
“Everyone (elders) nodded in agreement (that Eunor was the ideal partner) and it was arranged that an elderly woman — Mrs Nkomo — be sent to Eunor.
“I knew she loved me as a Pastor but never imagined we could be married one day.”
As the talks were going on, Ezekiel and Eunor were not allowed to meet before marriage. Amai Guti interjected and revealed an interesting ordeal of how God spoke to her about her marital destiny.
It was a Monday morning back then in 1979 during a prayer session while she was off duty.
“I had dedicated my life to serving the Lord and vowed that Jesus was my husband and the engagement ring was the Holy Spirit.
“As I was praying, I spoke in tongues and heard a voice saying; are you willing to do my will? I quickly replied, yes, as I thought the ‘will’ was that I shouldn’t marry.
“The voice continued asking me if I wanted to get married and I said yes again thinking it was my vow to Jesus.”
The following day while she was at work she received a phone call during tea-break.
Narrating her love story with a beaming smile Amai Guti said it was that phone call that changed her life forever.
It was Mrs Nkomo, the church emissary who had been sent to sweet-talk young Eunor to marry the Archbishop.
“Baba is back and he has been allowed to marry. You are the chosen one,” Amai Guti narrated how the message was relayed to her by Mrs Nkomo.
“I dropped the phone and cried. I went into a trance speaking in tongues.
“The Holy Spirit reminded me of His words the previous day. He said this is it,” said Amai Guti.
She did not know how to break the news to anyone and went to her room.
Archbishop Guti was her Pastor and never imagined she could be his wife.
“I pretended to be fine as I met my roommates but deep down I was in shock. For days, I could not eat properly until that lady (Mrs Nkomo) came to explain.
“I said, if it is God’s will, let it be done. It was not easy.”
Lobola negotiations started after a month and everything went on smoothly.
The couple never wasted time as they got married on their first date.
They were blessed with seven children, two of which are now late, 22 grandchildren. They also have great grandchildren from Archbishop’s first marriage.
As one of the Christian power couples, the Gutis have been serving God ever since they were married.
They also revealed how they run churches in 144 countries.
Archbishop Guti said, “We are a God fearing couple; God and His will come first before our self-interests.
“The church belongs to God. We should be guided by the Word which is why we are still together.
“We do not pursue money. The love of money is the major reason why we have problems in some churches.” Sunday Mail