By Veronica Gwaze
Zaoga celebrates its 59th anniversary today and the sermon, which marked the beginning of this institution was delivered in Bindura under a eucalyptus tree, a site that now houses Ezekiel Guti University.
Ironically, like a gum tree whose deep, red, strong and steady heart is not appreciated by many, most people did not realise the sermon was to mark the birth of a church that would go on to spread its wings the world over.
The now revered Archbishop Guti received his calling when he was only 14 years old in Ngaone, Chipinge. He narrated that he got a calling on three occasions. On the initial encounter, young Guti heard music in the air and an angel appeared to him saying ‘fear not, sin not’.
Two more experiences were in Vumba and Harare, thereby sealing the launch of his ministry.
At 24, he got baptised and started preaching at Rhodesian Force Club upon moving to reside in Highfield. In 1956, Guti purchased a cottage in Highfield. It is at this cottage that he got a revelation to make it a prayer base for Africa.
This house is now known as Cottage 593 and is a semblance of the long history of the church.
“It was on a Saturday, I was fasting and praying reading the book of Acts, with a young man at Cottage 593 when suddenly, the house was filled with bright light and we both fell on our faces.
“The Lord appeared and suddenly I was caught up in the spirit, I was taken up in the air, wondering what it was. A voice said if I would overcome temptations, he was going to take me to another country, train me and bring me back to teach my people,” revealed Archbishop Guti.
Another revelation came in 1960, instructing him to leave Highfield for Bindura. Guti was to deliver his first sermon under a gum tree on his birthday on May 12.
In Bindura, Guti stayed in a cave and survived on food from well-wishers.
A year later, a second assembly was launched in Malawi, followed by another in Marondera. The same happened in Masvingo, Mutoko, Gutu and Highfield respectively.
By 1970, Archbishop Guti had planted 47 assemblies around the country. He left for the United States a year later to enrol in Bible School.
Four years later, he returned home and the church’s assemblies had increased to 52. In the ensuing months, assemblies were also established in Mozambique and Zambia with the total being 67 by 1990.
Gracious Women’s Fellowship, a ministry focusing on women in the church, was launched in 1994, the same year the church held a march to demonstrate its stance against homosexuality.
“Currently, the church is in more than 148 nations and states and it is continuing to grow. I do not take the church to be mine, it is God‘s church and I am his servant. This is how we have managed to stay intact.
“A servant leader does not do what he likes with the church and its funds, a leader should be controlled by God. Until the church is run by true and God fearing leaders with true callings, issues of church splits will never cease,” said Archbishop Guti.
Archbishop Guti has reached places that include Australia, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, New Zealand, USA, the Dominican Republic, South Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Islands, among others, to spread the word of God. The Sunday Mail