Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Miracles in Zimbabwe

A pastor in Harare, Zimbabwe,  Paul Sanyangore claims he has a “direct line” with heaven. Sanyangore is a pastor with Victory World International Ministries Church, an organisation he founded. In the video, which was published in its entirety on YouTube on May 22, Sanyangore holds a mobile to his ear, asking, “Hello? Is this heaven? Is it heaven?” A woman kneels before him with her arms raised. The congregation around him claps and screams after his pronouncements. He asks ‘God’ what he should ask the woman, asking, “What else, Papa God? What else, Papa God?” He tells the crowd that ‘God’ is saying that the congregation needs to pray for her children. ‘God’ tells Sanyangore that the woman has two children, one of whom is asthmatic and the other epileptic, and that they are currently in Bulawayo (a city in southwest Zimbabwe). 

Sanyangore explained the ‘miracle’. "It happened only once. I can’t remember the date. The Bible says in the Book of Numbers that God spoke through a donkey. If God can speak through a donkey, why can’t he speak through a phone? People don’t believe that God spoke in a phone yet they believe that the mouth of the donkey was opened by God, and that God spoke through a burning bush. The problem we have today is that many people call themselves Christians, but they are not Christians. They don’t believe. There are real miracles that happen. If you don’t believe that God spoke in a telephone, why do you believe that the blind man’s eyes were opened or that Jesus walked on water? What he did then he can do today...It’s not me that chose the phone [as a medium of communication with God]. It was God who chose me to use the phone."

Sanyangore founded his church in 2014 and set up a television station in March this year so that followers could watch his services. The church has a large social media following, with a YouTube channel and Facebook and Twitter accounts. People can book their slots being baptised or “delivered” in the swimming pool in Sanyangore’s garden – known as Bethesda Pool, the “pool of mercy”. Sanyangore has performed. He also claims to have walked on water (in aforementioned swimming pool), to have created new kidneys for a man equipped with a catheter, to have healed a child’s broken legs, and to have brought a dead baby back to life

Nigel Mugamu is a journalist in Zimbabwe, and runs the site 263Chat. He says that pastors who claim to perform miracles are quite common in the country.

"...People are struggling, and pastors have stepped in and filled the void. They’re giving people hope. A lot of needy people think that God will give them what they need. Then these people appear and say that they are closer to God than everyone else and that they can do miracles: they pick you out of a crowd, they pick up the phone and talk to God. People are looking for hope, and these prophets are able to provide that hope. They do believe that he has picked up the phone and spoken to God. As crazy as it sounds. People are gullible. They fall for stuff like that." He continued,  "...I do have a problem with the prophets who lie to people and are taking the livelihood of ordinary folk. A lot of these prophets make a lot of money. They’ll have nice suits, pools and big gardens. If you want an audience with the prophet, you’ll pay the church money; the guy sitting in the front row has paid more than the guy sitting in the back. They are misleading people. They’re not being truthful. 

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