People imagine a lot of things about Zimbabwe. Unstable politics? Food shortages? An entire continent supported by aid?
All these things are undoubtedly part of the story of this incredible continent and country but my experience after a couple of weeks in Zimbabwe is very different!
Here, the Church is alive! Faith is part of every aspect of peoples lives, from the joyful celebrations of the Mass on Sunday mornings to the scripture quotation painted on the side of the commuter omnibuses.
Zimbabwe is a very safe country to travel around and utterly beautiful. So far I have been at Baptisms in swimming pools, the Harare Diocese Clergy conference, a wonderful memorial service in a poor rural community, birthday parties, home visits, youth groups and much besides. In the next couple of weeks, as I travel out east towards the Mozambique border, the trees that line Harare’s wide boulevards will burst into bloom with delicate purple flowers in the warm (for an Englishman) winter sun.
What will I have learnt here? That Jesus lives in communities of hospitality and generosity. That he lives in people’s making the Bible important in their daily lives. And that he lives when Mass is celebrated amongst friends gathered around a small, bare table next to a tiny farm shack in the middle of the bush.