Tongogara Anglican refugees

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From Ben Bradshaw, a Student at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield

I have recently returned from a four week placement in Zimbabwe as part of my ongoing training for the Priesthood at the College of the Resurrection. One of the most moving experiences I had during my time in Zimbabwe was a visit to the Tongogara refugee camp, located in an extremely isolated part of the Zimbabwe Bush, many miles from anywhere. It was at this camp that Father Nicolas, Carl Melville and I were introduced to a quite remarkable community of Anglican refugees. This small community impressed me so much by their faith and love of God I have agreed to help them to raise funds so they can build a proper church, something they so desperately want and need.  

This Anglican community have spent the last few years of their lives at the Refugee camp and with the Zimbabwe Government refusing to allow them citizenship, this is where they will continue to live for the considerable future; some refugees have been at the Camp since it first opened in 1999. All the refugees have fled from war-torn countries such as Congo and Rwanda and have suffered a great deal. Life in the camp is very tough; all refugees rely on UN aid for food and basic schooling.

Yet despite all of this, the Anglican community is thriving, they are faithful and sing and dance with such enthusiasm for their love of God, which is their most valuable possession. It moved and humbled me a great deal to meet such wonderful people and it is for that reason I have agreed to help them to raise the US$6,000 they need to build a church.

The building they currently use for worship is in a bad state. It is small, badly furnished and the paint is peeling off! You will see in the photos above how basic and run down a building it is.

For the 24 hours of Monday 11th October I will be conducting a prayer vigil, starting at midnight. For the whole of Monday I will be in prayer in the College of the Resurrection Oratory, as I believe it is so important both to pray for this refugee community as well as to support them financially in building them their church they so desperately need. I am inviting as many people as possible to join me in prayer on the 11th, wherever their location. For people nearby to the College there will be a collection plate in the Oratory for anyone who wishes to leave a donation to the building of this most needed church. However for the many people who will be praying from far away, cheques can be posted, please make them payable to;  

'Community of the Resurrection-Zimbabwe Fund' 

and then please post them to me; 

Ben Bradshaw

4 Tannery Court

Mirfield

West Yorkshire

WF14 9DR

It is going to be a huge challenge for me to raise US$6,000 but this Anglican community of refugees moved me a great deal by their complete faith and love in God. They lead the most basic of lives in tough conditions, yet the one thing they want more than anything is a proper church that they can all worship in together. They are in the middle of the Zimbabwe Bush miles from anywhere; hardly anyone even knows they exist. They are a forgotten about community with no one to help them, no one else is fundraising for them. This is why I am going to do all I can to help this congregation both in prayers and finances but I need your help. 

Thank you for reading this and please feel free to contact me directly, if you wish, at bbradshaw@mirfield.org.uk

Ben Bradshaw