ccm Cross 0070
February 16, 2017

Youth for Christ at Willow Park
Esigogini, Zimbabwe
ccm Cross 0070

GPS/DMS 20° 16′ 51.1” S 28° 50′ 5.64” E

4327- 4331 cdd Love Poured Out
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 18 Number 097

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” NKJV

Hello. We are Sheunesu (Pronounced Showness) and Susan Masuka with Youth for Christ Zimbabwe (YFCZ), in Africa. This is our Cross testimony of how Jesus Christ is alive and actively involved in our lives.

I’m Susan Masuka the Campsite Director for Willow Park Campsite, Esigodini, Zimbabwe. A ministry of Youth for Christ in Zimbabwe. It’s all about Young People knowing Jesus.

I was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the youngest of six children. My dad started working for the Zimbabwean railroad as a coal shoveler on a steam locomotive. He worked his way up becoming an engineer then eventually becoming an Area Traffic Manager. My Mother was a nurse. I grew up in a traditional religious family that attended church every Sunday and we were taught that there was a God in heaven.

When I was 16 our school introduced us to the Jesus Film. The life of Christ came alive for me and I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I wanted to know Him more.

When I graduated High School, I worked for nine months in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, then I moved to our capital in Harare.  I was seeking a better job and moved in with my older sister, her husband and their new baby girl. Two years later I was working for the World Bank. A friend of mine invited me over to her house. Her mom was the head of our women’s group at church. I stumbled into a room in the house and found traditional native carvings and animal skins used for ancestral worship. I was shocked and confused. My friend’s little sister told me she was a traditional healer.

I could not understand how she could believe in Jesus and be a traditional healer at the same time. I bought some books associated with that church to help me pray and hopefully get closer to God. When I opened the first book I immediately saw a vision of flames of fire before me and I was gripped with terrible fear. I dropped the book and never read any of them. I knew it was time to leave this church.

God guided me to another church where I found that I began to grow in a thriving young adult ministry. It was in these meetings that I met Sheunesu Masuka.

A few months later, at a birthday party for a friend from church, I was tapped on the shoulder and told, “one day you’ll make some man a good wife.” That was the beginning of my relationship with Sheunesu. He moved away to Bulawayo and I stayed in Harare. By then my contract with the World Bank had ended. I was now working for the United Nations. We grew into very good friends — then Sheunesu and I fell in love (before cell phones) through the letters we wrote faithfully one another and a weekly phone call.

December 21st, 1996, we were married. I resigned from my UN position in Harare moving to Bulawayo where Sheunesu was working for an IT company. It was in Bulawayo we decided would be the best city for us to raise our family.

We were married at a time in Zimbabwe when very many of our friends and family were leaving Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand or the United States. They were leaving as our economy was collapsing and everyone was losing their jobs. Two years later I gave birth to Samantha, on the 17th of May 1998. The economy was continuing to suffer deep distress and my brother in the United Kingdom sent me a ticket to join him and his wife. So that I could escape the trauma of the collapse.  But I couldn’t leave Sheunesu and Samantha. Two weeks before I was to fly out we cancelled the flight and I stayed with my family.

The next year on the 29th of April 2001 our son Micah was born. As a family, we were committed to do the best we could through the turmoil of Zimbabwe. We struggled like all the other families and with the help of the Lord we got by.

Four years later, in July 2005 I received a visa to go to the UK to attend a church congress. My hope was that after the congress I would find work, study and remain in the UK sending needed money back to our family . Two days into the conference whilst praying with a couple, the Lord gave the husband a special message for me.  It was that I was to go back home to Zimbabwe and God would make a way for our family to walk through all the turmoil.

During the collapse of the Zimbabwe economy
inflation was out of control and money like
above was necessary for a bag of groceries.

Initially I was stubborn and disobeyed the Lords word. I continued with my plan to enroll into college.  Then one night Sheunesu phoned to say he was at the hospital with Micah who was very sick. Immediately I knew I had to go home. That day I changed my flight and flew back to Zimbabwe.

I thank God for forcing me home because four years later on the 28th of September 2009 our daughter Samantha passed away from liver failure. The economy had continued to decline but God had made a way for us.  I was grateful for the time I had with my daughter, it cannot compare to the degree of guilt I would have had if I had stayed in the UK. Samantha had given her heart to Jesus in 2007 and she had been baptized on the 1st of January 2009. She loved the Lord passionately and we have no doubt that she is with Him now in heaven.

We were devastated as we buried Samantha on the 1st of October 2009. Two weeks later I was diagnosed with cervical cancer.  My faith was now at its lowest, and to make matters worse we did not have health insurance because of the distress and high inflation in the economy.

This was the biggest spiritual storm of my life. We were facing a large doctors bill and an enormous hospital bill. The doctor was sympathetic and suggested we contact our previous Health Insurance company and ask for reinstatement. We prayed. The Health Insurance man laughed at me. He threw me out of his office.

Then as if an angel from the Lord took control of him he rushed at me and asked me to give him my documents. He said he would pass my request on to the proper people. That was at  12.00 noon. He asked me to return at 2:00 PM. When I returned he gave me the wonderful news that I was approved for reinstatement. We only had to pay a $400.00 reinstatement fee.

I went in for my biopsy and when I woke up playing in my ear phones was the song “Do You Trust Me?” It is recording artist Donnie McClurkin. It was as if Jesus was speaking just to me. I broke down and cried, through the tears I said “Yes, Lord I do — please help me to trust you more.”  I was scared and I did not know whether I was going to survive the cervical cancer.

I had the surgery and five years later, February 2015, I received my cancer free certificate. The Health Insurance paid the $5,000 doctors bill in full and the hospital bill in full. The surgeon gave us grace and said we could pay off our $1,500 shortfall when we got the money. It took us one and half years to pay him off. May the Lord richly bless my doctors.

Six months after the cancer scare we discovered that I was once again pregnant. Our family was shocked, joyful and excited. Unfortunately, we lost the baby at three months. This sent me into a serious spiral of depression. I looked good on the outside but my heart was crushed, I had lost two children within a space of nine months. A dark cloud of depression settled over me and I didn’t know how to shake it off.

A few months later we were at a church family luncheon and I was chatting with two of our young people (a brother and a sister) in the kitchen. They shared how heartbroken they also had been about the baby we lost. Then the sister said to me “never mind Auntie, God’s plans are not to harm us.” Her words were like an ice-cold bucket of water that washed over me during the hottest African sun. It immediately lifted that heavy cloud of depression that had surrounded me. The cloud was gone and Jesus was not done with me yet — He was just beginning!

The Lord spoke to me a year later when I was in Namibia during a Youth Ministry training session. We were watching the movie “The Father Heart of God.” As soon as the Fathers son died I broke down and grief overwhelmed me afresh. In that moment I heard the Lord say to me “Susan I understand what it is to lose a child, I understand.” I had been trying to bandage my broken heart without giving it to Jesus — the only healer of hearts. I got out from the lesson and surrendered my heart to the Lord Jesus and asked Him to heal my broken heart. I sat in my room and cried for two hours, I said Lord here is my heart please heal me and He did.

When I came out of my room a class mate said that God had given her a message for me and she had written it down. I quickly read it and it said, “I understand”. It was at this same training that I learned about the scripture Malachi 4:2a “To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” NKJV.  It set me free to know that Jesus hides me under the shadow of His wings where the healing is!

Then we had an opportunity to complete a full circle of healing through Jesus. We were driving down the road when we came upon a car accident that had just occurred. A small boy was asked to wait at the curb until the matron in charge of all the children could escort others across the street and return for him. He could not wait and bolted into traffic dying instantly as a car hit him. In the past, we would have driven on, fearful of what to do and say. Not this time. We knew what the Lord would have us do.

We comforted the matron, the other children and the driver. We then worked with the police to find and collect the mother and the father of the dead boy. We helped by picking up the mother first. The Lord enabled us to comfort and stand with her as she received the devastating news. Then we drove to pick up the dad. God gave us the strength and words to minister life to him on the way to identify his sons body.

It was now time to end our grieving and move forward with the Lord. Our call is ministering to young people and serving Him joyfully to the glory of His name.

After this incident, we remembered that exactly a month before Samantha died, at the end of a couples retreat in Harare, our Pastor came to us and told us that God had a word for us. He spoke out, “God said to tell you that He wants to use you in a mighty way to help those who hearts are heavily weighed down and broken.”

We are surrendered to the will of the Lord and His plan and purpose for our lives because He promises us in His Word that only His plans and purposes for our lives are the ones which will prevail.

I’m Sheunesu Masuka National Director for Youth for Christ in Zimbabwe. My friends call me Sharky though I now prefer my real name as it has such significance in my faith.

I was born in Zvishavane, Zimbabwe the middle of five children. Dad was a good man, a policeman, but not a Christian at first. Mom taught us about Jesus and when the church doors were open we were there. I enjoyed church and never did anything that shamed my parents. As a church goer I was the best. Then our youth leader invited me to a Youth for Christ Crusade. I was excited to learn more about Jesus but what happened that night I never saw coming.

The speaker was talking about having a relationship with Jesus and not with the church. I questioned strongly what he was saying. It was revolutionary. I was always taught that the church and God were one. That was not so clear to me. That is until I heard him say, “Going to church does not make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s or Burger King makes you a hamburger.” I got it.

I too needed to make a personal commitment to Jesus. That night I did. My life changed in ways I could never have imagined. The Holy Spirit energized me and I wanted everyone I knew and everyone I met to know what I knew. It was so simple yet so profound.

The next six years of my life I was on fire for Jesus while at the same time becoming a computer programmer. The computer hours of 24/7 drew me away from spending enough time with Jesus. Without a regular working routine my church attendance and things of the Lord took a back seat. I changed jobs, moved to the capital city of Harare, Zimbabwe, where I joined a vibrant and challenging church. I grew in my faith through regular bible study meetings and young adult meetings where I met Susan. Long story made short. I moved back to Bulawayo from Harare. Susan and I got married. We had two children. Samantha and Micah.

With exciting new revelations from the Bible, the initial fire for the Lord burned more and we got involved in youth ministry. It was refreshing dealing with the youth and challenging them to find Jesus just as I had. It was like investing spiritually in the future. I joined the board of trustees for YFC in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I was still working as a computer engineer but the Lord was turning our hearts as a family toward ministering to others.

My daughter Samantha taught me so much about the youth. Samantha joined a hockey team (not on ice) and I was thrilled to watch her play. While Samantha was on the side lines, she used her time to interact with other kids. I asked her why she was not watching those playing for tips and her answer stunned me, “dad, I’m here to share Jesus with everyone.” And share Jesus she did. I was challenged about what was important with a passionate pursuit of lost young people.

Samantha passed away unexpectedly and left a large hole in my heart. It was the hardest time in my life. Her testimony of the love of God lives on.

The Lord has been good through it all and my commitment of time and energy expanded with YFC. My life was replenished by the Holy Spirit. Susan and I were praying about what we should do. Stay in computing or move forward and test the Lord with more involvement with the youth.

The confirmation did not take long. Independently different people, who did not know each other, came one by one and repeated, “Sharky, you are in the wrong place, you should be doing God’s work.

We took a giant leap of faith making the decision to step out into full time ministry.

Then I had an opportunity to meet several senior leaders of Youth for Christ including the International President. We talked about the future and they gave me some advice as they encouraged me in full time ministry.

1. You will need to learn to raise support — give what you can from your resources but depend on the Lord for provision.

2. Give God, spoil yourselves. When you receive funding save 5 percent and spoil your wife and family — then use 5 percent more to spoil someone else.

This helped transform my mindset from the independent commercial service industry where I had been relying on my own skills, techniques and financial wherewithal for income. I became a Christian minister of the Gospel who is totally dependent on the Lord — for everything.

We became just like the Apostles in the New Testament who were witnesses for Christ and dependent on the Holy Spirit in all things. It is a journey and we continue to see God’s faithfulness daily.

My favorite Bible verse is: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

Susan and Sheunesu Masuka

This Cross planted at Willow Park Campsite stands as a symbol of God’s reign over all. It is a beacon for those that points them to King Jesus declaring that He alone is The Way, The Truth and The Life!The Cross for us shows love poured out and power demonstrated in King Jesus’ victory over death, sin and the grave. The Cross represents God’s rescue plan for us that we may be forgiven and adopted by our Heavenly Father walking in a love relationship with Him. As it is written, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1a. NIV
And that is what we are!

Prayer: Father thank you for opening doors and making ways for those who totally trust their life in You. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!