Saluting a unique, rare, matchless woman pastor


There are so many women doing tremendous work to better their communities but, unfortunately, they rarely get noticed.

It is for this reason that I have decided to dedicate this column today to women who may never be recognised for bringing change in their areas of residence.

As we celebrate March, the month for women, we must remember women who spend most of their time trying to better lives of other people.

One great person is Pastor Junior Gwenhe, a widow who has done tremendous work for widows and orphans at a time she actually needed assistance herself.

Pastor Gwenhe lost her husband sometime in 2008, and hardly five days after the loss, was she evicted from the Greendale house they were renting.

She was forced to move to their undeveloped plot along Kirkman Road in Tynwald where there was just a temporary, makeshift shelter. This happened in full view of mourners including her mother, mother-in-law and scores of other relatives.

She pleaded for a lease extension, but the property owner flatly refused and hence she moved out. Pastor Gwenhe hired a truck to ferry her goods to her undeveloped property.

But tragedy was to befall her under the cruellest of circumstances. Her two daughters Gaudencia (18) and Caroline (20) and her son Gerald (16 at that time) were hit along Kirkman Road by a motorist who had lost control of his vehicle. The two girls died on the spot.

Gerald survived the accident and although he walks with a limp, he is a constant reminder of that accident. She lost three close people within two weeks, a situation that could have driven the pastor to selling this property and move to another area. But she stayed on.

And as if that was not enough, Pastor Gwenhes niece was hit at the same spot when she suddenly made a U-turn in the middle of the road on February 3 this year. She also died instantly.

But how could a person who has endured such tragedies manage to stand and speak openly about such experiences without breaking down?

God is faithful. In both good and bad times, God cares about us and He is there when we experience such tragedies, she says.

What has intrigued people who have had interactions with her, is how she forgave the man who killed her children.

She begged the courts to free the motorist who hit her children. But the courts ignored her pleas resulting in a jail term. The pastor even visited the motorist several times in prison.

When he was released, he visited Pastor Gwenhe. This young man has since become one of many people she reaches out to.

A sudden, accidental, unexpected or traumatic death shatters the world as we know it. It is often a loss that does not make sense.

We also realise that life is not always fair and that sometimes bad things happen to good people. A sudden death leaves us feeling shaken, unsure and vulnerable according to Journey of Hearts, an online healing place for the grieving.

Journey of Hearts gives common examples of sudden deaths that include: heart attacks, strokes, accidents, post-operative complications, anaphylactic reactions (bee stings, severe allergies), rapidly fatal acute leukaemia, sudden infant death syndrome and rapidly progressive infectious diseases such as respiratory anthrax and certain pneumonias.

Sharing the losses, telling the grief story or expressing the feeling in writing or other creative endeavours, no matter how painful, is important in the healing process.

Healing will be recognised when the grieving person is at a point of being able to share with those earlier in the process. With this knowledge, the heart grows stronger, more sensitive and more understanding of the suffering of others.

And this is exactly what Pastor Gwenhe is doing. She is reaching out to people who have experienced loss who need healing.

There are so many people that are angry about having lost loved ones. But one thing we forget is that whatever we have is not ours. We are just stewards as it is written in Psalm 24:1. The world and its fullness belong to God and the people thereof.

We should learn to let go whatever God wants although it may be painful. Let God have the freedom and give thanks in all things. In the midst of pain we should learn to look for the positive things.

God gave us these children for 18 and 20 years and we should be grateful about that because so many people have never experienced the joy of having children, she says.

She has since finished writing a book titled From Tears to Cheers, From Scars to Stars, which is yet to be published where she speaks about how we can overcome by turning each challenge into a blessing.

Loss of one person is somehow acceptable, but the loss of three people in a short space of time is just unbearable.

Pastor Gwenhe also runs a ministry for orphans in Mbare and sometimes invites some of the children to her home during weekends. She recently hosted a Christmas party for these children and gave presents she had sourced from various people.

There are so many people out there that have been weeping for years. Healing is a process that may take time depending on circumstances.
Pastor Gwenhe deserves a big pat on the back for all the wonderful people whose lives have been transformed following intervention by this woman.

This she does wholeheartedly as she gives the little she has when she too needs a proper home and furniture.

She is no doubt an inspiration to women experiencing pain. She has a healing hand that removes all the anguish and sorrow.

I salute this unique, rare and matchless woman.