Voice of God Recordings - Zimbabwe
Brother Gordon Tutani
Short History of Office:
1) Exhortation On Healing (51-0501) E-6 I've got to go to Giants Pass and then back over in another part of California. And then go to Des Moines, Iowa, Sioux Falls, and from there to Toledo, and then to Erie. And then I followed Billy Graham at Memphis, and ... and then I guess from there to Shreveport, and then to SOUTHERN RHODESIA, AFRICA, and then up into India, and back to Jerusalem and then back home again around Christmas if the good Lord is willing.
2) Expectation La Ca (51-0507) If I could get the auditorium there, might where this was ministered to me. And I would like to have my farewell meeting there. If I can, I'd like to gather a great group of us together and go right to the little cabin where he met me and talked to me then. And gather out there on that hill by the thousands and offer our praise to Almighty God right there for what He's done before we plunged the dark fields of RHODESIA and in India and and down in and back into Jerusalem. I would be so happy.
3) Angel Of God Toledo Oh (51-0720) We're happy to be in tonight to be serving God, with you all. And now, the anointing that tomorrow and Sunday is our last days here as far as we know, then to Toledo, or Erie and then from there to Shreveport, Louisiana, and then SOUTHERN RHODESIA, AFRICA from there. Be expecting you to pray for me. As the meeting grow on it takes more of effect all the time.
Zimbabwe and South Africa have had a very strong relationship, just like the United States and Canada. Just like the people refer to Canada and the USA as North America, Zimbabwe is also included in the term Southern Africa. At one time, the two countries were both internationally isolated because of the oppressive white minority rulers. It was during this time that the prophet of God visited the two countries and was touched by the plight of the majority Black/Colored and Indian nationals who responded positively to the ministry of the prophet. The white authorities of these two countries in connivance with the white religious leadership of the day closed out Brother Branham from ministering. But it is this statement he mentioned outside a house in 1965 in Johannesburg, on his last visit to Africa, which inspires us and is in the process of being fulfilled. "But I believe, that through God, I will minister again amongst the peoples of Africa".
When one is reading the Spoken Word or listening to a taped sermon of God's prophet, one often comes across the name of the country that was on the prophet's heart. You hear him mention Rhodesia or Southern Rhodesia many times. This was before that country gained independence from Great Britain. The new name is now Zimbabwe. It is only the people of Zimbabwe or the people who knew that it was Rhodesia who will know and will be aware that this small country was on the prophet's heart.
The rest of the people will think Zimbabwe was not on the prophet's agenda during his life and ministry. Others would want to drown the Spiritual significance of this country to the prophet because of the political affiliations and opinion of people influenced by the different media reports about this country. Whatever the case might be, we are not so much concerned with politics and we will not be influenced.
All we know is that in a world of so many countries, God has allowed through His Sovereign grace that His servant and prophet to the Gentiles pass through and step into our country in 1951. The impact and influence of his life and Ministry in this nation has not only been felt here, but has yielded fruits in neighboring countries that did not have the privilege of having the prophet physically in their country.
Exactly 34 years later, after the prophet's visit to our nation, his two sons, Brother Joseph Branham and Brother Billy Paul Branham, together with their Sister Rebecca Smith visited our nation again to set up a network for Voice of God operations in 1985. That was a milestone visit, and the fruits are there for everyone to see.
So remember each time you read in the Spoken Word or hear on tape the prophet mention about Rhodesia, that he is talking about Zimbabwe. Maybe that will change your opinion about whatever is going on now but will give you an insight that the Holy Spirit, through His Servant God's prophet, was putting emphasis on this nation as a prime destination for the Message he carried.
It has been such a wonderful experience to have this Message spread throughout our own nation. God has also blessed Zimbabwe with wonderful ministers who have done a tremendous job with this Message in our country and also helped to either spread It or establish It in the neighboring countries as well. That effort has helped to develop an infrastructure that made it very easy for Brother Joseph to set up operations in this region for Voice of God. Praise God for that.
Introduction (Historical Background)
Towards the end of the 19th Century, around 1890, the British under the leadership of a British Citizen, Cecil John Rhodes, colonized this land. The name Rhodesia was then used for this colonized country named after Rhodes. As a result, the official language became English. So when God sent His prophet and raised him up in the United States and preaching in English, it then was a blessing in disguise that we could hear the Voice of God direct without an interpreter. This has helped to deter foreign and wrong doctrines normally associated with trying to translate the Message. For that we give God the glory.
In the early 1960s there existed a Federation of three countries, Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Rhodesia consisted of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) Nyasaland is now Malawi.
This political coalition proved very handy in future trade agreements and good neighborliness between them for years after they attained their own individual independence. As a result, when the Voice of God network was set up in Zimbabwe, it was easy to coordinate the 'tripartite' network of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. All are former British colonies and all have English as the official language. Hence English materials for years have been shipped straight to Harare, Zimbabwe and then relayed further to Zambia and Malawi. Recently, as a cost-cutting measure, the consignments are shipped through to South Africa where they are further relayed to Zimbabwe, which does the final relay to the countries further north.
Just to back track a little: When Mozambique gained its independence in 1975, it provided necessary support for the liberation movements in Zimbabwe. Mozambique became a springboard for the guerillas from Zimbabwe. Zambia also provided the same logistical support for the other group of liberation warriors for Zimbabwe. Mozambique was giving sanctuary to a group called ZANLA (Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army) under Robert Mugabe (the current President) and Zambia gave the same to a group called ZIPRA (Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army) under the late Joshua Nkomo. With cooperation from these neighboring countries, the minority authority in Harare (Salisbury then) was forced to give way to majority rule in 1980. The delay of independence in Zimbabwe was also a blessing in disguise, because the economic infrastructure was put to enviable proportions over the years. Around the time of gaining independence, the exchange rate was US$1: Z$1.50, and the economy was very strong.
With that kind of robust economy and one of the strongest economies in Africa, the country was a breadbasket for the rest of the region. Then South Africa remained an oppressed nation to the majority of black people. So the region looked up to Zimbabwe to lead and champion the independence for Namibia and South Africa. This it did, and finally Namibia and South Africa gained their independence, inspired by the success story in Zimbabwe. Internationally it became the destination for most UN, IMF and World Bank projects and became a case study for successful democracy in Africa. Behind the scene though, something more glorious was happening. A lifetime desire of God's prophet and vision was being fulfilled in this small but world renowned country in the heart of Africa. Despite being land locked, the economic infrastructure and efficient transport and banking systems guaranteed satisfactory success. It was during this time that the Message of the prophet of God, Brother William Marrion Branham, spread like a wild fire in the country of Zimbabwe.
How It All Began
In 1951, God's prophet made his all time momentous visit to Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia, then in Salisbury, now Harare.) Great miracles occurred. Although over the years we have talked and read about A Prophet Visits South Africa, nothing is mentioned about his visit to Harare, Zimbabwe. But praise God, the prophet himself speaks many times about his experiences in Zimbabwe, and also Brother Billy Paul speaks about celebrating his 16th Birthday in Salisbury (Harare).
Brother Billy Paul remembers very well about the meetings in 1951 at the tobacco auction floors. The meetings were very outstanding and pivotal in the history of the Message in Zimbabwe. We were privileged though to hear first hand testimonies from two gentlemen who were present in the 1951 meetings in Harare at the Tobacco Auction Floors; these were Mr. Booth and Brother Alex Warrillow. Mr. Booth was a neighbor of Brother Godwin Chitsinde and was a Pentecostal. He was led to come to Brother Godwin's place where he testified at a house meeting. Brother Alex Warrillow was a Pentecostal missionary who later embraced this Message and became acquainted with Brother Chitsinde. We really enjoyed the first hand experience testimonies. I shall refer more about Brother Warrillow later in this report.
In January, 1985, when Brother Billy Paul, Brother Joseph Branham, and Sister Rebecca Smith visited Harare and visited the tobacco auction floors, it was almost the climax of the trip. They could all not hold their emotions when they were taken on a tour there by Brother Innocent Gumbura, who was the point of contact for Voice of God then.
After the 1951 meetings in Harare, nothing seemed to have really happened, but the Seed had been sown and the predestinated had been claimed as soon as that prophet set foot on Zimbabwe soil. He later told us that "footprints means possession."
From 1951 to around the early 1970's, there was no group as such that had separated itself for the Message except a few individuals who had precious memories of the mighty visitation in 1951. But by then a number of churches had separated for the Message in neighboring South Africa.
Around the early 1970's, a Brother from South Africa had made contacts with Brother Alex Warrillo. Brother Alex Warrillow was a director of British descent and also Pentecostal missionary. So when Brother Noddy came to visit Brother Warrillow, he was not at work and was instead introduced to Brother Warrillow's fellow Christian and Christian worker, Brother Samuel Meck. Brother Samuel Meck received the first batch of books on behalf of Brother Alex Warrillow.
At this time, Brother Warrilow was very much active in the Assemblies of God church. He shared the books with some of his colleagues, and they soon found out that they had to be re-baptized in the correct way. In no time, they could not go on in that organization, and a non-denominational Pentecostal movement was started. They called themselves Pentecostal Bible Pattern Fellowship. They had this white gentleman, Brother Alex Warrillow as overseer, with a group of some black Brothers that he was working with in the Assemblies of God.
Amazingly and simultaneously elsewhere in Zimbabwe, God had been dealing with a former political detainee who had led his colleague to cross the border to join the liberation struggle. His friend proceeded and went for training and rose through the ranks and became one of the 18 men in the then liberation high command. But for the other guy, God had a greater war for him; not only to participate in, but to spearhead. This was Brother Godwin Chitsinde. God worked it out that his path crossed with the people at Bible Pattern Fellowship.
Prior to their meeting, Brother Godwin had kind of been the leader of young people who were not satisfied with the Pentecostal and denominational groups and had been searching for the truth. Somehow they had come into contact with the Message, and they did not know that there were other people who had come into contact with the books. Amongst these youthful searching Christians were Brother Claudius Mavengawenyu, Brother Onias Marufu, Brother Charles Mwakutuya, Brothers Francis, and Charles Gabi, along with some other young people.
Somehow they came into contact with Brother Warrillow's group, and that became a turning point for the Message in Zimbabwe. However, some of the people were not very serious about separating to the Message. They wanted to go on with a denominational way of operating and denominational life. Brother Godwin Chitsinde could not stomach that, and after a few months of prayer meetings at his rented home in Westwood, the Lord used him to spearhead what could be termed the greatest revival of Message spreading in Zimbabwe. This was in the late 1970's, around 1977-1978. A prayer group consisting mainly of the youthful zealous and honest bunch of young man and women began to separate from denominationalism and showed an unparalleled dedication and commitment to the Message. It was a glorious time.
The Lord led many brothers to meet Brother Godwin Chitsinde at different times, and different situations led to some who became ministers or helped establish the Message in one way or another.
From this kind of first catch the Lord lit up the fires, and in no time the message was in almost every town in Zimbabwe. Then the rural areas were not spared as well. The Message took ahold of the rural people as well.
By 1985, the Message had spread significantly throughout Zimbabwe. In the earlier years, individual believers would write to a number of small suppliers to receive the tapes. The cassettes then were unfiltered and we did not know then the regulations that govern tape duplications and the administrative requirements. All we were interested in was getting that Message into our hearts. Somehow it worked for a while, but it was far from satisfying the great need and the multitudes that were coming into the Message. But it was a tremendous effort that helped the Bride before we started getting the filtered and special Voice of God tapes. This scripture comes into my mind; When that which is perfect is come then that which is in part should be done away with. We are thankful to all those who helped us and also thankful to those who realized a change of dispensation and have since rallied behind the efforts of Brother Joseph Branham through Voice of God. As Brother Joseph Branham mentioned in HERE I STAND, "that he is not able to do this work alone. God has to coordinate the resources and efforts of all interested parties to fulfill this great call of supplying materials to the rest of the Bride."
VOICE OF GOD NETWORK IS INAUGURATED:
By 1985, the number of Believers had risen to about 2000 in the whole country of Zimbabwe. By then Voice of God was now combined with the Spoken Word Publications. Brother Joseph Branham asked Brother Innocent Gumbura to consult with the rest of the pastors in Zimbabwe to find a Librarian who would do the work of distributing books and tapes in the Harare office and work full time under the supervision of Brother Innocent. The meeting was held and all the pastors present unanimously agreed to have Brother Gordon Tutani as National Librarian. Thus in May 1985 he started work in a sun lounge office at the home of Brother Innocent. A month later he was joined by the secretary/typist Sister Dorcas Radzingwa Tsoka (nee Mangochi) who was also unanimously agreed by all the pastors present at a Voice of God meeting. Sister Dorcas also happens to be among the group of Sisters who first believed the Message as well.
The operations or network started with one Library serving the whole country. Voice of God Recordings started sending boxes of cassettes, which were cleared and collected through local post office. Within a short time the Harare Library was fully stocked with a complete Library.
Pastors from outside Harare would come and borrow cassettes monthly on a loan and return basis. The pastors would also help support the work by sending in monthly offerings which would be receipted by the secretary/typist. Voice of God would supply materials and the pastors would support the local requirements in terms of rent and telephone etc. After a while, when expenses escalated and some of the pastors were not able to continue with their obligations, Voice of God took up the burden to make sure no expenses was neglected. We started to receive monthly donation, then later quarterly donations from Brother Joseph Branham. This has been the bulk of funds that has literally been running the work in Zimbabwe.
Of course we still have some pastors and individuals that are still faithful in sending in their offerings to the Harare office. May God richly bless them all. We trust more and more will catch the vision and start to locally support the work and even help support the work earnestly.
In no time, the Voice of God Library proved to be an oasis and a no-man's-land where every believer and everybody was welcome regardless of church or doctrine. In Harare then there were about 3 or 4 churches and one in Chitungwiza. All these were coming to the Harare Library for their spiritual food.
After one year, the Library office was moved from the home office to a town office. Brother Joseph Branham came again in April of 1986 together with Brother Billy Paul and Brother David Branham. This was their second Voice of God visit to seal and give further instruction as to the running of the Voice of God Network. Soon after that, Brother Gordon Tutani was now reporting directly to Brother Joseph Branham to avoid any local influence that might disturb the work. By then the number of Full Libraries had risen to eight. It was not difficult to notice the leadership qualities in Brother Joseph Branham. The same Branham Party came again in April of 1989, where as usual we enjoyed the testimonies from Brother Billy Paul and the instructions from Brother Joseph concerning the work.
In 1992, Brother David Branham made a follow up to the work and visited Zimbabwe. It was a fruitful visit as more was accomplished for Zimbabwe after he made feedback to Brother Joseph Branham. We thank the Lord for the association that Brother David Branham has done for the work in Zimbabwe. He remains one of our greatest companions in the Lord's work.
Every pastor in Zimbabwe agreed that Brother Joseph was the right man for the job he was doing. They also pledged their support to contribute what they could in monetary terms to help subsidize the efforts to Jeffersonville. As is the case always, some stood by their word and some just forgot about it altogether. But the work continued to grow and to prosper. Written reports would be made every month to Jeffersonville. Letters would be written to the overseas sponsors to make them aware of the fruits of their efforts and how the people appreciated the books and the tapes. But the supply could not meet the demand. The sponsors then felt even more inspired to do more for Zimbabwe.
Brother Joseph Branham instructed Brother Gordon Tutani to make a countrywide tour to visit the existing libraries and also the prospective libraries. The mission was two-fold.--To share the vision and burden of Brother Joseph as concerning the worldwide tape and book distribution--Find out the needs of the people and how best the needs could be satisfied through an established infrastructure
Brother Gordon was able to meet the churches and their pastors and addressed both. Hence the needs were established to be genuine. Voice of God recordings has been very generous and very forward in pouring materials into Zimbabwe. When all this was done, other Libraries (Seed Libraries) were set up in other towns.
After a year or two, other towns also started to call for attention as well. More Libraries were established in more cities and small towns and rural areas. Free English materials literally flooded the Harare Office of the Voice of God. With the efficient road network, it was very easy to transport the boxes to the different towns of Zimbabwe.
After a few years, the first group of Seed Libraries were upgraded and stocked to full Library status. This has since been an on going exercise. Every once in a while Seed Libraries are being established. As of now we have a total of 26 Seed Libraries and 19 full Libraries throughout Zimbabwe serving between 15,000 and 20,000 believers.
A distribution mailing system was established. In the past, any individual would write to Spoken Word and got materials. But the problem with that system was that either some books ended up in wrong hands misused or abused or not used at all, or real believers who needed the books had insufficient or no supplies at all. Hence Brother Joseph decided to streamline operations and make sure the above wouldn't happen. Praise the Lord the problem was solved. Voice of God then had increased operations to eight full libraries including the main one in Harare.
If anybody would write to Jeffersonville from Harare, he would be given a reply including the Names and addresses of the main Library in Harare and names and addresses of every other Library. Then he has to choose a Library nearest to him.
In 1994, Brother Joseph instructed Brother Gordon to travel to Zambia and share with them the vision to work with all the Zambian pastors and be able to reach the Zambian people with the materials.
Brother Gordon made a countrywide tour of Zambia, and by God's grace all the pastors present at the meetings agreed that Brother Ronnie Kapisha be the Voice of God Distributor and contact person for Zambia. They would be receiving their materials through Harare since Lusaka Zambia is only about 500 kilometers from Harare rather than receive from Dar Es Salaam 2000 kilometers away.
Brother Ronnie Kapisha has done a wonderful job of distribution in Zambia. Voice of God has been able to pour in much more materials than before since Brother Kapisha took over the responsibility of the distribution. May the good Lord bless him. The work in Zambia has since been coordinated from Harare.
Before Voice of God started operations in Harare, Brother Jeremiah Mkanganwi had a burden to do translation work. When Voice of God started operations it was easy to bring him into the translation network of Voice of God. Twenty-four Books have been translated so far and twelve cassettes recorded into Shona. The Shona materials became an instant hit with Zimbabwe believers that had problems with English and also some that had problems with the American accent of the prophet. Recently we finished proofreading a tract, BEYOND THE CURTAIN OF TIME and Voice of God has printed it. Soon the tract will be ready for distribution in Zimbabwe.
Although we would have by now translated more Shona titles, something seemed to have stalled the work. We believe sooner than later Shona translations will resume in Zimbabwe. The devil is always a fighter against what is right.
We in Zimbabwe have been so much blessed by God to receive this prophetic Message and also to have part in the Voice of God distribution network in Southern Africa. May God richly bless you Brother Joseph Branham, Brother Billy Paul Branham and the rest of the Branham family and the troops at Voice of God Recordings and around the world.
While there is a threatening hunger and starvation in the rest of the region because of draught and political tensions, there is spiritual food in due season. Our spiritual needs are being fulfilled. We have tapes. We have books, we have CDs, and we have Libraries all over. There is a great awakening of the reality of the Word of God. To the true Bride there is no discouragement. God is still Hebrews 13:8 and He is still Jehovah Jireh. God bless you all the workers at Voice of God in Jeffersonville. May the Lord also bless our overseas sponsors who have had us upon their hearts.
While politics and leaders of the world are at each other's throats about Zimbabwe, there is a great work of God going on as the prophet's desire about Zimbabwe is being fulfilled in the eyes of the Lord upon Zimbabwe. Do not forget us. Remember us in your prayers. We rest on God's unchanging hand and ALL THINGS WORKETH TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE THE LORD. Brother Branham used to say, "It will be alright".
Last year when Brother Nathan Jones was in Zimbabwe together with Brother Keith Heine something special happened. When Brother Gordon arranged for the meetings with the pastors and a Voice of God address to the people, the date fell on the 12th of December. That is the date the first meetings were held back in 1951. So it was a perfect Jubilee. The dates just fell at exactly 50 years to the dot. Believers in Harare rejoiced when Brother Gordon mentioned it before the tape service that evening.
We covet your prayers to be able to be successful in this project. May God richly bless you and thank you all for supporting of Voice of God in America and Canada and even in Africa and Zimbabwe.