“God greatly sustained me”

Renewal 2027 testimony: Anabaptists today

Renewal 2027 is a 10-year series of events organized by Mennonite World Conference’s Faith and Life Commission to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement. This series highlights leaders in the movement from history to the present.

In the structure of the Brethren in Christ Church of Zimbabwe, most leadership positions are filled by men. However, there are many women who have great leadership skills and have been pastors and effective leaders in the church.

At the annual Brethren in Christ Church (BICC) Council meetings of Matopo District on 10–12 May 2019, overseer Reverend Siphetho Dube publicly thanked Catherine Ndlovu, popularly known as Mama nakaPeninnah (mother of Peninnah). For 46 years, Mama nakaPeninnah served voluntarily as pastor at BICC Bezha in Matopo District.

People kept asking her to lead, and “God has greatly sustained me,” she says. Now, in her 80s, she is stepping back to retire.

 Sichelesile Similo Ndlovu

Catherine Ndolovu was born at Nyumbane in Matopo 17 October 1939 and married Absalom Ndlovu in 1961. They were blessed with six children. She was saved in the early 1950s and was baptized in 1957 at BICC Nsezi. 

The district council meeting was graced by Bishop Sindah Ngulube, who expressed deep appreciation for the work done by women who devote their time to serve the church on a voluntary basis. He prayed for Mama nakaPeninnah together with Mrs. Suzen Ngulube, Mrs. Sikhanyisiwe Dube and Mrs. Besilina Ziduli.

After she was prayed for, Mama nakaPeninnah narrated the joys she enjoyed in serving the Lord all these years. She is proud to say she has worked hard to teach the Word of God to many great leaders in the church today. She also strongly encouraged marriage, hence she has seen many young people wed in her congregation, including her biological children.

Mama nakaPeninnah also recalls being an example of giving cattle to the church. She is thankful to the church that was supportive and faithful not only to her, but mostly to the Lord. She encourages the church to continue with the same spirit toward the newly elected pastor. She encourages other women ministers to be faithful to the Lord, and they too will see the hand of God in their lives.

—Mennonite World Conference release by Mrs Sichelesile Similo Ndlovu. She is the Pastor’s wife at Matopo Mission.