A new mission: Looking after widows - One sister's story from Zimbabwe, southern Africa

Toko Muodzi, a sister from Harare, Zimbabwe, in the southern region of Africa, was happily married for 20 years, then she became a widow. Now she’s found a new mission in life: helping and encouraging the widows in her city.

She shares the journey in faith that brought her to this point:

"I was baptised as a single mother of one in 1991. God blessed me with a husband, Kizito in 1996 and we had three children together.

We served in various ministries in the church over the years. In January 2015, my husband decided to fast for 40 days for God to increase his faith in all areas of his life.

He finished his fast on a Tuesday and on that very day started complaining of stomach pains. We attributed the pain to the fasting but when the pain would not go away we consulted a doctor. A gastroscopy and further tests revealed he had the rare cancer of the duodenum.

This was a very trying time for us as a couple emotionally, spiritually and physically, but we offered up many prayers and truly believed God would come through at the end.

We sought treatment in India and Mexico but my

Toko and her husband

 wonderful husband succumbed to cancer in January 2017, in my presence.

Before his death, he had said this to me: 'Honey, when I was diagnosed, I was fasting for my faith. If I hadn’t been fasting, I would’ve lost all my faith. Who says faith means being healed physically? Faith is being sure that God is with me even to the point of death. I’m going to be with the Lord, which is way better than being healed physically.'

After his passing, I found I lacked identity in the church. Was I a single or was I still a married woman?

I then prayed to God and told myself that if I was feeling this way, many other widows could also be feeling the same. I read scriptures about God's view on widows and realised that God had a special place in his heart for these women and that I had failed the test in loving them.

I discovered that the six other widows in the church also felt lost, just like I did. My heart broke and I made a promise to myself that I would never ignore any widow.

Whenever I meet a widow I sit with them and listen to their stories. I’ve met many widows in my city and God helped me to heal by helping others. We have a group of almost 50 who meet once a month.

I’ve never had more friends than now, and some of them are studying the bible and are really taking a keen interest in the Kingdom. In 28 years as a disciple, this was the first time I’ve invited 40 to 50 people to an event or to church and they’ve all come. I’m so grateful for the support from our church leaders David and Barbra Gondongwe.

The six widows who are disciples are encouraged and have a new identity and role in the church. We arrange our own sleepovers and have so much fun together. We don't want anyone to ever have an identity crisis when they lose their spouse, but I know that such is the circle of life.

The death of their father deeply affected my children. 

But, I’m so excited that two of them are disciples and it’s such a joy to have them serve in the church.

My daughter was baptised on the anniversary of her father's death.

We are truly seeing the faith that my husband fasted for come to fruition, and to God be the glory."

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.