Welcome to our newest blog feature – Profile. Here we hope to feature some of the faces you’ll see around Harvest City Church and dig a bit deeper into who they are and how they live for Christ in their daily lives.
Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your family.
Phunyuka: I come from a family of 6: 3 boys and 3 girls. Of these, 3 are still with us. I have been a social worker since 1984. Both my parents were teachers and later on my dad became a church minister.
Jean: I come from a family of 2 girls and I am a teacher by profession. We have 3 boys. The eldest, Mthandazo, is serving in the church. Our youngest boy, Zibusiso, is 20 and has special needs. He cannot attend church due to this. Our 2nd born, Thokozani, is 23 and still is in a quest to find himself. Two years ago we were blessed with a daughter-in-law, Bianca, and, more recently, our granddaughter Naomi.
What was your motivation for choosing your particular jobs?
Phunyuka: I have always liked working with children and families from the time I was a Sunday school teacher and youth worker in my church in Zimbabwe.
Jean: I was actually thrust into teaching by circumstances beyond my control. Coming from a family of educators (mum and dad), I never saw myself as a teacher. However, looking back, I have no regrets at all. I find teaching to be a very rewarding job, offering opportunities to influence and speak into the lives of young people. One word—carefully or carelessly spoken—can make or break a child for life. I pray for wisdom that no student ever has to remember me for the wrong reasons.
What were some of the barriers you faced when pursuing your career?
Jean: I am naturally a very shy person and had to work past this if I was to be effective in teaching. I remember early days when I would teach from the back of the classroom for fear of the kids. I’m glad little eyes don’t always see some of these things, otherwise Princess Moyo and Precious Ndemera (both ex-students at my school and now members of the church) would testify to this. I’m grateful to Jesus in my life as he has made this battle easier to deal with, for I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
One of your hobbies, Jean, is baking delicious and beautifully decorated cakes. What was your inspiration?
I love sharing this story. I’ve always done baking from as long as I can remember, as far back as in my mother’s kitchen. My decorating career, however, began in 2009. A couple (our very own Yvonne and Leko) literally forced (gently!) me to make their wedding cake. This came as a big shock as I had never really decorated for an occasion. They had faith in my ability more than I had in myself. I believe God used them to unlock what I didn’t know was hidden inside of me. To make a long story short, I took up the challenge, frantically did some research on the internet, and made their cake. The rest is history and I have been decorating cakes ever since. I’m thankful to Yvonne and Leko for their obedience to God’s promptings. Now my inspiration is the internet and of course I’m thankful to God for He is the author of all creativity.
How do you prioritise a busy schedule?
Phunyuka: Child protection is top of the list during my daily schedule. I work to safeguard and reduce risk to children.
Jean: Time management is crucial for me. This often means going to bed early so I can get up early to spend some time with God. Meeting with God before meeting with men and the day’s chores seems to put things in the proper perspective for me. I find that no matter how busy I get, if I put God first, He gives me the grace to prioritise and do what really needs to be done. I don’t always get it right; sometimes when the going gets tough, I just cry out “I need you Jesus, can’t do anything without you, help!” He hears my heart’s cry and comes through for me.
And lastly, since deciding to be a Christian, how has your lifestyle changed?
Phunyuka: Since becoming a Christian, I have always had to look up to Christ when I am down. I have become repentant in my life and forgiving.
Jean: Before I was born again, I used to listen to all kinds of music, whatever sounded good to the ear. I couldn’t discern most of the subtle things that could be harmful in my life. Now I am very selective over what I listen to, watch or even read. If it doesn’t add to my Christian life, by choice I would rather just stay away from it. More importantly, Jesus brought security into my life. I no longer live my life scared of death or paralysed with fear of the unknown. I have a sense of purpose and know that whatever storm I go through, it’s but for a little while, as I look forward to spending eternity with Jesus.