Ever since she was a girl growing up in Zimbabwe, the Rev. Tazvionepi "Tazvi" Nyarota (Advance #3022315) remembers children and adults alike calling her "pastor." Probably few were surprised when, years later, Nyarota answered God's call to the ordained ministry. Her first assignments were in Zimbabwe, serving as superintendent of United Methodism's Mutare District and as associate pastor of St. Peter United Methodist Church.
Today Nyarota, an ordained elder in the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference, is mission coordinator for Global Ministries, nearly 10,000 miles from her southern Africa homeland.
Commissioned by the North Georgia Annual Conference in 2017, she is appointed to oversee all of the Zimbabwe United Methodist Church congregations in Canada. Already, she has established personal and professional connections with many Zimbabwe immigrants in Canada, especially in the eastern part of the country.
Her devotion to her people everywhere has made her job particularly challenging as she settles into unfamiliar territory on the western side. United Methodists in eastern Canada still call on her for pastoral services, and she admits that knowing "souls still need to be cared for" adds pressure to her new assignment.
She credits her late father with instilling in her unwavering love for all of God's people everywhere. Working closely with the mission department of the United Church of Canada, Nyarota tries to ensure that God's children – no matter where they live – are nurtured.
Her biggest challenge is interacting with people from many diverse backgrounds, even though everyone is Zimbabwean. "When disagreements and conflicts emerge," she says, "they always call for my involvement to try to normalize the situation."
She strives to link Global Ministries with the United Church of Canada in practical ways. "I look forward, the pastor said, "to seeing this relationship grow from one level to another. One of our congregations is officially embraced by the Edmonton Presbytery of the UCC, and I am looking forward to more congregations becoming linked at all levels."
Other challenges include helping immigrants who daily face overwhelming obstacles. "Most hurt financially because of their struggle to pay for food," Nyarota notes, "and are barely able to cover their bills. This reality often leaves nothing left for the sustaining of church-based programs."
At times, she admits, she has questioned her role in ministry and whether God wants her to continue. "Usually when financially things are not going well, despite all the efforts to make it work, I question if God still wants me."
But when her responsibilities make her weary, she remembers the wisdom of Joshua 1:9, NRSV. "I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you."
She encourages churches in the United States. "May the good Lord continue to open your minds, hearts and doors," Nyarota says, "for the mission field is big. Never get tired of doing good for the Lord. Your prayers and financial contributions toward mission work are going a long way."
Ivy Couch, Missionary Service program area liaison at GBGM
The Advance is the accountable, designated-giving arm of The United Methodist Church. The Advance invites contributors to designate support for projects related to the General Board of Global Ministries. Individuals, local churches, organizations, districts and annual conferences may donate to The Advance. One hundred percent of every gift to The Advance goes to the project selected by the giver. Gifts to missionaries support the entire missionary community.