As more and more churches sprout, Hope and Honour ministries that is based in Harare’s Mabvuku suburb claims that its prophets have superpowers to pluck people condemned to hell and take them to heaven.
The church’s secretary Euphemia Makoni claimed that the ministry can convince God to pardon dead people’s spirits believed to be in biblical hell for their earthly sins.
Makoni said her church was a fusion of both Christianity and African Tradition Religion.
“The church formed in 2014 by prophet Adelino Caitano seeks to take people back to the true and uncontaminated way of worshiping.
“The Bible says ‘honour your father and mother such that your days can be added unto earth’ and we believe that people should continue honouring their parents (ancestral spirits) even when they are gone,” she said.
Makoni said Caitano, who is originally from Mozambique, has the powers to change the fortunes of those already languishing in hell.
“Prophet (Caitano) will intercede together with surviving relatives of the deceased to God who will correct the decision (of sending someone to hell),” she said.
Ironically and despite the bizarre claims, Hope and Honour Ministries boasts more than 250 congregants on a normal Sunday church service.
“Testimonies are coming every day. On big Sundays, the number of congregants doubles. We used to attend other churches which operate in the society but we discovered that they were far from granting true salvation to us.
“Hope and Honour ministries came with a real deal to us; it teaches us not to disrespect our family trees (tradition) as this is the root cause of all problems affecting modern society.
“People were brainwashed by missionaries who first operated in the country, they were made to believe that ancestral spirits were dirty and unholy.
“In reality, the Bible and Jesus did not condemn the way we used to live but some of us twisted the Bible verses to suit their agendas.
“We use the Bible, anointed/miracle water or oil, wrist bands and T-shirts among other things which can help in healing and delivering people,” she said.
“We also have a unique way of exorcising demons. We do not shout ‘out out’ as other churches do but prophet vanoita zvokuhaka mweya iwoyo (intercepts the demonic spirit) then the affected person can have a discussion with that particular troubling spirit, kwete zvokuzongoudzwa kuti wadonha ne (not to be told you fell because of) demon.
“The prophet acts as a spiritual conduit.”
Apart from delivering someone from hell, the church also claims to have superpowers to solve virtually every problem that can trouble humankind.
“Some HIV and cancers are spiritual and those can be healed and other spiritual ailments. It is spiritual in the sense that there will be goblins sucking on someone’s blood, making their white blood cells count to drop. But if a person has HIV which they acquired for themselves by sleeping around, they will need to seek medical attention,” said Makoni.
There is no concrete rule that forbids congregants from taking alcohol or smoking.
“If the practices (smoking and drinking) are not causing harm to you or other people then it is well. We do not condemn such acts,” she said.
“We meet thrice a week for worshipping that is Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. To book one-on-one with the prophet you need to pay about $300 and he can attend to you. But on church services, no one is asked to pay a consultation fee,” said Makoni.