Honouring our past and celebrating our future
Each year, on the Sunday closest to 23 June, we mark the anniversary of the Vumba Massacre. Friday 23 June 1978 is remembered as the darkest day in Elim’s history when twelve people were slaughtered at the Elim Mission Station in the Vumba Mountains in northern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Another would die a week later.
The sheer brutality of this massacre shocked the world that heard the story for the first time on the radio or television or read the more detailed account in their Sunday newspapers in the UK.
We will never forget our missionaries who were killed so mercilessly. Their story continues to inspire us to go to the whole earth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The work of Elim Missions continues
This year we want to use this moment to honour our missionaries who gave their lives for the Gospel but also to celebrate and give thanks for the work that is still going on around the world through Elim Missionaries and Global Partners. Iain Hesketh, International Missions Director, explains more in this short video.
Thank you for supporting our campaigns
Our missionaries and partners are involved in our Elim Missions campaigns such as Be Free, Be Loved, Be Equipped and Be Church. Through your giving, encouragement and prayers, we have seen the message and work of the good news of the Gospel through Elim Missions continue throughout some of the most difficult and challenging times that we have faced in our lifetimes.
Discover more resources to help your church, small groups and individuals engage with the work of Elim Missions on our resources page at elim.org.uk/missions/resources.
How bloody persecution sowed the seeds of new life in Zimbabwe
As mentioned by Iain, The Axe and Tree is a moving and inspirational story of Elim Missionaries Peter and Brenda Griffiths written by their son Stephen. It's a powerful account of the 1978 Vumba massacre of Elim missionaries which records the aftermath of the tragedy and God’s faithfulness in building His church in Zimbabwe.
In obedience to God, Peter Griffiths leaves Wales to serve among the Shona people in northeastern Rhodesia, a racially divided country. A rendezvous in the mountains sparks an unusual romance & then marriage with Brenda.
With a dedicated team of national & expatriate staff, they build up multi-faceted work, education and healthcare while establishing a network of churches. Unexpectedly, spiritual fire sweeps through the school in a student-led revival.
But a war of independence gathers pace. The missionaries work alongside courageous national colleagues in a tiny enclave of peace, enfolded in violence. Helicopter gunships, thumping artillery & mined roads mark a dramatic, frightening period. Then horrible atrocity engulfs the team at the hands of young extremists.
In this video, Paul Hudson, former Elim International Missions Director, reflects on the Vumba Massacre and Stephen Griffiths describes the journey that led him to write an account of the events in his book 'The Axe and the Tree'.
The Axe and the Tree is an inspiring story of Peter and Brenda’s courage, sacrifice, and faithfulness in God, who, despite the atrocities, continues to build His church in Zimbabwe.
It is a story of love & loss, of suffering & new life, of hatred & forgiveness, of following God's golden thread through the dark labyrinth of life.
The Axe and the Tree - Ebook
The Axe and the Tree - Paperback