The making of an African evangelist

Abandonment, redemption and a lifelong commitment to sharing good news

African Enterprise’s Bishop Guide Makore had an unpromising start in life. Born the third of five children in 1967, in the city of Gweru in Zimbabwe, Guide spent his early years separated from his parents.

His maternal grandmother cared for him and his siblings, while his mother worked as a resident house carer on a nearby homestead. His father lived separately in a distant village, and rarely came to see his children and did not provide financial support.

“I didn’t realise that at a young age I was basically intoxicated as a result of these fermented herbs and I was constantly sleepy.” – Guide Makore

To help earn money for the family, which was largely living in poverty, Guide’s grandmother would brew traditional beer to sell at the markets.

Not wanting to waste any of the byproducts of the brew, she would mix in the leftover fermented home-brewed traditional beer with his lunch, served in a disposable plastic container.

“I remember that cup so well,” Guide reflects. “I didn’t realise that at a young age I was basically intoxicated as a result of these fermented herbs and I was constantly sleepy.”

At the time, people in his village were also under threat from guerillas and national forces fighting the Rhodesian War. For his own protection, his mother’s employer, who served in the airforce, invited her family to live at the homestead with his wife and children.

The homestead happened to be located in the hometown of his father. As a result of moving close to his dad, he started to form a relationship with him and miss him greatly when he was away. To satisfy his yearning, he pleaded to be able to travel to be with his dad. After a couple of years, his dad decided that Guide could come with him.

However, Guide’s idyllic perception of being with his dad did not come close to reality. On his dad’s first trip away, he was left to live with his paternal grandmother and did not see his father again for almost one year.

As a result of inter-village family issues, he did not see his mother or maternal grandmother again for the next six years.

Understandably, being abandoned for the second time by his father came as a complete surprise to Guide. This time, the situation was far worse. He was now being raised by a new family and without any contact with his mother or grandmother.

“I thought my father was hiding somewhere in the house at first,” Guide said. “But as the weeks went by, I asked my grandmother if he was coming back, and she said that he wasn’t.”

When he was eight years old, his new grandmother enrolled him in the local school and life started afresh. In his new home he had access to more food, and a slightly better quality of life; however, being parted from his parents did not make up for this. He began to cry day and night over his situation.

His constant distress eventually came to the attention of villagers and, thanks to their intervention, his father started to visit him occasionally. There was still no contact with his mother.

About six years later, Guide moved into his father’s apartment in the capital city, Harare, where he finally made contact again with his mother during the school holidays.

Now aged 14, Guide started to escape his daily grind by drinking with his friends. Thankfully, God soon intervened in his life and prevented an escalation of his problems.

Coming across a tent crusade in the city, he finally heard about the loving fatherly nature of God, who had come to save him through his son, Jesus Christ. The words affected him powerfully, and at that meeting Guide accepted Christ into his life.

Guide told them he didn’t have a Bible. The retort from the ladies was “That’s why we asked you a week early!”

After the meeting, all the new converts met weekly at the tent church, and they were provided with a minister.

Sadly, the small group couldn’t raise enough to support the minister; however, after he left, they continued to gather, singing songs, praying and waiting for breakthrough. They added donations to a locked box the former pastor had left.

Then, some women in the church boldly asked Guide to preach. They announced that they expected him to prepare a sermon for the following week. Somewhat taken aback by this “request”, Guide told them he didn’t have a Bible. The retort from the ladies was “That’s why we asked you a week early!”

There was no getting around this, so taking up the challenge, Guide joined the local Scripture Union to find inspiration for his message. He was given a Bible by one of the members. After preparing a sermon based on material he obtained, he found that he actually had a gift for preaching. The congregation were thrilled by his message. There was no going back from there, and Guide became their preacher over the next two years – from age 15.

Two years after the tent crusade, the original minister who preached there came to visit the village and was astounded to see that the group was still meeting. He wanted to know who was preaching, and they invited him to hear Guide speak. He was sufficiently impressed to endorse Guide’s role as a preacher. The small church gave the visiting minister the original locked donation box they had been contributing to over all these years.

As Guide continued to lead the church, a visitor from African Enterprise called Sheke Masila, who ran the youth evangelistic program, heard him preach. Recognising Guide’s ability to reach younger people, Sheke invited Guide to join the Foxfires – young volunteers who give one year of their lives to evangelistic outreach in their communities.

Guide became one of six Foxfire leaders, preaching in farms, cities and border towns and then he was accepted into a Pentecostal Bible college.

The Principal accepted Guide in good faith, recognising that he had no financial support but would pay colleges fees when he could. He offered every service he could including food and board, until Guide could achieve this.

“God will provide,” Guide told the Principal and, indeed, that came to pass – with an anonymous donor taking care of all his costs over three years.

With support funds received, he was able to assist not only his fellow students, but his sisters who needed assistance to attend school. After all the family challenges, he reconciled with his dad and family. Finally, his dad provided some support and a new suit for his graduation day!

Guide’s ministry progressed as an evangelist and church planter, and he planted new congregations in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and even in the UK.

He took on other roles with Bible Society (as chairman) and leadership roles within the church and faith based organisations, before finally being appointed Team Leader of African Enterprise in 2011.

“God can turn your trials in triumph, your testing in to a testimony, your rags into riches.” – Guide Makore

Through his varied life experiences, in obedience to the Great Commission and Great Command, Guide retains his passion to see every believer have their own Bible, and for lives and communities to be transformed through Jesus.

He wants to encourage all of us to stay strong in the faith and reach others for Jesus. Who knows if there is another budding evangelist like Guide, just waiting for the opportunity to witness to hundreds of thousands of people and bring many into the kingdom of God, through word and deed?

“God does not call the qualified, but he qualifies the called,” says Guide.

“Do not be limited by your background, upbringing or past experiences. Like in my testimony, God can turn your trials in triumph, your testing in to a testimony, your rags into riches, stumbling blocks into stepping stones, your bitter lemon into lemonade – according to Ephesians 3:20.

“I therefore challenge you in your sphere of influence to seriously consider giving chance and opportunity to those budding, passionate, gifted and talented people, quite promising, but lacking the means and encouragement.”

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