MOURNERS at a funeral wake of a 15-year-old-boy in Gweru were left speechless when a team of pastors stormed the house and started praying over the body in a bid to resurrect him.
The incident occurred in Southview suburb on Monday at the funeral wake of Tatenda Dick, an Ordinary Level pupil at Chaplin High School, who had died the previous day from a terminal illness.
Witnesses said Tatenda’s body was brought home for the wake before burial the following morning. They said three pastors from the local Christ Embassy Church came and conducted prayers meant to bring Tatenda back to life as had happened to the Biblical Lazarus.
A close relative of Tatenda said the three pastors came into the lounge where the coffin was and started sprinkling water on mourners in the room while speaking in tongues.
“One of the pastors opened the top half of the coffin and placed a cellphone that was playing a sermon by the church founder, Pastor Chris,” said the relative.
The pastors removed the body from the coffin in front of the stunned mourners. They said the “resurrection” prayers were conducted with the blessings of the boy’s mother, a member of the same church. The witness said the pastors intensified their prayers, commanding Dick to rise and walk.
After praying for about three hours without any sign that the boy would come back to life, the witness said, the leader of the team ordered all the mourners, except Christ Embassy members, out of the room.
Eventually, only the three men were left with the boy’s mother and a few close relatives. The Christ Embassy Church members claimed Dick would resurrect in a couple of hours if they were left on their own.
“Curious mourners who were failing to come to terms with the goings on, however, refused to disperse as they wanted to witness every part of the unfolding drama. The ‘men of God’ went into ‘ecstasy’ while one of them held the corpse upright. What surprised the mourners most was that even the now deceased boy’s mother, Ms Germa Machingauta, pleaded with the mourners to disperse as she also believed that her son would resurrect,” said one witness.
Some mourners said they now suspected the whole incident to have been an act of Satanism. Due to numerous bizarre incidents happening in Zimbabwe, people are quick to link any inexplicable happening to Satanism or juju (use of magic powers). The witnesses said as the drama unfolded, some curious mourners peeped through the windows of the room where the prayers were taking place.
One man who appeared to be the leader of the group is said to have blamed the delay of the boy’s “resurrection” on “demons” which he alleged were possessed by some mourners. The church crew later ordered the close relatives to also leave the room and leave the mother behind.
“They then closed all the windows and the curtains of the room before they ordered Ms Machingauta to touch on the chest of her son’s body before they continued to pray on top of their voices,” said the witness.
He said some disgruntled mourners, including the elderly, later dispersed dismissing the prayer sessions as a farce.
“The church members, including Ms Machingauta, prayed for the resurrection of the boy until Tuesday morning. By then only a few close relatives were still camped outside the house while the majority of the mourners who could not understand what was happening left the residence. The boy, however, did not resurrect and there were some clashes among the relatives themselves on Tuesday as they accused Ms Machingauta and her church members of making fun out of a funeral. The boy was later buried on Tuesday afternoon but by then, there were only few relatives as the majority of mourners and other distant relatives had left.”
Ms Machingauta, a nurse by profession, confirmed the incident when contacted yesterday. She said she had no problem with her church members’ attempts to raise her son from the dead.
“I have no problems with what happened. This is what we believe in our church. Actually, the Christ Embassy Church members had come on my invitation. I was satisfied with what happened. The resurrection failed because God had already spoken to my child and decided to take him into his care,” she said.
When she was asked why they decided to conduct the resurrection prayers after the boy’s body had first been taken to the mortuary, Ms Machingauta said: “That doesn’t matter. Lazarus was resurrected when his body was about to rot and this could have happened to my child but God had spoken to him,” she said.