I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.” ~ John 15:5, CSB
Last September, I found myself doing something out of the ordinary: holding on to the branches of a tree while my friend Jonathan Munhutu picked the last remaining fruit off the branches. The persimmons on this tree had ripened some time before, so the fruit was hard to find. To be honest, I would have passed it by had Jonathan not been with me.
These persimmons were small and dry, and, to me, they just didn’t seem worth the work it took to get such a small amount of flesh out of them. For Jonathan, though, they were worth whatever it took. In fact, we would stop and get a handful of persimmons every time we passed that tree that week.
In my time serving alongside Baba Munhutu in the villages of Zimbabwe, I saw that this was how he approached much more than just persimmons. As we would visit from home to home, I was always amazed at the passionate way he shared the Gospel with any who would listen. God used his animated style and his unshakable tenacity to bear fruit for His kingdom. It was fruit I would often have passed by — people who seemed to give the right answers yet who didn’t really know Christ; people who would try to change the subject onto something they would rather speak of. Time after time, visit after visit, I watched God use this man to harvest fruit that most would have missed.
As I stood, holding the branch for Jonathan to pick fruit, we didn’t know that Jonathan would not see another September persimmon harvest in this life. As I prayed while Jonathan shared the gospel, we didn’t realize that would be the last time I would serve alongside him. However, God saw fit to take Jonathan home to be with him this week.
For Jonathan, the harvest season is over, and now it is time for rest. My life has been forever impacted by this incredible man who loved to pick fruit that others would miss. May God continue to raise up many others who have the heart Jonathan displayed.
by Sean Couch, Pastor, Christiansburg Baptist Church, Christiansburg, Virginia
After several months of battling cancer, our dear friend and co-laborer, Jonathan Munhutu died, entering the Lord’s presence very early in the morning. He labored tirelessly alongside each of our mission teams since 2012, faithfully sharing the Gospel among the Ndau people and modeling devoted discipleship in his village of Nyanyadzi. He has left us an enduring legacy of genuine humility and joyful faithfulness to Jesus. I am grateful today for the hope of the Gospel and the certainty of eternity through the power of a resurrected Savior. He Lives!
by Tim Hight, Senior Pastor, GraceLife Baptist Church, Christiansburg, Virginia