Free Methodist Church: Dumisa Mission

Free Methodist Church

Dumisa Mission

Rev. Tillman Houser and his wife Gwen, missionaries with the Free Methodists Church, opened Dumisa Mission in 1951.  The name “Dumisa” comes from the local dialect for “praise” (to God).  The mission was located on the east bank of the Nuanetsi (Mwenezi) river in the remote southeast corner of Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), near the boarder of Mozambique.  The Nuanetsi (Mwenezi) District has been a historically underdeveloped area of Zimbabwe. “Roads were tracks through the bush.  Wild animals ran everywhere.”  The nearest source of supplies was in Fort Victoria (Masvingo) – 210 miles away.

The mission was established in response to concerns that the Assembly of God church was attempting to start a mission in the area, which would create “unnecessary competition between mission groups.”  Another incentive was it’s close proximity to Chief Sengwe’s home.  It was Chief Sengwe who had first approached the Free Methodists calling for missionaries for his Hlengwe peoples.

Rev. Jacobs selected a site in 1949 and arranged for construction of a rudimentary school/church building.  The Housers, then stationed at Lundi Mission, “jumped at the challenge” to start the new mission.  They made their first trip in 1950, loaded down with supplies from the Chikobedzi Mission 50 miles away.  The Housers returned in the Spring of 1951 after the rainy season.  “A sun-dried, mud block, two-roomed house with wooden doors and windows roofed with pole rafters and grass thatch, and cement floors” was soon built.  Schools and the church were subsequently opened in the area.

The mission was closed in 1963 when the Housers returned to the United States on furlough to attend the Institute for Church Growth in Eugene, Oregon.


  • Mark Loomis