Msengedzi Mission

Msengedzi Mission

 

The Msengedzi (Msengezi) Mission was established by The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) missionaries Rudolph (Rudy) and Mary Danielson and Orval (Orv) and Helen Dunkeld in 1942.  It is located in the Zambezi Valley, Mbire District, Mashonaland Central Province, across the boarder from Mozambique.  Mail was posted at both Mount Darwin and Sipolilo (Guruve).  Msengedzi was TEAM’s first mission station in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).

TEAM came to the Zambesi Valley at the invitation of Peter Lind (Lindi?) with the British based Zambezi Mission after unsuccessful efforts to enter Mozambique.   The Msengedzi site was selected on an exploratory trip in 1941 and a hut began.  Rudy Danielson and Orv Dunkeld returned in 1942 to finish the hut and begin the mission.  Msengedzi was located just across the border from Mozambique so that they would be ready to move in if that country should ever open itself to Protestant missionaries. It was also near enough to the Zambezi Mission at Mavuradonha “that they could maintain a ‘lifeline’ with Peter Lind and his people should they need any kind of assistance.”

The first hut Rudy and Orv built at Msengedzi was made of poles, mud and grass like those of the villagers.  Mary Danielson described this first “home” writing: “The hut is roughly finished, as the mud plaster on the walls and the mud did not turn out so well with many cracks, but nevertheless we had a shelter until we are able to build something better.”

As with other pioneer missionaries, the Danielsons and Dunkelds faced many challenges. “Offers of medical help were met with suspicion.  Children even ran from the missionaries in terror, thinking they were spirits.  During flood season roads were practically impassable.  In dry season dust and high grass were a problem.”  Disease was also a constant risk.  Rudy became seriously ill in 1943 with Typhoid fever – he died in November 1943. The Dunkelds were still at Msengedzi as of 1957.  George and Patricia Dee joined the Dunkelds in 1953.

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