After starting a mushroom business in Harare, Zimbabwe, Raymond Chengata dreamed of expanding his business beyond the local market. But with the cost of taking loans from the bank, he couldn’t access supplies that would allow him to continue growing his business.
In addition to this financial barrier, Raymond’s business dream was further challenged by costly setbacks when a disease killed most of the mushroom crop.
Seeking relationships with others and financial support, Raymond joined a savings group through his local church. With two loans and his own savings from the group, Raymond purchased more seeds and built a new mushroom cultivation room. He eagerly tells how his business flourished as a result: “My mushroom production almost doubled because of the group loans that I used to fund a second production house.” Encouraged by his ability to work, he began gathering inventory for a second business—a car wash.
Through his savings group, Raymond has come to appreciate the true value of community built on Christ. “I never understood the importance of relationships until I joined and participated in a savings group,” he says. “It’s a ministry which provides a dynamic that’s been lacking … godly, relational support and deep fellowship.”
Growing in love for his community, Raymond is training 16 people—many of whom are widows—in mushroom cultivation. Beyond desiring to see his fellow community members employed, Raymond is passionate about seeing those who were once undernourished improve their health through access to nutrient-rich mushrooms. Raymond also provides for his orphaned teenage niece, Vairaidzo, paying for her school fees and other needs.
While still investing in his dream to expand his mushroom business, Raymond has found support and strength to face his challenges in community—deeply impacting how he now sees his need for relationships and how he should steward what God has blessed him with.