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The biggest pentecostal church gathering in Zimbabwe, dubbed Judgment Night 2 and organised by Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church, kicks off this afternoon at the National Sports Stadium where 150 000 people are expected to worship until tomorrow morning.

Thousands of international visitors, several Government officials, church leaders, both locally and from abroad and other dignitaries, are expected to be part of the congregation.

Speaking on Christtv.co, the church’s television channel yesterday, Prophet Makandiwa said the gathering was an appointment with God and those who want their lives to be changed should not miss it.

“Judgment night is more than just a conference, it is a defining moment,” said Prophet Makandiwa. “It is a set time, a moment that you have been praying for, fasting for and waiting for, so make a wise decision.

“Don’t be found in any other place, be found only at this particular place. For God is about to bring a change into your life.

“All you need to do is to make sure that you are there at the right place, at the right time, and I can assure you that God is going to bring a change into your life.”

UFIC spokesperson Pastor Prime Kufakunesu said all was now in place for the gathering which has attracted a lot of interest from various countries.

He said gates to the stadium would open around 10am and various gospel musicians would start performing around 11am, with the main programme starting at 8pm.

South African gospel music star Deborah Fraser arrived in Harare yesterday for the mega event, while another popular singer from the same country, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, is expected to arrive today.

Local gospel groups to perform will include the Mahendere Brothers, Gospel Power, Pastor Charamba and his wife Olivia, Diva Mafunga, Joyce Simeti, Pastor Hubert C, Minister Mahendere, UFIC Choir and Sebastian Magacha.

“We have a number of international guests, pastors from across our borders, some of whom are already in the country,” said Pastor Kufakunesu.

“Most of the international visitors are already in today (yesterday) and we expect more to arrive tomorrow (today).

“We have received messages from several hotels thanking us that their business is brisk.”

Pastor Kufakunesu said those who fail to fit into the stadium would be accommodated in grounds outside where giant screens would be installed.

He said the church had liaised with several commuter bus operators to dedicate their vehicles to ferrying the multitudes to and from the stadium.

“As usual, the Prophet will emphasise on the preaching of the word because everything is rooted in the word, then miracles will follow,” said Pastor Kufakunesu.

Also speaking on Christtv.co, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive Mr Karikoga Kaseke said tourism could benefit from nearly US$4 million from both domestic and international visitors to Judgment Night 2.

He said the economic impact of UFIC’s event, which is set to attract nearly 20 000 international visitors, should be quantified.

“The economic impact of such type of tourism, for example, I am talking of just one occasion called Judgment Night, our hotels will be over-booked and we estimated the tourism impact for that one night that it could be plus or minus US$4 million,” he said.

“What if they had been there for a week? It (Judgment Night) attracts a lot of crowds and we are simply saying that is religious tourism.”

Minister of State for Harare Province Miriam Chikukwa said on the same television channel that UFIC was already tapping into the Government’s economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

“I feel they have been tapping well into our clusters (for ZimAsset),” she said.

“They have touched on the social, they have touched on infrastructure and above all, they have touched on the spiritual aspect.

“I feel that after this (Judgment Night) Harare and Zimbabwe will never be the same.”

Speaking on the same television channel, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo encouraged people to attend Judgment Night 2.

Source : The Herald