COULD this be a sign of a visit by the Holy Spirit or some demon bent on destroying the church?
These are some of the questions being asked by Victoria Falls residents after a whirlwind struck Valley Of Blessings International (VOBI) premises and blew off the roof of a shed on Sunday afternoon sending dozens of congregants scurrying for cover.
An unconfirmed number was rushed to Victoria Falls Hospital with varying degrees of injuries, three of them serious.
One of the three was said to be critical while others were treated and discharged, Chronicle was told.
Sources said the incident which has become the talk of the resort city happened around 2PM when VOBI leader known to his congregants as Prophet Promise had concluded a service and congregants were making their way out to pave way for another group that was supposed to start an afternoon service.
There was commotion after a whirlwind suddenly appeared and blew off zinc roofing sheets from a shed scattering them around the premises and hitting people in the process.
The church divided its members so they attend different services in order not to exceed 50 per service in line with Covid-19 restrictions but the afternoon session was cancelled on Sunday following the tragedy.
The church is located in the Buffer Zone in CBZ stands where it relocated to from the industrial areas a few years ago.
Services are conducted in a tent and a shed with zinc roofing sheets had been built on one end as members could not fit in the tent.
Some Victoria Falls residents said this is not the first time such a tragedy had hit VOBI as the tent was once blown off a few years ago.
A news crew visited the church premises yesterday morning and noticed that the iron sheets had been piled within the yard.
Some members who were present referred the news crew to an evangelist Mr Steven Nyoni, one of the church elders who however declined to comment saying he could not speak about the issue on the phone.
He said the church protocol was such that they had to update the legal team first.
“I can’t say anything over the phone because I may be misquoted. We also have protocol and have to consult our legal team first,” said Mr Nyoni.
When the news crew asked to meet him, he said he was at work and will only be available during the weekend and was the only one who could talk.
However, some church members spoken to confirmed the incident.
“I was outside the shed preparing to leave when suddenly we heard a loud bang as the roofing sheets flew into the sky. Those who were outside the gate waiting to come in said there was a small whirlwind that approached the church and suddenly it grew big within the yard and blew off the roofing sheets which fell on people.
“I am not sure how many got injured but a number were rushed to hospital where some of them were treated and discharged while one was taken to theatre,” said a member of the church who narrowly escaped.
Prophet Promise and other church elders cancelled the afternoon session as they rushed the injured to hospital, Chronicle was told.