|Zimbabwe and Zambia - A Tale of Two Countries and Three Religions|
In Central Africa an epic conflict rages between Communism, Islam and Christianity.
My first visit to Zambia, back in 1987, had an unpromising beginning. Transporting a large quantity of Bibles and Gospel booklets in transit through Zambia, en-route for Malawi and Mozambique, we were arrested at Kazangulu. Stripped and searched at the police station in Livingstone, thrown into stinking cells covered in human filth and infested with flying, crawling and biting insects. Interrogated. Blindfolded, barefoot and transported in chains to Lusaka.
To Prison with Praise
The first time I entered Lusaka I was shackled and blindfolded under military escort. When I attempted to sing Christian Hymns, I was prodded with bayonets or smacked with a rifle butt.
We were told we were "Presidential Detainees" and were imprisoned in Lusaka Central Prison.
A Study in Contrasts
As "guests of the President", we would have expected our accommodation to have been somewhat better. Lusaka Central Prison had been built by the British for 120 prisoners. When we were incarcerated there under Kaunda's regime over 2,000 were crammed into this overcrowded facility. Under the British, Lusaka Central Prison had had electricity, running water, a working plumbing system and cooked food. Now, under Kaunda's "Socialist Humanism", there was no electricity, no plumbing, no running water, no sanitation, no toilet facilities - it was one big disease factory.
Our fellow inmates pointed out to us that when Kenneth Kaunda, the future socialist dictator, was detained in Lusaka Central, the colonial authorities provided him with his own cell, with comfortable furnishings (a bed, sofa, table and chairs, a gramophone, etc.). They also brought him in cooked meals daily. Now, under Kenneth Kaunda, Lusaka Central Prison had absolutely no furnishings, no beds, no mattresses, no chairs, no toilets, no showers, just bare concrete floor. The only food provided was one huge cooking pot with sorghum - a starch. The only protein was provided by the vast quantities of flies that fell into this open cooking pot. When we were there, there were no plates either. The one meal a day was just served onto people's hands.
Prisoners of Socialism
Also shocking was that many hundreds of the prisoners had not even come to trial. Some had been locked up for over eight years without even having a day in court. In our cell, we heard many heart-rending stories of horrible injustice: a businessman from Mali locked up because he wasn't willing to pay a large enough bribe; an Indian businessman incarcerated because a UNIP cabinet minister coveted his business; a South African truck driver locked up because some ANC officials had borrowed money from him and found it easier to accuse him of being "a spy" than repay their debts. Huge scars, pussy sores and welts covered the bodies of those who had been unfortunate enough to be taken in "for interrogation."
Yet, in these unpromising beginnings, a wonderful relationship was developing with the precious Zambian people. Every day, I held Bible studies and preached the Gospel. Our Bibles had been confiscated, so Bible studies and sermons had to be done from memory. The spiritual hunger was intense. Daily there were prisoners to counsel, and by God's grace, souls were saved and believers were strengthened in God's Word.
"All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
On one Sunday, a Zambian evangelist, Rev. Bwanali Phiri, came into the prison to conduct a service. He was most shocked to find three white missionaries, dirty, bearded and barefoot, in his church service! He took our details and after the service did his utmost to make our plight known and to mobilise prayer for us. Soon the arrest and imprisonment of the missionaries was making the main front page headlines in the Zambian newspapers, and an outcry was rising against Kaunda's government for locking up Christian workers without any charge.
Set Free to Serve Christ
God opened the prison doors and set the captives free. After I had endured six interrogations, a man from the President's office came and drove us to the border, returned most of our belongings and officially apologised for our mistreatment.
When, later, Rev. Bwanali Phiri arranged for me to come back as the speaker for an evangelistic crusade he had organised in Lusaka, I was received as a VIP and whisked past customs and immigration as a special guest. Along with church services, open air evangelistic rallies, film evangelism, a school assembly and literature outreaches in the market place, there was also a radio and TV interview with Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).
This was the beginning of a long-standing relationship with the Christians of Zambia that has continued and developed to this day.
From Communism to Christ
Later, Kenneth Kaunda's socialist dictatorship was swept from power by a national movement of prayer and protest, and the first multi-party elections in October 1991. Zambia was officially declared a Christian country. Frontline Fellowship then received even more invitations for ministry, including in government schools, colleges and on radio and TV. We began conducting Biblical Worldview Seminars with pastors, teachers, chaplains and government officials, sometimes even Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers participated.
This was all a most interesting development. As a young boy being brought up in Rhodesia, I remember standing at Victoria Falls and looking North across the Zambezi River at Zambia. Two young Canadian girls, tourists, standing right where I was standing, had recently been shot dead by soldiers from the Zambian side. These were just the most recent examples of an on-going terrorist campaign against Rhodesia.
So, as I looked North across the Zambezi, I remember feeling the same sense of fascination mixed with horror and apprehension that I had felt when looking across the barbed wire and mine fields, separating East and West Germany. Zambia was the enemy! "I will never be able to stand on that side of the border," I thought.
Well, here I was, not only standing on the other side, but also being welcomed into army bases, police stations and prisons, to proclaim the Word of God. Now, however, I was on the North bank of the Zambezi River, looking South at Zimbabwe, wondering when I would be able to freely minister back in the land where I had been brought up.
The crisis in Zimbabwe is severe. People are dying of starvation in a man-made famine, orchestrated by the ZANU-PF government of Robert Mugabe. Thousands of productive farms have been seized by government organised mobs. Vast herds of cattle and wildlife have been slaughtered. Crops and stores burned. Farmhouses looted. Many people beaten or murdered.
One of the most productive agricultural economies in Africa has been systematically destroyed. Not only did these farms feed the entire nation, but they also exported food, providing the highest percentage of foreign exchange earnings. These commercial farms were also the largest employers of labour in the country and provided homes for up to four million farm workers and their dependents.
Mugabe: "I Will be a black Hitler tenfold!" Yet, the President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, needing a scapegoat for his failed socialism, played the race card and declared: "Farmers are enemies of the state! …. The revolution is yet to be concluded … We have set the rules! … Those farmers who resist will die!"
In all this Mugabe was following the example of Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin, who in 1930-1932 launched the "de-kulakization" campaign to "exterminate the Kulaks as a class." The Kulaks were the farmers of the Ukraine. Whole farms were razed to the ground, villages destroyed, peasants massacred. Over 6 million died in this man-made famine under Stalin - but Communist control was entrenched.
Political observers in Zimbabwe have concluded: "This isn't about land, nor is it about race. More Black farm workers have been assaulted and murdered by the ZANU mobs than have whites. The issue is about ZANU desperately seeking to cling to power and crush all opposition."
Amnesty International noted: "There is a deliberate plan. It started with the farmers, then moved to the farm workers and on to the teachers and businessmen, and now to the opposition … it is clearly state-sponsored terrorism."
What seems to have precipitated the present crisis was the political defeat of ZANU-PF in the February 2000 Referendum. The unpopular and bloody war in the Congo, where Mugabe had committed 11,000 soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army, to prop up fellow Marxist dictator, Kabila, was costing Zimbabwe over US $1 million a day. The massive inflation and unemployment further fuelled rising discontent.
When I was being brought up in Rhodesia, one Rhodesian Dollar would buy three American dollars. The Rhodesian Dollar was three times stronger than the US Dollar. Today, on the free market, US $1 can be exchanged for at least 1,200 Zimbabwe Dollars, sometimes up to Z$ 2,000!
"Your silver has become dross…" Isaiah 1:22
Anarchy and Savagery
During the March 2002 Presidential Election in Zimbabwe, over 1,400 MDC election observers and supporters were arrested in a massive nationwide clamp down on the opposition. Human rights groups documented over 70,000 human rights abuses in the run-up to the elections. These included severe beatings, abductions, torture and murder. ZANU-PF officials, supporters, war veterans and youth brigade militia rampaged through residential areas, attacking people indiscriminately, beating street vendors, dragging white farmers from their cars, savagely beating and murdering many. (Fraud, Repression and Arrests in Zimbabwe - UCANEWS).
Racism and Hypocrisy
Since Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980 through a vicious terrorist campaign, it should not be surprising that he has ensured that he stays in power through ongoing terrorism. As Mugabe declared: "We have degrees in violence!" and "I will be a black Hitler - tenfold!"
Yet, although almost all observers condemned the elections as fraudulent and flawed, incredibly, the African National Congress (ANC) government of South Africa expressed their "warm congratulations" to Robert Mugabe for "a convincing majority win." Many condemned the ANC's "obscene haste" to declare the poll legitimate, even before all the reports had come in. When the head of the South African Observer Commission declared the elections "legitimate" and brushed aside the widespread murder, violence, abduction and torture of observers and massive irregularities, he was jeered by journalists and diplomats alike. When questioned about the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters, the ANC official dismissed it as "an administrative oversight!" Journalists laughed out loud, stood up and walked out in disgust.
"Whoever says to the guilty, 'You are innocent' - peoples will curse him and nations denounce him." Proverbs 24:24
Over 100 election observers were abducted by ZANU-PF's youth militia during the elections. These observers were dragged off, beaten and tortured. ZANU-PF cancelled or broke up 80 MDC opposition rallies and arrested over 100 MDC election observers during "the elections".
Demons and Drought
While Mugabe was engineering "one of the most spectacular economic collapses in history" he was also taking part in witchcraft ceremonies, evoking "the spirits" and claiming to speak with "ancestral spirits, goblins and demons." Mugabe also claimed that he was "possessed by the spirit of Murenga." Murenga was the witchdoctor who inspired the war against the white settlers in 1896. This brutal war was called the Chimurenga because it was waged in the name of the spirit of Murenga. The vicious bush war against Rhodesia, which led to the independence in 1980, was called The Second Chimurenga. Spirit mediums and witchdoctors were very involved in supporting the communist insurgents of ZANU and ZAPU in that struggle.
It is significant that Mugabe and his followers have called the farm invasions The Third Chimurenga. In political rallies, Mugabe has threatened those who do not support him with curses and spells. He has warned anyone who votes for the opposition, that the ancestral spirits will torment and destroy them.
Mugabe even threatened: "If" he dies, he will come back to haunt his opponents and curse them with sickness, drought and death. Some have observed that they have all that already - with Mugabe alive!
The national suicide of Zimbabwe has continued as the country has spiralled downwards into lawlessness and savagery. Most of the wildlife has been senselessly slaughtered by bloodthirsty mobs of ZANU-PF's "war veterans" and youth militia. Vast herds of elephant and the endangered Black Rhino, cheetah, leopard and antelope, have been snared, speared, shot or blown up.
While Marxist President, Robert Mugabe, was being applauded as a keynote speaker at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, his supporters were slaughtering endangered wildlife and destroying huge forests and game reserves in Zimbabwe. Some of the greatest game reserves in Africa have been in Zimbabwe. Now many of these wildlife sanctuaries are scenes of unprecedented slaughter. Along with the wholesale poaching, Marxist mobs have been engaged in wholesale theft, abductions and murder. Properties have been burned out, tourists have been chased out of safari camps and game rangers have been assaulted and even killed. (Zimbabwe Killing Fields, UCANEWS)
"How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished." Jeremiah 12:4
Even under war conditions with total international economic sanctions, Rhodesia had the lowest unemployment and the lowest crime rate in the world. Today, in peacetime, even with foreign aid, Zimbabwe has one of the highest crime rates and skyrocketing unemployment rates in the world.
"Freedom" under Robert Mugabe has proved to be infinitely worse than the "oppression under Ian Smith."
Under Mugabe even judges have been assaulted by mobs in their chambers in court, journalists have been arrested and tortured, pastors arrested for praying for peace and justice and the only independent daily newspaper and radio station blown up.
"Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets." Psalm 55:11
Starving out Resistance
As the state-sponsored anarchy and savagery in Zimbabwe continued, and as the man-made famine deteriorated even further, the Zimbabwe government made clear that only ZANU-PF was allowed to distribute food or relief aid in Zimbabwe. ZANU was ensuring that only their supporters received food. As a matter of policy, the Zimbabwe government was deliberately starving those in opposition.
Serving the Suffering
Frontline Fellowship has been working in Zimbabwe since 1982. As the situation in Zimbabwe deteriorated, so we increased our activities in that desperately needy country. In recent months, we have distributed many tonnes of emergency relief aid to starving Christians in Zimbabwe. Amidst the state-orchestrated racial hatred, lawlessness and savagery, Frontline mission work in Zimbabwe has become particularly difficult and dangerous.
On one mission trip into Zimbabwe, we were told of a white farm manager of one of the opposition Members of Parliament, who was viciously beaten by Mugabe's thugs, and of an American who was killed while on a relief mission to Zimbabwe. He was shot at a roadblock while seated behind the steering wheel. He remained there, slumped over his steering wheel, for hours, slowly bleeding to death. Although the ZANU-PF officials claimed that he had tried to run through the roadblock, passers-by said that that was impossible, because they saw him slumped over in his vehicle, parked at the roadblock, with no indication that the vehicle was moving when he was murdered.
To travel anywhere in Zimbabwe today requires going through numerous roadblocks, which can be manned by police, army, war veterans, ZANU youth brigade or Mugabe's special police, the CIO. Some roadblocks are manned by the North Korean trained 5th Brigade. Food found in vehicles is summarily confiscated. Outside the shops there can be long lines of people, waiting for basic foodstuffs. Even bread and milk are in such short supply that it creates a sensation when any shop has stocks. With great excitement, people run and phone to inform their friends and relatives of the event!
The shortage of petrol is chronic. It is now common to see long lines of unoccupied cars outside petrol stations. These cars can be stuck for many days, or weeks, waiting for some delivery of petrol to the garage. Nor can one bring in extra fuel in jerry cans, as that is illegal and fuel cans are another item searched for at roadblocks. Petrol went up 320% last night.
All of this massively complicates ministry in Zimbabwe. You cannot get enough fuel or food inside the country, nor are you allowed to bring any across the border! The result is another wonderful opportunity to trust the Lord in prayer!
Where God guides, He provides. The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God will not keep you.
As we are continuing to conduct mission trips into Zimbabwe, for the safety of our workers and those whom we serve, we cannot say much about our ministry inside Zimbabwe.
However, we can say that there have been many tense moments and some close calls at roadblocks and border posts. By God's grace, many deliverances and answers to prayer. The Lord is our shield and our protector (Psalm 91).
Please do continue to pray for our field workers and the evangelists, pastors and teachers whom we are serving and equipping. Pray also for the impact of the tonnes of Gospel literature which we are distributing throughout Zimbabwe.
Ammunition for Missions
Just in time for our latest mission outreaches, a new shipment of 8½ tonnes of Gospel booklets arrived from World Missionary Press. Within days of us offloading and stacking these compact Scripture booklets into our storerooms, we were loading them into vehicles en-route to Angola, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Sudan.
On just one of these mission trips, Timothy, Victoria and I had the joy of delivering and distributing over 30,000 World Missionary Press Gospel booklets and nearly 10,000 copies of other publications throughout Zimbabwe and Zambia. Between us, we also conducted over 80 meetings. Victoria conducted dozens of children's evangelism programmes, using Evangelism Explosion. The children at schools in Kabwe and Lusaka were particularly eager to learn the EEIII programme. At the same time, Tim went from class to class, teaching on the Ten Commandments, while I went from class to class, teaching on Creation and Stewardship. This was the first field trip that I've undertaken with my laptop and video projector for Power Point presentations. They were well received.
I also presented lectures in 4 Bible Colleges and conducted five seminars, including a Transforming the Nation Seminar in Kabwe, a Reformation and Revival Seminar and a Muslim Evangelism Workshop in Lusaka, a Biblical Worldview Seminar in Sinda and a Reformation Conference at Petauke. The courses were well attended, with over 700 pastors, teachers, chaplains, evangelists and officials participating in our seminars, and well over 1,000 in one Sunday morning service in Lusaka. There was also an enthusiastic response to our film evangelism, with churches packed out and a tremendous hunger for the Gospel literature and Frontline books.
Tim and I also equipped and trained evangelists with Gospel Recordings audio visual Gospel Messengers and God's Story VCD kits. Zambian pastors trained by Frontline Fellowship have risen to the challenge and are undertaking mission trips into neighbouring countries of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
This is the fulfilment of a burden and a vision that we have had for a long time, that the people to whom we minister will become missionaries themselves to the desperately needy and unreached peoples around them.
The Fish Eagle
It is most appropriate that the national emblem of Zambia is the Fish Eagle. The Fish Eagle is on the Zambian flag and currency. As I have regularly pointed out to Zambian Christians: "The national emblem of Zambia is a Fish Eagle. The Fish Eagle is a noble bird. Praise God that Zambia does not have a rooster as its emblem - like Mugabe's ZANU in Zimbabwe! The rooster is very proud, but it scratches in the dirt and its neck is easily wrung. However, the Fish Eagle can soar the highest, see the furthest and fly the fastest.
I have woken up camping alongside the banks of the Zambezi River, to the sound of the magnificent Fish Eagle swooping down and effortlessly plucking a fish out of the Zambezi River and soaring off to its nest on the top of a tall tree. Zambia is called to be a missionary nation. Jesus said: Follow Me and I will make you a fisher of men. Zambia has a strategic position in Central Africa. You are surrounded by neighbours in turmoil - Angola, Congo, Mozambique, Zimbabwe. You have a missionary calling. Once, from your land, Marxist revolutionaries crossed the border with landmines, rocket launchers and machine guns, killing tens of thousands of your neighbours in their 'liberation struggle.' Now you must send out the healing Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Missionaries and evangelists with Bibles and relief aid must cross the borders to Angola, the Congo and Zimbabwe, bringing faith and true freedom in Christ."
"…those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles…" Isaiah 40:31
Although Zambia is now officially, by constitutional amendment, "a Christian Nation", there are many problems and threats. There is no doubt that things are immeasurably better than they were under Kaunda's socialist humanism in the '70's and '80's. There is far greater freedom of movement and speech, greater economic prosperity, many more shops - offering more goods and services than were ever possible before. The Gospel is freely propagated in schools and on national radio and TV. Abortion and pornography is illegal and the national leaders regularly discuss policy issues in the light of the commands of Scripture. However, the fruit of nearly three decades of socialism continues to have a devastating effect.
The Failure of Socialism
I visited the rusted wrecks of what used to be productive mines, providing employment for thousands and earning vast foreign exchange for the country. Now, since being nationalised, these once thriving mines have ceased production and stand only as monuments to the failure of socialism.
In some of our seminars and meetings, we were asked whether Zambia's problems and poverty were not actually the result of "the sacrifices Zambians have had to make in supporting the Freedom Fighters in the liberation struggles for their neighbouring countries?" This certainly was the much repeated propaganda line of UNIP - the ruling party of Kenneth Kaunda's one-party dictatorship.
To this, it was important to point out that at Independence, the British left over £2 billion in gold in the Zambian Reserve Bank, with an excellent infrastructure and well developed industry. Zambia was actually the richest country in Central Africa with the most promising future at Independence. Its Southern neighbour, Rhodesia, was actually its poor neighbour. However, not long after Independence, the situation had reversed as Zambia, under Kenneth Kaunda's Socialist Humanism, pursued nationalisation and other socialist fantasies, which bankrupted the nation.
At Independence, one Zambian Kwacha equaled£1. Today, one British Pound can buy over 8,000 Zambian Kwacha.
One pastor told me how he had bought a car shortly after Independence in Zambia for 140 Kwacha. Today, one bottle of Coca-Cola costs 1,200 Kwacha.
The fact is that Zambia received such a vast amount of financial aid from the British Commonwealth, the US State Department, the Soviet Union, Red China, the United Nations, the IMF and the World Bank, and many other sources, to support their role as "the frontline state in the war against Portuguese colonialism, Rhodesia and South Africa". If one did the maths and calculated the vast amounts received for the "freedom struggle" and the small amount expended, one would have to ask what happened to the billions of dollars of foreign aid? Far from this argument justifying Zambia's poverty, it actually only serves to further indict the socialist regime with its criminal corruption.
Next, we would need to ask whether Zambia was actually supporting genuine freedom movements. The Marxist MPLA, who used Zambia as its launching pad for its guerrilla operations in Angola, fed 42 men, women and children through a sawmill, yet Zambia continued to support them through all their murderous activities. If one calculates both those killed during the "war of liberation" and the civil war, which has devastated the country since then: over 1 million people have died under the MPLA in Angola. Are the Angolan people free?
The SWAPO terrorists who used Zambia as its launching pad, into what became Namibia, killed 10 000 civilians, many of them from their landmine campaign. Even school buses detonated these weapons of terror planted by SWAPO guerrillas.
Marxist Murder in Mozambique
The first action of the Marxist Frelimo guerrillas in Mozambique was to decapitate a Catholic priest and to serve his flesh and blood on the altar of a Catholic Church in Mozambique. Literally hundreds of thousands of people died under Frelimo's terrorist campaign and their oppressive rule. 8,000 Churches were closed, confiscated or destroyed after Frelimo's revolution in 1975. 75,000 people were publicly executed and 300,000 placed in concentration camps. Over one million died of a man-made famine, as Frelimo and its Soviet allies waged a scorched-earth campaign to starve out the resistance.
The ZANU and ZAPU terrorists, who operated out of Zambia, conducted heinous terrorist atrocities inside Zimbabwe, killing an estimated 30,000 civilians. This included murdering the 13 missionaries and their children at Elim Mission Station, bayonetting baby Natasha 89 times, shooting down civilian airliners and killing the survivors. Again, one needs to ask, did Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF bring freedom or tyranny to Zimbabwe? Are the people in Zimbabwe better off now than they were before?
Abortion, Necklacing and Communism
After mentioning these unquestionable atrocities of the "freedom fighters" supported by Zambia in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, some Zambians responded: "Well, at least we supported the ANC who have brought freedom to South Africa!"
I did not want to discourage our Zambian friends. I truly love Zambia and earnestly pray that the Lord may bless Zambia with a true Biblical revival. However, I had to point out that the ANC and its PAC allies, were involved in inexcusable atrocities against civilians during their so-called "freedom struggle". This included car bombs in public streets, bombs in restaurants, landmines on farm roads, grenades through the windows of the homes of Black policemen at night, the St. James Church massacre and a thousand necklace murders - brutally burning alive black town councillors, mayors, teachers and others in the townships.
Since the ANC has taken power in South Africa, they have abolished the death penalty for murderers (over 250,000 people have been murdered in South Africa in the last 10 years), legalised abortion (over 300,000 babies have been legally killed in South Africa since the ANC legalised abortion on demand on 1 February 1997), and legalised pornography and homosexuality. Now they are trying to legalise prostitution.
When they heard this, many Zambians responded: "What does any of this have to do with freedom and human rights?" Of course, the answer is: absolutely nothing. Under the guise of liberation, many heinous atrocities have been committed.
"They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity." 2 Peter 2:19
During our seminars, particularly when discussing Biblical economics, these subjects would often come up and provoke a vigorous debate. Many pastors testified that this was an important insight we were sharing, as blaming other people for our own sins is an abomination to God. There have been two generations brought up in Zambia, taught by the government schools to take no responsibility for their own problems. Everything is blamed on the British, the whites, the colonials, South Africa or America!
The Lord Jesus was merciful to repentant sinners, but condemned the hypocrites. Those who do not acknowledge their own sin are inviting God's judgement upon themselves.
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood…" Isaiah 59:1-3
One of the passages we studied was Deuteronomy 28, which lays out the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience - upon a nation. "If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully obey all His commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All His blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: you will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land, and the young of your livestock …the Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to …the Lord will grant you abundant prosperity …the Lord will open the Heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but borrow from none…" Deuteronomy 28:1-14
"However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all His commands and decrees I'm giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you …the Lord will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, which will plague you …the Lord will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder …the alien who lives among you will rise above you, higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail …if you do not carefully follow all the words of this Law which are written in this book and do not revere this glorious and awesome Name - the Lord your God - the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters and severe and lingering illnesses …because you did not obey the Lord your God …you will live in constant suspense filled with dread, both night and day, never sure of your life…" Deuteronomy 28: 15-68
Just from the perspective of unpunished murder, a curse comes over a land. "Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it." Numbers 35:33
There is a tremendous hunger for revival and a desire to see God abundantly bless Zambia. Many of the pastors, evangelists and teachers attending our seminars nodded in agreement as we related these realities. During the open discussion times and times of prayer, many expressed their concern that most Christians in Zambia have not acknowledged their guilt in initially supporting socialism because of covetousness, greed, envy and malice.
Many truly sought the Lord for grace and mercy because of the double standards, racism, tribalism and hypocrisy that has so long been tolerated.
"If My people who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Muslim Mosques and Madrassas have been built all over and there has been a concerted attempt to convert Zambians to Islam. Funded by oil money from Middle Eastern governments, Islamic Propagation Societies are offering "free education" to impoverished rural populations. Many Christian families have sent their children to these Muslim schools in the vain hope that an Islamic education is better than none. Others have said that they would no sooner send their child to an Islamic school than sell them into Islamic slavery.
Also tragic is that the MMD government, despite its commitment to make Zambia a Christian country, failed during the last 12 years to replace the socialist humanist textbooks of the UNIP era with any Christian textbooks. This has meant that an officially Christian country has continued to allow its children to be indoctrinated by school textbooks rooted in the principles of secular humanism, evolutionism, situation ethics and socialism. The museums have also continued to propagate evolutionary propaganda. When one speaks to the curators in the museums, or the teachers in the schools, they are adamant that they do not believe the fairy tale of evolution. Nevertheless, the atheist worldview continues to be propagated by the education department of Zambia.
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting." Romans 8:28
As early as 1992, Frontline Fellowship was encouraging government ministers to replace the humanist textbooks with Christian textbooks. At the time we were told that they wanted to, "as soon as possible", but could not afford to financially. However, later the MMD government reprinted the humanist textbooks of the UNIP era!
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priests for Me; because you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your children." Hosea 4:6
Obviously, there can be no higher priority for a nation that wants to become a Christian nation, than to ensure that its young receive a truly Christian education. For this reason, Frontline Fellowship has conducted scores of Reformation Conferences and Biblical Worldview Seminars, providing Biblical Leadership Training for pastors, teachers, evangelists and government officials.
We have established Covenant Bible College in the Eastern Province. Eastern Zambia is rife with witchcraft, is riddled with Jehovah Witness Kingdom Halls and is being intensively targeted by the Islamic Propagation Centre. In this spiritual battleground, there is no other permanent Protestant mission base and no other Bible College. One denomination has only one trained pastor for 180 congregations.
Frontline Fellowship's Field Director for Zambia, Rev. David Fraser and his wife Marion, are missionaries of the Free Church of Scotland - Continuing. Rev. Fraser is the Founder and Principal of Covenant Bible College, which has 24 full-time students and many others who are making use of their Bible correspondence course in Chichewa.
In running the mission base, David Fraser has been assisted by Rev. Jan van Straaten, Ray and Sonya Joubert, Victoria and Dr. David Clegg. As the provincial government hospital has been without a doctor, Dr. Clegg has been welcomed into the provincial hospital and has treated thousands of patients, saving many lives.
Some of the Bible students are pastors, already responsible for congregations. Some of them cycle up to 80 km's by bicycle to attend the College. The College day begins with the singing of Psalms. Great interest has been shown in the Old and New Testament studies, Systematic Theology, Ethics, Hermeneutics and Homiletics. Some of the students have reported that they take their notes home and conduct their own "colleges" with their congregations each weekend. These students have also been heavily involved in outreaches in local community, including chaplaincy ministry in the hospital. Some have started community Christian schools. Others are conducting cross-border outreaches into Mozambique.
Suzanne and Martin, the teenage children of the Frasers who live at the mission base, are conducting their own Bible studies three times a week with the local boys and girls. Martin has also taken part in evangelistic outreaches across the border into Mozambique.
We have also been supporting indigenous efforts to establish Christian schools. The most successful of these is Excellence Christian Academy, based in Kabwe. Six years ago, Eugene Kalunga launched his Christian Academy in his home. As the school grew, ITMI helped ECA obtain suitable school buildings, and Frontline Fellowship sponsored their textbooks. Today ECA has 180 students using the Christian Liberty Press textbooks. Twelve ECA students and staff travelled down to Cape Town to participate in our Summit Youth Leadership Training Programme in January.
Rev. Bill Bathman, Rev. Stephen Smyth, Stephen Perks, Johan, Tim, Victoria and I have made repeated visits to ECA, assisting in teaching and ministry with these dedicated Christian educators. Excellence Christian Academy has already undertaken mission trips across the border to assist their neighbours in establishing Christian schools.
As an indigenous African mission dedicated to fulfilling the Great Commission in restricted access areas, Frontline Fellowship seeks to fulfil the Great Commission comprehensively – by ministering to body, mind and spirit. This involves supporting the three pillars of missions: schools – for the mind, medical clinics – for the body, and churches – for the spirit.
Our priorities are literature, leadership training and love in action. Along with delivering food, agricultural tools, seed and medicines as part of our love in action ministry, Frontline Fellowship conducts intensive leadership training courses for pastors, teachers, chaplains, evangelists and medics, and we deliver many tonnes of Bibles, Hymn books, Sunday School materials and Christian textbooks.
By God’s grace, Frontline Fellowship is involved in delivering 5,000 Christian textbooks to 100 schools in Sudan. These textbooks are going to the over 650 teachers which we have provided regular leadership training for.
Now, we are trusting the Lord for the sponsorship necessary to be able to supply thousands of Christian textbooks for Christian schools in Zambia and Nigeria.
In order to help the many pastors and teachers who are establishing community Christian schools to provide alternatives to the humanist government schools and Muslim education of the Madrassas, Christian Liberty Press in Chicago has offered to provide us with their textbooks at cost. This means that for an average of $2 per textbook, we can supply dedicated Christian teachers in Zambia and Nigeria with Bible-based school textbooks. These will be studied and focused on in the classrooms, month by month, put up on the blackboard, notes taken from them, assignments and exams written on them. Christian textbooks are great tools for on-going discipleship in Africa.
Over the years Frontline Fellowship has had the privilege of delivering and distributing hundreds of thousands of Bibles in restricted access areas in Africa, particularly into communist Mozambique and Angola and Islamic Sudan. Now we believe that, as Christian schools multiply in these mission fields, one of the most strategic things we can do is supply them with great Christian school textbooks.
We are also seeking to increase our supplying of doctrinal books and Bible study aids for pastors, evangelists and Bible College libraries throughout Africa.
Any help that you can offer in these most worthy and strategic projects will be greatly appreciated.
On our last night in Zambia, Tim and I were in a campsite when we heard movement in the bushes. Soon three Zebra came out and began grazing on the grass around our vehicle. Then we saw a herd of about 12 Kudu. The male Kudu, with his magnificent corkscrew horns, positioned himself between the herd and ourselves and watched us warily. Later we saw an even larger herd of Impala. It was most encouraging to enjoy some of God's wonderful creation in their natural habitat. It was another reminder that, despite all its problems, Zambia is being restored.
Tim and I fervently prayed that the Lord would continue and deepen the work of Reformation and Revival in this strategic central African country. To do this we need your prayers and support, more missionary volunteers and lots of Christian textbooks.
"As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the Lord alone led him …" Deuteronomy 32:11-12
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa