Apostolic Company in Action

Over at From Distant Quarters, blog of my friend, John Lietzel, an update is given on the work that is taking place in Zambia and Zimbabwe. John writes:

For the final week of the Hope College May-June Term, Global Horizons sent Alan Scotland, Barry Fitzpatrick, and Ian Rawley [part of the core team] here to Lusaka at the same time. They taught the Diploma students, then on the weekend we hosted a Leadership Summit for about fifty pastors from Zambia and Zimbabwe. This Summit represented the coming together of six different church networks, expressing a desire for a greater relationship with one another. As we’re seeking to strengthen our brothers and sisters in leadership in Southern Africa, this Summit was a significant step–and a powerful time together.

If you know African culture, or planet earth culture in general, you know it is hard for groups to come together, to form team. Especially men! But God has been opening the doors for us to see the leaders of these African church networks come together to form a more connected and strengthened core team, that the evangel of the kingdom might be better proclaimed in southern Africa.

This is Africa’s time! It’s exciting news!

Zimbabwe Government Changes

Most of us are, at least, somewhat aware of the difficulties in Zimbabwe these days. There has been an economic crisis for many years now, much greater than we can imagine in America and the western world. Just a few days ago, the BBC reported that the inflation rate has recently been at 231,000,000%! I cannot even comprehend such. They also report that, due to such inflation, prices change by the hour. And, not only that, but Zimbabwe faces its worst cholera epidemic in 15 years.

Even more, this past summer of 2008, in the midst of elections for Zimbabwe’s President, there was much debate and scandal surrounding the precedings. Robert Mugabe, who has been the head of the Zimbabwean government since 1980, and currently the President, was being run against in the elections by Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Most people saw Tsvangirai’s run for presidency as a good thing, hoping to bring about change to a nation rifled with economic strife, disease and an oppressive government. Following the elections in the summer, it seemed that Tsvangirai had tallied more votes and won his place as the new President of Zimbabwe. Yet, Mugabe was not going to go out easily as he challenged the vote total (this is a little bit worse than the Florida situation of 2000 in America’s election). There are only hypotheses as to what really took place, but in a subsequent run off between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, Mugabe came out the winner. Rumors are that many Zimbabweans had received threats from Mugabe’s team and the military. Thus, with fear controlling the votes of many, Mugabe was able to win the run off.

Yet, with so much controversy surrounding the elections, and with help from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a deal was struck to allow Morgan Tsvangirai to become Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister while Robert Mugabe remained as President. There was to be a shared government rule. And, though this deal was confirmed back in September, Mugabe continued with much resistance.

But, after pressure from the SADC to move forward with the decision of a shared government by the end of next week, the BBC news reported this today.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is due to sign into law a constitutional amendment allowing his rival Morgan Tsvangirai to become prime minister.

The signing of the bill will bring a power-sharing unity government in Zimbabwe one step closer.

The deal between the two men’s parties was agreed in September 2008 – but has been mired by bitter disputes.

Mr Tsvangirai is due to be sworn in next Wednesday, 11 February, with Mr Mugabe remaining as president.

This is, no doubt, a great blessing to finally see things moving forward in Zimbabwe. While it’s problems will not be immediately solved, it seems they are headed for change. But we must be encouraged to pray that Mugabe and Tsvangirai can work together. And we must call on God to work in this land full of pain and crisis.

Zimbabwe Orphanage

This blog post is a little different from my usual, but I thought it would be interesting to do something a little out of the norm.

I currently lead Cornerstone International Church in the Brussels, Belgium, area. Cornerstone is part of the family of churches known as Lifelink International. Lifelink is a smaller network of churches and ministries across the UK, USA, mainland Europe and Africa, with close links in India and China, all with the purpose of supporting one another in the role God has given us in the advance of His kingdom.

Something that has been impressed upon the hearts of the leaders within Lifelink is that of supporting a special project with the churches of Zimbabwe. The project is to help strengthen the ‘Rekai Tangwena Children’s Home’, which already exists in Nyanga, Zimbabwe. This home originated out of the increasing need to care for orphans and vulnerable children, resulting primarily from the high incidence of HIV-AIDS in Zimbabwe.

The children’s home is currently run by those in Holy Cross Church under the direction of Livingstone Nerwande, the founder of the home and Holy Cross. There are currently 20 children between the ages of 5 and 18 being cared for at the home. Through partnerships with churches in the UK, it has been possible to make some improvements on the home. However, this site is poorly suited to the needs of a children’s home.

Thus, the vision is to create an Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) center on a new site. The church in Nyanga has already acquired the land for this site. With continued support from churches in the UK, a perimeter fence was initially erected and the construction of a ‘mini-village’ is now on its way. The OVC center will accommodate up to thirty children, each home consisting of six children and a house parent. The center will also include accommodation for staff members and visitors; office space and leisure facilities such as a sports ground and television room; a grain mill, chicken run and kitchen gardens for education and income generation.

Some £75,000 has already been raised with the ultimate goal of reaching £120,000. You can view the video below to get a glimpse into this wonderful and much needed project: