Zambia is situated in central southern Africa, on a plateau about 4000 feet above sea level and is surrounded by seven other countries. It has no coast. It is 291,000 square miles in area which is about one twelfth that of the USA. It’s population is 11 million and increasing rapidly. It is home to 73 different tribal groups.
Until Zambia gained independence in 1964, it was a British colony. It became a one party state in 1972; multiparty democracy was introduced in 1991.
Throughout Zambia’s history, there has been freedom for the preaching of the gospel. Work done by missionaries from assemblies began in 1881, and many assemblies have been established over the years. The picture varies greatly throughout the country, however, with some parts having seen much faithful labor and blessing, while others have remained largely untouched.
Soon after my wife Priscilla and I came to the country in 1992, the Lord exercised our hearts regarding the great need in the southern province of Zambia where there are no assembly missionaries. The Lord opened up the way, and we moved to the city of Livingstone in 1995, near the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Livingstone, named after the famous Scottish missionary David Livingstone, has a population of 100,000, and until 1935 was the capital of the country. There is a small assembly of about 15 believers who meet in a school. We are in very happy fellowship with them. On Lord’s day we meet for the Breaking of Bread, gospel, Sunday School, Bible class and ministry. During the week we meet for ministry, Bible reading, prayer and tract distribution. It is Pod to see the interest in things of God among the believers. We seek to be a help and encouragement to them.
Efforts are made to reach out to other parts of the city in various ways. We have weekly children’s meetings in our home and in another township. We are able to rent public halls in various townships for series of gospel meetings. Earlier this year we took delivery of a tent which was purchased for gospel work. We have had one series in it so far, and we thank God that we saw some blessing in salvation as the Word was preached. The tent is proving to be very suitable in many ways. We trust, that if the Lord be not come soon, that it will be used by His hand for the salvation of many precious souls.
We conduct open air meetings as well. Not many people come to gospel meetings even if in a “neutral” hall or tent. We recently had a week of open air meetings and tract distribution at the evening rush hour near the bus and taxi area, and close to the market. Some stopped to listen and many more heard the preaching as they passed. We leave the results with God.
We have a book room in the city center which has Bibles and sound assembly literature. People can read or buy at a subsidized price. We also have the opportunity to teach children the Word of God in a local secondary school. The government is happy for missionaries to come into schools on a voluntary basis to teach the Scriptures. There is freedom to present the gospel every day.
The main tribe in the Southern province is the Tonga tribe. We are exercised to see the gospel preached in their villages in their own language. Most of these villages have no gospel testimony and none have assemblies. The Lord has been opening doors; we now have a weekly children’s meeting in one such village and have held gospel series in others.
Farther afield an opportunity opened for us to have a fortnightly gospel meeting in the secondary school in Zimba, which is the next town along the road to the capital, Lusaka. The people there came out well to the meetings, but there was opposition from some members of the staff at school, who put so much pressure on the headmaster that he stopped us from coming. We pray that God will overrule and that the door will open once again.
On other occasions with brethren from the assembly, we have been able to visit other parts of the Southern Province and to move from village to village preaching the gospel. We bless God for the openings. When we go to a place asking for permission to preach, it is unusual for us to be refused outright. It is not that people are gasping to hear the gospel. The low attendance at meetings proves that. They do fear however, that by refusing us, they may be displeasing God.
The work in this part of Zambia is very much a sowing work. We do not hear of many professing to be saved. Satan is very busy in trying to hinder the work. He has many traps laid for the people of God and all sorts of hindrances to prevent sinners from turning to the Savior. The moral standards are very low. Alcohol, sport and all the other devices of the enemy are very popular. Witchcraft and tribal rituals are still prevalent. More subtle, but perhaps more dangerous, is the influence of religion. Almost all denominations can be found here, including the well known cults. People are very religious, so they think they do not need the gospel, preferring to believe that salvation can be found in a “Christian family,” in church membership, baptism or singing in the choir. The religious systems are opposed to the work of God. Charismatic teaching and practices are rife in the vast majority of denominations, and the assembly is almost alone in standing against it.
It is our responsibility and privilege to sow the Good Seed in the gospel and to teach believers. God has promised that we shall reap if we faint not. The prayers of the saints are deeply appreciated. Pray that we will see fruit in salvation, in the building up of the believers and in the establishment of assembly testimony.