This morning I awoke in a beautiful home, stumbled into my spacious bathroom, took my morning meds, tromped downstairs to feed my dog, Max, brewed a fantastic cup of "Black Silk" coffee in my Keurig, plopped into my favorite seat and watched Sportscenter, had a light breakfast and then headed back upstairs to work on this blog. Later today, I'm headed over to Sam's club and HT to do a bit of grocery shopping.
So what, you say? So, it was all relatively effortless. Things work. The plumbing works. The electricity works. The central air works. The Keurig works. The TV works. As they all usually do 99.99% of the time. The food I want will be available later today in the quantity I want at a fair price. I will drive over well paved roads in a reliable car and return home to place my food in a large refrigerator that runs beautifully. I will then take a clean dish out of my dishwasher and place a delicious sandwich on it which I will then enjoy.
Last week Time Warner Cable shipped me a new modem boosting my internet speed by 10X. It came with a prepaid return stamp for my old modem. Simple. Easy. My internet screams now. Awesome!
In contrast, while we were in Zambia, the country was subjected to ongoing daily eight hour "loadshedding." Daily, electricity was turned off for eight hours on a rotating basis. So, on day one, the electricity was off from midnight to 8am, day two from 8am-4pm, day 3 from 4pm to 10pm, etc. When the electricity went off so did our water. And our fans. With daytime temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, water and fans were missed, let me tell you. More importantly, small businesses were being devastated, especially those dealing in food or relying on power for tools.
During our five week stay, something else happened. The Zambian currency, the Kwacha (K) lost 25% of its value. It has since lost another 20%. This, of course, was great for us since we were exchanging dollars for K, but for the Zambians, the devaluation of the K is being accompanied by strong inflation.
On day during our stay, Percy had traveled two hours to Livingstone to purchase the barbed wire we needed to complete the fence on our IMC land. During the actual purchase transaction, the manager of the hardware store approached the salesman and whispered into his ear. The sales man then turned to Percy and said, "I'm terribly sorry, but the price of the barbed wire just went up 10%!"
The road to Livingstone, for the first 45 miles is so filled with deep potholes that one must slowly wind through them like an obstacle course. This slows down the trip and uses more gas. Since gas is about $6-7/gallon, that adds up on a 160 mile round trip.
Last year, desperate to deal with its debt, Zambia sold off its corn reserve. Then the rains never came in much of the country. The corn crop for 2015 was devastated. In Western Province, where we work, the corn crop was lost. All lost.
What's my point? Am I trying to make you feel bad about being an American? Am I guilt-ridden myself because we have it so good here? No, not at all. We are not at fault for having a solid infrastructure or good technology that frees us from the drudgery of hand washing clothes, for example. And, I enjoy my daily coffee and fresh food and the ease of transportation and the comfort of central air just like you do. I love living here!
What I am saying is that the body of Christ extends beyond the borders of the U.S. and our brothers and sisters in Zambia, like most Zambians, are facing a crisis of grave proportion. The World Bank is unhappy with Zambia as its debt continues to grow. Zesco, the electric company, is talking about 24 hour blackouts now.. And the early rains have not yet come. Again.
So, don't feel guilty. Be grateful. Enjoy God's good gifts. But, pray. Pray for Zambia. For rain. For a solution to the debt crisis. For electricity. And, especially, for God's Kingdom to come even in the midst of these difficult, even foreboding times. Will you consider joining us in prayer for Zambia?