While Americans were celebrating Independence Day, Former President George W. Bush, and his wife Laura were spending the first week of July, 2012, in the African nation of Zambia, visiting and assisting with the opening preparations for the cervical cancer detection and treatment center they established in the town of Kawbe. They also visited local orphanages full of children left parentless by the scourge of AIDS/HIV and cervical cancer. Why all the fuss about this tiny, obscure country, deep in the heart of central Africa?
Though the world attention, compassion and assistance of the former first couple is tremendous, appreciated, and beneficial there are other places, like the United States, where these type problems persist as well. Could it be this little country’s situation has a compelling story that all societies seeking larger and larger government expansion into their lives should heed? I think it does.
The Devastation of Communism Every Where It’s Allowed
In the mid-20th Century, western European nations began vacating Africa. The countries there were deemed of little strategic importance and, besides, they distrusted foreigners and were places of constant tribal violence. Naturally, the vacuum left by the white flight left in these little countries was quickly filled in, one by one, with Marxist/Leninist rulers.
In 1964, a south central African nation, known as Northern Rhodesia, was granted its independence from Great Britain. It renamed itself Zambia. This new, independent country started out a very prosperous one, with over 1 billion pounds of surplus currency in its national treasury. Self-sufficient, it fed its people and exported its abundant natural resources to many of its neighbors in the region. All this would soon change after the British exit and its first president, Kenneth Kaunda was installed. He would embark on a Marxist/Leninist legacy that would last almost thirty years.
He and his henchmen instituted a governmental takeover of the major private industries, banks, and businesses. They did the same with the agricultural industry, and like all strong-arm government control it lead to widespread hunger and malnutrition. To keep the leery public at bay, and to squash any and all political dissent about the way the nation was being led to ruin, civil rights like free speech, and an independent press had to be abolished. Political violence, voter intimidation and election rigging came in handy to keep the regime in power. All political parties (except Kaunda’s) were also banned.
The country’s Christians and their leaders spoke out in defiance but were rewarded with imprisonment and death for openly opposing the regime. Corruption, witchcraft, humanistic public education, pornography, and all the rot and decay they can each bring compounded a declining standard of living.
The country held treaties with the world’s major exporters of communism, and became a home base for violent revolutionary political movements bent on destabilizing neighboring countries. Then along came the early 1990s, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and with it the Soviet Empire’s collapse.
A Second Chance for Zambia
Half of the world’s people, weary of the morale and financial decay of communism, were liberated from their soviet sponsored oppressors who could no longer rely on the Kremlin for financial and military assistance.
Things changed in south central Africa too. The Zambian people held mass prayer rituals seeking Christ’s guidance. They looked to America as the best example of how to breathe the fresh air of freedom. Their prayerful convictions led to multi-party elections in October of 1991, and the communists were ushered out of power by a 5 to 1 margin. They elected a professed Christian, Frederick Chiluba, to the presidency. Chiluba, a former political prisoner under the Kaunda regime, kept his promises to unbind the Marxist/Leninist shackles that enslaved his country. He had many allies in the parliament and a few key advisors from outside the government, one in particular.
Reverend John Jere, was one of these key advisers. He was there to help the Chiluba administration to re-implement free-market principles, and civil rights. They instituted public information campaigns to combat the pornography and drug pestilences that had wrecked such terrible consequences on the nation. Their finest achievement was working hand in hand with the country’s parliament to officially declare that Zambia would constitutionally be a Christian nation, something that many Western nations have never done!
He and his wife Joyce’s commitment led to opening their own home and adopting orphans. When they couldn’t accommodate those they rescued (and planned to rescue) they didn’t stop. Instead they bought a parcel of land outside Lusaka, the capital city, and built the Samaritans Children’s Home.
Since the early 1990’s they’ve taken in dozens of needy little ones. Most are now grown adults but they weren’t the last. The home has been an on-going operation ever since, giving a second chance for a normal life to hundreds of the forgotten victims of secular humanism. Currently over ninety children are fed daily, clothed and provided with medical treatment and an education, but most importantly, they are loved and exposed to the Gospel.
Yet the streets and back alleys of Zambia’s cities are full of others. They are eating out of garbage cans, or stealing what they can find. Others turn to more serious crimes. Some are naked and sick, and all are ignorant of Christ.
A Bright Future
Zambia has come a long way since its enslavement under Marxist/Leninist rule. It is a country rediscovering peace with Christ, itself and its neighbors. Yet, it is one where the average citizen lives at the subsistence level and orphaned children are considered under ancient tribal custom as unwanted burdens.
We in the western world have many safety nets to rely upon if we hit hard times. In the third world there is nothing. If a storm rages, if a tidal wave strikes, if a disease runs rampant, if widespread crop failure occurs their poor governments have little to assist their peoples. Zambia is no different for now but its future is bright because thanks to John and Joyce Jere future generations of Christian political leaders, business and tradesmen will bring more salt and light to their fellow citizens and those in neighboring counties still suffering under secular humanism. They are living antidotes to the poverty, want and despair that so often leads to despotic rule.
If you have been looking for a way make a direct impact on the lives of the truly needy at the cost of about one American dollar a day then please answer the call of the Holy Spirit to your heart and mind and contact In Touch Mission International.
The Bush and the Jere family are doing what Christ would want all of us to do; to bring compassion to the suffering and discarded as he taught in His great parable of the Good Samaritan. How about you?