TEAM back helping nationals in Zimbabwe

By May 13, 2009

Zimbabwe (MNN) — TEAM, the Evangelical Alliance Mission, has been working in Zimbabwe for well over 50 years. Most of their work has been located in the northeastern part of the Zambezi Valley. TEAM is currently operating a hospital there.

Zimbabwe is currently reeling from hyper inflation, 80-percent unemployment, and political uncertainty. Some reports indicate the economic collapse was caused by the land redistribution policy by the government which took land from minority whites, giving it to the black population. In the 1980's, Zimbabwe's economy was second to only South Africa. But now it's one of the poorest nations in the world.

Ironically, TEAM and national Zimbabwe Christian leaders also had a disagreement. Charlie Davis, International Director for TEAM, says it started off by being about property and ownership; ownership and then about hierarchy. "Unfortunately, despite many, many attempts to bring reconciliation, it led to a complete rupture between TEAM and our national colleagues."

However, in the early part of this decade, Davis says, "The leaders of the black African churches in Zimbabwe began to approach TEAM missionaries. A dialogue began, and God brought about this amazing reconciliation and a huge meeting where forgiveness was offered and apologies were offered in both directions."

Davis says the Zimbabwe church has now learned from the disagreement. "We have now learned that right and wrong and good and evil cannot be determined by the color of your skin. And we want to work together to follow the Lord's leading."

What's amazing about this story is when the government was expelling mission and relief organizations, TEAM's hospital continued operating. That's giving TEAM a unique opportunity other mission and relief groups don't have, says Davis. "We're still there. And in some ways, we're the only game in town. So food relief and all sorts of other things can now flow through TEAM to the national churches. And the national churches in this wonderful partnership can minister in loving compassion to these communities."

Davis says it's a great new day in Zimbabwe. "The thing that's so amazing is that here is a country that has been absolutely devastated by every imaginable ill. Yet, the Gospel and the ministry of the churches is greater than it's ever been."

Davis says there are needs. "We would love to see a whole new army of recruits, and we would love to see churches join us in this partnership, as well as donors who would like to exercise their faith and contribute to some of those needs. We would like to build that into the partnership."

If you'd like to help TEAM in the renewed outreach in Zimbabwe, click here.

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