Zimbabwe’s crisis fails to stall hope

By January 12, 2009

Zimbabwe (MNN) — Zimbabwe's
cholera death toll tops 1700 now, and the food shortage is worse than ever. 

The waterborne disease has spread
to all ten of Zimbabwe's provinces because of the collapse of health and
sanitation systems. This week, the Health
Minister warned that the epidemic could get worse as the rainy season develops.

The epidemic is adding to the
humanitarian crisis in the country, amidst a political crisis that threatens
the stability of the country. Travel is being discouraged.

When asked if the situation would
hurt upcoming Frontline Shepherd conferences this month, David
Shibley with Global Advance said, "From what we're
getting in preliminary pre-conference reports, we will actually have record
turnouts of pastors at both of our conferences in Zimbabwe because of the acute
need that is in the country."

The conferences will go on as
scheduled because they are being held in smaller, more out-of-the-way cities.

The desperation has many turning
to the church for hope. This is a prime
time for the Gospel to be planted. Shibley says that's why training is critical now. "There's an
enormous need for someone to lift up the hands and strengthen and encourage
these wonderful men. These conferences are led by all Africa teams, and they
are men who are associated with us at Global Advance who are leading these
teams."

Zimbabwe's situation is not
unusual. As economic instability
continues globally, people are searching for hope. Pastors can sense the shift in openness and
are asking for help as they tackle difficult issues and teach believers how to
follow Christ.

This year, Shibley says, they are
on track for a record 100 conferences, in spite of the instabilities that
threaten. Their mission: to help fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus
Christ by empowering national church leaders and business leaders to evangelize
and disciple their own and surrounding nations.

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