Zimbabwe’s ills infecting neighboring Zambia

By February 10, 2009

Zambia (MNN) — Zimbabwe faces
runaway inflation, high unemployment, disastrous agriculture policy and rampant
disease.

February 21-25, the United
Nations is conducting a humanitarian mission in Zimbabwe in the wake of a
raging cholera outbreak.

Although Zimbabwe's parliament
unanimously passed a resolution to form a unity government with President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition, little has changed. When Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is sworn in as prime minister this
week, he will be faced with answering the challenges.

But it may be a scramble to keep
the country under control. The alarming news is that like the cholera epidemic,
borders won't contain Zimbabwe's ills.  

Rody Rodeheaver IN Network says
thousands are fleeing  to Zambia. "This is a time when it is very hard to
contain the problem in Zimbabwe. It
is spreading, and it is causing the evangelical church to reach out to the
refugees. It's also creating turmoil within the evangelical church."

Zimbabwe refugee camps are
springing up near the border with Zambia, laying a heavy burden on the goodwill
of its neighbors.

The problem is that  Zambia's government is taking land from the
subsistence farmers and giving it to the Zimbabwean refugees, many of whom were
the commercial farmers who lost their land as the result of Mugabe's  agriculture policies.

It's creating turmoil in the
church, because it's threatening Zambian livelihoods.  Rodeheaver says many church members are
subsistence farmers, and they are struggling with resentment.  

Such a situation is dangerous for
ministry. Rodeheaver says, "We need to really pray for the
leadership of the evangelical church and for organizations like the IN Network
that are building bridges and helping to reach out to refugees and to try to
deal with the problems that are created when a ruler in another country sets
such bad policy."

The instability, coupled with the
U.S. economy, forced I.N. Network to postpone mission trips slated for both
Zimbabwe and Zambia. There's no word yet
on if or when they'll be rescheduled. In
the meantime, the national teams will continue their outreach.

I.N. Zambia's plans are to continue
training and sending out fully-equipped young Christian men and women
throughout Zambia to be self-supporting Christian leaders. Through
FamCare Ministries, INZ also seeks to impact the country with teachings on Christian
family values. This is desperately needed in a country where the increasing
rates of divorces combined with the spread of HIV/AIDS are the norms of
everyday life. INZ's goal is to become self-reliant in the years ahead.

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