11 November is packed full of meaning for anyone whose relatives fought in the World Wars, and for all who had the privilege of growing up in Rhodesia. 53 Years ago on Thursday, 11 November 1965, at the most solemn moment of the 11th hour of Armistice Day, Ian Douglas Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, signed Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
53 Years Ago
53 years ago, on Thursday, 11 November 1965, at the most solemn moment of Armistice Day, the 11th hour, Ian Douglas Smith, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, signed Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
This act of defiance, which came after many months of negotiations and fruitless discussions with the British Foreign Office, resulted in a most extraordinary explosion of diplomatic activity, international outrage, economic sanctions and motions of condemnation from the British Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity, the United Nations, the Soviet Union, and even from the US State Department. Incredibly, Rhodesia was labelled: "A threat to world peace!" This from nations engaged in nuclear arms races and invasion of other lands!
What Have You Learned?
The pastor under whom I was converted and discipled, Rev. Doc Watson, challenged me after my first cross-border Mission to Mozambique in 1982: "Many Missionaries tell us what they have done, I would be more interested to hear what they have learned." That profound challenge has continually guided me in over 35 years of ministering to the Persecuted Church.
83% of Zimbabwe’s wildlife has been destroyed by Mugabe’s state sponsored chaos according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force. Inflation is over 4500%. Unemployment is over 85%. Power failures for days on end even in the capital, Harare, are common. Shops are empty. Starvation is rampant.
It takes much longer to build than to destroy. For example, it took the Americans seven years to build the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York, but it only took an hour for Muslim terrorists to destroy that remarkable feat of engineering.
The humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe has been described as a “man made tsunami.” Many of the people in this longsuffering country who have watched their homes and churches being bulldozed and burned by Mugabe's army and police are calling it: “the Mugabe tsunami.”
The systematic human rights abuses and persecution of Christians by Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF regime are well documented. However, the media coverage of the Communist catastrophe in Zimbabwe has been surprisingly subdued. Public outrage in neighbouring countries has often been absent and humanitarian concern has been erratic and inadequate. Christians in Zimbabwe are shocked that so many of their African brothers support the oppressive government of Mugabe and seem unconcerned about their afflictions.
In Central Africa an epic conflict rages between Communism, Islam and Christianity.
My first visit to Zambia, back in 1987, had an unpromising beginning. Transporting a large quantity of Bibles and Gospel booklets in transit through Zambia, en-route for Malawi and Mozambique, we were arrested at Kazangulu. Stripped and searched at the police station in Livingstone, thrown into stinking cells covered in human filth and infested with flying, crawling and biting insects. Interrogated. Blindfolded, barefoot and transported in chains to Lusaka.
A term of terror in the Soviet Union, the KGB was the Committee for State Security of the Soviet Union. Initially it was named the Cheka (Emergency Committee) and founded 20 December 1917, by the instruction of Vladimir Lenin. The Cheka was established by Felix Dzerzhinsky. The Cheka was tasked by the Soviet Politburo with arresting, torturing and executing many tens-of-thousands of dissidents, deserters, reactionaries and counter revolutionaries.
Serving the Persecuted
During more than 35 years of missionary work I have had the privilege of serving persecuted Churches in Mozambique, Angola, Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Albania, Rwanda, Sudan, Northern Nigeria, the Congo and Zimbabwe. During this time I have endured aerial bombardments, ambushes, artillery and rocket barrages and I have been arrested and imprisoned for missionary work.