Malawi was one of the great success stories of the 19th Century missionary movement. Starting with David Livingstone (whose birthday was for many years honoured as a national holiday in Malawi), missionaries succeeded in evangelising and discipling this nation so effectively that what was once the killing fields of Muslim slave traders became one of the most Protestant nations of Africa.
Sitting under armed guard in the sun on the Zambian bank of the Zambezi river, I knew we were in for a rough time and a long stay in a Zambian jail. True, we had nothing to hide and were missionaries in transit to Malawi, but the hostile expression on the face of the camouflaged soldier and the nervous way he fingered his AK47 spoke louder than the facts.
Surrounded by marxist dictatorships such as Angola, Congo and Zimbabwe, Zambia is a most strategic country for Christian missions in Africa. For 27 years Zambia itself was a one-party socialist dictatorship exporting terrorism. Now Zambia is officially a Christian nation and potentially a base for missionary outreach throughout the troubled and war-ravaged region.
Four Frontline missionaries have returned from an intensive 10 week field outreach to Zambia and Malawi. They drove our two heavily laden trucks over 13 000km, distributing a ton of books, Gospel booklets, tracts and Bibles in six languages. They presented 12 Discipleship Training Seminars for pastors and evangelists, held film evangelism crusades in Mozambique refugee camps and conducted 70 evangelistic meetings, services and rallies including among the witchcraft dominated Maambwe people.
So far this year, Frontline Fellowship has conducted 7 mission trips to Zambia alone. While Virgil, Louise and Hansie have continued to build our mission station; Rob, Calvin and Glendon have conducted the most extensive leadership training programme throughout Zambia yet.
This mission trip had been planned and prepared for months. It took 51 hours hard driving (and a couple of mechanical breakdowns) to reach the first meeting in the capital, Lusaka. During the next 2 months the Fellowship vehicle drove over 14 500 km (9 000 miles). Despite being gored and badly damaged by a buffalo during the travels, our vehicle survived and managed to bring our team safely home. Over 2 000 Zambians (mostly pastors and teachers in training) attended the 20 Biblical Worldview Seminars in 13 different towns. This included 1 200 trainee teachers in 7 Teacher Training Colleges. Some of the Seminars received newspaper and radio news coverage. Here are some items from the team leader, Rob’s report: