The dramatic changes in Zambia over the last 20 years could hardly have been more acute. The contrast with my first visit to Lusaka Central Police Station and this latest one was extreme. As I was being received by the Commissioner of Police and ushered into their Boardroom for a special Chaplains service, my mind went back to that first time I had seen Lusaka Central Police Station.
The Frontline mission team I was leading had been arrested at Kazangulu after refusing to bribe Zambian officials. We had spent an excruciating day and night of abuse at the hands of the Zambian security forces, and thrown into filthy cells where the overpowering stench was nauseating. After a night of being attacked by swarms of mosquitos, my skin had been turned into relief maps of angry red bumps and bites.
To Lusaka in Chains
We were escorted, blindfolded and handcuffed by air from Livingstone to Lusaka. Every attempt to speak was quickly silenced with rifle butts or bayonets. After hours in silence and darkness, our blindfolds were finally untied. As I blinked in the sunlight I saw Lusaka Central Police Station. The next thing I noticed was that our handcuffs declared "Made in Great Britain!"
Over the next 16 days of incarceration in the overcrowded Lusaka Central Prison I was brought through to Lusaka Central Police Station six times for interrogations by Special Branch. Sometimes the intense interrogation sessions could last up to 6 hours. On one occasion I requested my Bible, which I could see on the table of the interrogator. The SB man lifted a red book out of his desk drawer and said "this is my bible!" As I looked through it, I saw it was Mao's little red book. I handed the book back to the policeman commenting, "Mao Tse Tung cannot forgive your sins. Vladimir Lenin didn't rise from the dead. There is no Salvation in communism.”
This visit to Lusaka Central Police Station highlighted the dramatic changes in Zambia over the last 20 years. Now there are police chaplains who are enthusiastic to receive Bible teaching and Discipleship materials. Great appreciation for the ministry of Frontline Fellowship was expressed by all the police officers, and especially from the Commissioner.
Many of the Zambians whom I enjoyed fellowship with, related some of their experiences during the dark days of Kenneth Kaunda's dictatorship, when the official government policy was socialist humanism. Humanism was a subject taught at school. “Scientific socialism” was promoted throughout society.
Zambia hosted a variety of Marxist Revolutionary groups including: the MPLA who were waging terrorist attacks on Portuguese West Africa (Angola), Frelimo which was attacking Portuguese East Africa (Mozambique); ZANU and ZAPU who were taking landmines across the border into Rhodesia, and Soviet Red Eye missiles to shoot down civilian airliners. The SWAPO terrorists who killed over 10,000 civilians in South West Africa also had their base of operations in Zambia, even the ANC and the PAC terrorists were based in Zambia.
A Trail of Terror
Nobody has calculated how many tens-of-thousands of innocent civilians died as a result of the landmines, limpet mines, rocket launches, AK47s and other tools of terror channeled through Zambia and taken by these Marxist Revolutionary groups into neighbouring countries and further afield. It was the height of the Cold War in the 70s and 80s. Marxist propaganda was broadcast from the radio and Zambia was recognised as the frontline state of the Soviet offensive on Southern Africa. Pastors and teachers described some of the terror that the Zambian people lived under during this time. "These freedom fighters were a law unto themselves. Our police and army were afraid of them. They had the support of President Kenneth Kaunda. They would loot, rape, steal and murder at will. At night we were too afraid to go onto the streets. These cadres would walk around with their AK47s and take what they wanted and threaten ordinary Zambians."
Malice Against Missionaries
Missionaries told of when ANC cadres from a nearby military base came onto their Bible College campus and tied up South African lecturers with wire, kicking and beating them savagely. Most Zambians would rather forget those dark and terrifying days.
Communism to Capitalism
But today Zambia is another country. Socialism is discredited, the signs of capitalism, economic growth, ingenuity and dynamic growth are everywhere. Huge bill boards and advertisements line the roads, new shopping centers are springing up, and Zambia has even started exporting food.
From Humanism to Christianity
Communism and humanism are thoroughly discredited. Zambia is officially, constitutionally committed to becoming a Christian nation. Abortion is illegal. Pornography is banned. Homosexuality is illegal. The Bible and prayer are in school and parliament. The enthusiasm for Reformation in Zambia was seen by the tremendous response to our Reformation and Revival Conferences.
I had been invited to lecture on Reformation History at the Justo Mwale Theological University College. In addition to lectures at the college each morning, in the afternoons I was involved in meeting cabinet ministers, ministry leaders, media heads, conducting interviews for national radio and television programs, and conducting outreaches and services.
Each Saturday I conducted Leadership Training conferences. At the first Empowering Pastors Christian Action Network Conference, I dealt with the Islamic Revolution in the Middle East and What is the Difference Between Christianity and All Other Religions. I also gave an Overview of the Last 20 Years of Africa Christian Action and screened a film with a compilation of Christian Action Events and TV Debates. The discussion times were vigorous and at the conclusion, a Christian Action Zambia Board was elected.
Reformation and Revival
The next Saturday I conducted a Reformation and Revival Conference which began with a presentation on Recognising God's Voice. This was followed with How Southern Sudan Succeeded in Winning Freedom from the Arab North, a presentation on Mugabe's Blood Diamonds and The New Chinese Colonialism, and How Can a Good God Allow Evil? John Leach, then presented a lecture Comparing Islam and Christianity and screened one of the Islam Rising films. At the conclusion of this conference the Christian Action Zambia members deliberated over and finalised the Lusaka Declaration.
Libraries for Pastors
At each of these conferences, in which over 800 pastors, teachers, chaplains and evangelists participated, books donated by the authors were entrusted to participants. Teachers received The Battle For Truth by Dr. David Noebel. Those involved in women's ministries received Reforming Our Families by Lenora Hammond. Evangelists received Mark Cahill's One Thing You Can't Do in Heaven or One Heartbeat Away books. Pastors received my Practical Discipleship and The Ten Commandments - God's Perfect Law of Liberty books. Bishops and overseers received Winning the War Against Radical Islam by Dr. Robert Morey, Faith and Courage - A Commentary on the Book of Acts and Practical Discipleship.
Textbooks and Study Bibles
At the Christian University each student received a copy of my book The Greatest Century of Reformation as the main textbook for our Reformation History course. After completing the Reformation Exam, each student was presented with a copy of The Ten Commandments - God's Perfect Law of Liberty and The Apostles Creed - Firm Foundations for Your Faith. Theological lecturers were presented with Reformation Study Bibles, which had been donated from Dr. R.C. Sproul.
Thousands of Gospels of John were provided for evangelists for distribution in their communities. Bible teaching books Searching Questions, Unusual Topics, Extraordinary Characters, God Indeed! and Christ's Dogmatism, by Dr. Robert McNeill were entrusted to key pastors and Theological lecturers. Boxes of evangelistic tracts and Christian Action materials were distributed at each of the conferences. There was tremendous excitement and enthusiasm for the ministries of Frontline Fellowship and Christian Action and deep appreciation for these books donated by the authors.
On Sundays, I preached at various churches, including a large congregation which meets in what used to be a beer hall, and a new congregation which is still building its sanctuary and did not yet have a roof. On the final Sunday, I ministered at a church in Kanyama where many of the members stood up and identified that they had been present at my first evangelistic services in Kanyama during a crusade in 1991 - 22 years ago.
Resources for Reformation
During my mission to Zambia, I distributed over 2,500 Christian books and study Bibles, over 1,000 Gospels of John, 3,000 Biblical Principles for Using Your Vote, boxes of Christian Action Magazines and Frontline Fellowship tracts and teaching pamphlets, as well as several boxes of audio CDs, DVDs, MP3s and audio boxsets donated to various libraries and ministries. Several TV stations expressed interest in screening some of the evangelistic films and documentaries which we brought in.
Numerous of the Theological students that I trained in Zambia came from across the border, including from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Many of the delegates at our recent Christian Action Network Conferences in Lusaka came from the Congo, Nigeria, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Zambia hosts hundreds-of-thousands of refugees from Zimbabwe, Angola, Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and other troubled nations. Instability in nations surrounding Zambia has sent hundreds-of-thousands of refugees seeking sanctuary.
A Strategic Missionary Sending Nation
As I regularly reminded Zambians, their national emblem is the fish eagle. Eagles have great vision. Eagles can see the clearest, reach greater heights and fly faster than any other bird. Jesus said: "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men." As Zambia seeks to follow Christ and be a Christian nation, it needs to become a missionary sending nation. God is already using Christian radio stations in Zambia to proclaim the Gospel by shortwave to many language groups in neighbouring countries. Zambian missionaries and evangelists are planting churches in the Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and in Zimbabwe.
"Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all people." Psalm 96:3
Dr. Peter Hammond