Please Pray for Zambia – “Zambia president Michael Sata dies in London”

 

Michael-Sata_2117184bArticle from The Telegraph – found here.

“Michael Sata, the 77-year-old Zambian president nicknamed King Cobra for his tough-talking, has died in a London clinic after a long spell of ill health that has caused uncertainty in the copper-rich southern African country.

Under the constitution, Mr Sata’s white Vice President Guy Scott should now take over until elections in 90 days, but he is barred from taking office because his parents were not born in Zambia.

Diplomatic sources said the president’s death in office, and jostling for power within his Patriotic Front party as well as among those in opposition, could spell a period of instability in the former British protectorate and possible outbreaks of violence.

Mr Sata, a staunch Catholic and father-of-eight, passed away at 9pm on Tuesday night after being admitted to King Edward VII Hospital near Regent’s Park in London., the Zambian government said.

Dr Roland Msiska, Secretary to the Zambian Cabinet, said Mr Sata’s wife Christine Kaseba, a doctor, and his son Mulenga, the mayor of Lusaka, were at his side.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I address you today, to inform the nation that our beloved President and Leader, His Excellency, Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata has passed on,” he said in a statement issued at 8am this morning, around three hours after reports began to circulate.

“President Sata’s demise is deeply regretted. During this difficult period, I urge all of you to remain calm, united and peaceful during this very difficult period.”

At present, the acting president is the defence minister Edga Lungu but several ministers including the former Justice and current finance ministers have been tipped to take over.

Mr Sata was a chain-smoking former Victoria Station railway porter and trade unionist who famously challenged growing Chinese dominance in his country before ousting incumbent Rupiah Banda from power in elections in September 2011.

His victory saw the former British protectorate take its place among a select few in Africa who changed their ruling parties change twice, democratically and peacefully, since independence 50 years ago.

Diplomatic sources said his death, after two unsuccessful attempts at the presidency and just two and a half years at the helm, was a “Shakespearean tragedy” which could prompt some instability.

Under Zambia’s constitution, the Vice President should step in as Acting President until an election for a new leader within 90 days of the death of the president.

Mr Sata had been largely absent from the public eye for two months and had stopped chairing cabinet meetings or seeing journalists outside of the state media.

In June, there were reports he had died after he disappeared without explanation, and then was reported to be receiving medical treatment in Israel. Mr Sata missed a scheduled UN General Assembly speech because he had fallen ill in his New York hotel.

At the state opening of parliament in September, he joked about the false reports of his demise, but journalists were prevented from going too close to him or speaking to him.

One minister was overheard complaining that the country’s leader was an “absentee landlord”, while opposition parties sought court orders to try to force the government to explain his state of health.

Among those who paid tribute to Mr Sata yesterday was South Africa’s African National Congress, which described him as “popular for his modesty and focus on the poor and disadvantaged”.

James Thornton, the British High Commissioner to Zambia, said Mr Sata had “cared deeply” about his countrymen and his country’s development. “During his Presidency Zambia continued its rapid economic growth,” he was quoted as saying in the local media. “His government invested heavily in developing Zambia’s infrastructure, and has made some good recent progress in areas such as civil service reform. His Government was particularly active in promoting the rights of women and girls.”

Mr Sata moved to Britain in the early 1960s and worked first in a laundry in Bromley, then at the Vauxhall car plant in Luton, then at Victoria Station and London Bridge first as a porter, then a shunter, then conductor and eventually British Rail driver.

“I swept London Bridge, I swept Victoria and I enjoyed it. If I went to England and I was treated like a gentleman, I would not have had any resolution to look after this country,” he told The Telegraph in an interview shortly after coming to power.

A dominant force in Zambian politics for more than 20 years, the former trade unionist defected from Kenneth Kaunda, the independence leader’s party, to join the opposition then served as Minister for Local Government, Minister of Labour and Minister of Health under President Frederick Chiluba.

A diplomatic source said Mr Sata’s death in office was “tragic”. “It’s a real Shakespearean tragedy because this is someone who spent his whole life looking to be president and he finally got the reins of power then was too sick to govern and died in office,” he said.

The source said it remained “unclear” what will happen next. “The cabinet will need to vote on who will be acting president,” he said. “There’s no doubt there will be some infighting and there is also a tribal element but it’s never come to the fore before.

“The Patriotic Front winning the next election is not a certainty although opposition groups are also divided.

“So far it’s business as usual but it will be a few tense days as we watch for the smoke from the chimney to announce an interim leader. I would expect some isolated cases of violence but they will most likely peter out. Zambians have a peaceful history, have already lost one president in office and the country’s police and security forces have always behaved professionally.”

Our Latest Prayer Requests

IMG_3762Thank you so much for praying for us as a family and for our ministry (The CROSS Project) as we have been back in the States now for almost a month and a half!

We PRAISE God for a wonderful and encouraging time with family, friends, and supporters as we traveled around the midwest (WI, MI, IN, KY) in September and shared about our ministry and what God is doing in Zambia. Now we are back in the Minneapolis area and are hanging out with friends and family here and waiting for this baby to arrive.

-Please pray for Kristin and baby boy #2 as we are getting very close, Lord willing, to this little guy arriving! Kristin is technically due on the 27th of October, but we are praying that he comes sooner (see why in the next prayer item)! Please pray for a safe delivery and a healthy baby and mom. 

-Please pray for me (Derek), as I will need to make an unexpected trip back to Zambia from November 4-14. There will be more on why this is happening later, but it’s nothing bad. We all head back to Zambia from this Home Assignment as a family on January 14th. 

-We are praying for additional monthly prayer and financial partners for us personally. Please click here for giving options, if you feel so led to donate to the Dearths. 

-Please pray for John and Eta (our two national workers in the CROSS Project), as they teach our new 4-week Domestic Abuse Lesson at two locations this Fall as well as teach the normal 16-week CROSS Project curriculum at one church this Fall and also get some well-deserved rest while we are here in the States.  

-Pray that God would work mightily in hearts, minds, and actions as people think and pray about how should they respond as a Christian and glorify God in HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse in their lives, their families’ lives, churches, and communities.  

-Pray that God would pour out His grace on the Zambian Church and that it would glorify God in how it relates to HIV/AIDS and domestic abuse.

-Pray for unity, endurance, hope, and joy in Jesus for the ACTION Zambia team and sweet times in the Word each day. 

-We would really appreciate broad, general prayers for our entire ACTION Zambia Team as well as their ministries.

-Please continue to pray for more funds for CROSS, CROSS Graduation Bibles, and the George Feeding Program. 

Click here if you would like to donate to help get Bibles future CROSS Project graduations. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “Bibles.”

Click here if you would like to donate monthly  or one-time to the CROSS Project.

Click here if you would like to donate monthly or one-time to the George Compound Feeding Program. In the Comment box at the bottom of the page, type “FTC George Feeding Program.”

Charlie Boating

Here’s a little video of Charlie going on a boat for the first time a few weeks ago in Wisconsin. He kept saying after it was over, “so fun!”

Update and Back in Minneapolis

Map copyWell, unfortunately, we didn’t do a great job of blogging, as we had hoped to per our last blog, as we traveled 3,000 miles around the Midwest speaking during the last few weeks of September. Sorry about that.

So, to sum up our travels, Kristin and I have said over and over again that it went so much better than we expected! We expected to have a wonderful time with family, friends, and supporters as we traveled through MI, seeing family and friends in IN and KY, and then traveling up to WI to see more friends, supporters, and family in Monroe, Janesville, Appleton, Franksville, and Dunbar. And we did have such a wonderful and encouraging time with the people we visited and spoke with. Unfortunately, there were still so many more people we would have loved to see as we travel through the above places, but time and schedules just don’t always work out. (For those of you we weren’t able to see as we traveled through MI, IN, KY, and WI, please feel free to see us in MN, if you come this way sometime during the Fall and early Winter!)

But we didn’t expect our little 2 year and 4 month old little child to do as well as he did. Over the course of the three weeks, God was so gracious and answered our prayers as well as so many of you who have told us that you were praying especially for Charlie. Charlie really came out of his shell and was pretty extroverted (for Charlie) and warmed up and became comfortable with meeting new people, being left with new people, and sleeping in new places (6 in all)! So, that was a huge praise to God for us, and we come back to Minneapolis feeling encouraged and loved by the people we saw and so thankful to God for how this little guy who has traveled more than 10,000 miles through the air and on the ground over the last month has done and faired!!

Now, we wait with baited breath for the arrival of baby boy #2 sometime in the later part of October (October 27th is the due date). Please be praying for Kristin and the baby as they finish the final month of pregnancy and for Charlie as he adjusts to, Lord willing, being a big brother.

We will pretty much be around the Twin Cities till the middle of November. Please, if you are in this area, feel free to contact us, and we would love to see you!

We’re Back and On the Move! First Stop – Mt. Pleasant, MI

Well, we jumped the last big hurdle of our second term – boarding 3 airplanes, hanging out in 2 airports, and crossing 1 ocean (for a grand total of 31 hours in transit) – and made it safely back to the States last Wednesday. It’s been a whirlwind since then of getting readjusted to America, switching time zones, getting caught up on appointments, and beginning to catch up with family and friends. And we can officially say that ice cream, cheese curds, fresh berries, lattes, bagels and cream cheese, family time, church, American roads, customer-comes-first service, and more are all as good as we remembered. It’s actually a bit overwhelming!

As even as we still adjust to being back, we are packing up to begin our first speaking “tour.” Our first stop is Mt. Pleasant, MI at my (Kristin’s) home church, First Baptist. We would love to connect with as many of you as possible, even though our time there will be short. But, if you’re able, please stop by on Sunday, when we will be speaking about our ministry over the last 2 years during Sunday School (9:30-10:30am), and then Derek will be preaching during the 10:45am service.

From there, we head to Indianapolis to spend time with family. And the following Sunday (September 21), we will be at Faith Community Church in Janesville, WI.

That covers the first part of our “tour,” and we’ll keep you updated on the next part of our “tour” schedule as it gets closer. It will be great to connect with as many of you as possible. Feel free to email or Facebook us with any questions. And please continue to pray for us as we put Charlie is the car for endless hours and stay in many homes and introduce our introverted Charlie to so many new people over the next 2 1/2 weeks. Thank you for all your prayers for us so far – God has already answered them in abundant ways! Now, we look to Him to do still more.

Charlie Jumping (Video)

In case you’re hungry for a Charlie video, here’s a GoPro series of pictures of Charlie jumping from a couple of months ago on our back veranda.

Thankful for Bethlehem

DSC_3611 copyIn our last post, we shared about how the team from Bethlehem Baptist served many Zambians for 6 full days as they taught about basic hospice/home-care techniques and how God’s sovereign goodness relates to suffering. With seemingly endless energy, the team turned around the next day to put on a 3-day retreat for the ACTION Zambia team.

This past Sunday, 11 Bethlehem team members, 6 ACTION Zambia national workers, 11 ACTION Zambia missionaries, and 10 missionary kids caravanned down and around the hills of the southern Rift Valley (including hairpin turns around barreling semis, coach buses, monkeys, pedestrians, and jackknifed semi-trailers) to our destination: Gwabi River Lodge.

We each settled into our chalets. I was greeted by a small lizard that fell on my arm when I was drying my hands on the towel in our bathroom and then a small scorpion hiding under the towel folded up on my bed…where I had just changed Charlie into his swimming gear! Thankfully, that was the extent of our nature surprises for the retreat. But we were met with other surprises over the 3 days.

Half of the Bethlehem team taught and encouraged the adults from God’s Word about persevering in ministry and suffering, and the other half served the kids with lessons and games and crafts all revolving around Psalm 23. This was Charlie’s first real experience in a Sunday School/Bible Club setting, and he was fairly skeptical – something about being left with great and trustworthy adults, doing fun organized activities with other kids, and eating Goldfish crackers and fruit snacks was very frightening for him. But among all his missionary kid friends, he found 1 safe friend by the last day. “Auntie” Beth, his fellow strong-willed, red-headed auntie, became the person he retreated to during these sessions when he was feeling unsure. She put up with his crying and kicking and fears and, in the end, gained his trust. What an amazing, unexpected, humbling, overwhelming picture of Christ’s service to us!

And if that wasn’t enough, God met us in such personal and poignant ways through the adult teaching time. I think we all came away so encouraged to hang on to Christ as our hope and to persevere and be faithful in the ministry that God has called us to.

The Bethlehem team treated us all to a boat cruise on the Kafue and Zambezi Rivers. It was Charlie’s first “safari,” which he mostly slept through. And he ended up being more excited by the dogs back at the lodge than the elephants, hippo, and crocodile that we saw.

As we packed up our vehicles and headed back to Lusaka, our hearts were full to overflowing. Thank you, BBC, for serving us so tirelessly and sacrificially! You were a powerful expression of Christ to us in so many ways.