So, Why Zambia?
With the push for missionaries to go to the 10/40 window and to the unreached people groups of the world, people sometimes wonder, “Why Zambia?” when we say that we sense God leading us there. It is neither in the 10/40 window nor is it unreached. According to the CIA World Factbook, Zambia is 50%-75% Christian (how is that for a precise statistic?!), 24%-49% Muslim and Hindu, and 1% indigenous beliefs. The Muslim and Hindu percentages are visibly on the rise, although every religion, including Christianity, is greatly syncretized with animistic beliefs and witchcraft.
As mentioned earlier, many Christian missionaries have pulled out of already reached places in order to go to the unreached, and Islam has begun to pervade in their stead. Moreover, though these countries were reached, their Christianity was still fragile. This has caused room for all sorts of heresy and weakness to breed in the Church.
Another devastating blow to the Church in Sub-Saharan Africa is HIV/AIDS. Tens of thousands die in each country due to AIDS-related complications (56,000 in Zambia in 2007, which equals 153 people every day, or 1 person every 10 minutes). The average lifespan is about 38 years in Zambia. There are many related implications, but here are a couple:
- First, and most obvious, is that people are dying in droves, and the majority of these, perhaps, do not know Christ as their Savior.
- Second, is the hundreds of thousands of children that are left orphaned as their parents, aunts, and uncles die. This relates to the Church quite differently than you probably think. Many developing countries view children as second-class citizens. One manifestation of this in the Church is the lack of children’s programs. In most churches, the children play while the parents worship, and they never really hear the Gospel until their late teens or early twenties.
By adding these two together, it is easy to see the result that Christianity could easily die out or become weakened to the point of ineffectiveness.
Because of HIV and its effect on an already impoverished continent, the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Gospel has been a big hit. Unfortunately, that is no gospel at all, and hundreds of thousands die each year, guilty that they did not give enough to the church or have enough faith to get out of their plight.
The list could go on, but these are just a few reasons for why Sub-Saharan Africa still needs missionaries.
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