Category Archives: Politics

Prayer for Bethlehem Team and Zambia’s Presidential Elections

We would really appreciate your prayers for a busy upcoming two weeks!

zam-team-2016

Hospice Seminar and AZ Team Retreat: A short-term team from Bethlehem Baptist Church (our home and primary sending church) arrives today. All this upcoming week, they will be putting on a hospice seminar for past and present CROSS Project churches, similar to what they did during the 2014 trip. We are expecting a really big turnout, with almost 200 people passing through the seminar over the course of the four days. Then, on Saturday, August 6th, we all head to a local lodge for our AZ Team Retreat, both missionaries and national workers. BBC will be watching the kids and putting on a program for them and also be facilitating the teaching for the team retreat. We really look forward to this time together! You can follow the team’s blog here.

Pr Elections

Zambia Presidential Elections: Then, BBC leaves on Tuesday, August 9th, and the rest of us will lie low for Zambia’s Presidential Elections, which take place on August 11th. This election season in Zambia has been marked by more violence than previous elections, and we would ask for prayer for Zambia during this election time. Also, the new constitution says the presidential winner needs to have 51% of the vote, so we are praying for a clear winner and for peace and stability to prevail.

Thanks so much for praying!

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.”

Give To Everyone Who Asks Of You

While living in Zambia before, I frequently came in contact with people who asked me for things…like money. I wanted to honor Jesus’ command to “give to everyone who asks of you,” so I quickly realized that I needed to get creative in how I gave, because I didn’t even have 20 Kwacha (1/4 cent) for everyone who would ask.

I don’t think that the president of Senegal was thinking of Jesus’ command, but he definitely got creative in giving to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. He offered free land to any of the victims who would want to voluntarily repatriate back to Senegal. Thankfully, they made sure to clarify that “it would be in a fertile part of the country rather than in its parched deserts.”

CreamyLingonKukenKaka (AKA Lingonberry and Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast – Swedish Style)

Some friends of mine have {graciously} been rocking my Swedish world and showing me that not all foods are Swedish just because a Swede cooked it. The most difficult one to accept was Panakuken (Swedish…I mean, Dutch, oven pancake). Apparently, Swedes are good stealers and just like to take credit for other people’s recipes – we’re convincing though, by just adding a “kuken” or a “kaka.”

The other day, I was attempting to recreate a wonderful delicacy that Derek and I had at a B&B – cream cheese stuffed French Toast. Conveniently, the only preserves we had on hand to mix with the cream cheese were lingonberries! So, our breakfast ended up becoming Swedish after all – Swedish French Toast! It was pretty putsy, but it was worth it. Derek said, “It’s like having cheesecake for breakfast.” Mmmmm…

Why the Time Magazine Trumpeting of New Calvinism Is a Bad Thing

Thabiti Anyabwile’s response to the TIME article, including seven reasons why it is not as good as one might think.

10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now-#3 The New Calvinism

TIME Magazine online has a really interesting article about “The New Calvinism,” here is part of it: “Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don’t operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. But, notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today, “everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world” — with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle’s pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention. The Calvinist-flavored ESV Study Bible sold out its first printing, and Reformed blogs like Between Two Worlds are among cyber-Christendom’s hottest links.” Check it all out here.

A Bag By Any Other Name Is Still a Bag

Cement bags, trash bags, biohazard bags – what do these bags have in common with each other? For millions of babies around the world, these bags become their coffins. People are appalled to hear stories from Africa of live (and dead) babies found in cement bags in a trash pile or thrown in a pit latrine. Yes, that’s right to be appalled. Babies don’t belong in bags.

In America, we have fancy red plastic bags with big black triangles on it that we put our babies in, sometimes in pieces and sometimes whole. A story from Florida just came out about a young first-time mother who “concluded she didn’t have the resources or maturity to raise a child,” so she did what countless other mothers do – listen to the women’s resource clinic and “terminate the pregnancy.” (Of course, there was no mention of adoption as a possibility, but that is another topic for another day).

This would be just another sad story, until it gets worse. The mother delivered too quickly and gave birth to a healthy, premature 23-week baby girl. One of the clinic owners’ stepped in to finish the job by cutting the cord, putting the baby and placenta into her red coffin and letting her bleed to death. Tie the bag, throw it in the dumpster, go home, have dinner with the family…all in a days work. Except, babies don’t belong in bags – cement bags or fancy red plastic bags.

The lines get way too fuzzy at this point, don’t they? How difficult it must be to continually defend the killing of babies. Please, let us keep praying for the day when abortion will be considered as unthinkable as slavery is now.

An appropriate way to close this, I think, is to show you a little friend of ours, whose mom had tried to give a cement bag burial. Mercifully, God did not want Silas to die there, and he was rescued and adopted into a wonderful Christian family.