Today is loveZim day. Zim, of course, stands for Zimbabwe and the purpose of this day is to unite as the body of Christ, across denominational and cultural lines, and lift this nation up in prayer.
It is a desperate nation, where people are crying out to know something of justice and peace amidst a world of corruption. And, so it seems, as its people long for this, something is beginning to happen. There are glimmers in stories coming out of Zimbabwe. We see glimmers of this in the lives of those we meet in Masi.
It seems that every person we meet from Zimbabwe is hungry for something more in life. Not just physical needs and things such as that — they are important but it’s not the type of hunger we see most often. They are hungry for real and lasting change in their own lives and those around them. It’s led us to firmly believe that God is doing something in their nation.
In America right now it’s pretty commonplace to live in fear — we felt this in many of the areas we visited. It almost seems grossly fashionable. But we don’t really know what it’s like to live in terror day in and day out. Our friends from Zimbabwe, on the other hand, do. To give a quick snapshot of recent Zimbabwean history-
Zimbabwe no longer has an official currency. Inflation ran rampant due to failed economic policy. At it’s height, before the dissolution of the currency, people would have to take a wheelbarrow full of money to the store to buy a small bag of flour or sugar. My wife and I have a 10,000,000,000 Zim note that, during this time, was a small piece of that wheelbarrow.
The last “election” was in 2008. After the opposition party won the majority of the parliamentary seats, the president, Robert Mugabe, initiated a campaign entitled CIBD — Coercion—Intimidation—Beating—Displacement — run by a ruthless military which delivered what the campaign promised. Widespread, and brutal, violence caused the opposition party to pull out.
Many of the economic problems can be traced to Mugabe’s “land reformation” programs, whereby he seizes (often violently) commercial farming land. Outwardly, it’s portrayed as an attempt to put land back into the hands of the poor of Zimbabwe. In reality it’s been shown that the land is primarily given to the elite of Zimbabwe.
So today is a day to come together and lift this nation up. The church of Zimbabwe is joining hearts and hands today to do this and we should as well, with them.
One side effect of current life in Zimbabwe is that many people have no other choice than seek asylum elsewhere. The best option from those that can’t afford plane tickets off of the continent is South Africa. Many of our friends in Masi come here because of this. The government of South Africa has generally been gracious in welcoming them in, regardless of status (many come illegally due to grave conditions at home and the impossibility of getting official papers). The government here though, from what we are hearing, are starting to revamp their asylum position. Everyone with asylum papers are being given a (sometimes very) brief window of time — generally two weeks to three months — to get official papers in order to apply for work permits. Official papers (a passport and Zimbabwean national ID) are things that many have no access to. Pray for grace with officials locally. Pray for safety if forced to return to Zimbabwe. Election season is coming up and gross violence is likely to return. Pray that our friends especially would be light where ever God takes them, whether that’s remaining here in Masi or going back to their home in Zim.
Pray for the nation of Zimbabwe, that hearts would change. Pray that God would convict of the violence and coercion and that the will of the people would be heard in upcoming elections, free from manipulative and propaganda filled voices.
Pray that a might move of the Kingdom of God would occur in Zimbabwe. Pray as Jesus does in the Lord’s Prayer: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.