Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mission Info for Living Well in Zambia

    To partner with Africa Leadership and Reconciliation Ministry (ALARM) to teach and train pastors and their wives in Biblical principles of marriage and family, so that they can strengthen their own marriage, model a godly marriage, and train others in marriage and family. Five day conference, June 2-6.

    To teach high school students on purity, abstinence, and about God as their Father; to train others to teach on the same topics.

    To bring resources to strengthen and encourage pastors and their wives in their ministry and their marriage.

    The pastors and wives in Zambia, which is in south-central Africa. Zambia is a country the size of Texas. Zambia has a population of 10 million people. We will be in a community called Masaiti, near Ndola, where we were in 2006. The average life expectancy is 38 years old (men and women).

    The religious beliefs are estimated to be Christians (50-75%), Muslims (24-49%), and indigenous beliefs (animism, 1%).

    Unemployment is 50%, with an 86% poverty rate.

    The averange annual income is $921; the cost of the conference per couple equals almost 20% of their annual income. Because of their low income, we have to provide for the expenses of the conference, as well as our own expenses.

    Zambia has been heavily evangelized but the pastors have little or no training in any area, but especially the area of marriage and family.

    The rate of HIV/AIDS infection is very high, but the shame and misinformation related to infection is also high. The epidemic is spreading primarily through heterosexual contact. The fastest growing segment of infection is in young women. The need to give young women "right of refusal skills" is great. The need for pastors, church leaders, and their wives (that are HIVpositive) to talk to someone who will not condemn them is also great.

    Zambia is a Christian nation by constitution but has a growing Muslim population. Even among Christians leaders, they have difficulty integrating their faith with long-held cultural beliefs. The need for teaching and training in living out the life of a devoted follower of Christ is acute!