Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe Trip
March 11-27 2001
(click here to see more photos)
were 6 people who went on this trip with one vehicle, a 4x4 Toyota Land Cruiser Station
wagon. The purpose was to see whether the
Lord truly opens a door for permanent ministry in these areas after having heard His voice
in our hearts for the previous few months. We
were going to visit a refugee camp in Western Zambia, churches in the Caprivi strip of the
North-Eastern Namibia area, Northern Botswana and North Zimbabwe and especially the
farmers in the Karoi, Magoera and Chinoi areas where the farms are being taken away from
the farmers by the Government and war veterinarians.
Also, if the Lord clearly so leads, we will be looking for a location to station
the missionary couple that felt the Lord urging them to go to minister in these areas.
Team Members: Gideon Jacobs, Fanie Blignaut and Jan van Hassel of the Smithfield Branch of
Kwa Sizabantu; Artur Schmunk, a young German man who has been working for about 2 years at
Radio Khwezi at Kwa Sizabantu; Vincent van Zyl and Johan Fourie from Grace Congregation in
Cape Town, who are also affiliated with Kwa Sizabantu.
few days before we were to leave, we discovered that the engine of the Land Cruiser had
blown a head gasket. We only had a limited
amount of money for the trip and were at that stage under pressure of time with the fixing
of the engine problem. But the Lord undertook
and Jan and Fanie worked hard from early morning till late at night to get the vehicle
going before the planned departure time. The
Lord was good and all our problems became stepping-stones.
Saturday, 10 March, just after the Ministers' Conference at Kwa Sizabantu, the team came
together at the Smithfield branch of Kwa Sizabantu in the Free State. On Sunday we had a
service, all being together at Smithfield, after which we got the last things ready and
departed at about 4pm. With people at home
bearing us up in prayer, we started on the long road up north, driving non-stop. God truly
undertook and on the whole trip we had no serious problems nor any accidents.
entering Botswana at 10 am the next morning, the border post confiscated all our tinned
food. They had the excuse of the possibility
of spreading foot and mouth disease, but we saw their hungry eyes and thought we knew the
`actual reason'. However, they were merciful
and allowed us to eat as much as we could before leaving the rest there. Of course we made thorough use of the opportunity
to at least not loose everything. They stood
in awe watching how 6 very hungry missionary men consumed their whole `bait', leaving but
a few tins. This actually helped a lot
because we did not have time to waste by stopping for food again until the next morning.
drove straight through to North Botswana where we slept in the open at the Chobe Nature
Reserve while waiting for the border post to open at 7 am the next morning. On the way to our camping spot we saw several
elephant, a pack of wild dogs and antelope. Though
in the open, free food for hyena and lion, we were fairly safe, seeing that there were
some huts around us, but this was still no guarantee from lions. Nevertheless, we were too tired to worry too much
next day we had no problem crossing into Namibia Caprivi Province in the far North East. We briefly stopped in Katima Molilo to organize
and confirm services and work we planned to do later that week, then we continued to
Western Zambia, Barotzie land where we first had to visit an Angolan Refugee Camp in the
roads in western Zambia looked more like something you might find on the moon - big
craters everywhere! One time we came upon a
crater so big that we would have broken the axle had we driven through it. By the time we saw it, Fanie had to slam brakes
and we slid for about 25 meters until the Cruiser stalled in the huge dirt pothole.
we had gone into it at a slow rate, nothing was broken.
By God's grace we had seen it just in time. But then we had another problem - starter problems.
We could not get the engine going again, which could have meant we were stuck for good,
since people only passed by on that road once every few days. But again God was good. Gideon prayed and the Lord Himself started that
engine. We praised Him for it and after a
long day's driving and a quick stop to bathe in the Zambezi River, we arrived after
sunset, during heavy rainfall, at Nongwechi Refugee camp.
had actually been taking a chance by entering the camp. It was only by the Lord's grace
that we got in, because we found out later that to enter the camp, several weeks of
paperwork is required through the UN lines of authority and they do not favour churches
and missionaries. However, when we got there,
we drove right passed the UN police gates that were guarding the entrance. The guards had fled because of the heavy rains,
leaving no one at the gates to guard. We just
passed through, conveniently ignorant of the procedures and drove right into the camp. When a vehicle stopped us inside the camp, we
thought we would be chased out, but when we asked to see the head pastor of the church,
everybody knew him. The man in the vehicle directed us to him, thinking we had already
obtained permission. It is usually not the
easiest task to find somebody among 16, 000 people in the camp, but God organised
everything. We did not drive far before some
of the refugees recognized Fanie, one of our team members, who had worked in Angola for
years before the war caused the Angolans to flee to safety to this refugee camp. He and
his wife and child hope to be working in these areas in future.
had a truly blessed time with the Refugees. They
are already so organised with schools, hospitals, churches, etc. There is no sign of bitterness about what
happened, even though they are so scattered and separated.
Parents lost their children and children lost their parents when the bombing
started. But at all times the camp was quiet
and disciplined. They truly were an example
and blessing to us. May God keep His children
in the refugee camps and bless the future work He has guided us to start in the near
14th. We turned around, heading back towards
Katima Molilo, Namibia.
15th. We ministered in the Southern
Caprivi towards the Lenanti swamps
16th. We ministered in the Western Caprivi in
the Kongola alongthe
17th. We ministered in the Eastern Caprivi in
the Ngoma area.
split up into 4 teams to preach at several different points: Gideon and Johan in North
Botswana at Panda Matenga farming area, Fanie at one Dutch Reformed
Congregation, Vincent at another Dutch Reformed
Congregation, and Jan and Artur in the Eastern Caprivi
Dutch Reformed Church.
19th. We left for Zimbabwe, stopping at
three places on the way. During a boat trip
on the Chobe River we saw many antelope, hippo, elephant, crocodile, etc. We also stopped at Victoria Waterfalls in the
Zambezi River. God created such awesome
things. We also saw the Kariba dam and the
wall, the biggest man-made lake in the world. We
found out that because of Zimbabwe's present political crisis, tourism is absolutely dead
and the land has no foreign currency to buy fuel. We
had to make sure that we took enough fuel with us to go right through Zimbabwe. At the Kariba dam in Zambia we bought fuel, paying
R8.34 a liter. ( The price gave us heartburn, and Rennies didn't help!)
we started our work in Zimbabwe. We split
into 3 teams of 2 each and preached on farms, building contacts with the people in the
Mangoera, Karoi areas. The Lord opened
wonderful doors amongst the farmers and the farm labourers.
We had many blessed times and opportunities.
doors opened for future work in these areas.
with us that God's will with this trip, will be done, as well as in the work that lies