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Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe Trip
March 11-27 2001

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We 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.

The 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.

A 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.

On 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.

On 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.

We 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 about that.

The 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 Nongwechi area.

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.

Because 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.

We 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.

We 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 future.

Wednesday, 14th. We turned around, heading back towards Katima Molilo, Namibia.

Thursday, 15th.    We ministered in the Southern Caprivi towards the Lenanti swamps bordering Botswana.

Friday, 16th.  We ministered in the Western Caprivi in the Kongola alongthe Kwando River.

Saturday, 17th. We ministered in the Eastern Caprivi in the Ngoma area.

Sunday, 18th. We 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.

Monday, 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!)

Then 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.

Precious doors opened for future work in these areas.

Pray with us that God's will with this trip, will be done, as well as in the work that lies ahead.


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Last edited on: Sunday October 28, 2001     E-mail us at: [email protected]          Return to KSB Home page