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Mission to Zambia and Zimbabwe
Aug. 14, 2004
Mary and son Steve arrived in Livingstone, Zambia on Aug. 6th. Mary had received a word from God almost a year earlier to go to Zimbabwe and declare his Word there. God confirmed the call in several ways, and much research and preparation was done for the trip.
God connected us earlier this year with a wonderful missionary family in Zambia, adjacent to Zimbabwe -- Ranji Chara, her husband Dr. Nage Chara and their daughter, Jeevani -- who have given their lives to ministry for the Lord in Zambia in the city of Livingstone. They founded Ebenezer Orphanage, starting with two rented houses. Ethel is their prayer warrior/intercessor and history teacher/school principal. They have taken over 54 orphans into their orphanage consisting of four rented houses filled to capacity, a main office and a staff house so far. They are caring for another 48 children who are living in the street.
The Charas and their staff are continually in prayer and worship, seeking God for the ministry, the children and the country. They have poured the hearts and souls into serving the Lord and the children of Zambia. They are urgently seeking the Lord for more housing and property to expand so they can take in many more of the needy children of Zambia.
Zambia has declared in their official documents that they are a Christian nation, and the president is openly Christian. As far as we know, they are the only country in Africa to take this step.
The Livingstone airport consists of a runway and a small terminal. Everything is done by hand -- no computers or baggage equipment. The main street of Livingstone is roughly paved. The rest of the streets consist of rough, pot-holed, red mud/clay roads or paths.
Most of the Zambian people at this time live a hard life at or below African poverty levels, far below Western standards. There is much death and disease, with up to half of the population infected by HIV/AIDS. Most people have little or no access to medical treatment. Average life expectancy is below 40.
The country and resources are beautiful and wild. The airport and most of the pockets of civilization in the area are surrounded by the bush and game reserves, through which run the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls. The hotel where the Craigs stayed is itself virtually on the game reserve. A walk out the back doors puts you on the reserve and right near the river gorge.
Mary's correspondence on Aug. 8th:
We made it to Zambia. I am sitting in Ranji's offices. We arrived Friday okay, but one piece of luggage didn't make it and still hasn't gotten to us. It was the large duffel bag full of the clothing for the orphans here. We have been trying to track it down, but now it seems that the duffel bag ended up at the airport in Zimbabwe! So we will see what God does with it.
We had a visit from some monkeys right outside our door. We have also seen two black cats. One looks like Annabel and Melly and was very friendly. We have also seen elephants up close and some other wild things. The weather is much like Florida except cool at night.
. . .
Today we had a very anointed service right at the hotel. Ranji arranged to have a room for us and there were about 100 people there. I gave the message and we called in Zambia and Zimbabwe, gave the word of the Lord [for Zimbabwe and Africa], and broke into groups to pray for Zambia and Africa. Then I prayed for all the people, which took hours, but the Holy Spirit moved powerfully and the worship leader saw the wonder of the worship. Then we came to Ranji's home for lunch and now to the office and then we are going to visit the homes housing the orphans.
The hotel meeting on the 8th was very anointed and powerful with Jesus' presence and power. A great amount of healing and deliverance took place among the people and children. Orphanage staff and children, hotel workers, and visitors filled the room for the service. They were very receptive, teachable and affected by the ministry of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
As Mary ministered to the people and children, she became almost overwhelmed by the grief and sadness. She had to break away and lead the people into worship with one of Paul Wilbur's CD albums before she could continue. At that point God's anointing came on stronger, and God moved in powerful healing and deliverance. The meeting went for about five hours. Among other things, she tried to impress on them that they must honor the blood of Jesus, and that they must give the first 10 percent of their incomes/harvests to God. If they consistently will do this, God will bless them. Ranji said she had never before seen that level of authority and power, though many missionaries and ministers visit them.
Ministry of the Word of God, lots of new clothes and prayer were given among all the children and workers at the orphanage. Mary reports that Ranji and her family have one of the most organized and effective ministries to the children that they have seen. They were very moved and impressed by what the Chara family is doing for the children there, and how the ministry glorifies Jesus Christ. Everything is highly organized, and the children are wonderfully cared for. The ministry includes a thorough and comprehensive school program. They also shared with Mary the vision God has given them of expanding further and into additional areas of ministry. The needs and desires for the children in Zambia are great, especially for the children's self-sufficiency and walk with Christ as they grow up and leave the orphanage. There is little employment at this time on the "outside", and much poverty, prostitution, death and suffering. Yet God is ready to bless Zambia and has blessed them already.
All the Zambian people are unusually polite and friendly. The Christians are particularly so. Mary and Steve were especially blessed by the wonderful hospitality shown them by the Charas and the others at the orphanage. Mary and Steve spent time with the children, teaching them, talking with them about the things of the Lord, and all having a fun time as they heard, sometimes incredulously, about the Craigs' cat and animal stories from back in the States. These stories were brought up to convey to the people and the children the importance of properly treating and caring for God's creatures, and the value He places on them.
God led Mary to pray specifically for a tribal chief who wields much influence in the area. According to Ranji and other Zambian sources, he owns most of the land in and around Livingstone and Victoria Falls, including the hotel property and much of the orphanage property. He is highly educated and well traveled. He rules as a virtual king over his tribe along with a number of other such chiefs in other parts of Zambia. The chiefs all practice various levels of witchcraft and rather despotic rule, though some may believe that they rule justly and for the good of their people. The tribal chief seems to rule more subtly than openly, but with total authority over many, exercising the power of life and death at his whim. There does not appear to be much official governmental authority or structure, at least in the Livingstone area. The tribal chief comes to Dr. Chara, Ranji's husband, for medical treatment, and Dr. Chara has given some witness to him of Jesus Christ.
One of the workers at the orphanage, Watson, the driver for Mary and Steve on some of the excursions, and a man God has called and gifted with a pastoral anointing, described to Mary and Steve what the cost was to come "out of the tribes" to Christ. He himself had made that journey, and now serves Jesus with all his heart.
The Lord had made it clear to Mary and Steve that their ministry in Africa was "hidden". They were to quietly do what they were given to do. (They had not expected or planned on anything like the hotel service that took place.) A day came in their hotel room that Mary was led by God to declare to the chief the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then at God's direction she offered to him the scepter of peace if he would repent, receive and bow to Jesus Christ, the most high King of heaven, King of all kings, and receive the covenant offering of Christ's sacrifice and blood on his behalf. God will "war for Zambia" and His judgment will fall on the chief and all that he owns if he does not repent, bow to, and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The vision from God regarding Africa is that Christ's kingdom is coming and He is calling His bride, His "called out ones" from all of Africa and the nations. (See Mary's article, Setting Captives Free and the Prophecy page for 2004 for more on this.)
There were also some encounters with God's creatures who roamed freely about the game reserve and outside the hotel. There were lots of human-friendly monkeys, and an elephant in the reserve they named Charlie. On the last trip into the reserve, the Craigs' driver, Watson, led them to where many animals of all kinds were. Mary and Steve prayed for the animals and blessed them, and admonished him and everyone they could of the need to do this.
On Aug. 9th, Mary and Steve crossed the bridge over Victoria Falls into Zimbabwe, planted their feet on the ground, and prayed as God had directed them to do. They stayed for about two hours and then returned to the Zambian side.
The Craigs read out David Livingstone's prayers over Africa, and shared the information with the Charas. The Charas and Ethel (the intercessor/history teacher) have taken up the task of continuing to read out his prayers, even going to the Livingstone museum to learn as much as they can of the man and his ministry. If you have not read the prayers and diary entries Livingstone recorded over his life's work in Africa, we highly recommend that you do, and even read them to God. They will affect your own prayer life, and deepen your sense of God's heart for the people of this continent as well as for all who are suffering and perishing in darkness without the knowledge of Christ.
The most important work on the trip was done in the hotel room as Mary and Steve did the prayer and spiritual warfare strategy God had given them for Zimbabwe, Zambia and Africa.
The lost duffle bag, a very large bag full of most of the new clothes, finally made it's way to the orphanage on the last day, hand delivered by the airport manager. Mary had been besieging the hotel staff daily to locate and get the bag. They informed her of their discovery that 500 bags had been lost among several flights, and that her bag and ended up in Zimbabwe.
On the last day, the discussion at the orphanage about what to do concerning the duffle bag full of clothes for the children was intensifying. Dr. Chara finally called the airport manager to try and convince her to track down the bag. It turns out that she is a Christian. Nevertheless, she responded with the usual reply that she would do what she could. She reported later what had transpired after the call. Her name is Agie. That evening, she closed the airport and started home. She reported that on her way out, the Lord told her to go back and find the bag. She was tired and didn't want to, but decided to follow the Lord's direction. She searched the various obvious places in the terminal but found nothing. She finally opened the airline's office, which is normally not her place to do. There was the bag, sitting on the floor with several others.
Agie, still in her uniform, hauled the bag into her vehicle and drove it out to the orphanage, to the pleasant surprise of everyone. She stayed and fellowshiped a while. She told everyone what had happened and how the Lord had blessed her as a result of the whole event. Agie asked for prayer for the airport. Everything is done by hand with little proper equipment to run the airport. They need computers, office equipment and supplies, and baggage handling equipment to handle the heavy airport traffic that comes through. Everyone was praising God for all that He did with the lost duffle bag. The kids got their clothes and the news about the famous duffle bag went through the hotel and all over.
Just before they left, Mary and Steve met with one of the hotel staff who had been seeking to follow Jesus and had asked for prayer. She found an office they could use. They all went in, and she poured her heart out regarding her struggles and childhood surrounded by the worship of demons. They prayed for about 40 minutes. The woman was wonderfully delivered and set free by the Lord from powerful forces of evil.
Mary and Steve returned Thursday, Aug. 12th. God had done much more than anyone expected. On Friday evening, Mary and Steve joyfully shared with the rest of us much of what God had done and more again on Tuesday.
More will be coming out regarding the Zambia/Zimbabwe mission trip, so stay tuned.
To read more about the background of David Livingstone, Africa, and the development of the mission trip, see the articles: A Father to the Fatherless; A Living Stone Set in Africa.
See the new article, Setting Captives Free, by Mary Craig, for more details on what transpired in Africa.
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