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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hard Times for You? Read This.

These are new and tough times for the church. Things are changing rapidly around us, and for some of us used to older ways of doing church, it's disconcerting and disorienting. We can bemoan the loss of sacrosanct Sunday mornings. We can complain about people's busy schedules and lack of willingness to serve on committees and boards. I have not talked to a pastor yet who had people waiting in line to serve. We can worry about making our 2009 budgets in this uncertain economy and what it means to our investments and retirement plans. In short, we pastor can easily get pulled into the culture malaise around us.
Then my brother sent me a letter from a good friend of his and mine, Abednego. Yes, that's his real name. He is a Zimbabwean pastor who earned his MDiv in Washington DC and attended the church my brother Tim served. After earning his degree he turned down opportunities to stay in the US and opted to return to serve several churches in Zimbabwe. Here is a latest excerpt from a letter to Tim:
The Bindura Blade Update
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope this finds you well and some of you celebrating the inauguration of President Obama. We watched the inauguration live on DStv praying that one day we will be able to have an inauguration of our own. By the way, the inauguration was not even broadcasted on Zimbabwe TV. What a shame! They do not want the nation to see what is happening around the world. We are praying that our leaders will “unclench their fists” and join the world leaders in bringing peace and freedom to the people. We need your prayers badly.
Cholera is killing many people here, even in our own town. Many people have been hospitalized. The whole situation here remains pathetic. The economy is worse than yesterday, or even worse than the last hour. One US dollar buys between 3 -20 trillion Zimbabwe dollars. The currency here is worthless. There is no store that will accept Zimbabwe money. Either you need US dollars or the South African Rand to buy anything. Economists here say that an average family here needs approximately $2000 USD a month to make ends meet. Just a few people earn in the hard currency. Most of the people are still earning the worthless Zimbabwean dollars. This makes life difficult for many people.
Nevertheless, we still thank God for the life and protection He gives us. Last Sunday 8 people gave their lives to Christ. The previous Sunday 4 gave their lives to Christ. The church continues to grow. We have started this year on a high note. On February 1st, we are going to introduce our first second service. This means we will be holding two services every Sunday, one in the morning and second late afternoon. God is good regardless of what is happening in our country. We pray that many people will be motivated to come to the Lord during these hard times.

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