Letter to My Children on Independence Day

My children, Zambia is 46 years old today!  Indeed there is much to be celebrated since the people of this region joined together to commemorate the birth of a new democratic nation.  From 1964 until today celebrations have been peaceful, respectful, and joyful.  As we celebrate this Independence Day I would like to commend the discipline of our armed forces. While many African countries have been plagued with internal armed struggles that have displaced their own people and brought untold physical abuse and suffering to women and children, our professional security forces have been committed to service of the people and loyalty to our constitution.  The calm and tolerant spirit of Zambians must be acclaimed even amidst tense political debates and differing opinions related to our future course.

My children, while we celebrate let me remind you of the work ahead.  Zambia is being devastated by malaria, HIV and AIDS, poverty, unemployment, and corruption. These crises are threatening your generation like never before. Families, communities, and infrastructure are crumbling at an alarming rate.  For Independence Day celebrations to be practically meaningful you must not only remember the day when we were slaves in our own country, but you must also share inspiring stories of how we are overcoming malaria, HIV and AIDS, and poverty today.  We need to hear fresh stories of “independence” from injustice and oppression to be used as a catalyst to obtain the most attractive future ever enjoyed by any nation.  Where the stories are absent you need to labor to bring about independence for all Zambians.

Israel was a nation that was promised unusual blessings by remaining true to God and obedient to His laws. Moses urged the people to remember God even when they became prosperous in the Promised Land.  In the book of Judges we see that God rewards faithfulness to His covenant with peace and prosperity in the land, but He punishes faithlessness with oppression by other nations. The key word for Judges is failure, the failure of Israel to live up to her God-given obligation. Judges 17:6 and 21:15 echoes this message: “Everyone did as he saw fit.”  We can learn a lesson from Israel if we have ears to hear.  Israel’s prospects were attractive, but she did not realize them because of her disobedience to God.

My children the same thing can happen to our nation.  I believe our best days are still to come, but when they come, it will be easy to become prideful and selfish.  Remembering the needs of the powerless and seeking justice for the oppressed is very difficult in a land of plenty, and even the church is not immune.  Prosperity can dull our spiritual vision because it tends to make us self-sufficient and to want for everything except God.  Don’t forget your need for God.  It is my prayer for you my children that you be extremely successful at making Christ-likeness an integral part of your life.  You will be most like God in the world when you are most dependent on him in every part of your life. I pray that you will see how practical the ways of God are, and not only in areas that are church related.

Finally, my children, let it be known on this joyful day that the chance to turn around our nation, our family, and indeed your very own life depends on God and begins with you.  Are you willing to dedicate your life to Jesus that others may also have ‘abundant life’?  God’s prosperity begins and remains when you learn to follow His ideal, an ideal for which you must be prepared to die. I love you my children! Happy Independence Day!

Dad (Lawrence Temfwe)