Dream for Zambia

Last week-end my wife and I were privileged to be hosted by Jim Liske the head of Prison Fellowship USA and his wife Cathy at Prison Fellowship in Washington DC. We have known the Liske’s for over ten years and they have visited Zambia on several occasions to participate in Jubilee Centre’s church leaders training programs. The visit at Prison Fellowship was emotional as it brought fond memories of my early Christian walk and of the people at Prison Fellowship International (PFI) who nurtured my gifts by incorporating me into the PFI leadership training team. I remembered the privileges I had to help establish Prison Fellowship Swaziland and Prison Fellowship Namibia when I was at Prison Fellowship Zambia. In 1989, while attending the PFI convocation in Costa Rica, I was awarded a “Freedom Award” in recognition of my life and work that was inspiring hundreds of prisoners and former prisoners to become followers of Christ.

Picture: Martha Temfwe standing were Martin Luther King Jr. stood

While in DC we had the opportunity to visit three historical landmarks-Mounts Vernon, the former home of the first President of the USA, George Washington, the Lincoln and the Martin Luther King Memorial sites. We learned that Washington was a hero of the revolution and legacy remains of him being among the greatest in American history. At Abraham Lincoln’s memorial they have his second inauguration speech grafted on wall next to his statue. This theologically intense speech is widely regarded as one of the most remarkable documents in American history. A statement in the speech that got our attention was, “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.” At the statue of Lincoln, Martha stood where Martin Luther King delivered the “I have dream speech” and prayed “Father in heaven give me a dream for Zambia.”

Lastly, we were taken to the imposing statue of Martin Luther King. At his memorial site we were exposed to several of his quotes written across the wall. One quote that touched us most was, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We asked ourselves what challenges and controversies do we overlook as we seek to be like Christ in our life and in our service? As we reflected on this statement we were motivated to be of courage from the words of the Apostle Paul, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

What touched us most about this experience was the large number of children between the age of 8 and 16 years who were also visiting the memorial sites. We thought about Zambia and we asked, where can we take our children to experience the history of our country come alive and be inspired to grasp the hope for a better Zambia? Where can our children go to get insights about the lives of the late President Chiluba and Mwanawasa or Rev. Fostone Sakala? Will our children learn about the courage and humility of Mwanawasa who accepted Christ as Lord when he was president of Zambia and was willing to be baptized in humble baptistery outside a church building? Will we ever have memorial dedicated to former President Chiluba depicting him declaring Zambia Christian Nation? Who will tell our children about the life and service of Rev. Sakala to the church of Christ and the nation?

We have such a great history that we can learn from to help guide our future? The Zambian dream won’t just happen. It must be worked for and it must be started on the godly foundation our fathers and mothers laid for us. Zambia has a rich history of men and women who over the years have courageously and faithfully contended for the good of our nation and the truth of the gospel. Who is telling their stories to our children?

Lawrence Temfwe