Breaking shackles of the New Slave Trade

At Livingstone, the mighty Zambezi River falls down in a kilometer wide screen of water to create one of the most glorious spectacles on earth, the mighty Victoria Falls. Livingstone city is named after the famous Victoria Falls Sunsetexplorer and missionary, David Livingstone whose description of the Victoria Falls was “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” Friends, there is something prophetic about what Livingstone said. Later this nation would be called Zambia deriving its name from the mighty Zambezi River. Many people say Zambezi means the River of God. A Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama called the Zambezi, the River of Good Omen. When you see the Victoria Falls you see a nation whose God is the Father of Jesus Christ. When you see or hear about Zambezi River you see a good omen or a sign of a nation of political stability, economic growth and spiritual prosperity, because God is the one leading us.

After spending 15 years in Southern and Central Africa and after seeing the abundance of its wealth Livingstone returned to England. Among the people he spoke to about reaching Africa with the gospel and legitimate commerce, to replace the Slave Trade, were Cambridge University students. Yes, he went to speak to the students. He did not just go to the wealthy, the key politicians and the prominent professionals; he also went to students and gave them the same passionate message about the needs of Africa. He told the students, “The sort of men who are wanted for missionaries are such as I see before me; men of education, standing, enterprise, zeal and piety. It is a mistake to suppose that any one, as long as he is pious, will do for this office.”

Friends, we have a new slave trade – It is HIV/AIDS (in Kitwe 8,000 tests and 1,000 found positive monthly). It is deprives one of a long healthy life, educational opportunities, access to resources for a decent standard of living (e.g. income and consumption, housing, health, clean water and sanitation). It is shrouded by corruption, incompetence and a lack of transparency.

David Livingstone let young people of the day know about the Slave Trade. Are you letting the children and the youth know about the slave trade of our day? Are you letting them know about the opportunities to do something? Recently at Jubilee Centre we had the chance to share with young people about the challenges Zambia was facing and here are some of their responses:

“What I have learnt today is to have fearless hope.”

“It is my turn to stand up and do something about the need to improve social services delivery.”

“For us to stand up for what is right, we need a God kind of vision”

“God forbid that I die a copycat.”

“God, I need a supernatural vision that you alone will accomplish”

In Luke 2:52 we are told, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” This verse describes the way Jesus grew up and shows perfect human development from childhood to adulthood. Think about our churches and all the children we serve. Some come from homes where people have never been to school, and if such a child is not challenged to develop intellectually, we will lose such a child to the world. We have children who come to our churches who are socially malfunctioning. They lost their father and mother when they were young and have no idea what an ideal family looks like. Socially they simply don’t know to engage with others. Others come from families were mother and father are drunks and their only hope to know God is the elder, or godly woman or pastor of the local church. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

David Livingstone gave a vision to young people and before long young men and women left their country to become missionaries, teachers and business people. I sense that the time has come for Zambian young people to take the light of Christ to the world and to take legitimate business to the world.  It will take us adults to go to our children and love them and provoke them to think beyond the local church building.

Lawrence Temfwe

(excerpts from a message at Renewal to commemorate the Day of the African Child)