Zimbabwean church leader brings news & wisdom
GRANTHAM, Pa. (Sept. 5, 2008)—On Thursday, September 4, Dr. Victor Nakah, president of the Theological College of Zimbabwe (TCZ) in Bulawayo, visited the Brethren in Christ General Church Offices. During his time with staff, he led office devotions and also took the opportunity give an update on the current situation in Zimbabwe.
Speaking on Philippians 1:27–30, Dr. Nakah noted that, when reading Paul’s letters, one can hardly tell that he was in prison. This is because Paul chose to consecrate his situation and serve God, rather than become bitter about his imprisonment. For Dr. Nakah, this is the reaction he prays that Zimbabweans will have when facing the current economic and political crises in their country. “For us in Zimbabwe, we are in chains. […] This is a time to come to know our falleness. A time to know God. A time for soberness. […] What is happening to us in Zim is evil, but it is a chance to show God’s glory,” he states.
With unemployment hovering between 90 and 95 percent and inflation at 11 billion percent, Dr. Nakah knows that the times are desperate for Zimbabwe. But he’s also quick to point to ways that show God’s enduring faithfulness. “Despite inflation and unemployment, crime has not increased. And before all this began, one in four people suffered from the HIV/AIDS virus. Today, one in seven have it. Can you explain that? Even with the increased poverty, which has a positive correlation to the rate of AIDS contraction, the numbers of people with the disease are decreasing. God is working in Zimbabwe!”
And God is using the Church to do much of that work. While the Zimbabwean government has refused to allow any food aid to enter the country, relief supplies have continued to come in through churches. This has allowed them to reach out to others in the community through both proclamation and demonstration by providing for their spiritual and physical needs. Though this work is dangerous, Dr. Nakah proclaims, “If Mugabe wants to stop us, he must kill us.”
The greatest challenge facing Zimbabweans, Dr. Nakah shares, is the need for them to reevaluate their lives: “My fear is that we in Zimbabwe will come through this empty-handed. We must be asking, ‘What is God trying to teach us?’ After all this is over, we must not forget. We are all sinful beings in need of God’s grace on a day-to-day basis.”
Like Paul, he points out, Zimbabweans are in a desperate situation. But also like Paul, those who know Christ “will be saved—and that by God.” In the meantime, Dr. Nakah says, “I am not bereaved. I am here to serve.”