The story of our involvement with Siavonga in the Southern Province of Zambia is a little different to many of the areas we work in. We have been working with a small, faithful group of people there for over 2 years. It has proved hard for them to plant Life! Groups in the area, perhaps due to the fact that drought often affects the land meaning people move vast distances to find good land leading to a transient population and lower than average levels of education.
Since we first began working in Siavonga a handful of Life! Groups have begun but have struggled to become well established, eventually coming to an end. However, one group has really taken route and has been running for 2 years with a good number of members. On recent visits, the Impact Team have come across, and challenged, 2 aspects of life for those living in and around Siavonga.
Firstly, the place of women in the community. The Impact Team noticed that women were treated very lowly in the community and that the work of the Life! Group was being held only by the men. The Impact Team spent time explaining that God desired women to be involved in His work as well as men. Through discussions and exploration, the villagers seemed to accept this. We are encouraged to see that some women have now committed themselves to making sure the work of the Life! Group is strong in their area. We hope that this will begin to change the way women are viewed in the wider community.
Secondly, the power of witchcraft. Many people in this area live in great fear of witchcraft. For example, a man recently had a car crash while driving drunk, killing himself and his passenger. The event itself was tragic but the knock on effects have been devastating. Many people believed the man died there because the area was cursed and therefore they simply left the area as quickly as possible. They took with them what they could but left their homes and many possessions behind in fear of staying longer. The ripple effect of this will be huge as families try to rebuild their lives from scratch in new areas.
Fear of witchcraft is a very real phenomenon in this area and our Impact Team worked with the Life! Group to try and help them stand in opposition to this fear. There is not a Life! Group in the village where the tragic accident happened, but we pray that in time, God will raise up His people in the villages across Siavonga to break the stronghold of witchcraft and bring lasting hope and freedom in Him in it’s place.
Do you want to play a part in this story and others like it? It costs us about £150 a month to support each Impact Team member including expenses, training and pastoral care. There are now 14 Impact Team members working across Zambia helping villagers like those in Siavonga bring the hope of Jesus to their communities. If you want to be a part of this story and others like it you can make a one-off or regular donation through our stewardship page by clicking here.