United Church of God

In the Wake of Theft in Chipata, Zambia

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In the Wake of Theft in Chipata, Zambia

On Jan. 29, 2019, robbers broke into the Chipata, Zambia, United Church of God meeting hall building and property. The perpetrators stole furniture, chairs and window coverings that the church ladies had lovingly sewn. They took the three solar panels powering the borehole pump that provided irrigation and clean drinking water to 200 area families. They tried to dig up and steal the submersible pump but failed. They caused a lot of damage to the equipment.

This happened when there was a heavy downpour of rain. Both the church hall and water infrastructure are amidst tall crops of maize (corn). Consequently, the caretaker, whose house is about 80 meters away, could neither hear nor see anything until morning. Cursory investigations, however, indicated footprints of a group of five or more intruders. The police are investigating, but the congregation’s location is very near the borders of Mozambique and Malawi and raiders regularly cross the porous border.

Both Good Works and LifeNets are stepping up to help the people in this devastated area. We will need to provide not only a solution for the loss of clean drinking water for 200 families but chairs, furnishings and window coverings for the church hall as well.

We have been so encouraged by the many contributions to LifeNets and Good Works. The Batavia, Ohio, Rotary Club also made a very generous contribution to the Chipata people to rebuild and restore what has been damaged or stolen.

I want to thank everyone, particularly those who had not contributed before, for helping out so generously in this time of trial and suffering.

We plan to take additional security measures to dissuade thieves from returning. We plan to build a wall around the church building and the pump facility that will remain locked at night.

Many people have already offered their solace and prayers to the Chipata congregation and pastor Filius Jere who has responded bravely to the event. He and his wife, Chosiwe, went on a three-day prayer and fasting retreat. He vows never to get discouraged, give up on God or be a quitter. The church in Chipata accepts this as a temporary setback. These events have acted as a bond to knit them much closer together. They are so thankful for the outpouring of love from all over the world. Your love has made them feel more closely a part of a much bigger body of future citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Good Works, LifeNets and LifeNets Australia have helped our brethren here over the years with sewing machines, oxen, plows and boreholes.

For more background information, you can visit http://lifenets.org/sos-chipata