A letter from Dustin Ellington In Zambia
September 19, 2011
Tomorrow is Election Day in Zambia. We appreciate any and all prayers for a peaceful election and for continued peace as the results get counted and announced.
I have just finished stocking up on a week’s worth of groceries, which both the college and the U.S. Embassy have asked us to do as a precautionary measure. Our children do not have school today or tomorrow, and tomorrow, Election Day, has been declared a national holiday. While there has been some violence in the past few weeks (a colleague’s father, for example, was attacked and injured at a political rally near his farm last week, and bouts of fighting are shown on the news), we don’t feel particularly nervous. It’s just better to be prepared, and to be in prayer.
The lead-up to the elections has changed our life in one positive way: the road outside the college got paved! This has reduced the time it takes us to get anywhere, as previously our road was pretty terrible, with 20-year-old patches of asphalt mixed with potholes and rocks, all covered by a layer of dust. Pedestrians would always walk upwind of the road in order to breathe properly and stay cleaner. Now there is even a sidewalk, although it still needs some finishing touches, as does the road. The work on the road began in May or June and is now almost complete. There is also a nice sign up next to the work stating: “Your Government and Your Money at Work,” with a photo of the current president, Rupiah Banda.
President Banda is running against several candidates tomorrow, but his main competition is probably Michael “King Cobra” Sata. Sata’s ad campaign, while lower-budgeted than Banda’s, has been interesting. Rather than giving away bumper stickers, water heaters, and so forth, Sata’s people have spread the word through ads and other means to “Shhh! Don’t Kubeba!” What this means is: Don’t tell who you’re REALLY voting for … go ahead and take whatever cool stuff is offered to you, but vote your conscience (which they hope is Sata) when you get to the polls. So, whatever the exit polls say tomorrow, we won’t know who wins until actual votes are counted.
In light of current events, the college’s theme this term, which chapel sermons and spiritual companionship groups touch on each week, is “The Church and Politics.” In other words, what does it mean to be faithful as the church in the midst of Africa’s political realities? Last week in their spiritual companionship small group Dustin and the students prayed for Zambia. I will share some highlights of their prayer requests with you so that you might join them and us in our prayers for Zambia.
The students asked prayer for:
—Peace and an absence of violence before, during, and after the elections
—Fairness at all polling stations
—Absence of magic use/that no one would shed innocent blood to gain power over the other side
—That people will accept, without fighting, whatever the outcome is
—That the church will grow as a model of what is possible for the rest of society
Thank you for your prayers for the Lord to lead the Zambian people and for all to respond faithfully and peacefully at this time. We also appreciate your ongoing prayers for our seminary’s ministry as it prepares pastors for Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and beyond.
Sherri and Dustin Ellington
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 66
The 2012 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 105