This recent post at the EPI Blog was moving and helpful to me to be more aware of what our brothers and sisters are going through around the world.
Horror in Zimbabwe - Warning - Graphic
I received the following letter from Pastor Tatenda Gunguwo, our EPI Partner in Zimbabwe. He has given me permission to post this. Please read it and pray for them. If you would like to help them out with a donation, please go to our site and designate your donation for the Zimbabwe Ministry.
Thank you for your prayers for us here in Zimbabwe. Last year was such a difficult year for my family and I. We were under constant threat from the government. I had to escape the country twice, because government agents were after me. We lost a lot of our pastors who were killed by the government militias because they were caring for orphans. Others lost their homes and all their belongings. Others have been maimed for life; hands and feet chopped off. Women were raped and now have AIDS. Children were left without fathers or mothers.
In addition, our orphans have been traumatized. Our Mt. Darwin orphanage was invaded. They raped our female orphans and care givers. They would bring people from the opposition party and beat them in front of our orphans; chanting slogans and revolutionary songs. We are now helping some of the people who survived to rebuild their homes and lives.
After the election violence, cholera came and claimed even more lives. One of our orphans died and five were admitted to the hospital. The hospitals have almost all closed now. Many women are dying giving birth. My wife Lucia gave birth to our fourth child on December 23rd. The private clinics are charging $650 for a normal delivery and $2000 for Caesarian. This is a sum that is out of the reach of 99% of the population. They are then forced to give birth at home and many of the women and the babies die. In our church, we have started a program to train midwives.
Schools have now been closed since October. There are a few private schools open, but the cost is incredible. We are now looking for land to start our own school.
There is an acute food shortage throughout the country. Food is only available in the large towns. It is VERY expensive and only sold in US Dollars. In fact, everything in Zimbabwe is now being sold in US Dollars, however, the rural people do not have access to foreign currency, so people are forced to use counterfeit money and to sell their cattle for a pittance for a sack of grain. They are literally being robbed. Some are even forcing their young daughters into marriage for the dowry money so they can buy food. It is heartbreaking to see. Orphans are being abused for food and prostitution.
Despite all of this, we planted churches in the most dangerous areas. Our goal is to plant 90 more churches in 2009. Please pray for us and help us if you can.
It was a joy to have the EPI team with us in December. Thank you so much for sending them and for the financial support that they brought to us. God Bless You, Tatenda Gunguwo