A number of times I have posted on Facebook news on the economic condition in the country of Zimbabwe, but the situation seems only to get worse. In this email I want to share with you an evaluation sent to me by a fellow missionary who served with us in Bulawayo during the 80’s and 90’s.
While I mourned as I read his evaluation of the situation, I was also deeply grateful for the way our God has blessed and sustained the Themba family through these grave circumstances.
Below I will give you excerpts from his email, and ask you to pray for the country, but also to praise and thank God for his hand of mercy upon the staff, children and families of Themba. Truly our God is good!
……. “I just wanted to update you briefly on what I am seeing about the state of Zimbabwe. It is near a state of collapse, it would seem. In fact, I can’t see what is propping it up. The one positive factor is the exceptional rains this year that raised water levels and water tables across the country. (One friend)…. says he got a “bumper harvest” at his farm in Mvuma. So rural food seems to be there this year. In the city, the weeds are taller than an NBA player but now are dry and present a fire hazard since the city is slow to mow them down.
But on every other front, things are collapsing in the economy. Right now where I am, people line up to get a small amount of cash from their wages because there is a cash crunch. Whenever someone like me injects a few US dollars, they are immediately removed from circulation to put them “offshore.” That leaves “bond notes” circulating, a fake US dollar, and not enough of these have been printed…..to keep up with demands. The impact is on business and church organizations alike. One man said he hasn’t been paid by his factory for two months now. (A pastor)….said offerings at his church are down over 50% as people learned to tithe but don’t have cash to do so…..In rural areas there is not any cash, so I asked a man who just arrived from a remote area how he might buy cooking oil at the shops. He replied that it is by bartering chickens, eggs, or corn!
More factories are closing. One man said his company closed two years ago as it produced new shoes but people only buy used ones now! A lot of old clothing has been donated freely but it ends up being the only clothing market left and companies that manufacture clothes are put out of business.” ……….
One other note. Cornelious texted me that he went into the bank to withdraw his allotted cash for the day and was handed $100 worth of 10c coins in a bag. He said it was a very painful experience. — But he did receive the $100.
I have received an email from one of our sponsors, concerned that the comment on the American dollars being put “off shore” might indicate that we were losing money. I so appreciate his writing so that I could assure you that we are not losing money and your donations are being successfully transferred into Zimbabwe to care for the children.
(If you would like a full explanation of what is happening, please check the end of this email.)
Now I would like to share another comment from another missionary friend of mine in Zimbabwe. He speaks of Cornelious and says this …..
His cash limit is now $30 per day!
However, he is in good spirits and doing an excellent job. He copes with every challenge that comes his way. I really praise the Lord for him. A lesser man might well have given up.
We are so blessed to have such a special man caring for this ministry. Please pray for him and for Soneni and Similo.
And many blessings to each of you. Rejoice that you can take all the cash you want out of your bank!!
What the missionary was saying was that he was bringing in hard currency, receiving the correct legal tender of Zimbabwe for his American Dollars (the bank notes which work fine in the country), and then he was able to do all he wanted to get done in the country. But then private individuals were taking that hard currency out of the bank and placing it “off shore” in their own private accounts (corruption). So my friend, and in turn we, are not being cheated at all. We are receiving all of our money in the country. Who is suffering is the country of Zimbabwe, since the country needs that hard currency to buy goods outside the country.
Thank you for praying. God is sustaining our families.
Pray for the country.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with each of you and your families.