Jehovah’s Witnesses Around the World—Zambia
BROAD, undulating plains atop a vast, 4,000-foot-high [1,200 m] plateau—this is Zambia, a country in the heart of south-central Africa. In the northeast, the Muchinga Mountains rise up to 7,000 feet [2,100 m]. The mighty Zambezi River, which thunders spectacularly over world-renowned Victoria Falls, forms most of the southern border of this landlocked country. There is great variety among the people, with over 70 different ethnic groups. Eight major languages are spoken here, but there are many others.
In 1911 a different language began to take hold and spread in Zambia. Visitors brought in copies of Studies in the Scriptures, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have from then on endeavored to spread the “pure language” of Bible truth in Zambia. (Zephaniah 3:9) Particularly challenging are unscriptural beliefs about the condition of the dead. When people learn the truth and see how superstitions have enslaved them, the effect is liberating!—John 8:32.
For instance, one faithful sister reports: “When my uncle died suddenly, my mother, a staunch member of the United Church of Zambia, became perplexed. After the week-long burial ritual, I returned to the village to see how she was getting along. Upon arriving, I found an elderly man in the house, and when he left, I asked my grandmother who he was. She said that he was a witch doctor. My mother intended to hire him to avenge the death of her brother so that his soul would be able to rest. She believed that currently it was ‘just wandering about,’ as she put it.
“Grandmother further explained that my visit was a blessing because the family was looking for funds to pay the witch doctor. She asked me to contribute, but I tactfully explained that as a Christian, I was not able to take part. I reasoned with her from Psalm 146:4, which shows that the dead have no thoughts—so there is no soul ‘wandering about.’ We also considered Romans 12:19, which points out that vengeance belongs to Jehovah and not to us. After that, I told my mother about the resurrection hope Jesus spoke of, as recorded at John 5:28, 29. She was impressed with my strong faith in God’s promises. Soon she started studying with a Witness and made rapid progress. She cut off all ties with her former religion and symbolized her dedication to God by baptism. Now she is one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
Another sister reports: “I went to the funeral of my uncle’s wife. Upon arriving, I found my uncle and my cousin starving. They had not eaten anything since the day my aunt died. When I asked why, they replied that according to tradition, they are not allowed to light a fire to cook. I offered to cook, but some family members feared that if I broke with this pagan custom, everyone would go mad!
“I explained that as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, I respect what the Bible says at Leviticus 18:30 and do not follow unscriptural traditions. I then showed them the brochure Spirits of the Dead. At that the tension cooled down, and I went ahead and prepared food for my uncle and the rest of the people. The relatives of the deceased were touched by my bravery and agreed to study the Bible further. They already are unbaptized publishers, and the whole family hope to get baptized soon.”
How pleased we are when the pure language of truth overturns the confusion of religious falsehoods, especially those strongly entrenched reasonings that enslave innocent people! With Jehovah’s blessing, the pure language is spreading in Zambia, even as it is throughout the earth.—2 Corinthians 10:4.
[Box on page 9]
1994 Service Year
PEAK NUMBER WITNESSING: 82,926
RATIO: 1 Witness to 107
MEMORIAL ATTENDANCE: 363,372
AVERAGE PIONEER PUBLISHERS: 10,713
AVERAGE BIBLE STUDIES: 108,948
NUMBER BAPTIZED: 3,552
NUMBER OF CONGREGATIONS: 2,027
BRANCH OFFICE: LUSAKA
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Watch Tower branch facilities on the outskirts of Lusaka
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Preaching in Shimabala, south of Lusaka