The recent news about the passing of our colleague, Bishop Xolisane Dlamini, filled us with sadness. I was in Zambia when I got the news, only days before crossing into Zimbabwe, to join up, and to see how AFnet could reengage in that country.
For a year we had communicated about the need for pastoral training and a strategy to impact and reach this whole generation of Christian Leaders. Pastors, who due to the political and economic realities in Zimbabwe, seem to have been left behind in the area of spiritual formation. Xolisane did not mince his words. About this generation he said: “It’s the blind leading the blind!” And so, his was a Macedonian Call, to come and help train and equip this generation of Christian leadership in his country.
Of course, I could not other than be reminded about meeting a young and enthusiastic Xolisane almost 3 decades ago. From that first day, I was drawn to this young impassioned Methodist pastor, whose love for God, and a commitment to his people was exceptional and contagious. Like a sponge he soaked up everything. But, for him it was not knowledge for its own sake. It was about putting action to what he learned.
From the get-go, Xolisane literally hit the road. His first task was to physically visit every town and village across Zimbabwe, and to document every church and Ministry he could identify. He didn’t have a car, or money. So he walked and hitchhiked, literally going through several pairs of shoes. But he got the job done. In the next two years he gathered enough information on the state of the Church, that we were able to pull all the info together in a document, and present at the first Target 2000 Congress, to 400 of the top denominational leaders across Zimbabwe, with a challenge to double the number of churches and evangelical Christians in that nation by AD 2000. That goal was reached. And, again it was Xolisane, who with our help did the follow-up research to affirm these facts a decade later.
Sadly, since then the dictatorial control and abuse by the Mugabe regime, not only collapsed the country physically, but also destroyed the moral will of the people. Many mission agencies pulled out of the country due to fear and threat. The financial system collapsed, and training institutions are virtually non-existent. Thus Xolisane’s call for help!
Having missed out on the opportunity to reconnect and to reengage in a training program with Xolisane, we want to extend his Macedonian call to you; our Supporters and friends. Will you, in his memory, find it in your hearts to help fulfill his last impassioned call to come and help with this task! AFnet is ready to engage actively. But we need your financial support to make it happen. Thank you for your interest, prayers and support.