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“Famine anywhere is a tragedy, but when caused by a country’s government it is an unspeakable crime. This is what makes the starving millions in Zimbabwe different from those in other southern African countries enduring famine. Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of the region…Anyone who supports the political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), or anyone who does not support Mugabe’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), is not sold food.”

(Gabrielle Menezes. THE NATION, May 12, 2003. “Letter From Zimbabwe”)

Menezes continues to explain that in Zimbabwe there are only three ways to get food:

1)   Get a ZANU-PF card (supporting current Dictorial President Robert Mugabe)

2)   Registering in a government “Food for Work” program.  (Performing Public Labor ie. Repairing rural roads. Only catch is MDC supporters are not allowed to register for the food-do-work programs.

3)   From International Food Aid Programs. The largest is the UN World Food Program, which contracts with local organizations to distribute its food aid. The catch is that NGOs used by the WFP need to be registered by the Zimbabwean government. Christian Care is one of the NGOs that give out WFP food.

“Some of the women have walked four miles; they will walk back the same way, gracefully balancing kilos of maize and beans on their heads, and with children tied around their waists. The signs of malnutrition are beginning to be visible in the children in the waiting crowd. Their bellies beneath ragged T-shirts are slightly distended; their twig-like arms are shrinking to bone. Their eyes are large in their faces. When asked, most of the children say they eat just one meal of sadza a day.”

Food in Rimai is kept in the schoolhouse, the only concrete building in the area big enough to store the hundreds of WPF maize bags. There’s not enough food for everyone, so community leaders compile the registers. However in such a politicized environment, this may not be such a good idea. Community leaders with political affiliations are able to manipulate the registers.

Often food distribution points have pictures of Mugabe and posters instructing people how to vote for ZANU-PF/Mugabe’s agenda (endorsing any political affiliation is prohibited by UN standards). As well Christian Care is often falsely accused of putting MDC posters in the food bags though all bags are sealed.

One of Christian Care’s program administrators was kidnapped by war veterans and held overnight

Christian Care is not the only NGO to experience problems. Some have quit serving in the distribution of food within Zimbabwe because of the pressures.

Though this information was recorded more than seven years ago.  Economic conditions have only deteriorated under President Mugabe’s leadership.

“Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe began in the early 2000s, shortly after Zimbabwe‘s confiscation of white-owned farmland and its repudiation of debts to the International Monetary Fund, and persisted through to 2009. Figures from November 2008 estimated Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate at 89.7 sextillion percent.” (Hanke, Steve H. (17 November 2008). “New Hyperinflation Index (HHIZ) Puts Zimbabwe Inflation at 89.7 sextillion percent”. The Cato Institute. Retrieved 17 November 2008.)

“By December 2008, annual inflation was estimated at 6.5 quindecillion novemdecillion percent (6.5 x 10108%, the equivalent of 6 quinquatrigintillion 500 quattuortrigintillion percent, or 65 followed by 107 zeros – 65 million googol percent).” (“The Printing Press by Steve Hanke. Forbes Magazine, December 22, 2008)

In April 2009, Zimbabwe abandoned printing of the Zimbabwean dollar, and the South African rand and US dollar became the standard currencies for exchange. As of 2011 the currency has not been reintroduced yet.

As of 2009 Zimbabwe had a 95% unemployment rate (highest in the world) with 68% of the population living below the poverty line in 2004. http://www.theodora.com/wfbcurrent/zimbabwe/zimbabwe_economy.html

“”As of January 2006, the official poverty line was ZWD 17,200 per month (US $202). However, as of July 2008 this had risen to ZWD 13 Trillion per month (US $41.00). Most general labourers are paid under ZWD 200 Billion (US 60c) per month. A nurse’s salary in September was Z$12,542 (12 US cents), less than the cost of a soft drink.” (Matibe, Phil. “The Zimbabwe Situation”. The Zimbabwe Situation. Retrieved 5/30/10)

Under these conditions, the ones who suffer the most are mothers and their children from the time of conception throughout the rest of their short lives, they and their mothers’ lack pre-natal care, education and suffer severe malnutrition and are at high risk of cholera and HIV/AIDS. The average life expectancy of women in Zimbabwe is currently the lowest in the world— age 34.

More and more children are becoming orphaned and child mortality levels are on the rise. Ten million out of 13 million people in Zimbabwe live in poverty.

According to Save the Children:

“The four main hospitals in Harare have closed their doors to all obstetric cases, causing a vastly increased risk of death of mothers and babies during birth.”

In 1990, life expectancy was 60 years; in 2005 life expectancy for women had dropped to 37. Today, it stands at 34 – the lowest in the world. Zimbabwe is facing one of the worst HIV epidemics in the world – one in five adults (aged 15-49) are living with HIV and AIDS.

With inflation at an official level of 243 million %, (in reality in the billions), buying essentials such as food is an enormous struggle for most families, this combined with country wide food insecurity due to harvest failure has left around one-third of all children chronically malnourished with concerns that acute malnutrition is rising.

Many children are going without education – around 75% of state schools are not functioning properly because the majority of state teachers are not working as they are not paid enough to survive and have to look for or work for food. Many poor families are being forced to send their children out to find work or wild foods and simply can no longer afford to send them to school.

More to come about how you can help the children of Zimbabwe…

 

What is the Spirit of Adoption?

I believe it when a person recognizes that outside Jesus we were all orphans and slaves to sin (covered in garbage) and only in His mercy did he grant us the right to be called sons of God and more than sons heirs of the Kingdom (clothed in righteousness)!

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fear but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry “Abba Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fear but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry “Abba Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if in fact we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For all of the creation groans and waits eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.”

Romans 8:15-19

As I am volunteering full-time with the Orphan Justice Fellowship, I am in contact with many children who are either currently in the foster care system or have been newly adopted. They are changing my life more than I am changing theirs. I recognize they each of them are found within a continuum of slave to son. Though some are legally adopted and have the full rights and privileges of any child in that loving, God-fearing home, few realize it, including the biological children. I see myself and my journey through the frightened  and self-protective eyes of these children. I too am on a journey into the Spirit of Adoption. You see, though I had two parents who are still married today and loved me the best they could, much was lacking in our relationship.

The void in my relationship with my family left me unaware of the love of Abba. For much of my life I operated mostly as a slave. Today more and more I as I am challenged and am accepting the challenge to lay my life down for this next generation, I am beginning to see myself  and operate more as a son (heir) of the Kingdom, though at times I can slip right back into the slave category when I give into fear, intimidation, hopelessness and anxiety. The Spirit of Adoption is about far more than adopting babies, it is about receiving the love a good Father who cleans us up and calls us to find the unlovely and unloved such as ourselves. Where on the continuum do you find yourself today? Where in your life do you need to receive the Spirit of Adoption?

Slaves Sons (Heirs)
View themselves and other as disposable property View themselves as part 

of a family/relationship

Fearful Trusting
Closed off emotionally Bonded and open to relationship
 

Hopeless and insecure

 

Hopeful and confident

 

Defensive and self-protective

 

Willing to lay down life for others

 

Licentious or legalistic

 

Operate out of love

Take no ownership/ often careless with property/people  

Takes ownership

rescuing people/property

leaving things in better shape

than when they found them

Long after William Wilberforce supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery which led to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, abolishing slavery in most of the British Empire. Long after the Emancipation Proclamation, the passing of the 13th Amendment and Mather Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a  Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, slavery still exists in most nations not excluding the U.S.

“Indeed more slaves are in bondage today than were bartered in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Nowhere has this impact been felt more brutally than on children in the underdeveloped nations. Slaveholders prey on the defenseless, and children so easily become vulnerable…The UN’s surveys found 700,000 children forced into domestic labor in Indonesia alone, with staggering numbers as well as in Brazil (559,000), Pakistan (264,000), Haiti (250,000), and Kenya (200,000)…These youngsters are usually ‘invisible’ to their communities, toiling for long hours with little or no pay and regularly deprived of the chance to play or go to school.” (Not for Sale by David Batstone, 6-7)

From the sweatshops in New York and South East Asia, the child brothels in Cambodia, a traveling Nigerian boys choir in Texas to the clubs in Tel Aviv, Israel, a neighbor’s housemaid, to your nail salon down the street and your favorite ethnic restaurant, who knows how many times you might have come in contact with a prisoner of this grave injustice?

As I am reading “Not For Sale” by David Batstone, I have come face to face with the reality that many times in my life I have come across these people and never took the time to look at what was really going on, yet I know deep in my spirit I am called to be an abolitionist! As I read about the brave hero and heroines of our time who took the time and energy often risking their own lives to rescues the ones or thousands, I am impressed upon with the fact that my story and perhaps our story has not yet been written. I too am called as Moses to seek Abba for guidance in the desert as to His heart and His authority in me to thunder, “Let my people go!” At the moment this may look like preparing and dreaming of practical ways to serve, disciple and restore those vulnerable to trafficking.

http://www.exoduscry.com

My first contact with a victim of trafficking came in Portland, OR as I was silently praying concerning the issue of abortion. In the evening as we were taking communion together, a young lady from Romania who was high on drugs and working as a prostitute came to us begging for food accompanied by her boss. We ended up rescuing her while distracting her “supervisor”. That night as I prayed for her, she chose to give her life to Jesus and was completely delivered from drugs and prostitution. Then we sent her to a Christian rehab center after which she entered into another counseling program focused on restoring sexual abuse victims.

She would not tell me how she came to America. I now understand that many victims are taken from their home country (often an impoverished nation), moved to a transitional country where they are severely abused before being transferred to the destination country, often a developed country where the traffickers can fetch a much higher price.

How a child or adult can become enslaved is that often times due to poverty, abuse or being orphaned they may be coerced by a lucrative invitation to work in the tourist industry. Upon arrival the traffickers confiscate all their documents and possessions and lock her in an apartment, forcing her to work to get them back. She is tortured, thereby forcing dependency upon her captors. Thereafter, she is sent to a more developed nation, locked in an apartment, garage or brothel and forced into prostitution.

Chances are the prostitute in your red light district may be in captivity and not there due to her own choices, pray about how you can help. More to come in a future blog…

“Playfulness is the doorway to intimacy”Allen Hood in reference to Abba’s relationship with His children

I chose the name “Coming Up Leaning” based on the verse Song of Solomon 8:5. Ultimately this portrays the victorious Bride who having loved not her life unto death finds victory and greater intimacy with her Bridegroom at the end of the age. As well this verse paints a picture of orphaned children who often suffer the tribulation of abuse and neglect. I believe they will through prayer, the love Abba poured out through adoptive moms and dads, and supernatural healing emerge from the ashes victoriously in love with their redeemer, Yeshua the King of kings. The will be more than ready to deliver others, for I believe the children who we rescue, adopt and restore will become a mighty army of deliverers leaning on their Beloved.

L’Shana Tova (Happy New Year). As we are in the season of Fall Feasts of the Lord, we just celebrated the New Year according the Hebrew calendar. I believe this season will be marked by many new ventures to prepare the Body of Messiah for his coming.

In August of 2000, after I was water baptized in Washington state lake, Abba spoke to me that Isaiah chapter 35 was a large part of my destiny. this passage describes the desert region in Israel, the Aravah blooming. Primarily, I believe this is a prophecy of the restoration of the land of Israel as seen in both physical and spiritual (revival) restoration of the land/people. Secondarily, I believe life out of a barren land symbolizes the fullness of restoration in the hearts of the broken and abused.

Having served full-time as a missionary since May 2002, I have become burdened over justice issues of abortion, adoption and human trafficking. When will we a church cease to look at children as a liability and instead as a blessing? The has been the cry of my heart for the House of Prayer and the church since 2005. At that time only a few families at IHOP-KC were acting out of this revelation. Then over the past five years a large number of families who already had that value began to move to IHOP-KC and along with IHOP-KC pioneering adoptive families gave courage to many missionaries to answer this call with increased fervency.

A couple years ago a man named Derek Loux the founder of the Orphan Justice Center and Benji Nolot the founder of Exodus Cry began to link arms and meet together to dream of ways to rescue the children whom the enemy was seeking to devour. As I cried through many of these meetings, I began to ask Abba to release me in His time to be in these “special forces”.

Having gone through foster care training in 2009 and volunteering full-time with Exodus Cry an anti-human trafficking ministry, I am now beginning my first week of training with the Orphan Justice Fellowship (a full-time intensive hands on leadership training program at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City). This program is designed to equip young leaders to go out and change the plight of the American orphan and the 163 million displaced children that are abused and neglected around the world. Add to this number the countless abused and neglected children in America’s homes, street kids in both here and abroad, children living in the garbage dumps of Brazil, Mexico, India and Africa, the ones imprisoned in human trafficking as well as in third world country orphanages. The harvest is ripe but the laborers are few, will you go into the harvest with Him?

According to James 1:27, “Pure religion is to care for the poor, widow and the orphan”. We are coming into the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord. As natural disasters, war, famine and the breakdown of the family occurs we will find ourselves with many orphaned ones to care for. I believe it is the heart of our Heavenly Father, Abba to teach us how to rescue, adopt and restore these precious ones. I am struck with the stark reality that many in our generation are perishing due the silence of the Church at large. I do not want to be counted among the silent. I will lift my voice for the voiceless as well as rescue those appointed for destruction–the children!

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.”

(Proverbs 31:8-9)

Therefore we pray, appealing to highest court for justice (wrong things to be made right) for these little ones. Please join us every Friday morning 6AM-8AM (CST) live via the webstream at ihop.org as we together lift our voices for the children.

For more information about the Justice Fellowship and the Orphan Justice Center visit: http://orphanjusticecenter.com/events/justice-fellowship/

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