Easter in Zambia
A Western Territory officer serving overseas reports from the field.
by Beryl Pierce, Major –
On Good Friday, we had a service at my corps in the Mandevu Compound, where I am a part-time corps officer, with four other centers from our section. Three hundred people gathered for the meetings—it was a great blessing! I spoke at the holiness meeting; the section officer, Captain Ruth Nakalonga (commissioned last November) spoke at the salvation meeting. My corps treasurer spoke at the open air meeting, held in the center of Mandevu Compound—a dirt lot that is used as a playing field.
On Saturday I supported Captain Nakalonga at the funeral and burial of one of our Youth Songsters, just 27 years old, a young lady from the Chiesa Corps—a corps currently constructing their building and without an officer. Our section is a united one and everyone knows everyone. At the funeral, the Youth Songsters and Youth timbrelists performed in tears. People said the woman died of TB but her friends all knew that it was AIDS that really took her—a very strong and powerful lesson for them!
The cemetery was so poor—you can’t even imagine—on a hillside, with dirt grounds. The path into the cemetery was full of large potholes and ruts from vehicles getting stuck in the mud. Even my vehicle had to be pushed out of a rut at one point.
The grave mounds were only two feet apart. In our location four other groups were burying their loved one, all at the same time. We could hardly hear each other as I did the committal. Here, before you can leave the site, the casket must be fully buried and mounded for fear of grave robbers.
After the burial we visited the home—one of the poorest here in Lusaka. After a song and a prayer with the family we entered a small, dark bedroom for a bite to eat. (I knew I could did not dare eat or drink anything or I would be too sick to attend the Sunday services, so I abstained, even though it was nearly 3 p.m. in the afternoon.) The walls and floor were unfinished cement, and there was no ceiling, just the bare tin roofing sheets. The bed was covered with dingy bedding, and on the bed lay a tiny infant.
On Easter Sunday we met at another of our section corps. Since the hall was too small, we met outside. Around two hundred attended the service, and although we had no speaker system, the young captain, our territorial youth secretary spoke well—nearly all came forward during the appeal. Poverty lays the hearts open for the power of God to move in! There is something to the saying of Christ about the rich man and the camel; I am sure that is why The Salvation Army in Africa is the fastest growing Army in the world.