You can help turn the lights on in Zambia

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Sponsor solar power for Zambian officers.

by Beryl Pierce, Major –

Captains Gift and Bellah Mwiinga. –Photo by Beryl Pierce

While on homeland furlough, Western officer Major Beryl Pierce, territorial editor in Zambia, is seeking to raise both awareness and funds to assist Salvation Army officers who encounter daily challenges in Zambia.

Captains Gift and Bellah Mwiinga are the corps officers for four outposts and a “new opening” center. Because of their rural location in Nshinso, they spend long hours traveling¾by foot or bicycle¾to oversee their responsibilities.

At least once a month, they travel to district headquarters, walking for six hours (25 miles) to a location where they catch public transportation for a six-hour ride to Mukushi; they then take another bus for four hours to Ndola.

Gift travels to each of the outposts once a month. To reach the Njenge Outpost—46 miles away—he leaves home on his bicycle at 5 a.m., arriving at 7 p.m. The following five days, Gift runs programs, fellowship, planning and the Sunday service before riding his bicycle another 14 hours home.

The other outpost trips follow a similar pattern, as they are each between 30 and 50 miles from Gift’s home. Bellah stays in Nshinso during his trips to keep the corps programs there running. She goes on home visitations three days a week, walking 12 miles each day.
During free time, Bellah irons laundry to get rid of the Titsi fly larva with a charcoal iron. Gift studies for his extension training and prepares sermons by candlelight.

Majors Berrington and Christine Mbiri are now in their late 50s¾considered old in Zambia, as the life expectancy in the country is 40. The Mbiris are corps officers at the Naleza Corps with 87 soldiers. They also oversee the Kambaza Society with 37 soldiers, which is a 3-hour 22-mile bicycle ride from their home, and the Manyana outpost that is four miles from their home.

Serving those who serve
“These officers are extremely dedicated, as they not only oversee all these centers but also live without power and have to carry water and fetch firewood to cook their meals over a brazier (a small barbecue),” Pierce said.

Pierce added that she, like many of us, could not imagine living this way: “When the power goes out in my house, most often it is evening and I simply go to bed and thank the Lord for an extra hour of rest,” she said. “I have tried reading by candlelight and cannot manage it.”

To help these officers, Pierce is appealing to soldiers in the Western Territory for financial assistance to pay for solar power in their homes. Nearly half of the Zambian officers’ homes do not have electricity¾40 officers quarters in all.

The cost to fund one home with solar power sufficient to run a small two-burner stove, a refrigerator and a couple of lights is approximately $440. Roughly $17,600 would be needed to furnish solar power in all 40 quarters currently lacking electricity.

“Imagine what a difference a cold drink would make in this hot climate after a long and busy day riding a bicycle or walking to do the work of our Lord,” Pierce said. “Any help you can give will have a positive affect on these dedicated and devoted officers.”

To donate, send a check to territorial headquarters with “For the work of Major Pierce” written in the memo line. Attn: Captain Rhonda Lloyd, 12th floor, 180 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802.

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