From the Field: The Road to Solwezi

After traveling in Africa I always come home without a single complaint about our roads in Michigan. Our destination, Solwezi, in the Northwest province of Zambia, was 4 hours away. The main road was riddled with pot holes ranging in size from a basketball to an elephant. Some holes we could swerve around and others were unavoidable. Along the way we observed many grass hut villages, giant ant hills and many villagers trying to survive each day by selling goods in roadside stands.

More times than once we found ourselves playing chicken on the road with massive tandem trailer mining trucks. Our only advantage was that we were smaller, could move faster and could squeeze tighter.

Finally, after four hours of fantastic automobilemanship, we saw our destination approaching. Up to this point the challenges we faced were minimal compared to the overwhelming challenges of Solwezi. As we entered the town I thought, this must be what it was like when the pioneers first started towns. One thing I noticed was that new buildings were being constructed with the same name on them, “Guest House.” This is the primary challenge of Solwezi. Each of these buildings facilitates the rapidly growing prostitution trade. The market for prostitution has exploded in Solwezi because of the prosperity the copper mine has brought into the community. Men who work in the mines can be away from their wives for months, sometimes years. So, the services are provided and the business is booming. It’s become so successful that the government is now taxing the prostitutes.

But, along with the rapid growth of prostitution comes a series of problems, including increased unplanned pregnancies and the increased spreading of STIs including HIV. Because of this growing need in Solwezi, Barbara and Edward Mwansa have agreed to help nurture a small and humble ministry called Northwest Pregnancy Resource Center.  

A local businessman, Mr. Memory K. Chilongo has been prompted by the Lord to start this ministry and has offered office space in his building for this ministry to operate. He has a handful of volunteers and is currently building his prayer base.

Everything is small about this fledgling ministry and the road ahead is very rough, but Barbara communicated that this is how her ministry started too, and now she is overseeing the growth of over thirty ministries. She is confident, because of how God is working in Solwezi, that the same will happen there. The need is great and so is the Lord!

I was reminded that God loves small things. I’m excited to see His handiwork in the great challenge of Solwezi! The next time I travel on the road to Solwezi, the road may be the same, but the town will be changed!

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