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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: The Fields of Zimbabwe
By Al Boyce


Next to a rusting tractor, weeds are thriving in a field in Zimbabwe. Vegetation sucks up nutrients that once girded huge plantations.

Once, Zimbabwe was the envy of Africa. Its tobacco harvests rivaled Virginia. Its currency was stronger than the American dollar.

Beset by greed and political pressures, the government wrested control of the farms and put them in the hands of those in favor at the time. They were not farmers. They could not operate the complicated machines to plant, weed and harvest the crops. Soon, farms that once fed the nation could barely feed one family.

Zimbabwe is in a death spiral. Recently, inflation reached 1,000 percent. The AIDS epidemic is killing thousands. The average life expectancy there is 40 years.

There are more orphans every day, as their parents die of starvation or disease. Many villages are still in the spiritual hands of witch doctors.

Last week, leaders outlawed public prayer, saying it was devisive to the government.

The average wage in Zimbabwe is about $2 American per year. The government spends millions of dollars every year on the military, to keep the population under control and to protect wealthy leaders.

The suicide rate is rising. Millions are fleeing to neighboring South Africa. The United Nations is looking for ways to help, but financial aid never reaches those in need.

My friend Jonathan was born in Zimbabwe. He came to America after a Christian missionary led him to Jesus.

Now Jonathan does what he can to help his native country -- but it isn't much. He has been unable to get his closest relatives out and must content himself with getting money to them, helping them build an orphanage and trying to teach their neighbors marketable skills.

Jonathan weeps for his country, but his faith is strong.

"I know that God is using this in mighty ways," he says. "What is happening in Zimbabwe is directly impacting South Africa and Zambia. It is touching the conscience of those in the West.

"We pray it will ultimately result in toppling the corrupt government. But we won't be satisified with just a return to the prosperity of old.

"We want to see a spiritual rebirth that will actually redefine the meaning of prosperity -- on God's terms."

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This article has been read 1453 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Peter Thomas05/19/06
I enjoyed learning about Zimbabwe, especially about your friend finding Christ. I hope many more in Zimbabwe are also blessed. Another angle that might be interesting would be to tell a personal story about your friend's experience. That could be even more interesting than all the facts.
Jessica Schmit05/20/06
Very well written. You spoke about your points very clearly and passionatly. Very good, strong piece.
Sherry Wendling05/20/06
A moving picture, heartfelt with well-stated vignettes. I'd like to see a bit stronger opening, such as the "death spiral" thought. One more rewrite for thought/paragraph organization would make this piece realllllly shine!
Linda Germain 05/20/06
[I have a vague feeling I know who wrote this; a person who knows whereof he/she speaks]. This is an excellent piece that does not have to depend on fantasy or metaphore or allegory. It is REAL. The simple TRUTH of a subject often reveals its best definition. A+ in my book. LG
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/22/06
I also think I know who wrote this. :-) Well done. Thank you for the prayer reminder.
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
I would love to hear this preached, perhaps accompanied by images. Very powerful!
Pat Guy 05/22/06
This reminds me of the days when we would have visiting missionaries with their 'slides' of their work. This has that 'feel' to it and is very effective. Good story telling.
Anita Neuman05/22/06
No, I didn't write this one, but I so appreciate the extra attention on an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Great work, Al!
Linda Watson Owen05/22/06
Al, as always, your words are words that inform and inspire! Everything you write is saturated in reality and infused with unction and hope. I've learned much from this article and will be praying especially for Zimbabwe. Thank you once again!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
You capture the heart of a hurting nation. This message needs to reach others, like myself, who are not aware of their plight. Beautifully written. Thanks.
Maxx .05/23/06
Very well written, very strong writing skills. Excellent polish. This is a real ssttrroonngg piece. My only request would be to hear more from your subject matter expert (Jonathan). I wanted to get more from him since he added so much validity to the piece. Overall well presented and nicely done. Could this be a non-fiction winner? I think maybe!
Phyllis Inniss05/24/06
A painful but beautifully written subject. You painted a true picture of events in Zimbabwe and with God's help your friend Jonathan will be able to realize his dream of helping his country out of its rut.
Venice Kichura05/24/06
An eye-opener & excellent writing skills! Thank God your friend found new life in Christ & is helping others there now!
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
Factual and informative and convincing. Well stated and concise. Good job!
Rita Garcia05/25/06
Thank you sharing this from your heart. Well written!