But it might as well be.
The crocodile infested Zambezi River slices through Zambia, just east of its western border with Angola. It swells with flooding in the spring, making crossing with a vehicle impossible for months at a time.
The Zambezi River
To the west, the border with Angola yields similar restrictions, further isolating the people of this area.
Without access to the rest of the world, life here is hard. They just survive…if they can.
Animism - the worship of one’s ancestors - is prevalent in this area. Many have heard about Jesus, but often simply add his name to their ancestor worship practices.
Johan and Leslie Leach are committed to sharing Jesus with this forgotten, isolated people. They equip and send teams to cross the river and share Jesus.
Johan’s passion for life and love for Jesus leak out from all sides as he welcomes you into his inner circle. Johan knows no strangers.
Johan and Leslie teach the teams to use the Genesis-to-Christ method of evangelism. "If you just tell them about Jesus and not about Genesis and why Jesus needed to come to earth, they will just accept Jesus and add him to their other ancestor worship,” Johan says.
Dynamic and passionate Johan teaches the gospel with the help of one of his teammates.
From his writing to his speaking to his life's decisions, Johan points to Jesus in everything.
The teams are able to access this area even during the spring torrents in canoes, thanks to an ITMI supporter who helped replace their old canoes with sturdier, safer vessels.
Steve Evers, Jon Dekkers and Steve Lee in the old canoes used by Johan's teams.
New, safer canoes donated by an ITMI supporter.
Johan and Lesley brought everything they own to Chavuma. They built a garage as temporary living quarters. They cook meat on a barbecue or an open fire, they make oatmeal and maize in cast iron pots in the front yard.
They split wood for cooking, repair their own vehicles, use a generator to produce limited electricity and boil river water to drink.
ITMI Board Member Jon Dekkers and Steve Lee with Johan at his home in Chavuma.
A boy from one of the villages Johan ministers to clings to his new-to-him clothes, delivered by Johan and Steve Evers.
A village listens to Johan share the gospel after receiving access to clean, safe water.
Johan sharing the gospel with one of the villages he ministers to.
A village man celebrates a gift of new used clothing from Johan and ITMI.
- Equip missionaries to share gospel truth using the "Genesis-to-Christ" model.
- Declare and demonstrate God's Kingdom in an isolated and forgotten area.
- Reach the area West of the Zambezi River for Christ.
- Prayer for protection for missionary teams crossing the Zambezi River.
- Prayer for hearts and minds open to the gospel.
- Funds to equip and send more missionaries.
- Local believers and their church located in a settlement called Chavuma on the East side of the river.
Peter told them the same things he’d been telling the others. He’d come to preach the Gospel. But this time, Peter’s answers didn’t satisfy them. Peter was kept in custody there for two days, then…
“I can’t afford groceries this month,” Onthalie* mumbled, her eyes were glued to the tops of her shoes as she confessed her situation…
Our partners have been reaching out and sharing some truly encouraging verses and thoughts with regard to the Coronavirus pandemic. Their unique perspectives and experiences plus a variety of cultural backgrounds means they’ve shared encouragement we may not have thought to remind ourselves of.
In this episode, Kent Reisenauer is telling us all about his last trip to South Africa and Zambia.
He’s talking about visiting Johan and Lesley not long after their home burned down, delivering pillowcase dresses and knitted hats from some US churches to remote villages across the Zambezi River, the progress and impact of Eugene Kalunga’s village school, what happened when Eugene put him on the spot to share something with the students at Excellence Christian Academy, and the baptisms of new Zulu believers he got to witness in South Africa.
Johan Leach, Charl van Wyk and Ashley Keller and teachers from Excellence Christian Academy let us know exactly what your involvement means to them.
An Inside Look at Life and Ministry on a Remote Flood Plain in Zambia, featuring Johan and Lesley Leach (Podcast Episode)
ITMI’s Johan and Lesley Leach share how ITMI supporters have played a major role in spreading the Gospel among a least-reached people, their strategy for saturating an isolated area with the Gospel, what life is like for them in this unique location.
At the end of March, a young couple from Arizona did something many wouldn’t. Especially not with four school-aged kids. Jonny and Carrie Dekkers sold most of their possessions, rented out their home in Arizona and traveled to Zambia, where they plan to stay in a rustic abode, hours from any real grocery stores for six months. Last weekend, Jonny shared this story that demonstrates some of the challenges of working in this area and what the Lord taught him and his family.
The villagers dashed madly for their huts. They had caught one glimpse of the initial brownish-grey clean-out water spilling from the head of the newly drilled well. Moments later, they returned with the various makeshift containers, ready to collect the contaminated water.