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.
Like much of Africa, Animism - the worship of one’s ancestors - is prevalent in this area. If they’ve heard about Jesus, often they've simply add Him in their ancestor worship.
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.
“I Needed to Repent, Which I Did, but the Lord Wasn’t Finished Yet” – A Christmas Greeting from the Leach Family
“So I needed to repent, which I did, but the Lord was not finished with me, for the ‘Song of Solomon’ lay ahead.”
The elderly shook their heads in understanding. Teachers and evangelists from the east bank of the Zambezi River were visiting their village. The teachers traced back the dark past of ancestral and pagan worship of the villages to where they are finding themselves now….
Early this morning while sitting next to the Zambezi River, these two Hawks decided to perch in the tree above me. Slowly I brought my camera up and started shooting away. As my camera clicked away the hawks graciously took off now having broken twigs in their beaks. It was not long when a crow arrived on the scene, and with some audacity started stealing the twigs from the nest that the Hawks were building.
“I used to think, ‘All for one and one for all,’ is what village life is all about, right? That the villages are populated by the “noble savage” and lead a connected, unified community life,” says ITMI’s Timothy Keller. But unfortunately, this version of village life may be popular in Hollywood and children’s tales, its simply not what Timothy has found after over a decade of ministry in African villages. “Rural Africa is
Three two-man teams set out for a two week Creation Evangelism Outreach to the furthest southern border of our Chavuma sector, namely the area known as “Luzu.” Canoes filled with supplies, prayed up and enthusiastic these men set out.
Some of Johan’s thoughts on world peace, inspired by a quiet Sunday morning on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia.