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.
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.
Early last month, ITMI’s Johan Leach and his team deployed south from their ministry base in Chavuma, Zambia to Lukulu, Zambia. Their mission was…
Mary Savu Mbi is a dedicated believer who lives in the remote Zambian village of Kanjachi. While Mary’s daughter was sick, she was unjustly indicted for witchcraft and trying to kill her daughter.
A four-man team ventured across the wild Zambezi River in canoes last month. When you set off into the secluded area with little contact to the outside world, you’re never sure what will happen. Only those up for an adventure need apply. This trip did not disappoint…
“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.