*Our problems are nothing in comparison with what our brothers and sisters in other lands are dealing with right now. We need to keep them in our prayers and contributions to the worldwide work. Read this email I just got today... (also check out the latest file I just uploaded on my theocratic downloads/Nakido page. Its got news & photos from an Assembly in Zambia)
(This was during a meeting where Brother Losch of the Governing Body was fielding questions from the friends gathered)
"I asked about Zimbabwe and if we've stopped building Kingdom Halls there. I mentioned that I read Zimbabwe printed a 50 billion dollar note and that we've stopped building Halls. He confirmed that we had to stop. He said, 'We put $5,000 in a bank in the morning and by night it's worth 50 cents!' He said the friends are existing on one meal a day, sometimes less. They are starving. The one meal is just subsistence. Neighboring brothers are trucking in grain as fast as they can. We received this newsletter from a brother in the Zimbabwe Bethel:
Hi to you all,
Zimbabwe is going through a very difficult time... We have just heard that the branch has had to release 24 brothers from Bethel. That will bring the Bethel family down to about 60-odd. Some will go into the special pioneer work and others back to supporting a local congregation. That is seven married couples and ten single brothers. Others may be asked to leave if the economic situation does not improve.
The branch has also had to cut back on a large number of special pioneers. So far this does not include me..!!! Additionally the whole Kingdom Hall building programme has stopped and all construction brothers sent home. So far the programme has built about 450 new Kingdom Halls for about 530 congregations under this assistance to countries with limited resources program.
The reason for all this is the deplorable economic situation that the country and branch has to work under. Our inflation is so high that by the time money comes in to the country, goes through the banking System and goes out to be used, it has lost its value. At present US $1 is sitting at Z$100 billion. It will be worse this afternoon..!! So you may think, for example, that you are going to receive the equivalent of US$10. By the time you actually get it the value has dropped to a few cents. We can only draw Z$100 billion a day in cash if the banks have cash. Cheques and swipe cards are limited.
We have not had bread in months. Fuel is scarcely available but only in foreign money. No mealie meal, (cornmeal) the basic food item for the locals, no sugar, flour, salt, cooking oil, etc. Electricity and water are often off for long periods. Some areas for months and months. So it is all very trying. The whole country is on its knees and the politicians do nothing to help. But then this is Satan's system...
On the positive side:
We had our Kingdom Hall dedicated on Saturday... 239 came from the two congregations that will use it. One English and one Shona. The Hall itself was a major effort. The site is on clay soil and so we had to go down about three metres with eleven reinforced concrete pillars. It took as long to build our Hall as it took the brothers to build our new Assembly Hall: 15 months..!! Just had a new peak of 33,000 which is very encouraging, as about five million have left the country for greener pastures in Europe, America, Australia, and South Africa, due to the problems here. So a peak in publishers is welcome news.
Just came back from doing some rural witnessing today. We have not been out to our calls in the rural area of our territory due to the political intimidations that have been going on with the elections. Many brothers have had a very difficult time and some losing everything. The brothers warned us not to go out there, but today it was quiet and we were very well received. The truth is still good here. Sadly, we may have to leave before the year is out as we can no longer manage economically and medically. The three of us will move to England. The Medical Aid Societies have collapsed, and we had been relying on them to assist with medical expenses, along with most other institutions. It has been so sad to see such a beautiful country go down the drain. But then the whole world will be following suit.
So keep all the brothers here in your prayers, they need them. We will continue to fight the fine fight. Your faithfulness is such an encouragement to us."