Thursday, June 11, 2009

Outgoing LDS Harare Zimbabwe Mission President Andre Bester Says Zimbabwe's Hospitality "Best In Africa"

According to the Zimbabwe Herald, which is an official government publication and cannot be fully trusted, outgoing Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Harare Zimbabwe Mission President Andre Bester has characterized Zimbabwe's hospitality as "the best he has ever encountered on the continent and rues leaving the country for his Johannesburg home". [Ed. Note: This is undoubtedly excessively hyperbolic, and if this was not an LDS blog, I would describe it in more earthy terms.]

Bester had been called from South Africa to head the Harare Mission in July 2006. During his stewardship, which he undertook with the help of his wife Joy, the LDS population in Zimbabwe reportedly grew to 7,000, while his assistance increased membership in neighboring Zambia to 3,000 and almost 1,000 in Malawi. "I am saddened at the prospect of leaving this country because I felt safer here than in Johannesburg. I like the people here because they are very hospitable. I will really miss this environment". [Ed. Note: This may be somewhat true. Johannesburg, in the province of Gauteng, is plagued by crime in general and home invasions in particular. Read the Death of Johannesburg blog to see how that city has deteriorated since the end of apartheid.]

Elder Bester will be succeeded by Edward Dube, who has been serving in the church for more than 20 years, having been in charge of Harare Urban for 12 years and serving in various foreign missions for 13 years. More information about the Zimbabwe Harare Mission can be found on the Church News website. The Mormon Times regurgitates the story uncritically without informing the reader that the Zimbabwe Herald is an official government publication.

According to official LDS statistics:

-- Zimbabwe: 17,241 members, 1 mission, 44 congregations
-- Zambia: 2,237 members, 11 congregations (serviced by the Zimbabwe mission)
-- Malawi: 742 members, 3 congregations (serviced by the Zimbabwe mission)

In accordance with the Twelfth Article of Faith, LDS authorities do not interfere with the politics of Zimbabwe so long as they are permitted to operate in the country with minimal interference. And despite the unsavory reputation of the regime of Robert Mugabe, apparently the Church is relatively free to operate.

This, of course, does not take away from the fact that the Mugabe regime is among the most tyrannical and corrupt upon the face of the earth. Their hyperinflation has become legendary. Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, it cannot feed itself now because Mugabe began expropriating land from the whites who farmed it efficiently and who provided jobs for so many black Zimbabweans. A June 2008 post by Jeff Lindsay on Mormanity provides more insight on the economic situation. Here's a WNTube video showing a typical day in the life of a Zimbabwean family:

Those who want to learn more about Zimbabwe's political situation should visit Jan Lamprecht's African Crisis website.

1 comment:

Mission-Wear said...

Sounds like a tough mission. We're looking for any returned missionaries from Zimbabwe Harare Mission to contribute to our blog.

Contact me via our website Mission-Wear.