Missionaries Bill and Janet Eubanks have found a fertile field in the public schools —in Zimbabwe. Doing what is forbidden in America, they are welcomed to freely preach the gospel and hand out tracts to tens of thousands of students each year. A few decades ago the country was known as Rhodesia and was a prosperous nation, exporting food to other African countries.
After a failed agreement with Great Britain, the nation has deteriorated to the point to where there is 80% unemployment. However, the government has mandated that all children attend government schools. Eubanks says that there are over 10,000 of these schools with several hundred students each. Since the average life span is now less than 40, these students are a major part of the population.
Politically, the nation is in dire straits, but Eubanks says that as long as a missionary avoids getting involved in the nation's politics, he is free to spread the gospel any way he wants. This is the Eubanks' third annual trip to Zimbabwe where they stay several months going from school to school and village to village preaching Jesus, showing the Chick 78-minute video, Light of the World, and handing out hundreds of thousands of Chick tracts.
Getting to many of the schools requires a rugged, off-road type vehicle. But when they drive up, the headmistress will come out to share a few minutes of small talk as is customary in that culture. Then she will ask the nature of the visit and Bill will explain that they want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the students and give them all a free comic book.
Typically, the teacher will point to a nearby tree and ask if it will be okay to assemble the students there. As you can see from the pictures, Eubanks is fine with that approach. He uses a variety of tracts both in the local language and in English, since the schools teach it as a second language and many are able to read it. He also uses an interpreter to make sure everyone clearly understands the message.
When he finishes, he invites them to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. In this year's trip alone, he has preached in 80 schools to 70,000 students with some 50,000 responding to his altar call. At the end of the meeting, everyone receives a Chick tract. Many churches in the area are able to follow up on the converts, although members sometimes have to walk several miles to attend.
In the evening, the Eubanks try to locate a village where they can set up a portable projector to show The Light of the World video. Here, also, they find many open hearts. Usually, the whole village will turn out when they come in and begin to set up the equipment.
Some have questioned Eubanks on the mass evangelism approach that he uses and he responds that that was the way he came to the Lord as a youngster when he attended a church camp. With the addition of the Chick tracts, he is confident that those who did not accept Christ will still have a witness from these "paper missionaries," and those who did will be strengthened in their faith by studying the tracts.
In the three trips that the Eubanks have made to Zimbabwe, over a million Chick tracts have been seeded into that field. Looking toward next year in June, they hope to distribute at least 200,000 more on their fourth trip. Your contributions to the Chick Missions Fund will help provide those tracts. When you send your denotation, please specify Chick Mission Fund - Zimbabwe Project.