Victoria Falls, affectionately known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, the smoke that thunders, was the venue for the 4th edition of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division, ASI Convention. Dozens of Businesspeople and church leaders converged in Livingstone, the capital tourism city of Zambia, for this high-profile business convention. Running under the theme Enterprise Unusual, business presentations were presented by various businesspeople to equip and inspire our church members.
Dr Jongimpi Papu, the SID Vice President, conducted the devotions that inspired and uplifted the attendees. Advocate Dengure the current ASI-SID President believes this meeting is a game changer, as members live to the theme “Enterprise Unusual”. The Vice President of the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division responsible for coordinating the Affairs of ASI, Dr Hopeson Bonya said, “As a Division, we are pleased to see the business Community working hand in glove for the mission of the church. If we as church can continue with this spirit, we will finish the work very soon.”
The ASI leaders believe that when businesspeople meet together to share ideas, the end product will be an explosion in evangelism, thereby living to the ASI motto, sharing Christ in the Market Place. The participants were equally humbled by the presentations from various speakers who came to share and instill the spirit of collaboration. One of the moving presentations was that from Onesayi Workington Sithole, who emphasized the importance of liberating the mindset of the people, if members are to explore the protentional in them. “Some of our friends still need to be liberated mentally, if we are to become credible businesspeople in our communities.” echoed brother Sithole.
One of the guest speakers to the ASI convention, was none other the first female mayor of Livingstone the tourist city of Zambia, her worship, Constance Nalishebo Mukelebai. who thanked the work being done by the Seventh-day Adventist church in Zambia, specifically in uplifting the lives of the community in the fields of education and health. The Mayor of the city her Worship said, “The government of Zambia is very happy with the work done by churches especially the Seventh-day Adventist church in improving the lives of ordinary people”
The host Union Conference President for the Southern Zambia Union Conference, Dr Vanny Munyumbwa said, the visit by the mayor of the city was a sure sign that the church was doing a fantastic job in the country. He challenged the delegates and said, “The presence of government shows that we are doing a good job and that the government is watching us, so let us keep up the good work”. Delegates were further challenged by businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei, to be united as it will be impossible to accomplish the mission of the church while divided. “We must as business people make our resources available for God’s work, so that we can hasten His second coming”.
One of the highlights of this convention was the pledge by the ASI Members, to emulate Jesus Christ’s ministry of love and compassion, by raising funds to assist the 23 former sex workers who were baptized after the AWR evangelistic meetings that was conducted in Victoria Falls in Livingstone Zambia, by the AWR President Dr Duane Mckey and the Division President, Dr Harrington Simui Akombwa. Just as their motto From Broadcast to Baptism, the former sex workers now affectionately known as “The Friends of Jesus”, have been given a kick start seed-money by the AWR to the tune of $15 000 to help them start a new descent life and to fend for their loved ones, far from the streetlights. The money was handed to the 23 ladies at Hilcrest SDA church by the mayor of the City and was attended by the local church elder and the Conference President. The Friends of Jesus spokesperson, sister Esther says, “We are thankful to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for this good gesture of pointing us to Jesus and taking us our away from the streets. They have given us cash to look after our families, they have paid our rentals for 5 months and initiated a Garden project, a Grinding Meal and a Chicken Project so that we can have a meaningful income as we start our own business.”
The ASi Business people then invited “The Friends of Jesus” on the Big Sabbath to worship together and they managed to raise over $16 000.00, that will go towards the welfare of our sisters, as they find their way back into the community. Mr Stanely Kondongwe the SID-ASI Director responsible for Projects, said “by donating to our dear sisters, we are leaving an impact in Livingstone, that ASi was here not just to talk, but to Share Christ in the market Place”. The next SID-ASi Convention will be held in May next year, in Luanda-Angola