Nearly immediately upon our arrival in Zambia last March, Melissa and I were asked about Donald Trump (or in some cases, Donald Trumpet). What did we think of him? Would he be elected? With a little embarrassment, we each tried to answer these questions delicately and honestly for our new friends here. As we did, we both wondered if the Zambian people, who have been so warm and welcoming to us here in our new country, would be welcomed in the same way in the U.S. by those who do support Trump’s campaign, given their comments directed towards immigrants.
A few days ago, a very dear friend sent me a message on Facebook, asking if my account had been hacked. The reason for his query stemmed from my posts about Trump, which for the most part consisted of sharing critical articles, and my posts about the University of Texas football team (my friend matriculated at UT). I’ll address the Longhorns first; I know I can sometimes take ribbing directed towards my UT friends too far, so my apologies for doing so. Please, please don’t lose to Iowa State tomorrow; I don’t need another temptation.
But if anyone is expecting me to apologize for my opinion about Trump’s fitness for serving as a president of the United States, don’t hold your breath-it isn’t happening. As I mentioned above, Melissa and I have been welcomed, embraced and loved by everyone we’ve met here. Yes, we are muzungu, and will never be completely Zambian, but that doesn’t seem to matter to them, or us. We are bound together by our faith in Christ.
It makes me sad that our country, the U.S., is so divided, and that much of that division comes from fear and hateful rhetoric, directed at immigrants, minorities, the impoverished and the marginalized-the very people Jesus sought out during his life on earth, and in fact, what Melissa and I are in Zambia. Not only did Jesus minister to these folks, but he also spoke out for social justice on their behalf.
Regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election, our country is in dire need of healing. I hope with that healing comes a renewed focus on what it means to love our neighbor. A good example might be the way Melissa and I have been welcomed and shown love here in Zambia.
P.S. By the way, it gives us great joy to learn that our church in the U.S., Northwood Presbyterian, has just received two new members from Zambia.