Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the dunes . . .
We actually lived and worked in Namibia from 1994-1996 – and returned to this beautiful country 20 years later to the month. What a pleasure it was to see many of the familiar sights and even run into people we used to know! This time, we are settled in the capitol, Windhoek, a well-organized city of about 350,000 people. In fact, until recently, Windhoek was ranked the cleanest city in Africa.
However, the rest of the country can be quite different: with only 2.5 million people spread out over a country twice the size of California, there are wide open spaces and cattle ranches, and vast areas where nothing can be grown. In the south, sheep graze on arid scrublands, and in the far north along the rivers, there are numerous subsistence farmers.
With such a small population, Namibia has a surprising diversity of people groups. The San Bushmen are the oldest residents of this country, and were joined by Ovambo, Herero, Himba, Kavango, Coloured, Damara, Grieko, Mbukushu, Afrikaaner, German and others. At the mall, it is not uncommon to hear five different languages spoken.
While Namibia is considered a Christian nation, there are a great many who are Christian in name only. There is a preponderance of gender-based violence, alcoholism and other problems common among the poor. It has one of the biggest income disparities in the world. Our goal here is supporting the local church and seeing discipleship become something that is desired by many, not just a few. We’d love to see the Namibian churches become sending churches, sharing the Gospel with those who have not heard.