The church’s home office was recently advised that some seven head of cattle have been tragically and wrongfully taken from members of United Church of God in remote areas of Zambia... These stolen cattle were for the most part offspring of heifers that were given to these members years ago as part of a LifeNets International program... patterned after the Heifer Project International headquartered in the United States with an office in Lusaka, Zambia... the loss of these oxen will dramatically affect the members’ ability to plant their next crop. For them, this act of thievery could not have come at a worse time.
So long lads, we've decided to convert to the other herd
The unhappy report that we received and verified related that these cattle were forcibly taken away by former friends or acquaintances of these victim-farmers. These former friends now belong to a Church of God fellowship largely comprised of former members and former ministers of the UCG. It is also our understanding from this report that the leader(s) of that fellowship refuse to intervene to stop the theft of these cattle by their members, nor have they condemned the actions that their members are taking.The original Heifer Project sounds like an excellent scheme. LifeNets (a UCG-affiliated charity) certainly appears to have meant well. But the debacle shows, if there was any doubt, why small faith-based initiatives can stumble on the rocks of sectarianism and party spirit.
At least it makes a change to the more usual (if metaphorical) "sheep stealing".