Tragedy and Transformation on Mbabala Island

Zambia – Deep in the earth, precious diamonds form under the trials of heavy pressure, intense heat, and time. Likewise, for many years, Bright Hope and our partner church on Mbabala Island in Zambia have been praying, investing, and caring for community members, and finally, some figurative diamonds are starting to form.

But it took a recent, heartbreaking tragedy on Mbabala Island to unearthed this long-awaited gem of spiritual transformation.

Last month, Paul, one of the church leaders, lost his 12-year-old daughter in a crocodile attack.  While standing at the water’s edge to wash the family dishes, a crocodile caught her off guard. They found her body two days later and could at least hold a burial service.  

Our thoughts and prayers are with Paul and his family. Paul has served faithfully on the church committee since the formation of the group and has worked as the shopkeeper for the Christian Farmer’s Association store. 

Life is hard enough on Mbabala Island, and tragedies like this one just pour salt in an open wound. In these cases, where someone dies tragically or unexpectedly, there is almost always an accusation of witchcraft—someone must have used a curse to cause such a horrible death.  

Normally, the bereaved family would go to a witch doctor and have him or her figure out who the guilty party might be. If the accused has money, they will lose their wealth; while others might even lose their lives as well. 

When Paul’s daughter died, extended family members went to the Chief on the island for permission to engage a witch doctor to find out who was responsible for the crocodile attack. But Paul and his wife wanted nothing to do with it. And for the first time that we are aware of, the Mbabala Island Chief dismissed the case and ordered the family not to engage a witch doctor!

Frustrated, the family threatened to attack the Chief, and he called the mainland police for assistance. But instead of coming to the island, the police contacted Evoresto, the chairperson from the church committee, to go and talk to Paul’s extended family. 

Biblical training and spiritual growth form the foundation for all of our programs across all the countries where we work. Whether our church partners are feeding the hungry, equipping farmers, or providing scholarships to teenagers, our priority is to develop devoted disciples of Christ.

We thank God that His work in the hearts of men and women on Mbabala Island has stopped the cycle of evil and violence perpetrated by witch doctors. While we continue to pray for and mourn with Paul and his family, we celebrate a major spiritual victory on Mbabala Island! If you would like to learn more about how you can help impoverished families break out of poverty permanently, visit:


Bright Hope Staff
Bright Hope Staff