Churches of Christ
Namwianga Mission was founded near Kaloma, Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) by Churches of Christ missionaries Dow and Helen (Alice) Merritt in 1932 (the Merritt’s first arrived in 1926). Encompassing 6,000 acres, the mission originally consisted of three separate farms that were consolidated during the 1940s and 1950s.
The mission began primary schools in the 1930s to promote the Christian faith and to teach students to read the Bible. In the 1960s, Dr. George Benson, along with Dow Merritt, raised enough money to build a high school, currently the Namwianga Christian Secondary School. In the early 1990s, Namwianga Mission partnered with the University of Zambia to establish George Benson Christian College (named in Dr. Benson’s honor), which is a three-year college that trains students to teach at the secondary level.
Other facilities include the Namwianga Mission Hospital (formerly Namwianga Zonal Health Center) treating more than 10,000 patients per year, farm, radio station, and “The Haven” in-home orphan care. The orphanage operates four homes that support infants, toddlers, children with special needs and the fourth home, named “Eric’s House, for older boys.
In addition to the Merritt’s, early missionaries at Namwianga include Mrs. Ray Lawyer, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Shewmaker, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hobby, Myrtle Rowe, and Alva and Margaret Rees. Dow Merritt’s son, Roy, together with his wife Kathi, returned to Namwianga Mission sometime in 1968-69 to teach at the high school and have continued to serve at the mission over many years.
Namwianga Mission is currently operated by Zambia Christian College, which goes by the name Zambia Mission Fund. The mission has been supported as a “permanently funded work” of the Prescott Church of Christ church in Texas, since 2006.
- George Benson Christian College
- Namwianga Christian Secondary School
- Namwianga Mission Hospital
- The Haven In-Home Orphan Care