Hope Zambia's Founders
Damon and Lisa Matacchiera's life and ministry experience throughout their 20 years on the field has culminated in the formation of Hope Zambia International in mid 2018. This organization was setup to train the next generation of Christian leaders in eastern Zambia. In addition to this, Hope Zambia is involved in a number of humanitarian aid projects that have impacted thousands of people in the village. Damon and Lisa are currently serving on the field with their six children.
Living the Adventure!
The Matacchiera family loves living life, they love each other and they love sharing their faith. Throughout their time abroad, they've had the opportunity to learn many insights in Zambian culture and how things operate on the African continent. This knowledge has equipped them in helping meet both the African's physical and spiritual needs. Their desire as a family is to help empower the Zambian people in their own faith and to enable them to reach out in turn to other villages.
FAQs that will help you learn more about what we do.
Up to now, our primary focus has been centered on establishing one, strong church that can act as a central post for Christian learning in our region of the village. The name of this church is Chiyembekezo Mpingo wa Baptist (CMB). From this location, we’re able to invest in the lives of men and women that we see and interact with on a regular basis. Everything we’ve done throughout the last several years has been to build up this singular body of believers. We’ve been intentional to establish ourselves within our community and to use opportunities as platforms to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since October 2017, we’ve built a 3,500 ft2 church building, drilled 8 deep wells, installed 2 shallow wells, assisted over 350 women with our baby basket program, trained over 13 CMB men in our basic discipleship and are currently developing Chiyembekezo Farms to empower the people throughout times of hunger. All of this has been done in and around villages within a 2.5 mile radius of CMB. Like the old axiom says, “The light that shines the farthest, shines the brightest at home.” As our disciples mature and the work grows, they will be the ones to venture outside our current area of influence to other villages in need of the Gospel. With this same mindset, we’ve just begun laying the groundwork for a similar model in the city of Chipata.
Our story in Zambia began on a missions trip in August, 1999. The result of those two, amazing weeks led my father to return with our family as full time missionaries one year later. I had just turned 18 years old and looked at this as an incredible opportunity, knowing years earlier that this carrier-field was where God was leading me in my own life. When I returned on our first furlough, Lisa and I were married and that’s where our adventure began! Together, we’ve traveled the USA, helped establish a ministry in the Copperbelt and then moved our base to Chipata, Eastern Zambia in mid 2011, all while raising our six, beautiful children. So while I’m responsible all things ministry at Hope Zambia, Lisa and her efforts are what have kept us on the field!
Chipata is a strategic area for many reasons. Because it’s a border city that’s within a ten minute drive from Malawi and is equally as close to Mozambique, this city is an up and coming center of commerce. Chipata's name comes from the Chewa word "Chimpata" meaning "large space," in reference to the town's placement between several hills. Chipata is the 5th developed City in Zambia, behind Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone. Its population is estimated around 450,000 and is the capital of the Eastern Province. This area is also known as the “Gateway of Islam” into Zambia and has a large population of Indian Muslims that control much of the city’s business and trade. The growth of this religion is easily seen with the many mosques and Islamic schools throughout the city.
Our work in the village is positioned in Chief M’nukwa’s kingdom and is located 35 miles north of Chipata. There’s literally hundreds of villages scattered around with a estimated population of 30,000 people in this one tribal area. Life in the bush is characterized by tradition and the old ways. The overwhelming presence of witchcraft that’s embedded in their culture has hindered the advancement of education, development and a general knowledge of God and His ways. There is a great need in this area for more missionaries as we expand in the outlying villages.
Why is Hope Zambia involved in small scale relief aid and humanitarian projects? Should a missionary even participate in such work? And if so, how can we prioritize the Gospel if we’re also involved in helping meet some of people’s most basic physical needs? These are all great questions that we wanted to take a moment to answer.
First let me point out that Hope Zambia’s #1 priority in our mission statement is the preaching of the Gospel and the training of national men and women. Our purpose in everything we do is to equip and empower the local church here and to assist in the starting of more churches in unreached areas. The majority of our time and effort revolves around this.
That said, as funds allow, our organization is also involved in projects that center on clean water and food security. These are two ongoing issues across the continent where we live. 319 million people  don’t have access to clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa, and we see how that figure translates into real life  while traveling throughout the villages in Zambia’s Eastern Province. People need water to live but it also plays a huge role in cleanliness and sanitation. 50% of childhood malnutrition is associated with repeated diarrhea and intestinal infections.  This is a direct result from the lack of water, affecting 35% of all deaths of children under five.  We see the places where some people get water to drink, places with major surface contamination.  I know it’s common to hear facts like this but they seem to become more real when you personally bury young children even when your best efforts are not enough. In addition to this, food security is another real issue. When 1 out of 4 people lack the food they need to survive, it’s hard for them to hear your message of God’s love. 
Every project we do fits into our main mission statement in that they’re all used as a platform to preach the Gospel! When we drill a well, the whole village gathers as we preach about the Water of Life! Often we start Bible studies in the same villages as we build relationships with the people. To illustrate this, let me tell you a story that just happened recently.
There’s a neighboring chiefdom that we’ve been in talks with for over a year. The chief himself invited us a while back to come and setup a church but there’s a lot of planning and logistics when it comes to organizing, acquiring land, and getting the support of the local community. So all of this takes time. In the process, there’s always those who come in with their own agenda and for whatever reason don’t want us in their area. The chief was proposing to his ndunas (special advisors) his desire to give us 10 acres of prime real-estate for free! But there was one guy that didn’t exactly like this idea and objected. However, we didn’t need to defend our position because one by one, several headman that we had previously helped with wells stood up and spoke on our behalf. We were deemed as people of good character that could be trusted because of the few community works that we’ve been involved in. Our projects were the very thing that had won over these key village leaders and in this case, was the door that allowed us to enter a new kingdom for ministry.
We must be intentional with everything we do. From straightforward ministry events to special projects, both are used as a way to help further the reach of the Gospel. This has and always will be our main focus at Hope Zambia. Remember the words of Jesus as he spoke of giving food to those with hunger and water to those in thirst when he said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt.25:40)
. – World Health Organization “Key Facts from 2015 JMP Report” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/JMP-2015-keyfacts-en-rev.pdf?ua=1
 – World Health Organization “Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach MDG target and universal coverage” Available from: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/2012/globalcosts.pdf
 – World Health Organization “WHO in the African Region” Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/en/clusters-a-programmes/hpr/protection-of-the-human-environment/programme-components/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=24&Itemid=122“
 – WHO/UNICEF. “Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done.” 2009. available at http://www.unicef.org/health/index_51412.html.
 – WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation “2015 Report and MDG Assessment” Available from: http://www.wssinfo.org/
 – Population Reference Bureau – Washington, DC. https://www.prb.org/population-food-security-factsheet/