Native Evangelism in Africa

The gospel did not reach Africa as soon as it did other lands, and for ages Africa has been sleeping in the darkness of sin.

By JAMES MALINKI, Native M.V. Secretary, Northern, Rhodesia Mission

The gospel did not reach Africa as soon as it did other lands, and for ages Africa has been sleeping in the darkness of sin. Many of the people do not know how to read or write, but they can read the message that is brought to them in the life of the Mis­sionary Volunteer, who, returning to his home in the far interior from one of the missions, lives a life far different from theirs. When he returns, he is asked: "Why do you not go to beer drinks, and spirit feasts, where many cattle are killed?" This gives the Missionary Volunteer a chance to tell his people about God and Christian living. He sings Christ to them.

The people are fond of singing, and many come to listen to the songs he sings. Thus an interest is started, and people from far and near come to hear the word of God. They want to know, "Is there really a God?" And then the wonderful story of creation is intro­duced. The people marvel and want to hear more. Soon a Bible class is started, and later the missionary comes to organize a band of be­lievers in this far country. Thus are the people led to accept Christ.

The Missionary Volunteer is a power in God's hands for the people who live far from the mission centers. Primitive people cannot be reached by preaching alone, but by works and preaching. You may call them to come to a meeting, and they will come. But their hearts are back in the village where the beer pots are awaiting them. They come with their pipes and tobacco, and smoke during the meeting. While the meeting is going on, they sit and talk about village problems. When the meeting is over, they have not grasped a thing, except, perhaps, to learn from someone that Christians do not smoke and drink beer. During the meeting they grumble because they are delayed in getting back to their villages.

The only way to reach and convince these people is to translate preaching into Christian help work. They cannot read the Bible, but they can read a Christian. The life he lives and the Bible he reads to them have a great influence over them. Last month a village headman asked, "Can God really accept a man who does not know how to read?" We taught him how to repeat the Lord's prayer, and en­couraged him to attend the Bible class. Now he calls his whole village together around a big fire, and leads them in repeating the Lord's prayer.

The Missionary Volunteers are opening up the work faster than we can follow it up. Every day we receive calls for help. During the month of April and the first day of May, I was called north to visit many families and companies. Every morning and evening I taught them the better way of living. Many of them took off their bangles and earrings, and other things that a Christian should not wear. Now many who have had only a meager contact with Christianity are trying to lead others to Christ.

Even in our older churches and centers, the Missionary Volunteers are doing a great work, and the message is advancing farther and farther. Our older Missionary Volunteer or­ganizations are divided into three sections: visiting prayer bands, singing bands, and Bible study bands, which go out each Sabbath. Every two weeks these bands alternate in visiting the villages, and the result is very °good. During the week, personal work is carried on in the villages, which is much ap­preciated by the people. These kind acts, especially the work done for the old people, win the hearts of the people. They ask, "Why do these Christians help us for nothing?" And so they learn of the love of Christ.

We have much work yet to be done in a short time; so we ask the prayers of all work­ers that the Lord may raise up still more laborers with willing hearts to go forth in the spirit of Elijah, so that the work may be finished.

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By JAMES MALINKI, Native M.V. Secretary, Northern, Rhodesia Mission

December 1939

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