The Fight That Led To Conversion

The Fight That Led To Conversion

I was relaxing in my little rented house on the Mission Field on a regular Sunday when some converts came to me.

“Pastor.  Please come. Some followers of another faith are holding a crusade in the village and they are disputing the Bible. They are actually asking that any Christian who is able to challenge them should come out. Please, come defend us. Come defend Christianity!”, they said frantically.

If you know me, you will know that I am not the confrontational, apologetic type of Christian. I love God. Though I’ll stand for my faith even to the point of death, by the grace of God, I don’t do debates! What was I to do? These young believers needed assurance and to know that we have answers to the predictable questions of the followers of this other faith.

I invited my wife and we opted to go with them. When we got there, we decided to first evaluate the context. Two young men were preaching their hearts out in the local dialect which we didn’t fully understand at the time. So, we had a huge language disadvantage. I got an indigene to translate what they were saying.

They were quite incongruous, jumping from one subject to another. I could not get the sense of what they were trying to communicate. If they had any goal at all, I think it was to confuse the Christians and prove that they had a better faith. I concluded that their speech was not worth responding to and I told the believers so. “Just watch and enjoy their presentation and arguments. They are not worth responding to, at least, not today!”

But I decided to sit through it. I wanted to learn their ways, their flow of thought and watch how the local people took it. So we sat for another hour or two. They were younger folks than we were. So when they finished, the believers excitedly invited them to “come meet our Pastors”. They came, greeted and I could immediately see the uncertainty in their eyes.

They asked me, “Did we preach well?” I told them, “You tried, though, there’s a lot of room for improvement. There are a few things you don’t get quite correctly. If you’ll visit my house, I’ll gladly share some with you.” They agreed to see me the next day at noon. I felt my mission was accomplished and we returned home – we had just made friends of potential enemies, we thought. Good deal!

The next day came, we set up the Jesus Film, prepared snacks and drinks and when the visitors  showed up, we warmly received Leo and his friend. After a general chat, I told them, “No need to re-invent the wheel, let’s begin with a historical presentation of the gospel message. Let’s watch this film together and after that, we can talk some more.” So we began. They watched with some interest while chewing snacks and enjoying the drinks. Towards the end of the film, I began to notice a restlessness in the leader, Leo . We were interceding.

When it got to the point of praying and accepting Christ, Leo jumped up, became unruly and began to talk, “Mister,” he called me, “this is not true.  This film is not true. This is how you missionaries go everywhere to confuse the people.” He said many more indecent things and when I felt he’d had his say, I stood up. I feigned anger and called him by his name, “Leo, I am very disappointed. I am very angry with you. I cannot take insults from a little boy like you!”

“Moreover, what you have done today is the height of ingratitude. You came to my house voluntarily, I did not force you. You ate my food. You drank my water. You watched my film and you think the best way to repay me is to insult me. You are probably not an African. We don’t do that in Africa. That’s unacceptable!”

The atmosphere was thoroughly charged. My wife wasn’t sure again who to appease. The partner of Leo – a gentler fellow by the name of Gerald was full of apologies. I concluded, still feigning anger, “Can you get up and leave my house now? Right now, leave my house!” I called Gerald aside and gave him two small apologetic booklets and though I held extra copies, refused to offer Leo one! I thought that was the end of a bad outing!

Three months after, I got a long letter in the post. It was from Leo which read, “We got back to our villages. I read the booklets. I gave my life to Christ. I was dismissed by the Religious Association that sponsors our Da’wa activities. I’m sick at home, in such and such a place, please come and visit me.”

I ran to show my wife the letter, joyfully asking “could this be true?”  “Well, we have to go and see,” she said. I invited a friend and disciple, “Mr. Goba, we have a trip to a village near Monkey-Bay tomorrow. Read this letter.” He read and agreed we do the 60km journey as early as possible the next day on his motorbike.

Fast forward, we met a sick and seriously emaciated Leo. He was a shadow of himself. What happened?


Bewitched By Fellow Propagandists

The story goes something like this.

Leo got home, rested, then went on several propaganda missions. Finally, their Propaganda team went to Tanzania. Leo being a gifted orator was always ahead and shining and some of his fellows didn’t like that. They decided to bewitch him. He would take the podium, open his mouth in an attempt to preach and no word will come out. He makes all the features but no words. Worst of all, his compatriots would be laughing at him. He returned home sick and broken.

In his brokenness, he took the books offered to Gerald, read them, got convicted and fell on his knees to accept the Lord. A few days after our initial visit, we arranged and moved him and his wife to our house in the southern region of our East African country base. My wife nursed him while we discipled him and his wife.

I constantly asked him, “What do you want to do with your life?” He said, “I have very basic education, I have not had any serious skills training. The only gift God has given me is my mouth. I’ll like to be a preacher.”


Gone Too Soon

We rehabilitated Leo and found a short-term Bible School for him. He studied for a few months, became very amazing at preaching the gospel and especially in confronting zealots from his former faith. But not too long after, he fell sick again and just went to be with Jesus! We had great plans for him, how he would be an evangelist and help open up many places, confronting opposing propagandists but God had a different plan for Leo.


5 Missionary Lessons

  1. To advance the gospel, make the connections. Whichever way you do it, step out, connect with the lost!
  1. Not all arguments are profitable. Don’t waste your time. Pick your fights carefully!
  1. Do not fear confrontation. Sometimes, you need to ‘roughen the feathers’ to achieve peace!
  1. Tactful, discriminatory, confrontational, and/or loving actions sometimes prick the conscience and awaken the sleepy souls of the lost people!
  1. Pray always that the lost will not have peace, joy, and comfort in their depravity and darkness. That is a loving prayer to pray!
The Witch Ran Away – Experiences in Spiritual Warfare

The Witch Ran Away – Experiences in Spiritual Warfare

My wife and I had been married for five months when we headed out to our first foreign mission field. We had been praying for the opportunity to come and when it eventually did, we did not waste time.

When we got to the mission field, everything was new: the country, the people, culture,  food and even our marriage. You can’t imagine it. It was like walking on cloud nine – whatever you can make of that!


The Sheik/Shehe Tried To Place A Curse On Me!

First, we lived in a big city for about a month, then our ‘movement bug’ bit and we knew it was time to move again. We had an unreached people’s group in mind. So, the lures of the city could not hold us down, not in our home country, not in this beautiful foreign country!

Psalms 84:5

Fast forward, life had begun on the mission field and we had learned some of the local languages. Disciples were being made and the community of the other major faith was already agitated because this simple, lovely, ever-smiling, young couple are actually doing the most unacceptable, the most unexpected – converting young Ishmaelites to Christ and at an unprecedented rate! The community elders were in consternation.

Early one morning the Holy Spirit woke me up saying, “Go out of your house immediately and see what’s standing right in front of you.”

I never dilly-dally with such instructions. Quickly, I went right outside around 4:00 am. A hundred meters ahead of me, directly by our window was an old man – a local Sheik/Witchdoctor.

As I ran towards him, he was transfixed. He could not move. It was like God glued him to the spot.

“What are you doing here at this hour, old man?” I asked. He uttered some unclear words and then started to walk away. I told him, “Old man, you are wasting your time.” And that was the end of it.

The Witch Ran Away!

Several years passed and the mission of God continued. We were now in a different country, different people group – an animistic people group in a deep, deep jungle of a place. It was a very special place – there was no tap-borne water, electricity or markets. Yes,  it was an African village without a market. All trade was by barter!

As usual, we set up camp and started learning a new language. We made several friends as well as converts and were heading towards the first water baptism. It was a lovely place.

One of our “best friends” in the village was a witch-doctor woman. She literally controlled the village spiritually. Everyone feared her in the day but would go to her under the shadows of darkness. Within the village, she was rich, though still amazingly poor and ragged. She had over a hundred goats,  countless chickens and lived in a horribly wretched grass-roofed house with her two grandchildren.

She lived about 500 meters from us and most of the villagers could not get to her house without passing through ours.

We had set a goal to love her to Christ. We started by befriending her. We’ll sit with her and share long stories. She would always say, “I cannot understand how clean, educated people like you would come to a miserable village like ours to live. This place is good for nothing. There’s nothing to gain in this place!” Our response was always, “God loves you. God loves your people. God sent us here to show that He loves you people and haven’t forgotten you!”’


The Battle Began

We did a survey, we realized that most of the ailments of the local people were things like headache, toothache,  stomachache, common cold, wounds, and ulcers, etc. But, they would go to the witch-doctor for treatment and be made to pay with their precious little possessions – goats and chickens.

My wife had received some Community Health Training before we headed to the mission field. On a visit to the big city one time, we decided to arm up. We bought a good quantity of common medications: fansidar, metrinidazol, amoxicyline, paracetamol, iodine, etc.

When we returned, we spread the word, “Should anyone be sick, stop by Mama & Baba Davida’s house they might just be able to help you.” It’s like giving milk to a stray cat – it will always keep coming. Under that makeshift mango tree clinic, my wife treated wounds, cared for several, heard many stories, made friends, learned the language and led many women to the Lord. We did not realize we were stepping on the cobra’s tail. The witch-doctor was rabid with anger.

Early one morning, while I was having my Quiet Time, the Holy Spirit again told me, “Come out of your house and see what’s standing in front of you.”  When I came out, it was just barely bright enough to see. There was the witch-doctor woman, about 25 meters away, facing our bedroom window, completely naked. As I walked towards her, she fled into the bush. I shouted, “Mbuya (grandma or old woman) I have seen you. Okay?” Then, I returned home – you couldn’t chase a full naked old woman too closely, could you?

Later the same day, my wife and I dressed up and went to her house. Pretending not to understand what she was, we asked, “Mbuya, what drama were you doing this morning?” She did not pretend. She burst out, “You people have destroyed my business. No one comes to me again. You pray for the people, you give them medication – I can’t accept that. You people must leave this village or I leave!”

Gently, I said, “Mbuya, we don’t wish that you leave. But, if anyone must leave, it has to be you because God sent us here to set the people free!” We continued in serious warfare prayers.


One Death Too Many!

With the prayers and the encounters, the witch-doctor’s power and influence waned. One day a member of the Chief’s family was sick – and suddenly died. The Chief called an urgent meeting of the whole community. The witch-doctor was not there but he asked to fetch her.

The Chief spoke at length, addressed the community in unusually strong terms, alleged and listed many things that hadn’t been going well in the community, acknowledged the prayers and help of the missionaries and was just short of directly accusing the witch-doctor of the death. Everyone went back home with their heads drooping!

The next morning, the whole village woke up to a shock. The witch-doctor had packed and fled the village before the dawn of day, an amazing feat considering all the chickens, goats, house, children. Nothing was left behind and she was never to be seen or heard of again until we finished our service and left that community.


5 Missionary Lessons

  1. In Missions, as in other areas of life, spiritual warfare is a daily reality. Prepare for war lest you become mincemeat for the enemy.
  2. Love and mercy can be weapons of spiritual warfare.
  3. Life is a sacrifice and more so is missions. Everyone involved in missions must be ready to sacrifice!
  4. Do not fear spiritual confrontations rather prepare for them. To the degree to which you trouble the devil, you may expect reactions but the blood of the Lamb speaks for us (Rev. 12:11).
  5. Love will always win!
“Is This All There Is To Christianity?”

“Is This All There Is To Christianity?”

The year was 1991 and the place was the city of Lagos in Nigeria. The dramatic persona was a young university graduate who had just concluded the obligatory one-year National Youth Service in Nigeria. The event was a soliloquy.

I had just returned home from a normal Sunday worship service at my 500-member local church. As usual, it was all exhilarating but I was left ’empty’ and wondering, “Is this all there is to Christianity?”

At that stage in my life in my late twenties, I was teaching Sunday School, active in the Youth groups, leading a cell group, very committed to my local church. But I yearned for more. I was dissatisfied.

I resolved to pray and seek the Lord’s face. I decided to embark on a personal prayer and fasting retreat. On the first night of the retreat, the Lord spoke clearly to me, “You are meant to be a missionary. I’ll send you to places and peoples who have never heard…”

That was my Macedonia Call. Fast forward to today, 29 years later, I am still hearing Him. I am still obeying Him. I am still going where He leads and He is still taking me ‘to places and peoples who have not heard.

I serve as a privileged ambassador of Christ. Dissatisfaction was my marching order!


Bro Joses – East Africa

Even In The Bush (Tales of Missionary Temptations)

Even In The Bush (Tales of Missionary Temptations)

Romans 3:10, NLT As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous–not even one.”

Romans 3:23, NASB “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

1 Cor. 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted…”


Do missionaries also face temptations? You can bet your life they do! They do not only face temptations, some sadly fall flat into it! Temptations to missionaries come for different reasons and from different sources like oblivious ignorance, avoidable mistakes, errors of judgment, sheer carelessness, unresolved character issues, an uncrucified old man in full burst, etc!

Yours truly had a fair dose.


Financial Temptation – Oblivious Ignorance!

While on one field, we resolved that what would most enhance our ministry and push it to the next generation was not the construction of a church or churches as the general thinking goes but the development of a training center. If you build a church, you have built a church. If you develop a Mission Training/Equipping Centre, you have built countless churches and for generations to come.

So, although we were ‘faith missionaries’, practically living from hand to mouth, we set the uncanny goal of building a training center, beginning with the construction of a block of classrooms and offices. We invited a local pastor and friend who was also a builder – God bless Pastor Johnson in heaven,  “Pastor, the reason we have invited you to help with this project is that we have a plan; we have a vision but we do not have money. We are going to trust God together. It will be like this: when we have one bag of cement, we’ll call you and you will add a few lines of bricks . Okay?”

The Pastor agreed and the project began. Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘Faith honors God and God honors faith?’ Well, it is definitely true. The building went much more rapidly than we imagined. Suddenly, we began to receive gifts from here and there, and soon, it was time to put the iron roofing. However, the project was forced to stop for lack of funds but continued in prayers.

My wife and I were trusting God. We did not tell any mortal what we were doing. Each morning we would go inside that building to pray and prophesy. Thus, after one such morning prayers, I traveled to the big city to get supplies for my family. I decided to stop and greet a friend who worked at a bank and also to check our account balances, just in case. After greeting my friend, I realized upon checking the account balance that therein was a large amount of unanticipated money – enough to buy all the wood and iron sheets to complete the building.

“Hallelujah,” I said, “The miracle is here!” I instantly withdrew the whole amount, went to the market, bought everything needed to roof the building, hired a big truck and headed back to base. When the big truck honked at our house entrance around 10 pm, my wife could not believe her eyes. She asked, “Where are you coming from?”

“From the city of course,” I replied.  “’Who owns the truck?”, she furthered  quizzed. “I don’t know. But I own the goods inside the truck.”, I answered.

“What’s inside? Where did you get it from?”, she continued.

“My wife, let’s offload first, I’ll tell you the whole story later!”

I must have looked like an armed robber on the run or some kind of Ali Baba! (I mean Ali Baba & the Forty Thieves, not Alibaba the online supermarket) So we offloaded and the truck left. Now I had to explain the magic I did! I recounted my experience and my wife asked, “Are you really sure?” to which I quickly interjected “Have we not been praying for money, for a miracle? Did we not pray even this morning?”

“Well, I’m just kind of afraid, unsure.”, she said.

“Look if you are believing God, then you just have to believe Him. You don’t stop middle of the way!” was my retort.

Hallelujah. Within the next few days, the building was roofed and on its way to completion.


The Bad, Bad Email

In those days, we had to travel four hours to the big city to ‘do email and communications’. Although they already existed, we had no personal computers. So about two weeks after the miracle money, it was time to go to the big city again. I did and decided to check emails before heading back to the bush.

Among many emails, there was one from a friend who we hadn’t communicated with in a while. It went, “Joses, I have transferred US$700 into your account, please help give it to Pastor So and  So for such and such project and seminar.”

What? I almost fainted in the internet cafe!

I’m not sure how I made the four hour journey back home. But when I did, I had a printout copy of the email to give my wife. “My dear, please read!”

“What…what are we going to do?”, she asked.

“I don’t know. I think, I just want to sleep first.” I replied.

So we slept and woke up!


My Leadership Saved Me!

Not too long after, before the money was needed by the owner, I had an invitation to participate in one of our Missions’ Leadership Conferences. As soon as I got there, I went to our leader.

“Sir, I have a big problem. I have spent somebody’s money and my reputation is up in flames.” I told my story to which my leader said, “Wow, that’s very serious. Let’s see what the Lord would do before the end of this meeting.”

Truly, when it was time to return to my field, I was handed an envelope with the full amount in it!

God bless good mission leaders and leaderships. What would we do without them?

Man has faced very many sexual temptations. Once I was challenged in the village: “How can you stick with only one woman when there are so many others around? When I said ‘I am a Missionary’ the response was, “Of course we know.” In fact, my wife was once confronted by women in a village where we had worked who asked, “How could you be so selfish, keeping that man all to yourself?”

Man has faced many temptations of pride. When people hail you as though you are the best thing that has ever happened. Hear them. Respect their judgment but just don’t let it get into your head!

Man has faced temptations to exaggerate figures, results, sufferings, etc.

What about temptations to hate the target people, to slow down and take things easy, to relax and enjoy. In fact, after the Lord had done some amazing work in a field where we worked and we had packed up to go into a new pioneer work, some neighbours heard of it and they came home to advise us.

They said, “We know how you came to this village and you have worked so hard. Now is the time for you to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Did we hear that you’re going to start all over again somewhere?”

“This is not my place of enjoyment, don’t spoil my joy,” I told myself.

We face temptations, my man! You face temptations too. Prepare yourself. You will face many more and it gets sneakier each day. Prepare yourself! Don’t say I didn’t tell you. Okay?


5 Missionary Lessons

  1. Temptation is a real deal even on the Mission Field. Prepare yourself.
  2. Missionary, know yourself. Know your weaknesses and strength. Protect yourself especially in the areas of your weaknesses.
  3. Be accountable, first to your spouse and then to others beyond your spouse.
  4. Faith is for everything, not only to place food on your table. Believe for souls. Believe for miracles. Believe for movements of disciples. Believe God for big things.
  5. Don’t only build for today, build for tomorrow. Think, “What would these disciples, this church, this work need 5, 10, 20 years from now.” Begin to put them in place.


End note: Right now, we are midway into developing another Training Centre in Northern part of our East African country base. We call it: The Church Planting & Equipping Centre (CPEC) – to train, equip and unleash hundreds of church planters. Pray with us for divine provisions & speed.