In a sub-Saharan country unidentified due to local opposition to the gospel, both the healing and the deaths of children recently moved parents to seek Christ.
A young mother in one village had gone to a series of traditional healers, each with their fetishes and incantations to tribal gods, in a desperate quest to heal her son. He was 3 years old and had never been able to walk.
The mother, Samira*, heard about a meeting at a nearby community where villagers studied the Bible. Many of those present were not Christians but attended at the invitation of a “person of peace” who had shown local missionaries he was open to learning about God and could connect them to other villagers.
Samira showed up with her son and, as the session began with discussion about personal matters, she wasted no time in sharing about her boy’s challenges, a local ministry leader said.
“The church planter took the child in his arms, and after asking for the healing and strengthening of the child’s feet through prayer, he placed him on the ground, telling him to join his mother,” the leader said. “To the astonishment of many, the child began to walk towards his mother.”
Since then the boy has been able to walk without problem, and word of the healing has spread, bringing many villagers to the local missionary’s church, he said. The boy’s father, however, was not among them, as months-long pain that had mysteriously afflicted his entire body kept him from attending worship services.
Unable to work his fields, he was sitting at his home, moaning and sweating from the pain, when the local missionary came by to visit the healed boy.
“The steps for care the father had taken were in vain, and he had lost hope in his favorite tribal altar set up for his protection,” the ministry leader said. “The worker gave the usual greetings and immediately asked to pray for him, and he confessed to wanting to participate in our meetings since the healing of his child.”
The local missionary prayed for him, and in the following days the father got relief and his strength returned, the leader said.
“Today he is completely healed, and he was baptized along with his wife,” he said. “He is now proclaiming the gospel of God to his people, who are now favorable to Jesus Christ.”
In another area, a villager identified as a “man of peace” was a local leader whose position involved safeguarding traditional reliance on fetishes and tribal gods. He helped local missionaries gain access to villagers but at the same time acted as a vanguard of tribal rituals.
“He thirsted for spiritual things, but his position in society weighed on him, and he could not make a decision to join the Christian community although he had facilitated access to the community for the gospel,” the leader said.
Nine of the 67-year-old village leader’s sons had died, however, and when he lost his 10th son earlier this year, he also lost faith in his ability to appease local gods, the ministry leader said.
“Very disappointed that he lost his 10th son despite the sacrifices and rituals of protection, he resolved to break with the fetishes to live the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ that he himself allowed in his village,” he said. “Last month, he joined the community of believers and received baptism with his two wives and two remaining children.”
Work of God
Working in several parts of the country, the ministry’s native missionaries led 903 people to Christ and planted 41 churches the last half of 2021.
“Church planting is a work of God,” the leader said. “Our role is to introduce Him to others and allow Him to do His work. I think the best way to do this is to get groups to study the chosen passages of the Bible and to find out for themselves what God wants them to know by listening to God.”
In one village, such Bible studies led to 54 people putting their faith in Christ, he said.
“The neighboring villages learned of the activity of common interest, and their leaders asked for an interview with the church planter and the new community to create a unity of peace and social cohesion in their villages,” the leader said. “This is how the Lord paved the way to reach three other villages that were closed to the gospel.”
Local missionaries are proclaiming Christ and nurturing the faith of new Christians throughout Africa. Please consider a donation today to equip and encourage them for the task of making disciples of all nations.
*Names changed for security reasons