It was once a dream of mine to go to Africa. I was unsure as to what State I wanted to visit, but Kenya and Tanzania were on the list along with Uganda. I was finally able to go to Tanzania with some friends of mine on a mission trip. We were ministering to the Masai Tribe in Loliondo in the northern portion of Tanzania. The people were amazing. But the area that we were in was also called “the valley of darkness.” And when we entered into Loliondo, you could almost feel the darkness.
The people in the town were not very friendly to the “muzungus” (referring to people of European descent commonly used among Bantu Peoples in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, the Congo, Comoros, Mayotte, and Zambia), at least when we first entered into the town. They stared at us as if they had never seen light-colored skin before. There were Tanzanians of different tribes and of course the Masai were there. We would try to meet people and some would speak with us while others were staring at us as if they were afraid of us.
One of the days that we were there, a man came toward me and began to speak to me in English of all things. He was wondering what I was doing in Loliondo. I began to share the Evangecube with him which tells the story of Jesus Christ and how He came to seek and to save those who are lost. When I came to the picture of Jesus Christ on the Cross (which is offensive to see someone who actually died this way), it was as if the man was literally picked up and thrown to the ground. He began to wail and told me that he cannot look on such a picture. Now he was speaking Swahili. He covered his eyes and I covered the picture. I asked him why he could not look upon the picture. He said in perfect English, “Because I am Muslim.”
I uncovered the picture with my hand and said that he had to be set free from his sin. Again, he was cast down on the ground so I went on to the next picture that shows how Jesus Christ was buried and the next how He was raised from the dead. When asked if he would like to place his faith in Jesus Christ, he said that he could not. We walked away from each other but it was just a few days before I saw him again.
I was speaking with a Muslim store owner. My pastor friend had shared the Good News with the man and then my translator shared with him. He wanted to hear from the muzungu, so it was my turn to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with him. After hearing the News, he said that he wanted to convert from Islam to Christianity. His wife was standing in the window under a veil and I noticed she was crying. I said to the man, “I think your wife wants to trust Jesus Christ as well.” He turned and gave her permission to trust Christ. I then said to him, “Let her unveil herself as the Lord sees her beauty as she is.” He allowed it and they both with some other friends prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.
But it was the old man who I had spoken to a few days before. He was there on the porch of that storefront. He was mocking the pastor, the translator, and me the whole time. In reality, he was mocking Jesus Christ. At one point, I looked at him and yelled, “In the name of Jesus Christ! Get away from here!” The other men trusted Jesus Christ after I said that because the old man literally ran up the side of the mountain where we were! They said to my translator, “We have never seen him do anything like that! He is just an old drunk and cheats people! We want to know this Power of salvation!”
There are a couple of lessons that I learned from this trip. First, when you share the Good News of Jesus Christ, there will be those who accept it and those who will reject it. It matters not where you go, whether it is around the corner of your home or around the world, people will always make a decision to accept or reject. Second, when someone rejects the Good News that Jesus Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried, and was raised again according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4), they are not rejecting you. In fact, they are rejecting Jesus Christ Himself. We are simply the messengers, He is Lord and Savior. Third, even the devil knows different languages. The man who spoke English to me had never been heard speaking my language, only Swahili. The pastor of the town told me that it frightened her because she had never seen anything like this before. I told her, “Even the devil can speak in tongues!” She understood that. Finally, the name of Jesus Christ not only drives the devil away, He saves the people who accept Him! The old man fled not because of me, but because of Jesus Christ. The people trusted Jesus Christ not because of me, but because of who He is.
The name of Jesus Christ is a strong and mighty name.