|"BEYOND ACTS" Publication - dated 20 March 2002|
- Testimony received from Namibia - The transformation of a Woman called Waherura Tjivinda!
If you cannot pronounce that, don't worry - in spite of her intelligence, Waherura can hardly spell her own name because she is illiterate. That means she cannot read the Bible. So God speaks to her in other ways rather than through His written Word - unless someone reads it to her!
Some time ago the Lord "told" her to expect us the next day. No other soul in the region knew we, the missionaries in this area, would pay an "unexpected visit" - only our second visit to that area in three years! Waherura Tjivinda lives "in the middle of nowhere"- a three day's journey from the nearest town, Opuwa in Kaokoland, the northwestern part of Namibia.
She is a member of the so-called "stone age" Himba tribe. They are beautiful people but theirs is a hot, dry place where water is seen as something very precious and scarce. It is to drink rather than to wash with. So the Himba's treat their skins to layer upon layer of animal fat mixed with reddish mud. The texture and smell repels malaria mosquitoes to some extent ... as well as some unredeemed foreign visitors who otherwise may have been more interested in their nakedness. The unbearable heat and traditions of centuries is partly to blame for them not wearing much clothing.
When she and others in that area heard the Gospel the first time we came, Waherura did not particularly pay much attention. Some time after we left she got very sick. At times the sickness blinded her. She was weak, would also lose her balance and sometimes fell down. There is no doctor here - only witchdoctors, and that was where she went for help. Over a long period of time they consulted the spirits of ancestors and others, and tried everything else they knew including various kinds of "muti" (like magic potions) to drink, and amulets with spiritual meanings to wear. Nothing helped and she got worse. In the end she was so desperate she got most of her earthly wealth together and went to the most powerful traditional healer in the area. He grabbed the money, gave her salt water and vinegar together with some other foul tasting substances to drink. After incantations to his gods, he sent her away, but his medicine almost killed her. This was when Waherura called out loud to the God of the missionaries who visited her. He heard her! And, she heard Him!
God sent her to a lonely place up a mountain where she spent a lot of time alone with Him! When she went back to her home, she was totally healed. She gathered all the emblems of witchcraft she had and hid it in a bag she hung in a tree - praying that the missionaries would come again soon. She wanted to hear more about Jesus and she also wanted them to witness her burning all these evil vestiges of witchcraft and ancestral worship.
It may have been her prayers that moved God to send us her way again because He told her even the day we would arrive!
From a distance we saw her running to the dusty, bumpy track in the bush called road that we were driving on, waving wildly to prevent us from passing her by. At first we thought she was drunk. Then we vaguely recognized her as one in that area we had ministered to before. How we rejoiced when she told us her story. We went to her home, encouraged her from the Word of God, sang praises to Him ... and helped her make a big fire. There she burned the remnants of her former life. When we saw her joy we realized she was burning more than those vestiges of witchcraft - she was burning the bridges of her old life!
Before we left she asked us to baptize her, but there was only drinking water and the journey was long. Perhaps we should have used some of that - even a cup full. God would have understood. Waherura will wait to walk all the way to Opuwa for her baptism - something only a very healthy woman like her will be able to do!
- Report received from Liberia, West Africa - The Joy of Jesus begins to fill a once "sad" Liberia!
More than 20,000 Liberians in this sad country, that saw so much horror and death in the past decade of civil war and terrorism have come to the Lord since Every Home for Christ and Youth with a Mission (YWAM) joined hands less than a year ago to help take the Gospel to this country. This was done with the help of many churches and God's faithful people in this area, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. God get's all glory! Slowly but surely this country is shedding the ugly past and has begun to wear the new garments of praise and joy that come with the true salvation experience.
EHC national leader, Sydney Thomas, reports of one area after the other that is being reached with the Gospel and he receives touching testimonies to that end all the time. Like the one from pastor David Yeavongar of Grand Bassa county who asked us to extend our evangelism training program because "daily more and more people surrender their lives to Christ when they hear the Gospel as you taught it to us through the Heart pictures..." These Heart pictures are one of our favourite evangelistic tools because it depicts the total work of Jesus - not only to save sinners but also to restore them in heart, mind and then develop in them a LIFE changing relationship with Father God.
Jourius Frazer of a church in Buchanan confirms this. He writes:
"I have been saved for many years but I always felt hopeless and confused. Sometimes I wondered if it was worth it to try and serve God. I tried my best but guilt was heaping up to the point that I gave up and became a backslider. Then I heard the full Gospel through the Heart pictures. I saw that Jesus gives sinners who repent His own right standing with God - his righteousness. We must accept it by faith and can then enter into real live friendship with God. How that changed my life! I now enjoy my Christian walk. I want to serve Him full time!"
- Sierra Leone - "Mohammed failed me!" declares Muslim woman
"My life has been full of disappointment - even Mohammed failed me. Now I will try Jesus," proclaimed Rukoh Samura, a former Muslim lady who heard the Gospel from an EHC worker in a place called Kissy Dockyard. She confessed her sins openly and accepted Jesus as Savoir. Rukoh has since enrolled for our Bible Training course, joined a local church and testifies that "Jesus is no disappointment!"
Our teams in Sierra Leone have targeted a group of islands near the mainland where 40,000 people live, which are largely unreached. Our workers have to go there when the tide is falling - even at night. They have only canoes. One nearly sank and the crew was saved by a miracle. They ask a boat to speed them on - or the faith to walk on water!
- South Africa - How 77,781 PLUS ... one hijacker came to Jesus!
Participating churches and ministries working with our EHC team have reached 386,048 homes and distributed 266,853 Gospel booklets during the last 12-month period in South Africa. A total of 77,781 people received Christ.
Some time ago our EHC director and his wife, Cor and Aleta Reyneke, were hi-jacked. Their car was taken from them at gunpoint one night as they arrived home after ministry, (many people get robbed and even killed in this way in South Africa). While still standing outside the gate of their home - unhurt but deeply shocked - they started praising God for sparing their lives. As they were praying, it crossed their minds - if we and other believers could only reach EVERY home with the Gospel, things like this may not happen so much in our country! They asked God's forgiveness and prayed that the hi-jacker will come face to face with Jesus and be saved.
At EHC Anglo Africa's regional conference in Pretoria during the first week of February, Aleta was deeply moved when she told of a recent testimony that had reached the EHC office by mail. It was from a man in jail who wrote how he received Jesus as a result of EHC ministry there. He confesses that he had been a hi-jacker. "Jesus has entered my life. Now I am deeply sorry and apologize for all the fear and injury I have caused those whose cars I hijacked!"