The crowd had slowly gathered, one and two’s then maybe ten twenty, maybe up to three or four hundred. The light had faded and we could begin. The crowd chuckled, ooood and ahhd as we had successfully out-competed the drinking halls and people had gathered together for the evening. It’s unseasonally cold here in the evenings at the moment, so there was a chill in the air. The crowd laughed as Jesus turned the loaves and fishes into food for everyone. They hissed as Jesus was beaten. As Jesus was crucified there was a collective gasp. Robinson, a villager got up to speak.
Five minutes is all he needed, and then he prayed. Maybe 40 people responded and then the shrieks began. A man rolling and writhing around the floor, obviously a man having spiritual trouble. We would say that the man was posessed by a demon. We prayed for him and he was delivered. Some people were crying, others shaking quite violently. One thing we were not was ineffective.
As the film finished and all went dark, many villagers came and thanked us for the film, the presentation and what had happened. The village was Miloso and this was last night. I had gone on my own, as Jude and the kids had been travelling about, and boy it was late. The distances here are huge. I forgot an audio cable, for that omission I had to drive nearly 60 miles. Think of that, and that is local!
The film had not been seen in the village before and it had an impact. This is Christianity, Raw and unbridled. In fact, it is Jesus, raw and unbridled. This is what I do. I talk about Jesus, and try and bring his presence into villages, to some of the most precious people in the world. I really do believe that this is the key to transforming the villages in Africa.
This lunchtime, thirty of us gathered in another village location. This time, representatives of different churches and community groups had come together to see what could be done in the villages. In the last 12 days we have preached, given examples and cojoled people to come together, and it has begun to work. It is in fact hard to believe that it is maybe only 16 days since we began in Mkushi, so much has been done already. I enjoy a freedom and impact that I simply do not have in England, maybe I should start listening to that…..
Two leaders called Ranger and Caspar had come along with us. They are from Lufwanyama where the other Life! team is. This was villager to villager. I thought this could be a quite powerful spin off from our work. In our meeting they encouraged and helped the people to understand what could happen, They had in fact become missionaries in their own country. This is what is needed, a movement of people that changes things. I must admit, I am even more sceptical now that a lot of western mission actually changes anything at all.
People, people, people combined with the Holy Spirit are what is needed to change this world. A side impact, was that there is a cross fertilisation of ideas from villager to villager also, they will in fact help one another. That is a movement and in small ways it has already begun.
I’m tired of the fluffy let’s be polite Christianity that is so normal in my homeland, I want some verve, faith and reality. I see that in the lives of the villagers, I see that in the villages. I see that in the possibility that God will begin something wonderful here. Later this week I’m off to Nchelenge in Northern Zambia. Cornelius a friend has already gathered people. Think of that, we are not having to push everywhere, opportunities are opening up for this work, and we are being invited. Makes a change from just rocking up somewhere and making something happen.
My friends, Love, Passion and Transformation, empowered by the Holy Spirit, by God himself. That is Christianity. Don’t accept any imitation.