My early experience to primary evangelism was soon after I arrived on the field in 1956. My Chev pickup truck, my Bogen 50 watt amplifier (BIG speakers and record-player [remember those?]) unit, “Gospel Recordings” music and narrations, etc. all predetermined my selection for the program. An area to cover, two African Evangelists and two church elders were assigned to travel with me. Basic needs for the two week safari, as well as some “hangers-on” were piled into the back of the truck. Kwaheri – here we go!
Villages to be visited were well off any beaten track or any semblance of a road. Cow-paths proved the easiest to follow since they led to villages. Wherever we deemed feasible, we set up our “setup” blared out African gospel music over the loudspeakers – and crowds gathered. Though I was able to speak in the Sukuma language, I was not really proficient at that point so the evangelists did most of the preaching.
It was very encouraging to experience the response to the message of the Gospel. It stirred our hearts to see and encourage those who indicated a desire to believe and accept Christ as Saviour. It was gratifying to hear later of those who had sought out a nearby (even up to 14 miles away!) church fellowship where they could publicly voice their decision the follow the Lord, the hear more Bible teaching and to be baptized.
This is what it is all about. Sure, we dig wells, we build schools and churches, we act as medical “experts” (Remember? Aspirin for above the stomach and castor oil for below for those of us who weren’t!!), we provide services for distant missionaries and their ministry – but the primary focus is the bring folks to the Lord and to encourage and teach them in spiritual things.
For the next couple of blogs, I will narrate several of the happenings of our Evangelistic Safaris. Stay tuned.