South Africa Evangelism
A few days before coming to Hartland College, I received a message from a friend who occasionally attended the Bible study group I conducted at the university I attended. “My sister, we need to meet for a Bible study,” she said. “I want to know the secrets that you know.” There are many like this friend who are hungry and thirsty for the Word of life. Indeed, the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. God is looking for young men and women who will seek to meet the need and do whatever it takes just to see souls saved in the kingdom.
The Lord has led me in many different paths since I surrendered my life to Him. Sharing the gospel with others has been part of my life ever since I experienced a new life with Jesus. My experience did not allow me to keep it to myself, but I had to share the joys and the goodness of the Lord with others. Many times, after people have heard the gospel for the first time, I have heard the question from young and old, “What shall I do to be saved?” Some have asked after one or two presentations of God’s Word, “Can you stay longer with us?” If that does not work, they add, “Can you come back again and share more of the Word of life with us?”
There are many different ways that can be used in Southern Africa to share the gospel with the people. Here are the ones we have used. The first is door-to-door evangelism. Going into their houses is as personal as you can be with the people. The second is literature evangelism. The third is Bible study groups. And the fourth is radio programs. The Lord has worked in exciting ways in all of these activities.
House-to-house evangelism is one of my favorite ways of reaching the people. Though without training, I have worked, with friends and sometimes alone, in different areas visiting people in their homes.
In South Africa, because of the culture, it is easier to get inside people’s houses and share the good news with them. I will never forget a day when I knocked at one of the houses in East London. An old lady peeked through the security door. “How can I help you?” I told her that I was going from door to door sharing the Word of God. When she looked at my young smiling face and thought of the kind of work I was doing, her heart melted. She opened the door and invited me in.
Realizing that she was not in good health, I asked how she was doing. She told me of her pain. She was suffering with arthritis. I began to share about the NEWSTART plan (eight natural remedies) with her, and how God is interested in her health and well being. Her facial expression changed. Her eyes widened with excitement and hope. She exclaimed, “I have never heard this before!” She added, “Where do you come from? You must be an angel from Heaven just for me.”
When I was about to leave, I prayed with her. She was extremely happy, and I offered to give her a massage whenever she wanted, as I had been trained to do so. She was excited about the offer and told me to come back the next Sunday and share the message I had intended to share before we talked about her health issues.
She was looking forward to the coming Sunday, because her grandchildren would be there as well to hear the good news. Sunday came and a few of my friends came with me and visited her home. We sang for her, and she was so excited. We shared the Bread of life. Her grandchildren enjoyed the singing and the study of the Bible. I stayed behind to give her a massage. This gave her an opportunity to ask about the food I had recommended for her. After the massage, she gave money to the eldest grandchild so I could accompany her to the shops to buy the type of food that would be good for her. Her health improved. Her family’s diet changed; even her grandchildren started to try out grandma’s food. We became best of friends.
She told me she wanted her grandchildren to study and understand the Bible the way my friends and I understood it. I told her that we have Bible studies every Sunday in our house. Her three grandchildren were the most faithful in attending those Bible studies. She accepted the Sabbath truth. She could not come to church because of her health conditions, but she allowed her grandchildren to come for Bible studies and to church with us. We spent some Sabbath afternoons at her house, singing and sharing the Word with her.
The Bible studies were a powerful instrument in drawing many to Christ and to establish Adventists in what we believe. I have been very active in establishing Bible study groups, especially on university campuses. My goal was to establish Bible study groups that would continue, even though the students come and go after graduation. My prayer was to have Bible studies ready for the newcomers. The only way to achieve this was to have the mature students who are close to graduation training the young and new ones in how to give Bible studies and keep them going and growing. By God’s grace this prayer has been answered. I hear good news about the Bible studies on the two universities with which I have worked.
One of the most fulfilling experiences in Bible study groups was when we saw a need in a high school near us. It had a boarding house. The students had a Sunday church for all those staying at the boarding house. They would just sing, but had no spiritual message. We offered to do the preaching for them in their Sunday church. They gladly accepted. We did a class like Sabbath school for them and then the sermon. They sang their songs and sometimes we taught them some of our songs. They enjoyed the service. About 60 students came for this church service. We did this for many Sundays. Many students decided to surrender their lives to Christ. After we had taught about the Sabbath truth, the school’s governing body decided that we should stop the meetings. They have found someone to be the pastor for the students. This was a confusing time for most of the students; however, six took a bold stand for the Sabbath and started to go to local Adventist churches with us.
I enjoyed sharing the gospel over the radio every Sunday and sometimes during the week. This work gave more opportunities to share the gospel with Sunday-keeping churches. The slot that I had in a local radio station was for an hour. I shared this time with two or three ministers from other denominations. We were asked to share with the listeners what we believed about a particular Biblical topic, and give Biblical reasons for what we believed. The listeners were also given a few minutes to ask questions and comment. I had a wonderful experience in sharing my faith with the public. The Lord worked in an amazing way. Through this program, I had ministers calling me and asking me to their churches to teach more of what we had discussed over the radio, or to share something on topics they did not understand in the Bible. It was very interesting; I could not believe the doors that the Lord opened through this avenue. We made offers to Sunday churches to sell spiritual books and health books to their members. Most pastors agreed. They would announce it during the church service. When the church ended, the church members would find us ready outside with a table full of spiritual and health books for the adult, youth and children. The set that we sold the most was The Conflict of Ages set, followed by the ten-volume Bible Story set and health books.
The Lord indeed blessed our little efforts. Though we had no training at all, the Lord used the little we had to reach others with the gospel. The Lord opened a door for me to be trained at Hartland College so I can go back and train many more. This will make us more efficient and effective in this solemn closing work. The question still stands even today, “Who will go for us?” Those who see their weakness and uncleanness and allow the Lord to prepare them will be in better position to cooperate with the Master in preaching the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and then the end will come.
At present we are working on a project for Southern Africa in which a missionary training school is being started. We look forward to having young people equipped to share the gospel in Southern Africa.
By Cwayita Ntsikeni. To help this project, send your donations to Lord Send Me, PO Box 1, Rapidan, VA 22733. Mark your donations “Purelight for Africa project.”