Peggy*, a Strategy Coordinator and Senior Trip Leader with e3 Partners, led a trip to Africa in May. God is at work there among the Toposa people, who are traditionally known as fierce warriors and cattle stealers who prefer to depend on witch doctors rather than embrace the Gospel.
They camped in the village of Kanachakori, where Chief Nasif*, who they saw come to Christ in January, was working to establish a new church. Communication – especially written – had been a huge barrier, since the Toposa people are 99% oral-only communicators. They value storytelling, songs, dance, music, poems, and folklore.
The first week they spent with nonbelievers and new Christians. They broke into groups of men and women; the men’s team studied the eight commands of Christ, and the women’s team discussed seven Bible stories about forgiveness. Because the Toposa culture condones abuse of women and children, many of these women harbored hurt and trauma from their pasts. They discussed the heart wounds that can be caused by unforgiveness and how there is hope for those who come to Christ.
Meeting in small groups, Peggy and the team trained the Toposa people how to lead discipleship groups. They drew pictures to explain the Bible stories, had the groups act out dramas of the stories and discuss the feelings of the characters, and prayed each day with them about who God wanted them to go and tell about Him. Several nights, they showed the Jesus Film in the Toposa language. The result was that the Toposa people learned Bible stories, performed dramas of the stories, composed songs about the stories, and engaged in deep discussions about what God was teaching them.
By the end of the week, the team had established a new church, started two new discipleship groups, and baptized 11 new believers. Camping in the Kanachakori village allowed them to build deep bonds of love and trust with the villagers, and they are looking forward to seeing how God will use them.
The second week, Peggy and the team spent with more mature believers who were already leading discipleship groups. They used an audio Bible to address issues they were facing, including spiritual warfare, prayer, and counseling believers through difficulty. After hearing the Bible stories, the Toposa leaders composed a song to remember the “weapons” God provides for spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18) and a song about the Lord’s Prayer for them to teach to others.
Peggy and the team carried audio Bibles in several languages, because the Toposa believers are now reaching out to the surrounding tribes – who they traditionally fought with and stole cattle from – to share the Gospel with them. It is amazing to see how God has changed their hearts.
*Names have been changed to ensure safety and anonymity.