Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Crocodile, a Witch Doctor and the Church

Mbabala Island, Zambia — This picture was taken on Mbabala Island, Zambia of a group of community leaders. In the middle of the picture is the Chief on the Island who is also a Christian leader in the church. Three days after the picture was taken, he was accused of a crime by a witch doctor and murdered by a mob.

The Chief was charged with the death of a young woman who had recently been killed by a crocodile. According to tribal beliefs, when a person is killed by an animal, someone in the village caused that to happen, and must be punished.

Witch doctors often target Christians, since they are threatened by their teachings of freedom in Christ from evil spirits and curses. Because of this witch doctor’s accusation, the community rose up against the Chief, beat him, threw him in a shallow grave and burned him to death.

Witchcraft is a major contributing factor to extreme poverty. It has often been used to hinder progress in rural and slum communities and leads to injustice and fear; a fear that can cripple an entire population.

Mbabala Island is one of the most fear-filled and darkest locations we’ve experienced at Bright Hope. But despite these challenges, our church partners have never given up. They continue to teach truth and love in Jesus and invest in other churches on the island.

That perseverance has started to bear fruit. A few months ago there was another crocodile attack and the witch doctor was called upon to identify the guilty person. Again, he chose to accuse a pastor from one of our partner churches.

This church elder is a God fearing man and a dedicated committee member. This time, the whole Church rose up to protect their church leader and the witch doctor quickly backed down. A few days later, the witch doctor was sent out, accusing another pastor. However both churches united and stood to defend him, challenging the witch doctor yet again.

Because of your support and gifts to our Most Urgent Needs Fund, we are seeing God’s people taking a stand against injustice. Sometimes transforming a community means improving incomes or the quality of education or health care. Almost any organization can do that, but when it comes to transforming a community spiritually, only Christ can do that. And that is why we are so proud to work alongside churches and believers who are dedicated to the vision of seeing God transform communities through His church.

Give a gift to Most Urgent Needs today in our Seasons of Hope catalog