by Johan Leach
ITMI's Johan Leach shared this story from the Barotse Plains, where he and other believers from Chavuma, Zambia minister.
We were in the Barotse Plains, where witchcraft and ancestral worship has been a part of the Lozi and Luvale peoples for millennia.
Since the fall of Adam, in the days of Cain and Abel, Satan has kept these peoples in perpetual, spiritual darkness, living in the dirt like animals. Mankind who once served a Mighty God, now fallen and bewitched.
Women with their children sitting and sleeping in the dirt like the dogs that lie around their villages. Dirt sores cover their bodies.
Men, caught up in the seemingly, never ending cycle of survival through ignorance and hopeless inadequacy, blinded to the potential within them as created beings in the image of God, Creator of heaven and earth. Men, limited in their aspirations to; catching the next fish or the pending harvest of an ill sown crop.
The Zambezi River.
Crossing the Zambezi River.
On my recent mission to these people I came across a human skeleton on the Zambezi River bank. The local villages confirmed that it was a voodoo (witchcraft) killing. They informed me that such killings are common with no or very little interference from police.
It was while prodding around these bones that a small group of local men gathered around. I guess we were entertainment to them as they found it quite humorous that we should take such an interest in the dead.
Mike, a fellow missionary jokingly asked Hunter, a brother from America who was with us; “Hunter, do you think these bones can live?” paraphrasing the question God asks Ezekiel (Eze 37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knows.’)
I did not hear Hunter’s answer, for just then it was as if the Lord was saying to me; “Yes, these bones can live. Preach the Living Word to these men using the skeleton as an illustration of death without Me, Christ.”
Turning to the little group of men, and through my interpreter I asked, “Where do you think the spirit of this man has gone?”
After a few seconds one of the men pointed heavenward.
“Why do you point there?” I asked him. “Do you not know that if this man did not have a personal relationship with God All Mighty, King of kings, Lord of Lords, Spirit of spirits the All Seeing, All Knowing Everlasting God, then he will be with his ancestors and those who listened and followed the witches and new apostolic cult teaching.
"That the place where these spirits go is a place called hades where it is eternally dark, where you cannot see your hand in front of your eyes. It is so dry that you forever thirst; your tongue is so dry that it cleaves to your pallet. You cry out for a drop of water and never receive it. Your crying produces no tears as that too has long gone and dried up.
The pain is so intense you scream and scream and there is no relief and the anguish screams of others around you constantly fill your ears with no letting up.”
By now the little group was fidgeting and distraught. I continued, “But, if this individual knew Christ and had repented and turned from his wicked ancestral and witchcraft worshipping ways, acknowledging Christ as his Lord and Saviour, then and only then would his spirit be with God in heaven.”
And I went on to explain heaven, a place of eternal rest and peace. No more pain and suffering, no more tears or hurt. Where you drink from the Fountain of the Lord and never thirst again. Where the lion lies with the lamb, where you breathe fresh air, no more death…..
“Where will your spirit go when you die?” I asked.
At this point in time the little group in one accord turned and started to walk away. But as they turned, one individual glanced back and down at the skeleton. Without missing a step he turned right back and stood in front of me.
I could see the despair and hopelessness in his eyes as he inquiringly looked into mine.
With my hand on the young man’s shoulder, we stood before the empty cross of my Redeeming Lord and I shared His salvation message, salvation which is available to all who accept Him as Lord and Saviour of their lives through the victory over sin and death which was wrought on the cross and in His resurrection.
With relief flooding over him the young man repented and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Praise God! The angels rejoice in heaven when one soul is reborn.
Just then, I was reminded of the ten lepers whom Christ had healed. One turned back and thanked Him… where are the other nine?
Today, in our cities with our instant-living style lives, we take God for granted and are disappointed when He does not perform as we think He should. We even resort to coaching Jesus to hear and obey our pleas; “Come on Lord, come on. You can do it.” As if a Sovereign God needs encouragement and assurance from degenerate man.
The Bible teaches repentance unto salvation.
Unless we know that we are rotten sinners, who are in need of a Savior, that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn His Salvation, then and only then, on bended knee do we need to surrender all to Him and allow Him to mend us, mold us and make us into that image which will bring Him all Glory and Honor.
This testimony ends well, for the young man returned within the hour bringing a friend with him, who having heard what the Savior had done, also wanted Salvation.
Repenting, he accepted Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.
Finally, as soldiers of the cross, let us hear and obey the Voice of our Captain, a Great Commission has been given to you and I by our Master -
And he said to them, 'Go into the entire world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.' Mark 16:15-18
About the Author
Johan Leach and his wife, Lesley, live on the Zambezi river in Chavuma, Zambia. They equip teams to cross the river into the isolated and remote area between the river and the Angola border and share the gospel in the villages.