"Jesus is for white people, not black people,” Amahle* tells her friend and ITMI partner, Fifi Smith.
It’s a common belief in the Zulu villages of KwaZulu Natal, where ITMI’s Kelly and Cherise Smith, Fifi’s parents, have lived and ministered for almost two decades.
KwaZulu Natal, South Africa
Kelly and Cherise Smith, in one of the seminary classrooms where Kelly's ministry is equipping Zulu pastors for ministry.
ITMI's Fifi Smith
Fifi’s dynamic relationship with Jesus is clear evidence against this idea. Fifi’s willingness to share about her own relationship with Jesus is a powerful tool for reaching the Zulu people because it disproves this common idea that has kept countless Zulu people from seeking Him.
Amahle and her two children attend the Shembe church, a group that worships a man claiming to be the “god” of the Zulu nation.
Amahle and Fifi met a few years ago and the two have gotten to know each other well. Fifi has shared the Gospel with Amahle countless times.
“Every ministry I have…she will come,” Fifi writes, “When I need information in the village about something she will always be there to answer and educate me. When I started the kids ministry she makes sure that her kids come to Sunday school and all ministries that I do.
Amahle will drive with me and she will introduce me to some other ladies who are picking the chwabasi beads for me.”
Fifi teaches the children in KwaZulu Natal from the Bible once a week.
The chwabasi plant grows abundantly on the banks of the river that runs through the area. Fifi and Cherise have developed an outreach for women in the village, giving them the opportunity to make beads from the chwabai seeds and craft them into colorful jewelry.
Each week, the women come to make the jewelry, which the Smiths buy from them and sell for them. Fifi or the wife of the local, Zulu pastor leads a Bible study and it is an opportunity to build relationships.
The women appreciate the opportunity to earn a little income. Most income-earning opportunities are too far away from the villages to walk to, and most can’t earn enough in the city to justify the cost of getting there.
Fifi and Cherise pay local women to pick, dry, clean and package the seeds ahead of time, then Fifi and Amahle go pick them up.
The Chwabasi plant grows abundantly in KwaZulu Natal.
While Fifi is on sabbatical, Cherise has connected with Amahle on a new level and have started studying the Bible together.
“She loves the Bible study,” Fifi writes, “My mom has been doing such a great job to explain the Gospel to her, I can tell she is enjoying being taught to open the Bible and read it. We pray that she understands and gets to know our Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.”
Pray that Jesus will break through the Zulu idea that Jesus is only for “white people” in Amahle’s mind and bring her into a saving relationship with Him through Cherise and Fifi’s testimony and discipleship.
*name changed for privacy
About the Author
Get Weekly Updates from the Field!
Subscribe to our email updates