COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Africa is one of the top places in the world where people want to travel for magnificent scenery or maybe to go on a safari with tons of wildlife.
Recently, News Leader 9′s Jason Dennis joined a small faith-based team from Columbus to go there on a different mission.
At a church crusade in the dirt of Africa, the team danced with hundreds of kids and adults. It was just one of the things team members saw and did on the world’s second largest continent, representing U.S. ministry Take The City.
“We went to Kenya, Malawai and Uganda. All of those are in central or eastern Africa,” said Take The City CEO Andrew Chalmers.
It’s more than 8,000 miles from Columbus to Nairobi, Kenya. The first assignment was an evangelism conference then a downtown outreach full of street kids. Tre Rager, part of the Columbus team, said it was amazing to see how people survive in brick cities and thrive while living in the dirt.
“Ninety percent of Africa is without electricity and how they live and operate, love on each other because they don’t know any different,” Rager said, as an evangelist making his first trip to Africa.
The Columbus team met Pastor Frans Phiri in Africa. “I lived in the streets for a year. There was no one to help. My mom passed away,” Phiri explained.
He became a successful public accountant in South Africa but years ago, Phiri moved back to his native Malawi to start a church. The team met him by accident at a marketplace during the team’s makeshift street crusade there.
“We joined in with these missionaries from the states and surprisingly, they have the same vision inside of them,” Phiri said.
Another stop on the trip was Uganda, where it was a full house at a tent revival. People also filled the streets of Malawi, known as the “warm heart of Africa.” People were even friendly at busy roadside markets, which locals said are “used as a terminal for public transport." In Southeastern Africa, where the team was, you see a church about every two miles. In the continent, about 80 percent of people say they know God, but only about 20 percent attend church on a regular basis.
“When we went to Africa, we went there partnering with a lot of churches to train and equip those churches to share their faith,” Chalmers said about the mission. On what they learned from the Take The City group, Pastor Enson Sinkhonde of Malawi Assemblies of God, said “The teaching at the church at this locality from different leaders will help us a lot.” The longtime African pastor said it was an eye-opener to have the evangelists from Georgia show how outreach can easily be done.
“We bought a speaker and set it up in a busy marketplace in Malawi and started preaching the Gospel,” Josh Lindquist, Evangelist to Africa from Minnesota, said about the four-man team’s impromptu event.
From the streets to businesses, the Christian leaders from America saw doors open, like an invite to an African insurance company, where they pray to start each work day.
“Even in a business/cubicle setting, it was amazing how people were so excited for us to be there, to raise their hands, to receive prayer,” Rager added.
Take The City, based in Columbus, will be taking another team to Africa this July and they’re looking for those interested in joining them. WTVM’s special report continues Wednesday featuring a Malawi native’s journey out of witchcraft, a dark problem throughout Africa.