COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - On a recent trip to Africa with evangelists from West Georgia, we experienced different living conditions, languages, food, and more.
In this second special report, we look at the positives of the culture and the dangers like witchcraft.
Music is a universal language and the sounds from churches in Africa had the crew from Columbus-based ministry Take The City even more excited to bring hope and revitalization to communities in countries like Malawi, where evangelists also have to be vigil.
"The places we were going were really full of witchcraft, and whether you believe that or not, it’s real. So, every morning, we’d get up, we’d pray,” Josh Lindquist said.
The Minnesota leader, who joined the Columbus men, has been going to and preaching in Africa for 15 years.
“A lot of people experience how bad witchcraft is and how dark it is,” Malawi native Israel Stanford said. Israel Stanford experienced witchcraft growing up in Southeastern Africa, saying he had curses on his life and saw mysterious deaths in his family.
“I experienced a lot of witchcraft at times, in and out of school, things I couldn’t explain. That just led me on a path of frustration, drinking, smoking.” Israel said most Africans are either involved in witchcraft or are on the receiving end of it. “I knelt down and gave my life to the Lord. That’s when the transformation started to happen,” Israel added.
Now, he works at the Jerusalem House of Prayer, coming back to Malawi when he can. Andrew Chalmers, CEO of Take The City ministry, led our trip, saying he felt the call to go, discovering how humble and receptive the people of Africa are. And the kids especially, love on American visitors, including playing soccer (or football) with us. Tre Rager, evangelist from Columbus in Africa, said "Just playing with the kids and dancing with them, seeing the joy they found.”
“I think there's something incredible about learning from other cultures, see the value they carry. It's also incredible that the people of Africa have such warm hearts,” Chalmers said.
"Immediately after talking with them, you felt like family,” Rager added.
New friends shared testimonies from sharing their faith outside the four walls of their church, using tools they learned from the American evangelists. One Malawi church member said, “They know Jesus. The others, they said this is the time, how can I know Jesus?"
Throughout the trip, especially when speaking to crowds and churches, there often was an interpreter. "In Nairobi (Kenya), they speak a lot more Swahili but down in Malawi, they speak Chechewa, their local language.
All of them mostly speak English,” Rager explained.
The cultural experience in Africa included unique food, like chambo fish out of Lake Malawi and a local favorite nsima.
"It’s maize corn powder. It’s like what we call grits,” Chalmers said, after enjoying plenty of nsima. As we left, one pastor in Southeastern Africa told us, “This partnership is good and we wish you come back as soon as possible.”
Columbus-based ministry Take The City will be sending a team back to Africa this July, and if you’re interested in going, go to https://takethecity.com/ and contact them.