Simon spent a good few weeks preparing his Toyota LandCruiser, getting it ready for use in the African bush. Attaching bullbars, a winch, roof rack, bright LED lights and much more. We worked out a way to attach a projector screen to the roof rack so we could show the Jesus film out in the bush. The challenge was to be able to have a fast setup and pack down, to combat a number of potential challenges.
Monsoon rain - We had already postponed our outreach several times due to the ongoing monsoon rain. If it starts raining during our outreach, we need to be able to get everything undercover ASAP. If you know African rain ..... you know and if you don't, well you might just have to come out and visit us ;)
Curfew - Due to the pandemic we have to be "home" before 11 pm. We could only show the Jesus Film after dark i.e 7:30 pm the film was 3 hours long, then we wanted to have a time of ministry after, adding in the travel. Time will indeed be tight.
Saftey - It might not be so much of an issue for this trip, however, in the past there have been violent reactions to similar outreaches and we wanted to be able to make a quick getaway if need be.
Simons car - ready for action
We set off to Turkana, flying down the newly built Chinese road, something had previously taken me 2 full days of driving, was now only 9 hours thanks to the new roads and Toyota LandCruiser !!! We met up with a local Turkana pastor who would show us where there had been no to little outreach previously, and translate for us. Once we picked him up and refuelled, we were off!
Over the course of the week, we travelled inland, down rough roads, tracing the Turkewell River South. Stoping in small villages on the way to share the good news.
In each village we would try to stay with a man of peace, be it the chief of the village, or a nearby pastor, to help with our safety and security, as well as to help open the village to receiving the gospel. Once our tents were set up we would cook a quick cup of tea and have a pack of instant noodles then begin setting up for the night.
As we began setting up the equipment in the centre of the village, Patrick our translator would begin to announce the event, calling people, playing songs over the speaker system, signing and dancing. It wasn't long before we had all the children in the village, playing, dancing and singing along with us. As the sun started to go down we would quiz the children to see if they had any knowledge of the gospel? Had there been other outreachs before us? Had they seen Jesus film or any other film before? Indeed in some of the places, people had gone before us, but in other locations, it seems as though we were the first! What a privilege to be the first person to share the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to His precious loved ones! Amazing.
Racing the sun to get set up, with not a soul in sight
Each night we started with around 30 people, mainly children watching the Jesus Film, but gradually over the course of the evening, people slowly emerged from the bushes. I'm not sure I will ever know how news travels in the bush, with no cell phones or any other forms of communication as far as I can tell, but sure enough, by the end of the film when the lights come on, sitting in front of us was a crowd of 2-300 people! Some nights there were, even more, than 400 people! This being in areas that only seem to have 4 or 5 mud huts.
People slowly appearing out of the bushes to watch The Jesus Film
On many occasions, while the film was playing, people would jump up and there would be a big commotion, then it would all settle down and the people would return to sitting and lying in the sand. It didn't take long for me to spot what was going on. Scorpions, and some kind of giant camel spider. I even saw one sitting ontop of a sleeping child. Scary stuff.
The Jesus film, for those of you who haven't heard or seen it is a fantastic outreach tool, it's a film that was produced in the late 1970s and has since been reproduced in over 1,800 languages! It is used in every country in the world and has helped to lead millions to Christ. You can see more of there official stats here.
Over the course of the week, after watching the Jesus film we were able to share the gospel with over 1,000 adults and off them over 260 came forward to give there lives to Christ for the first time!
On our last night, we faced a number of challenges, first, the speaker system did not work, it turned out they had been knocked over the night before damaging them, and the cables. We tried to see if we could use the cars speaker system, (far quieter then our large system but better then nothing). Not long after this, the generator stopped working! We cleaned the spark plugs, checked the fuel and tried again. Nothing. Dead. Then I started to feel some raindrops on my face, I looked up and all I could see was black. Not a night sky black - but rain clouds black... It was starting to look like we would just have to call it a night and accept our defeat.
I decided to have one last quick prayer asking the Lord what to do. I felt Him say to take the fuel cap of the generator and try it again, I did. It roared to life! Lights were back, the projector was back, and the sound was back, and there was no rain!
Simon preaching up a storm - I'm so glad we didn't give up !!!
It seems that there is a great harvest here in Africa, God is calling us to to be his tools, to labour here in the field and work in partnership with Him to draw people to Himself. I can't think of anything I would rather be doing than working in partnership with the Creator and the lover of my soul. Can you?
As we were leaving one village two ladies came to bless us with 2 goats, a big gift from the heart of these shepherding people. Spending time with them I was able to see what a special gift it was, something I will always treasure and hold with me.
Receiving the gift from the village leaders (don't forget to click through the images > )
As we left the last village, with a warm blessing from the chief and many invitations to come back, I could see that we had bearly scratched the surface of this region, I am sure we will be back soon to push even deeper into areas that have hardly been touched or reached with the Gospel. I am so excited! Are you?
Getting to these places is tough, it requires money and effort, sleeping in tents with scorpions and spiders everywhere, missing out of showers and cleanliness, preparing your own basic food over small fires, travelling on long hot rough dusty roads, crossing rivers and getting stuck in the mud, and more often than not getting sick.
Bathing in the river to crazy mechanics, click though >
Do I do it for the sake of adventure?
Do I do it for the sake of Christ?
100% YES & amen.
I hope this video inspires you towards the call of God on your life