Cathy and I were sitting on the bus riding from Johannesburg to White River in Mpumalanga. We were leaving the limits of Johannesburg when I noticed a familiar scene. In an open field beside the highway was a snapshot out of the history of Africa.
A group of thirty to forty people were sitting in a circle wearing all white robes. I had come to learn of the ZCC and the Bantu religion practiced in many parts of Africa. This ancestral worshipping group make use of Sangomas (witch doctors) and Inyagas (medicine men) and blend their faith with some parts of the Bible. Its anchor of thinking has become the cornerstone of the African world view.
We saw the same thing in Zambia each time we drove to town in Livingstone. I had become accustomed to seeing the Sangoma mud house on the dirt road in and out of the community. A short distance away from the missionary home was another Sangoma that actively could be heard on occasion beating drums and chanting. Local people visit them as they would a doctor, fortune teller and spiritual guide.
We have been reminded many times that we are in a different world. Africa is deeply rooted in ancestral thought and influence. Yes, you see modern cars and trucks, but you also see donkey carts and oxen pulling wagons made from a car axle. When we visited a local Shoprite grocery in Livingstone you never knew what would be available on their shelves. You could only buy the stock that was available.
This Sunday I will be visiting two churches in small village areas and preaching the Bible. Africans love the Bible. They will sit for hours and listen to God’s Word. Unfortunately, many of the pastors have no formal Bible training.
It is a great privilege to provide glimpses of the Holy Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. Pray as we open the Bible and teach over the next two months. We covet your thoughts and prayers during this time!
Cathy and Danny Sartin
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