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From Darkness to Life

by Thom Cahill, missionary to Thailand | Aug 2021 | HB Africa, HB Tanzania, Heartbeat

Thom and John standing together

How does one go from worshiping the spirits of the dead to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ?

To understand this transformation, I share the story of John Habibu Saidy, a student at Evart Bible College in Tanzania. To provide for his wife and four children (two sets of twins), John works as a smallholder farmer and a fisherman at Lake Tanganyika. It takes him three days to travel by bus to reach Evart Bible College where he studies.

As I have gotten to know John, I learned how he was raised in the African traditional belief system, worshiping the ancestral spirits and the gods of their ancestors. He shared this testimony:

Even though my family sought protection from our ancestral spirits and gods, many people from our family died with very questionable causes of death. When I could not take the fear anymore, I thought of seeking refuge in the church. I was very submissive in the church, and I asked the men of God to pray for me. The men of God in the church did pray for me, and they led me to a prayer of confession. I accepted Christ and was baptized. Then I left my traditional rituals and customs of worshiping the spirits of the dead.

Immediately after I got baptized, I also started serving God. I began as a choir member in my local church. Later I was invited to sing in our neighboring churches. At one point, church leaders appointed me to teach the Sunday school. These responsibilities nourished my spiritual desires. Eventually, I was allowed to teach in the church and in different places as I received invitations to go and preach. In the past, my family and I had no understanding of the true God, no spiritual foundation. The fear and the darkness caused many of my people to perish. Now I know of life in Christ.

John is one of several students with similar testimonies. These students are serving the Free Methodist Church of Tanzania and taking courses at Evart Bible College. Please pray for John, his family and his ministry as he continues to seek God and reach people for the glory of God’s kingdom. Please pray for the continual work of the Holy Spirit within Tanzania. Pray many people will be receptive to the life-changing Word of God as students are trained and go out to expand God’s kingdom throughout Tanzania.