by “Russ,” an African evangelist
My father was a Reverend in a Christian religious organization. We therefore grew up acquainted with church. However, as I grow older I discovered that religion was used to subjugate African people. The Reformed Church theologically was subscribing to the philosophy which saw Africans as inferior beings. Also, the way my father was treated by his church organization made me hate church.
Later on I decided to pursue political science. Before University I went for one year to do national service. We fought Renamo insurgences who were then backed by the aggressors, the Apartheid-sponsored National party. It was one evening when I was sent into the community to investigate some sellouts that I came across a missionary. We threatened him but he seemed not to care. He told us that God loved us and he was inviting us to a tent meeting during the night. We went and told some of our friends about the night tent crusade. We made a plan to petro-bomb the tent when everybody was in. The plan was for me to go into the tent and check out the situation. Close to the conclusion of the meeting I was supposed to come out and signal the attack.
To cut the long story short, the preacher that night was talking about me. The statement which touched me was this: “You are here you have been disappointed by religion. This is the time for you to try Jesus.” The man was speaking with his eyes staring at me, as if he was reading my mind. Later on he said in closing: “Where will you spend your eternity?” He paused for a while and asked those who were not quite sure to come to the front and accept Christ. Without wasting time I went to the front and fell on the ground. For one hour I was praying.
My friends were still waiting for me. I told the Missionary who I was and asked him to get me into his car and leave forthwith because I would be killed immediately if noticed. He did exactly as I told him. (The same evening we were told the tent was burnt and five people died; the rest managed to run for their lives.)
I could not go back to Zimbabwe so I went to South Africa … Later, I changed my name and went back to Zimbabwe. It was then that I became involved with Scripture Union. It was also the same time that I met people like Lovejoy Tirivepi who were very helpful. Later on I decided to continue studying political science. I was sponsored by the government to study military intelligence, logistics, and the communist philosophy.
Although I was a Christian, it was the books of A. W. Tozer and Watchman Nee that introduced me to the Cross. I realized that I was using the flesh to achieve transformation. God told me that transformation begins with one appropriating the life of Christ [Gal. 2:20; Rom. 5:10; John 15:5]. I realized also that it was only the life of Christ which is acceptable to God. This whole process could only be achieved through death to self.
I realized I was a Christian, yes, but self was predominant in me. From that time forward I made a decision to apply the Cross daily to my life. It has not been easy; I have blundered many times. But His grace has always been sufficient for me. For His strength is made manifest in my weaknesses. I am tempted to preach each time I get to this part. Let me close. Be blessed.
Excerpted from a new book by Dr. Charles Solomon titled, The Changing (or Exchanging) Heart of Africa. It is online at http://www.gracenotebook.com/heart_africa.htm
 RENAMO: Mozambican National Resistance – Established in 1976 by the Rhodesian security services, primarily to operate against anti-Rhodesian guerrillas based in Mozambique.(http://www.fas.org)