Rev. Dr. Emily Obwaka, Executive Director, Teen Challenge, Kenya, shared insightful thoughts comparing the transformation of one man and how the transformation of Africa can take a similar journey.
The story of John Miner Kibei and his transformation at the age of 59 from an alcoholic, destitute working on the streets of Mombasa draws many parallels to today’s Africa. Most African nations have been independent for about 60 years. God preserved John to see a new day and new life. God has also preserved Africa and will continue to preserve Africa to see a new day.
John had many personal issues to overcome in his life including alcoholism, not finishing his education, job loss, falling into a life of crime, which directly led to his being attacked and having a broken leg that was never properly repaired. A local church took note of John and offered some assistance which he accepted. He began listening to the Word of God and became a Christ-follower..
As for Africa, we know that it is rife with problems. The problems are innumerable and you wonder if a “New Africa” is just a pipedream. Is the reality of a “New Africa” possible and if so, what is the “New Africa”? The “New Africa” is a healed Africa—it is Africans Rising Together, experiencing peace with God, peace within, peace with fellow men, and peace with the environment. This is a “loaded” peace—the Shalom of God, which means harmony in all areas pertaining to the population.
The key to the big question is the Gospel. If we give ourselves fully to the Gospel and come fully into the knowledge of God, things change. John Kibei realized if he continued the way he was going, death was certain. If we continue along the trajectory of keeping God in the periphery, we continue the ravaging of the ages—we will continue to be exploited, to walk in poor character and to have poor stewardship. Unless the Lord builds Africa, she will labor in vain. Africa must unashamedly come back to the Lord at a depth that allows for an enlightenment (not the shallowness of before).
Africa has been invited to play a distinct role in the world and needs to step up to that challenge as never before. As Africa “believes” in herself, she will achieve this. This is the hinge pin and what will turn Africa around. Because the salvation of God, the intimate knowledge of God, brings a man or woman into a supernatural being. We are transformed into Christlikeness as we look to Him and we have supernatural weaponry to fight the enemy of our souls that tells us we’re not good enough, that we don’t have what it takes, that we must always look to the West. Our position of power comes from the absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ. From this position of power, we arise.
Evangelism and discipleship are only ways a person can be transformed from the inside out (just as John was transformed). It is the order of Heaven—the Great Commission. It is the only way to truly align with God’s agenda for the earth and the specific contribution He had in mind for a person. It is the only way the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea—the new Africa.As the Church of Africa walks in love announcing the Kingdom of God, the Glory of God will cover Africa as the waters cover the sea.
What is your role during these times? Step up and step out in obedience to God to evangelize and disciple others. It will take all of us in every sphere of society to seize the opportunities He invites us into. We must declare the desired vision in alignment to the Word of God and it shall come to pass.
Africa is blessed and arises in unity of spirit and purpose. She is restored, prosperous and reaching out to the world with the light of the Gospel. We must own for ourselves our own transformation. Post-COVID, this is an invitation to arise and shine.
A new Africa is promised. It is given because Christ came and died on the cross for us. So, as we align with God, through faith, and we arise to do what He has invited us to do, Africa too will arise to fulfill her divine destiny.