Courageous mission

By Tim Coleman | East Africa

The long journey into remote regions of East Africa is perilous, but many are being reached with the gospel for the first time. (Photos, video, and words by Tim Coleman.)

Michael: Do you see that bridge up ahead? Here I was held at gunpoint by bandits who blocked the road. When I asked them why are you doing this? one pointed his gun at my head and pulled the trigger.

The gun jammed. He tried a second and third time but the same problem, after which he hit me over the head with the gun and I fell down on the ground. He then hit me with a stick while I was on the ground.

They took all of our money and bags then left. I was angry, but God spoke to me as I lay on the ground. I saw Christ the passion. He was humbled, harassed and beaten for me. Then my spirit calmed and I surrendered. I realised my time is not yet.

In this one stretch of road alone Michael, has experienced 11 life-threatening incidences. I stare out the window, taking in the arid landscape as we eat up the miles of the long journey and Michael’s previous encounters in this region sink in.

Even the car we are driving has a bullet hole in one tyre that has been plugged. Undeterred by such events, Michael continues to visit these areas to share the gospel. It’s these places that we are heading to today.

Tim: You’ve been doing this for 20 years. Why do you keep coming back?

Michael: I have learned how to love the unlovable. The Lord put this supernatural love in me and I do not fully understand it. I sincerely know this is my call. I’ve tried to quit, but I can’t. I tried to reason, but then I find myself going again. Finally I surrendered. Now this is where my friends, my life and the scattered church are that I love so much.

Young girls from a remote village where many have come to accept Jesus Christ as their saviour.

I am not considering this as missions work but a part of my life. It’s where I belong. My unending joy comes when I go to this place. I even own camels in this region, which makes me a nomad. I was baptised by the community. I am no longer who I was but one of them.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:6-8 that despite Jesus being in his very nature God, He decided to identify himself with humankind - with me and these nomadic people.

The Christian worldview is that this place is a hard place, which is true. But flip the coin and it’s a great place for mission. These people are simple people. Really, they worship God sincerely.

Three weeks after I was attacked with a gun I returned and we did ministry in the village close to this part of the road for the first time. I encountered face to face one of the people who beat me and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with him. It was an amazing time of reconciliation.

Ever since we did this outreach in the village we have not been attacked on this dangerous stretch of road.

A young missionary shares the gospel with children in a remote village.

I have never experienced a miracle in my life but I see God performing miracles here. I never knew I had a gift of healing but have seen God perform healing. I never thought I could command nature to obey us, but where there is no rain we pray and rain comes.

We cast out demons. Witch doctors are scared to death when they see us. I feel like I am walking in the pages of the New Testament. Where else could I experience these things but here?

My fear is not out there where insecurity, danger, pain and sickness like malaria are. Fear, it’s in the mind, not there, and we need not fear because God is with us.

I decided to give God my strength and my years as a youth. I don’t have savings, but what I have I can give. So I continue to give so long as I have strength.

Projecting the Jesus film onto screen under the milky way. The film has been translated to the local dialect and many have come to hear the Bible story and been changed by what they have seen.

Over the last 20 years Michael has played a vital role in uniting and mobilising the church and believers in East Africa in ministering to the least reached in remote regions.

Please pray for his protection as he continues to visit the region, sharing the gospel and connecting believers of all ages in this work. Pray for the least reached, that they would be receptive to the gospel.

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

SIM Asset Publisher Portlet

Asset Publisher

Related stories

Sendu’s story: How a Zambia youth center ignited a young man's faith

A gentle nudge from an auntie helped transform Sendu Limande’s life and turn him into a powerful force for the gospel.

Kenya floods emergency and SIM’s response

Devastating floods have caused widespread casualties and displacement in Kenya. Since April, torrential rains have displaced hundreds of thousands of people. This nationwide emergency has caused widespread devastation, affecting homes, farms, businesses, and vital infrastructure. In the wake of this crisis, we are determined to bring hope through Christ's restorative power and healing. SIM is working alongside churches and partner groups to support families affected by this crisis.

Refugee mum finds renewed hope through Sydney gardening club

Kay, a refugee living in Australia, once lived a life consumed by depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Medication and hospital visits offered little relief, and  her children were taken away by the authorities. Freedom to Flourish, a Sydney ministry of SIM  using counselling and creative activities to help refugees heal and find God's love, became her lifeline.

Gospel-led teachers are solving MK challenges in South Asia

A husband-and-wife team have come up with a unique solution to a problem which affects many mission workers - and it could provide a model for other hard-to-reach places around the world.