“Tuli pa Nkondo ya Yesu. Pioneer, tigwile nchito. Yesu commander watu, Bible chipolopolo.”
Translated from Zambian Chichewa: “We are in a battle for Jesus. Pioneers, let us do the work. Jesus is our commander, the Bible our bullet.”
Thirty-six Bible workers sang these words in deep battle cries. The ballad of these triumphant infantrymen echoed throughout the small brick chapel at Riverside Farm Institute in Zambia. The farm is well-known for its expansive green sea of banana trees, but its heartbeat is evangelism—training Bible workers, called “Pioneers” at the farm, to share the good news throughout the ten provinces of the south-central African country.
Six months had passed since the Pioneers were last together. Now, for ﬁve days, they would pray together, encourage one another through inspiring messages, and share testimonies of how God is reaching people’s hearts in their villages. I was eager to discover how the Truth Link Bible study guides have impacted the work of these evangelists.
The Manchinas lived in what Roy called a “modern house”—metal roof, brick walls, and windows.
Among the group of Pioneers was Roy Habasimbi. I waited outside of Riverside’s central church building on a brisk morning while Roy was called by the lead evangelist to see me. I gave a friendly wave, gesturing for him to sit down as he exited the chapel. He sat on the dark wooden bench under the church’s front overhang. We were both bundled up in thick jackets to hold back the cool bite of Zambia’s dry season. Roy was tall and quite lean. His height seemed accentuated by the crisp black slacks he was wearing. He delicately folded his hands as he sat and gave me a pleasant smile that complemented his high and weathered cheekbones.
Roy was the ﬁrst Bible worker to share his testimony with me. He began by telling me he had been a Bible worker in the Southern Province of Zambia since 1999. When I asked about home, Roy explained that he raised goats and grew maize during the rainy seasons. These commodities provided the fuel for his self-funded door-to-door evangelism! He proceeded to say, “The good news that is in Truth Link…I am failing to keep it to myself!” His words ﬁlled the air with excitement. Needless to say, I was anxious to hear more.
Sensing my curiosity, Roy launched into the story of a young couple he’d met whose lives were changed by Truth Link. He only paused brieﬂy to add temporary moments of suspense. “Before I knocked on their door for the ﬁrst time, this young couple, the Manchina family, wanted nothing to do with Seventh-day Adventists. They had made up their minds that Adventist Christians were clever and judgmental. They could not and would not be tricked into believing strange Adventist truths, such as keeping the Sabbath.” Roy continued, “They were so serious about their distaste of Adventists that they implemented a family policy to never have a Seventh-day Adventist set foot in their house!”
The Manchinas lived in what Roy called a “modern house”—metal roof, brick walls, and windows. This simple home would have been quite the sight among the humble houses of mud walls and grass-thatched roofs of Roy’s village.
However, Roy said that, despite the couple’s ﬁrm convictions, his ﬁrst visit to the family’s home was met with an open door! They were cautious, yes, but welcoming. When asked about his ﬁrst impression of the Manchinas, he said that the husband had a large smile and the wife was very serious, especially when he ﬁrst met her. They were intrigued when he reached into his weathered black backpack and pulled out several small study guides ﬁlled with colorful images and Bible verses. After a minute or so of chit-chat at the door, the young couple decided to make a temporary exception to their anti-Adventist policy and accepted Roy’s oﬀer to study the lessons together. Roy commented that Truth Link was the only literature able to penetrate the Manchinas’ home.
In just the past six months, Roy reports that he has led 54 Truth Link Bible studies!
For the next four months, Roy’s Tuesdays were routine. Before the sun began to break the tall Zambian ridgeline, he would wake up to start his day navigating the narrow rows of his maize ﬁeld. Roy’s maize crop would soon be used by his wife to make porridge and other staple meals for their home. When the afternoon sun bathed the garden in its blanket of hot light, Roy quickly walked to the Manchinas’ house, located in his village, to study the next Truth Link lesson. For one hour, the trio would read the lesson and the Bible verses that accompanied it. Roy shared his admiration for the Truth Link study guides with me. He said they are “small, attractive, and easy to lead studies with.” Roy told me that during their studies, the Manchinas peppered him with questions, especially about the Sabbath.
“Why do Seventh-day Adventists go to church on Saturday?”
“Why can’t we keep the Sabbath on Sunday?”
With his Bible in his lap, Roy patiently answered their questions. The Manchinas’ hearts softened a little more with each visit. After six months, they could no longer deny the truth they were shown. The husband admitted to Roy, “We delayed accepting the truth because our judgment was human-based. But it is only the Bible that has the truth. We’ve decided to join you!” [edited for clarity.] Shortly after this powerful declaration, the Manchinas were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Roy’s village.
Roy said he continues to use Truth Link during door-to-door visits, inviting people to study the lessons that have been shipped to them from across the world. In just the past six months, Roy reports that he has led 54 Truth Link Bible studies!
After ﬁnishing his story, Roy returned to a relaxed position, with the same pleasant smile on his face as when he arrived. I recognized that his gentle soul held a ﬁery determination to share the gospel. Roy returned to join the other Pioneer Bible workers inside the chapel. Soon after, I heard the battle cries once again.
“We are in a battle for Jesus. Pioneers, let us do the work. Jesus is our commander, the Bible our bullet.”
Each day, these Bible workers are in a battle for Jesus. They are committed to sharing the good news with those in their villages and beyond. Sometimes they walk for several hours to witness in villages that have never heard the truth of the Bible before. Your generous support of Light Bearers equips these Zambian Bible warriors with Truth Link and helps them to share the love of Jesus.
Alyssa has her degree in International Development. She creates content and tells stories for nonprofits that work with refugees and vulnerable people living in Africa. When she is not traveling, Alyssa enjoys gardening, big family meals, chocolate chip cookies, and hiking in the Oregon forest with her husband.