By Mark Ellis
In his village in southern Zimbabwe, people still seek help through witchdoctors, who offer a portal into the darkness of the supernatural realm. But one young man found healing in the arms of Jesus after his father’s gods proved impotent.
“In our country, people believe in God, but the way to reach God is done through dead spirits,” says Nhamo Chigohi, the son of a witchdoctor.
Nhamo suffered a painful infection and boil on his head, that rendered him unable to move from his bed. He spent many days listlessly, barely able to turn over, yet his father refused modern medical care. “He would not allow me to go to the hospital because he believed he could heal through witchcraft,” he notes.
Nhamo’s father called on his spirits – the spirits of lesser gods – but they could not heal the young man.
One day a team came from a neighboring village to show the JESUS Film. “I was warned by my father not to see any activity sponsored by the local church,” he says. When Nhamo’s father and mother left him alone, they warned him not to watch the JESUS movie on the evening it was presented in their village.
Even though Nhamo did not see the film, the sound carried into his room, so he could follow the soundtrack as he lay motionless on his bed. “I heard the voice when Jesus was healing people and I said to myself, ‘I believe this same Jesus can come and heal me too.’”
The next day members of the JESUS Film team went door-to-door throughout the village. “They shared the story of salvation with me and prayed for my healing,” he recalls. Even though he didn’t fully understand, Nhamo prayed a simple prayer of faith to receive Jesus and he was born again.
The shift in his mental outlook was instantaneous. “I had faith I would not die of this sickness,” he says. “The fear of evil spirits and witchcraft was completely removed from me.”
When his parents returned and discovered what happened, Nhamo’s father was furious. He flew into a rage, shouting epithets at Nhamo and his mother.
Then a terrible tragedy struck. Nhamo’s mother developed food poisoning and died three days later. It was a horrible shock and Nhamo grieved heavily for days, but he was not prepared for his father’s malevolent response.
“You are a disgrace to the spirit of your ancestors,” his father said, referring to Nhamo’s newfound faith in Jesus. “Because of what you have done I will not take care of you. No one will take care of you. I will have to drive you out of my house.”
Nhamo went to live in the streets of a nearby town, Neshuro. His headaches began to subside and he actually felt normal, despite his ordeal. After Nhamo became homeless he prayed, “Lord, please help me. I’m alone and I’m hungry.”
After months of gritting through a meager survival, Baptist missionary David Griggs found Nhamo in a deserted alley. Nhamo summoned the courage to share about his faith and his father’s rejection.
“When he heard my story he was so happy and he adopted me into his house, where his wife home-schooled me,” Nhamo recalls.
A few months later Nhamo learned some sad news. “My father hanged himself. He had no joy at all,” Nhamo laments.
Pastor Griggs discipled the younger man in the Lord, and trained Nhamo to share his testimony after they showed the JESUS Film. The young man grew in wisdom and favor, and eventually became a pastor to his ancestral people, the Shangaan.
Pastor Nhamo Chigohi has planted over 60 churches in his region. He is the administrator of seven schools and also oversees an orphanage, which is close to his heart. “When I was on the streets, it was my training for orphanage ministry,” he notes.”
“God is moving,” he says. “He has opened the Gospel to the Shangaan people and many others.”
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