By Kelsi Williamson, photos by Esther Haven, The Seed Company —
Under a white bucket hat and blue-tinted glasses, Michael Kativa’s smile is as wide as his face and his eyes sparkle in mirth. His tall height and outgoing personality set him apart from many of his San peers.
The foundation for Michael’s vibrant joy lies within the confidence he finds in Jesus. Quite comfortable in his camping chair, he sat back, crossing his legs, and explained, “I am thankful I am saved and that my life has been transformed because of God’s Word. It has brought me peace with God.”
Before he knew the stories found in Scripture, Michael would often get into fights and drink too much. His wife left him many years ago, and he has since experienced the death of his daughter and has become estranged from his son.
“The Bible exposes what is wrong in your life,” he says.
As a San elder, Michael desires a better life for the people of his home village, Kapatura. Michael lived in Nambia for many years, but returned to home 15 years ago. Now as an elder in the community, Michael says hopes to be a father figure to many of the young people that live nearby. He passionately lives a changed life in order for more lives to change.
Many people in the community do not know how to read. For the San people, the life of Jesus is a story best told orally, around a campfire or under a neighbor’s tree. Michael has been part of the Bible storytelling project in Botswana since it began just over a year ago and he is encouraged by the changes occurring in Kapatura. Many more young people in his village have started attending Bible studies organized by field coordinator, Eben Le Roux. This is a big accomplishment because, “the young people are disillusioned,” says Eben. “Many do not believe that the Scriptures bring hope.”
Working as narrators with Eben and Michael, some of the younger community members have a huge opportunity to impact their friends and family. Michael desires to see them succeed and stays in touch with them.
As a narrator and a workshop attendee, Michael is learning more and more about how to deal with his neighbors in a Godly manner. People don’t always respond to the stories he tells and his values as a believer in the way he would hope, but that doesn’t stop him from continuing to share.
“I used to have a lot more hair when I started work for God years ago,” he told us jokingly. “It’s as if people are unaware that they are in a bush. They should come out of the bush, out of the woods and be in the open to learn about God.”
Kapatura‘s village chief also recently started to come to the meetings – a small act that could greatly affect the rest of the village. Michael has welcomed the chief with open arms and glorifies God for the opportunities ministering to the chief will create.
No matter the resistance or obstacles, Michael is set to change his people for the better. He is looked up to by many of the workshop attendees and his fellow narrators because he is knowledgeable but more importantly, because he cares about those around him. His confidence is not just a character trait, but clearly a work of the Holy Spirit. He is an elder set on changing the world around him only because he can proudly proclaim, “God is the same, He doesn’t change.”
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