…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14
Dr Wana Ann G Fort, medical doctor, pioneer medical missionary to Sanyati, Zimbabwe 1953-1988:
My life as a child was idyllic compared to the life of this dear friend (Jeri Muvindi). Jeri had a difficult childhood. His father had two wives, and he was one of the children of four from the second wife. Polygamy caused a lot of problems, particularly strife between the senior wife and the subsequent wives and between children of the different mothers. When Jeri’s father died, the oldest son from the first wife treated him like a slave. He was forced to tend to his father’s herds of goat and cattle that had been left to the oldest son. Beaten and punished for no reason, our friend was reduced to wearing a loin cloth which embarassed him.
Jeri was not allowed to go to school as he grew up because he was told that he was unworthy and less than human. But one thing about him, he was a good herd boy. When he was 15 years old, he had a chance to hear a sermon in the Dutch Reformed Church from a missionary doctor. This man of God preached from John 10 about Jesus being the Good Shepherd. he didn’t grasp the truth yet about Jesus being a shepherd, but he determined that he would be one. He memorized John 10 from hearing it, because he could not read. He knew all his cattle by names such as Busvumani, Bandomu, Blace and Venandi.
One day, his difficult brother gave him a small bag of corn kernels to sell so that he could buy clothes to cover his nakedness. He walked 25 miles to a store, but he didn’t buy clothing, even though he desperately needed some. Instead he purchased a Bible and a songbook. He still couldn’t read, but he held that Bible out and carefully turned the pages as he pretended to be the missionary doctor preaching from John 10.
When Jeri reached home, his mother and brother were angry that he did not buy himself clothing. He had no clothes that year except his loin cloth and a long vest. But the Spirit of God opened this young man to the gospel of Jesus as he recited the words of John 10 over and over. As a result, dressed in his limited clothing, he walked to one of the kraal school of the mission and asked the principal to allow him to be a student, “Sir, take me in because of John 10.”
He was given an entrance test but failed miserably. Eventually when he was 17 and still could not read, the principal had mercy on him and accepted him as a student. He told me, “I have no friends but Jesus. Each day, I prayed with my Bible open, I think upside down; I did not know! I did poorly in school until Jesus opened my eyes to read. Then I did better and finally finished eight grade when I was 22 years old.” Jesus was Jeri’s teacher.
Seven years after he became a Christian, Jeri became a teacher and preacher. He joined the Salvation Army, and then he went to teacher’s training school. He became one of our teachers at the Sanyati Baptist School. Did Jeri hold a grudge against his older brother? Never. he prayed for him and desired to lead his lost brother to find the Good Shepherd. I was humbled by this man who was a picture of Christ to so many.
After 7 years at Sanyati, we were seeing the Shepherd bring many to Himself, even those we thought were the impossible ones.
Source: Wana Ann G Fort, A Thousand Times Yes, Two Doctors who answered God’s Call, New Hope Publishers, 2013, pg 117-120
by 林弟兄, bro Lim
December 27, 2014
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