It began as a competition of loud speakers. Sikwiza was preparing to hold meetings in a very remote village in the Northern Province of Zambia. The people had never heard the Gospel in this area before, and Sikwiza was sent by Riverside to share the news of God’s love to them. But there was one man very opposed to this plan, and he began devising a way to distract the village from attending and listening to the meetings.
“I know!” he thought, “I’ll rent a loud speaker and put a movie on a TV screen. This will distract the people from the meetings. They won’t be able to hear the messages and will come be entertained by my set up over here.” He warned everyone not to go and listen to the preacher.
The trouble maker began setting up his equipment. Very pleased he must have been for his crafty plan of diversion. But wait, what was that? As he watched Sikwiza set up for his meetings, he brought out loud speakers too. But his were HUGE! The size of caskets! What he didn’t realize is that the church that sponsored the equipment provided speakers loud enough that every home in the village could hear the program. And, in their own words, would literally chase the cockroaches out of their homes.
And what was that? Sikwiza was hanging up a large white sheet in front of several rows of wooden planks arranged for seating. In front of that was a machine casting light and pictures on the white backdrop. The local villagers had never seen a projector before. “I can’t compete with that,” he thought. Dismayed and defeated, he left.
He and his wife headed to the fields to plant rice, leaving their young children behind at the house.
At some point their little girl went to use the pit toilet, or latrine, a deep cesspool surrounded by a thatched grass enclosure. Maybe she was used to her mommy’s help, maybe her little legs just couldn’t reach across far enough, or maybe the rains created a muddy platform causing her foot to slip, but regardless of how it happened, she fell. Fell down into the deep hole beneath her.
As she sunk into the foul excrement, she kicked and screamed for help. The surface of the waste pool was covered in flies and roaches. They immediately covered her face as she was submerged up to her chin.
People all around came running and peered down.
“What shall we do?” the people cried.
“I’m not going down there!” each one said.
“Go get her parents!” they all decided.
Sikwiza could hear the pitiful cry of the little girl down in the dark, miserable pit. He couldn’t keep her down there. He couldn’t wait on the parent’s to arrive. There was no time. At any moment she would drown.
So he did what no one else would do. He went down there himself. As he lowered his body down into the nauseating vile hole, the feces was just about to reach her mouth and he began pulling her out. Excited to be rescued she threw her self onto him, waste matter covered his body and slung onto his face. He had saved her!
When the parents arrived, they were shocked. A man that he had tried to cause so much trouble for had saved his little girl when none of his friends in the village would.
With a changed heart he began to attend the meetings. The preacher with the loud speakers, became the preacher in the toilet. And at the end of the two weeks, the man, his wife, and his whole family all accepted Jesus and were baptized.
As I listened to Sikwiza’s story, another story seemed so closely familiar. Isn’t there One who came down to earth, lived among the repugnant filth of sin, experienced the most abhorrent of situations to save us? And wouldn’t He have done that just for one of us?
Isn’t that what this season of Christmas is all about? His birth? His reincarnation to this race to rescue us from the results and consequences of sin? There is no language to describe the horrendous experience of the cross. Yet He was willing to walk through that for me. And for you. Now that’s a story worth sharing. Again, and again, and again until everyone has heard the Good News!