From Sangoma to Saint

    Witchcraft. Divination. Murder. God takes these very seriously. Under the Mosaic Law, these evil acts are punishable by death. James Mbeue did them all, and more.  

    James was a Muslim and a witch doctor (‘sangoma’) in Mozambique. He had five wives, killed pregnant women and children by black magic, and put diseases on people. Death and destruction were his way of life. 

    But James wasn't just any sangoma. He was the head of sangomas. His black magic power was renowned. He travelled in many southern African countries through magic. Many would come to him. He had power. He had fame. As a sangoma leader, James had his disciples too, including his children. But James did not have peace. He failed to educate his children and properly take care of his wives.

    When James heard about FEBA’s ministry Radio FOT (Fountain of Truth), he wanted to destroy it. He wanted to thwart the visits of the team to listener clubs. (Listener clubs are groups that gather to hear FEBA's broadcasts. There are 14,000 clubs in Mozambique, with around 50 members in each club.) Once, James tried to make the car break down whilst the team was on its way to an outreach. But God is infinitely more powerful. James failed. He then planned to curse the station, so he started to listen to the broadcasts.  

    But God had different plans.

    Sangomas or witch doctors in Africa used black magic to curse and to kill.

    The more James listened to Radio FOT, the more he felt a strange stirring in his heart to want to know more about salvation. Finally, James contacted the station.  

    "I don't want you to tell other people, but I want you to tell me more about Jesus Christ because my heart wants to know more," James explained to the team. So the team excitedly went to visit James and his wives. 

    At the visit, James blurted out, "If I accepted Jesus Christ, what will be the benefit for me? Will my life be like others?" The team suggested they pray together first and then discuss. So they prayed and had a lengthy discussion. The entire family came to Christ then and there and James asked for a Bible. (Cover picture of James receiving a bible from Bright Sonjera, Director of FEBA’s ministry in Mozambique.)

    But God didn’t just stop there. James started sharing his testimony on the radio, even on a secular BBC radio service! Through James, 12 of his sangoma trainees have become disciples of Jesus Christ! They are all planted in churches. Radio FOT provided them with sewing machines and training for them to start their small businesses. Today, the sangoma club they formed no longer pronounce curses. Instead, they actively bring other sangomas to life in Jesus. Their powerful testimonies on FEBC Mozambique's 'Testimony Hour' are now reaching other sangomas. 

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