Saving a Prophet
Villagers are shocked to see him give up his cow's tail for Jesus.
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, March 2.
People wishing to cleanse their homes of evil spirits in the Zimbabwean village of Fairview knew who to call: Cleopas, a man who called himself a prophet.
Cleopas would go to their homes with a cow tail. After dipping the cow tail into water, he would walk from room to room, shaking it at the walls and in the corners. Afterward, he would collect a payment of cash or even two or three living cows—with their tails still attached.
Mkhokheli didn’t know Cleopas when he moved to Fairview. The missionary only wanted to teach people about Jesus and tell them that Jesus is coming soon. He decided to conduct a two-week evangelistic series.
Cleopas attended nearly every meeting.
Then one evening, Mkhokheli stood up and preached about prophets. He spoke about how God had used Bible prophets like Moses, Elijah, and Isaiah to call people to obey His commandments. He opened the Bible to Matthew 24:24 and read, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
“Do the prophets nowadays do as those prophets of old?” he asked. “Those prophets didn’t ask for money from people. They wanted to serve the Lord. The prophets nowadays are taking things from people and doing fake miracles.”
Turning to 2 Kings 5, Mkhokheli read how the prophet Elisha had refused to take silver and gold after Naaman was healed of leprosy.
“But prophets nowadays take silver and gold from people,” he said. “Today’s prophets preach about a gospel of prosperity, and I have never heard a prophet say, ‘Get ready, Jesus is coming soon.’ They talk about earthly things. Why? Because they are of this world and not of above.”
At the end of the sermon, Mkhokheli appealed for people to give their hearts to Jesus. Cleopas was the first to come forward. Tears flowed down his cheeks. The other people stared in astonishment. Many of them had paid Cleopas to visit their homes with his cow tail in the past.
“This man is a prophet,” whispered one person.
“And he is leaving everything for Jesus!” said another.
After the sermon, Mkhokheli prayed with Cleopas and learned for the first time that he had called himself a prophet.
Thirty-two people were baptized after the evangelistic meetings. Cleopas was the first to go down into the water and to come up a new person.
Cleopas no longer takes cow tails to people’s homes. He believes that the only way to get rid of evil spirits is through prayer to the God of heaven.
Thank you for your mission offering that supports the work of missionaries like Mkhokheli Ngwenya.
For photos to share with this and other mission stories, visit the Facebook page for the Mission quarterlies
For this and other stories, download the Children’s Mission quarterly (PDF)