From Ancestor Worship to Jesus Worship

Missionaries try to reach people who are caught in ancestor worship like these people here.
Through your support, people like Dumisani are freed from the practices of ancestor worship. Now they're learning to study the Bible for themselves!

Dumisani was a good South African. He grew up believing everything his parents taught him — to go to church on Sundays, but then to worship the ancestors and put his faith in traditional healers the rest of the week.

But when he started his freshman year of college, a group called the Zion Students Christian Organization caught his attention. Out of curiosity, Dumisani began attending some of their Bible studies.

The more Dumisani learned about the Word, the more it challenged everything he thought he knew about salvation.

And at one open-air church service on campus, Dumisani was faced with the life-changing question: What do you believe in now?

The Challenges of Following Jesus

But if I accept Jesus, how will I tell my parents? Dumisani thought as he listened to the service.

But when the altar call came, he couldn’t deny what was happening in his mind and heart. Dumisani walked up to the podium and declared his faith in Jesus — and Jesus alone — in front of everyone.

“My biggest challenge was then how to tell my family that I no longer believe in what they believe in,” Dumisani says. “This is because I knew their views when it comes to salvation.”

But as time went by, Dumisani’s family decided their love for him was greater than the disappointment they felt in him choosing a different faith path. And slowly, they began to accept his decision.

But then Dumisani faced another challenge.

He’d grown up in a family that mixed a traditional African religion with what little they knew about Christianity. He knew he believed solely in Jesus now, but he still didn’t know much about the Word. And even more frustrating, he didn’t know how to study it.

That’s when Dumisani met Kit.

A Friend to Teach Him the Bible

TEAM missionary Kit Tischler’s ministry is to reach out to South African university students just like Dumisani.Through groups like the Zion Students Christian Organization, Kit gets to know and mentor students who are seeking Jesus — but need encouragement and guidance when it comes to following Him.  

That’s exactly how he met Dumisani.

University students, like the ones Kit Tischler works with, listen as their teacher speaks.

Dumisani grew up worshipping his ancestors. He never learned to study Scripture for himself, until you sent a missionary named Kit to teach him.

They started off studying the book of Colossians together in a one-on-one setting. But as Dumisani’s understanding increased, they invited a few other young men to join for studies on Mark and Ephesians.

“When Mr. Tischler and I met, I was going to church but never really knew the Lord. … It is amazing how my life has transformed since we met,” Dumisani says. “He has encouraged me to read the Word and, most importantly, he has taught me how to analyze the Word thoroughly. I have grown so much and am still growing.”

Now, Dumisani plans to study business for an electrical company startup he’s building with another South African Christian.

The potential Dumisani has to impact the Kingdom as a future business owner is staggering. And Kit says that’s exactly why he does what he does.

“Many of these young people will soon be thrust into places of leadership in their communities, families, churches and workplaces. How wonderful would it be if these students were committed to Jesus and mature in their faith while serving in these positions?” Kit says. “Just think of the ways God could use these young people!”

*The names of the people you’ve helped may be changed to protect their privacy.

You can help reach more students like Dumisani right now! With a gift to TEAM, you provide core mission support for ministry’s like Kit’s — and others around the world. Will you please help share the Gospel today?

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About the author

Brianna Langley

Brianna served as TEAM's Associate Editor and Staff Photographer. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University, where she double-majored in journalism and international affairs. She grew up on the mission field in Romania, but now resides in East Tennessee. Some of her favorite things to enjoy outside of the office include hiking, reading, writing and a good cup of coffee.

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  • Spiritual knowledge is different from academic wisdom. People miss the road when they think in as much they can read or write, but that is not what we are doing. To understand scripture you need holy spirit. All scriptures is full of inspiration. 2Tim 3:16. The message of the cross is a foolish thing to the wisdom of this world.

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