Called: Dr. Francis Kashimawo
By Mercy Kambura
When you set out to go to a mission field, what do you expect to find? Definitely not a backslidden ex-missionary! And yet, at the end of our seven-hour treacherous trek up a mountain to Donkin in northern Nigeria, that’s the story that greeted us.
We were welcomed with okra, cool mountain water, and the sad tale of the first missionary among the Mumuye people. After ministering alone for years with no tangible fruit, he fell away from the faith. The ruins of the foundation of the house he planned to build stood as an eerie testimony to his abandoned faith and its missionary mandate.
Why would a man zealous enough for the Lord to attempt such a venture fall away? My eyes opened to the reality of the lonesomeness that can sabotage an isolated missionary.
The Lord has saved me from such an experience; I have not worked solo from the time I committed to the Lord to serve him for just one year, as payment for the salvation of my family.
It was a foolish covenant to make, but I was a zealous new believer who daily hounded my family with scriptures to the point of being labelled “a persecutor of non-believers”!
Born and bred a staunch Roman Catholic, my probability of conversion was low. We had enough contempt for the Christians who carried Bibles to fill a cathedral. I wasn’t planning to become one of those scripture-quoting nags. But the Lord doesn’t respect the status quo. So He gave me a demon-tormented Muslim as a friend; suffer as he did, I couldn’t help him and it broke my heart.
One day, he attended a meeting of CAPRO missionaries, and he was delivered! Now that conversion, I couldn’t deny.
In my eyes, I wasn’t ‘good enough’ for the good Lord, so I decided to clean my life up before becoming a believer too. In December 1987, alone in my campus room, I realized I couldn’t clean it on my own if I tried – and I had tried. So I gave my life to Christ. I was now, officially, one of the Bible carriers I despised – and it felt terrific!
I cried out, “Lord, if You save my family, I’ll serve You for one whole year, exclusively.”
But I was also weighed down by the reality that if my twin sister died, she’d be forever separated from the Lord and me. My whole family was in danger of hell, and I wasn’t about to accept going to heaven alone. I cried out, “Lord, if You save my your character is wanting, you’re missing the mark. Your family, I’ll serve You for one whole year, exclusively.” Within six months, my family – including my brother in training to be a Catholic priest – got saved.
God kept His word; it was time to keep mine
I started looking for CAPRO, the missions agency of the people the Lord had used to deliver my demon-possessed friend. After much convincing, CAPRO took me in for a short-term mission assignment. In my second week, I fell critically sick, and in that sickness, the Lord gently reminded me that I couldn’t repay him for even one soul, even if I worked for a thousand years.
My one-year “contract” with the Lord has been renewed every year for 35 years. Working under a missions agency has been a huge blessing, especially in the area of missions training. I’m now CAPRO’s Director of Community Transformation, based in Kenya.
When I recall the young, backslidden missionary, I can’t help but feel that working with others has saved my ministry. What would I tell a young person who senses the call of God to GO?
- Learn to walk in teams. Otherwise, it is very lonely on the field.
- Get trained. Training helps you contextualize missions, grow your walk and clarify your calling. Preparation and training are required for every profession; Christian missions should not be an exception.
- Build up your character. If you can raise the dead but your character is wanting you are missing the the mark. Your personal life of discipleship is more important than the miracles coming through your hands.
- Expect hard labour. Mission is not for lazy people, but the Lord is faithful.
- Whether with commendation or condemnation from men, do the work of the Lord