These can all be outcomes of sanctification. For two men in an African refugee camp, these radical concepts are rewriting a broken story — nearly half of a century of revenge and conflict.
More than 45 years ago, a member of Aman’s* clan was abused by a relative of Zula’s clan. Aman’s family member confronted the abuser with the transgression and ending with the abuser being stabbed to death. This division created a rivalry between the two clans. Over the last half-century, Aman’s clan killed 19 men from Zula’s clan, and Zula’s clan tallied 14 revenge killings from Aman’s clan. Many more have been wounded.
One day, by God’s transformational grace, everything began to change. Aman approached the JESUS Film team leader who works as a volunteer translator at the refugee camp. After the team leader helped him with his translation needs, he shared the gospel with him by showing him the JESUS film. Aman made a decision for Christ! The team leader, who knew the clan dynamics in the refugee camp, taught Aman about forgiveness. Aman said in response, "I can forgive everyone, but not that man.” He would not even utter Zula’s name!
The team leader said to Aman, “If Zula also believed in Christ, would you forgive him? Would you fellowship with him?” He said yes, but added, “I know he will never believe — his entire clan is impure and evil.” The team leader recruited two more JESUS Film team members to help him. To Aman’s great surprise, Zula also made a decision for Christ, and both men forgave each other and fellowshipped together! They both attend the same Bible study and pray for each other.
The news of Aman and Zula’s reconciled relationship is making waves throughout the two clans. The clansmen are confused and bewildered and cannot understand what has changed. Both men are now peacemakers, spreading the word through phone calls and social media that the revenge killings and hatred must stop. The clansmen are beginning to listen; however, the wounds are many and will take time to heal.
In an authentic act of this radical reconciliation, Aman invited Zula to initiate his two-month-old son. Zula picked up the boy and did the dedication by reciting the stanzas “do as I do, follow my footsteps.” The fact that Aman initiated a boy from a rival clan entered the very records of the clans’ history — never to be forgotten.
Aman and Zula’s friendship is causing many others in the refugee camp to take notice as well. Some are pleasantly surprised—others are shocked. One elder from a radical religious group remarked, “No one seems to know why, but they are like brothers!” JESUS Film leadership reports that the “tit-for-tat killings could one day come to an end because of the nascent reconciliation ministry of these two men.”
Pray for Aman, Zula, and JESUS Film teams as they outreach to the lost. Pray the clan members and refugees to be touched by the transformational peace of Christ.
*Aman and Zula are pseudonyms. Special thanks to the JESUS Film leaders who contributed to this report. Names and location have been omitted or changed to protect their true identities.
JESUS Film teams are ministering in creative ways just like through Aman and Zula’s testimony, across refugee camps and around the world as they receive new tools with which to share God’s love. Click here to support the work of the 681 teams faithfully serving.
An earlier version of this story appeared in Holiness Today magazine.