So how did Vestavia Church get involved with evangelistic efforts in Africa?
It all began in 2004, when a tall African man, directed by the providence of God, walked into Vestavia church to worship with us. The man's name was Brother Obey Ndalima Mwakalong, and he had travelled from Tanzania to Birmingham to study the bible at Estonian Bible College. Brother Obey, being from Africa, was first drawn to Vestavia Church due to the name "Primitive" on our sign. Following that first worship service, Bro. Obey was encouraged to stay and have lunch with us. He graciously accepted the invitation. Bro. Obey was later fond of saying that if you want to convert a hungry man to the truth you need to first feed him. Brother Obey quickly won the hearts of Vestavia church with his infectious smile, gentle nature and gregarious personality.
Bro. Obey quickly became interested in the doctrines of grace as he had never heard about a grace so amazing that it could save his ancestors in Africa that had never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. He soaked up the doctrines of grace like a sponge. Our pastor, Eld. Sam Bryant, took Obey to lunch one day. Bro. Obey told Bro. Sam that he never understood how the thief on the cross could be saved until Bro. Sam had explained how the Holy Spirit had directly quickened the thief on the cross. The thief went from a man railing on Jesus to one that asked to be remembered when Christ entered His Kingdom. On May 16, 2004, Bro. Obey came forward and asked to be baptized into the full fellowship of Vestavia Church. With much joy, Vestavia Church gladly received Bro. Obey. Bro. Sam continued to study and teach Bro. Obey while he went to college. It later became evident to Vestavia Church that Bro. Obey had a gift to teach, so he began preaching in our Sunday afternoon services. Eventually, Bro. Obey was ordained to the full work of the ministry at Vestavia Church. Although Obey loved America, he had a tremendous burden to take the gospel of salvation by the grace of God back to his beloved Tanzania. Following graduation from Estonian Bible College, Bro. Obey did just that.