My name is Zippy. I am an evangelist.
9/23/08 8:30 pm
Wearing a red fleece, and with her curly black hair tucked under a red ski cap, she looked like a cross between a black girl fromDetroitand an imp. But she definitely wasn’t. A 26-going-on-27-next-month Kenyan seminarian, Zippy’s eyes shone as she described her 10-year plan to me. Without a trace of arrogance, pride, or selfish ambition, it included going to the US after graduating from NEGST in 2010 to “survey the land” for 5 years before starting a church in Washington, DC – where politicians and statesmen would gather and worship the Lord. She clearly and humbly delivered each word – which visiting preachers had confirmed, prayed over, and anointed with oil when the Holy Spirit would reveal it to them during a church service. Just like Paul, I think she said, they laid hands on me.
I had a dream that I will start a church inWashington,DC. That was 4 years ago. I started praying for it 3 years ago. I want to be a tele-evangelist. I’m going to have my own television channel. Outdoor crusades, big rallies, open-air events, mass ministry.
I want to write books. I want to see people get salvation. Go from Satan to God. Turn completely around. I believe what _German evangelist_ said aboutAfricabeing Christ’s. Billy Graham’s ministry will just be a shadow of my own. David is the powerhouse behind Joyce Meier’s ministry, but you don’t know, because he’s backstage, behind-the-scenes. I am asking the Lord for a missionary, a partner – who will understand the call. Not see me as most African men see women. I have not found him yet. But I am asking for the best because I am going to give God my best.
He needs to help me reach my goal. Because I don’t plan on dying before I reach my goal.
And that’s what had started all of it – me asking her whether she had ever dated. Not seriously, she said. She looked carefully at each man who would approach her, she said, because she was looking for something very particular.
I wish I could capture for you the quiet gravity in her voice, the complete lack of any sort of attempt to even downplay the enormity of her plans. The way I couldn’t help but believe her and believe each word she said was from God. Because as I type out what it was she said, the words on the page look overconfident, the talk of a megalomaniac. If she wasn’t perfectly sane, I’d have told you that her above words were those of a schizophrenic. Her words, typed out, don’t match the earnestness of her expression, the simple way she spoke. Not trying to convince me or get me to believe her – just telling me because I asked.
I got my first indication that Zippy was a little different the first night we were out together at a friends’ house for dinner – all of the 1st-year single students. We each went around and introduced ourselves: “My name is Zipporah, but I prefer being called Zippy. I am an evangelist. I am a 2nd-year student doing an MDiv in Missions.” In the US we talk about doing evangelism and people gifted in evangelism. But rarely does anyone come out and say, “I am an evangelist.” Not the way she does. I have no clue whether anyone else here in Africa talks the way she does – I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone in the whole US talk like her. No one thinks to even aspire to be an evangelist. It’s not on your 4th-grade teacher’s list of future professions. Even if it’s a Christian school. Even if you’re home-schooled by super-fundamentalist parents. At least, I don’t think.
People like Zippy make me wonder if I’m totally off – make me wish I was built like them, had their gifts. No wonder people come to faith when she gives evangelistic messages – her incredible confidence is like a ruler that shows you just how far off you are. Of course you had no clue you were though. They provoke the question – what on earth am I here for?
Gosh. And I thought my dreams were big.