African Preacher makes impact at Katherine Convention

29 May 2010 |

The Christian community in the Northern Territory is rejoicing over the work of God amongst them after the recent Katherine Christian Convention (KCC) – where Langham Scholar Alfred Olwa was keynote speaker.

Alfred Olwa at KCC
Alfred Olwa, left, at the KCC

Alfred preached five times from 1 Peter on the theme ‘Chosen and Called’, at the 43rd KCC, an annual event that brings different Christian organisations, missionaries, and Aboriginal mobs (a people group under one leadership) in the Northern Territory together to ‘feed and drink together from the spiritual wellspring—the Bible’ and encourage one another.

It was a convention with a difference, said Phil Zamagias, the NT Bible Society’s ‘flying Bibleman’ who chaired this year’s KCC.

“Alfred had the crowd enthralled with his blend of enthusiasm for God’s Word and his clear preaching,” he said. “Many people queued up after the final session to meet this wonderful man of God who had captured the hearts and minds of the locals with his warmth, courage and godliness.”

The messages emphasised the privilege of being chosen by God and being called into fellowship with Him through the work of the Holy Spirit.

“The six images Peter paints in 1 Peter 2:1-17: new born babies, living stones, holy priests, God’s own people – ‘God’s mob’, foreigners and aliens, and citizens heaven living temporarily on earth – resonated strongly,” said Alfred.

“I was interrupted several times in the messages with loud clapping over the points I made; and on the last day I made an altar call — though I am told that neither clapping in middle of the sermon nor altar calls happen regularly in the Northern Territory,” he said.

The convention had a dramatic impact on those who attended.

“This was the best KCC ever,” the organising committee said at the conclusion of the convention.  ‘Thank you for blessing us so mightily.’  After presenting Alfred with the recently-published Kriol Bible (the first complete Bible in an indigenous Australian language), the leader of one of the Aboriginal mobs told Alfred that they would ‘remember and talk over your message for over 50 years! ”

To Alfred’s great surprise, the convention sung a Swahili song taught by Ugandan evangelist Bishop Festo Kivengere, the subject of Alfred’s doctoral studies, during his 1959 Australian visit.

“It was great to be among brothers and sisters who love the Lord and depend on him in all that they are doing,” said Alfred.

“I was reminded of this need when Paul in Romans 7:24 said ‘Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? ’ (NLT). Paul knew who and not what he will depend on for daily living and spiritual growth in salvation. He will depend on the person of Jesus for his daily living and not some programme or philosophy.  I could see this simple and profound truth at work in most of the people at the Convention! ”