African songs cheered up the morning of more than 117 thousand people across the African continent. Traditional costumes colored the scene. There was no way to stand still in the midst of so many excited people. The reason for the smiles? Tribes, once known for hating each other, accepted the invitation to participate in the “Meeting of Warriors”, an event promoted by the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God on Sunday (11) in more than 32 countries.
“Men came here who don’t mix with politics, much less with other tribes or religions. Unfortunately, there are still many tribal clashes in the country. But they are here, above all, because they feel respected”, said Bishop Marcelo Pires, responsible for the institution’s work on the continent.
At the Cathedral in Soweto alone, around 21,000 people attended the celebration held by Bishop Macedo. “The first ancestor of us all was Abraham. He respected and obeyed the Word of God, and because of that, he became the father in faith of all his generations. We are part of the generations of Abraham. From him, many years later, Jesus came, which means forgiveness, liberation and salvation for all”, explained Bishop Macedo.
He also reinforced the importance of trust. “The Word of God brings the understanding that we cannot depend on luck or curse. Jesus came into the world and died for everyone who believes in his word. Whoever believes in Him becomes free and receives the blessing of Abraham. So we don’t need luck, we just need to trust.”
At the end of the celebration, the main warriors of the African tribes gathered at the altar of Soweto Cathedral. Prince Vanana Zulu insisted on emphasizing the importance of this union: “For many years we were divided, we did not meet, and today this is happening”.
He and other leaders thanked the work carried out by the Universal Church. The Zulus, for example, one of the most feared and respected tribes in South Africa, who form the largest ethnic group in the country, with about 11 million people, surprised everyone by honoring Bishop Macedo with a costume that only royalty zulu use. “You are a leader, a warrior, who endured and overcame adversity, just like us,” said the prince as he handed over the gift.
Another group of warriors, the Maasai, came from Kenya and reinforced how grateful they were for the invitation.
“After getting to know Universal’s work, we began to have a lot of peace in our midst and respect was established in our village. We see Bishop Macedo as a warrior, just as we are,” said leader King Peli.
The Massai tribe is one of the best known and most respected ethnic groups in Africa. It preserves many cultural traditions. The warriors of the Masai tribe, for example, spend a period of their lives isolated in the jungle to learn the tribe’s customs and survival skills from their elders.
A new beginning
Seeing people like the Zulus, Masai, Xhosa, Swatis, Sothos, gathered to seal peace and honor Bishop Macedo and his family moved the audience. “We never thought it would be possible for this to happen in Africa. Seeing them all together is something that makes us very happy”, declared Boitumelo Kheone, from the Pedi tribe.
Generally, each tribe unites only with members of its own tribe. So, for Bishop Macedo, the meeting represented much more than just a get-together.
“It’s a historic day. My joy comes from God because the dream I had was to take the Gospel to every creature, but I thought it would be difficult to reach people like the indigenous peoples, people who lived in the jungle and, look, today this happened, we are seeing something unheard of in history.”
In fact, what we saw was the willingness of the tribes to cultivate unity and peace, without discrimination. And so ended the “Meeting of Warriors”, with a light, relaxed atmosphere and lots of music.
People who didn’t go there just to celebrate, but to seek a transformation, a fresh start. A milestone not only for the work of the Universal Church, but for the life of all African people.