Out of Africa Home Page


Text of video

2. Globalization
3. Missionaries in Africa
4. Religion & Prosperity
5. Racism
6. Ecuminism
7. In a Strange Land
8. Bibliography

Songs the video

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Whites in the Land of the Blues: Ethnicity , Race, and Class in the Lower Mississippi Delta

J. C. Coovert: Photographer of the Cotton South

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© D. Gorton and Jane Adams 2004

Transcript of the Video "Out of Africa"
Written and Produced by D. Gorton and Jane Adams
John Danquah: We want to sing a song and worship to the lord that we all know. Just want to clap our hands and praise the Lord tonight. Amen. Listen to the Word. Amen.

(singing:) Oh, alas and did my savior bleed
and did my sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

John Danquah singing
Jane Adams: Meet John Danquah, a Christian minister born in Ghana, West Africa. He is pastor of a church in Canada made up of immigrants like himself, people who have come from all over the world.

Brother John Danquah is visiting Yazoo City, Mississippi, to dedicate a tiny church made up of intensely religious white people in the Mississippi Delta.

Danquah came with members of his congregation, including Charlie Obimbo. His is Professor of Computer Science. He earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in the Soviet Union and his Doctorate in Canada.

They are followers of Brother William Branham who was born in a log cabin along the Ohio River in Kentucky. Brother Branham preached his message of healing in revivals around the world. For his followers, Branham's message unlocks the secret code of Revelations, promising salvation at the End of Days.

Religion flows almost unchecked around the world. It's part of what we call "globalization" -- a process that was slowed by the Cold War but it's now unleashed again.

It was there by faith I received my life and now

What you're seeing is the global flow of ideas, and religion. In a half century, Branham's message moved from mid-America to Africa to Canada, and back to the American South.

Bro. David Wright: Amen. Dear to my heart. I can't express my appreciation.

Jane Adams: Meet Brother David Wright, minister of the Bible Believers Church, who brought Brother Danquah and members of Danquah's congregation to dedicate this church in Yazoo City.

Bro. David Wright: Praise the Lord, I just love you. I love God more than I do you.

Amen, I love God more than I do you, but I love you. Amen and I want you to know it tonight. I appreciate everyone of you’s here. Amen. It's just good to

Jane Adams: We were invited to attend the service by Pennie and William French, who we had interviewed about their lives. They have come with their extended family -- their daughter and grandson who lives near them, their nephew from Louisiana.

Bro. David Wright: Amen, you know it seemed like the Enemy got in, and we had a setback, and hindered us, and for about four or five years now we haven't had them [camp meetings] and it seemed like there's something on the move, Brother John,

Jane Adams: Gospels singers -- the Castle Family from Jackson, Mississippi, and the Goodmans from Tennessee -- have brought their music to help dedicate the new church.

Some came seeking a miracle.

Bro. David Wright: ... to the beginning of those camp meetings again. Amen. I want you to pray about it. Amen. I'm ready to do whatever is necessary to bring it about if it can be. To be a blessing and a strength and encouragement to God's people, to have them, we can come together like this, you know. Amen. And so it just be in prayer about that. We want to know that we appreciate you and we desire your prayers to pray for it.

Jane Adams: We were astonished. Blacks from Africa and the Caribbean celebrating with working class whites from the Deep South. Eating fried catfish and drinking sweet ice tea.

Chorus of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church: singing the Kyrie: Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Jane Adams: The Borgognoni Family, part of our Delta research, invited us to a reunion of the descendents of their ancestors, Guiseppe and Marcella Borgononi. The church where they celebrate a special mass was built by immigrants from Ancona, Italy, who were brought to Lake Village, Arkansas, by Delta cotton planters.

Father Theophilus Okpara, an Igbo from Nigeria, a missionary and Associate Pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.

Father Theophilus' grandfather was a non-Christian who followed traditional Igbo religious practices. His grandfather saw the opportunities available through the schools established by Irish Catholic missionaries. He sent his son, Theophilus' father, to the mission school. Theophalus and all his siblings went to the same school and all completed university.

The Borgononi's ancestors came to America as part of the last great wave of globalization, at the end of the 19th century. They are once again part of the global flows of people and religion at the beginning of the 21st century.

Chorus at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church sings Gloria:
Lord Jesus Christ only Son of the Father,
have mercy on us.
You take away the sin of the world:
have mercy upon us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

Jane Adams: Guiseppe bought land, his family worked hard, and his sons and daughters became successful business people and farmers.

The Bible Believers burn with their faith. It spills from the church and into the parking lot.

Bible Believer minister in parking lot: [crystal, it just turned to water and went down his cheek] Streaks of white cleared his face up and the presence of the Lord was right there. But if you don't stand with God and His Word, and rebuke the Devil and his kind he's going to come and

Jane Adams: For generations Christians from Europe and the United States have traveled as missionaries to Africa and other regions of the world. In this generation, missionaries from Africa bring the "Good News" to America.

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: I'm a missionary in America. For me, and for most of us, it is kind of a circle. Because the Irish -- the white man -- brought evangelization to Africa, to Nigeria. When they had a lot of personnel here and we have not gotten the faith, members of the faith got us evangelized. And we started and picked up. Today we have enough -- I wouldn't say that we have enough, but we have pretty quite number of priests in Nigeria, to the point that we are coming back to do some missionary work in a land of those who came to evangelize us.

Bro. John Danquah: We want to thank God for the missionaries because the missionaries that came to Africa came with only one purpose, to give Christ to that continent. And they did their job. They never understood our language, our cultures. They sat down with us, they taught us how to read and write, they built schools. They did their job. Most of them died in mosquito infested areas, amoebas, I mean the conditions of inhygienic tropical areas, I mean exposed to all kinds of germs and stuff like that. Most of them couldn't take it. In fact, it was even referred to as the white man's grave.

Bro. Charles Obimbo: It's interesting that the Europeans, especially. they got their wealth and prosperity when they were actually deep into Christianity. The Germans with Martin Luther, the British with John Wesley, Charles Wesley and the family. And there was a Great Revival during those times of the Industrial Revolution. The Americans, they even came here, quite a few of them, because they were suffering and because of the religious persecutions. Some came from Catholic churches and as we were saying, America was founded on Christianity.

Bro. David Wright: The whole religious atmosphere now has come to where it's become so world wide published that we have greater ministry now like in South Africa, actually than we do in the U.S. We used to go there and missionary that country, now those ministers are coming here and actually missionaring this country. The United States right now has probably needs more missionaries than South Africa does. Now West Africa ...

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: Personally, and most of us from the east part of Nigeria were so comfortable. It is here that I, for the first time, got myself involved in paying tax. Yes. In Nigeria priests do not pay, they don't know anything about paying tax. You are exempt from tax. In Nigeria you're cared for 100 percent, as a priest. In my part of country, on your ordination day, ordination day, you are given two major gifts. One is what you would call the mass box, mass kit, that is, a box which contains every stuff you need for your Eucharistic celebration. The people of God will give it to you. Two, a car. You're given a car. They are the two major donations that are given to you on your ordination to make sure you don't have anything to stop you from doing your work as a priest. All right? You're cared for. You lack nothing. It's not as if you live in affluence. You lack nothing.

And so we don't come here for economic reasons. We don't come here for political reasons, because over there you are very safe as a priest. Nobody touches you. You're given a very serious regard. You're given some kind of privileges politically, as a priest.

Bro. John Danquah: I think about eight years ago, we had the same pastor here, Brother David, and it was tough at that time for his congregation that he had before this one, even to accept me as a black person coming to the church. And I did not blame them much because they don't know better. They've not traveled anywhere. They've lived in an area where to me segregation has been around for a long time.

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: We know the history of the origin of blacks in America. We know that very well. What we have to count on is, is the racial discrimination is still on. Which I wouldn't want to get into, because I am not American. Whether African American or European American I am not. I am an African, and a pure Nigerian.

Bro. Charles Obimbo: Brother David Wright is my brother. He's a pastor, he's my brother. And somebody actually put it this way, sorry to use the phrase, but he said, "We ought to get so close together that we can chew one another's chewing gums." Well, that's getting close.

[Ministers and elders praying: We have desire in our hearts, God [yes! Yes! In the name of the Lord] Oh, God there's none like you. Or to talk like You. [yes, Father] We give our hands to you. [Thank you Lord] Brother we give our hands to you. Oh we give our souls to you [Yes, ]... We dedicate our lives. May we glorify the Kingdom of God [Our soul is yours]

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: I'm a man of God. And one mystery. I call it mystery. One mysterious fact of the Catholic priesthood is you are always accepted wherever you are, as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. The Catholic Church is one. Everywhere. Universal. It's everywhere and it's one and holy. These are the main divine characters of the Catholic Church. Ok? As a man of God I had no problem because I knew I was not coming for political reasons. But I was coming for spiritual reasons. For missionary reasons. And with that fact, you'll see yourself accepted everywhere. And so I don't feel the impact of the slavery, where it got to the black Americans. Because number one I am not a black American. Number two I don't have anything to do with political affairs. I have come to do with spiritual affairs. And within the realm of spirituality, the people of God will always accept the man of God, no matter from where he comes.

Bro. David Wright: There is no relationship between our beliefs and the Catholic Church belief. There's such a vast difference in between. The Scriptures clearly identifies Catholicism as the Beast. Amen. And the Great Harlot. And we preach it as being such, and that we have absolutely no relationship to it and should have no relationship to it.

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: We have Pentecostal churches over there. But one thing you have to believe, is you have to understand is, as far as any Christian church is concerned, unless that word, Christian, is not attached to the church, it is believed that they have Christ as their founder. And that word, "Christ," and person, Christ, becomes a unifying factor of all the Christian churches. So any church, or any sect, whatever, or any group, whatever you want to call them, that eliminates Christ as their foundation, is not a Christian church. Does not practice Christianity. Because our word, "Christianity," is from Christ. That is followers of Christ. And in their belief in Christ, and have Christ as their savior and Lord, there is one factor that is common in all orders as far as the Christian churches are concerned, and that is the word Christ. And therefore they should get themselves involved in the ecumenical discussion. If they eliminate themselves from the ecumenical discussion it means they are not Christians.

Bro. David Wright: And we have a situation right here in Yazoo City, for instance, we have the Ministerial Association, which I am not a part of and will not be a part of because of the way it's made up. It brings everything in, and the sad thing of it is, you see, the Bible talks about the Harlot and her Daughters. The Harlot is the whore Church herself, and her daught -- that's the Catholocism -- and her daughters are Protestants who have taken on her theology and her teachings and is identified in the pagan worship with her, and what have you. And so almost all your Protestant churches has joined hand in hand with it. So that would bring in Methodist, Baptist, Pentecost, all of them the same. They're all going the same direction. They're all going into what they call ecumenical movement. The ecumenical movement is the image of the Beast of Revelation 13, is made up of the Protestant groups.

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: Lake Village is fine, it's good. It's calm. It's calm, very quiet. But sometimes lonely.

Br. John Danquah: But over here, you can live in a neighbor's house, you don't know what your neighbor's name is, you can't even talk to them across. You've got to do everything you can to reach out to people. Whereas where I grew up from I knew every kid that lived in my vicinity, because we go school together, parents are greeting and "good morning" and stuff like that. Basically we knew everybody. But here I just get up and go to work and come in, I'm shut in my room. I don't like this winter, I get in the room and get out. So a lot places have affected us one way or the other.

Fr. Theophilus Okpara: The first month I was here, it took me a lot to myself adjusted, you know. Cause I was born and raised in big cities in Nigeria, you know. And to come here and then to stay all alone, and that stuff, it was not that easy. And I tell you, all the priests from Nigeria, the first problem, or the most pressing problem they have here, experience here, is this loneliness of a friend. Because in Nigeria we live some kind of communal life. You can't be on your own. You can't be on your own. But in America, Americans live individualistic life, everybody on his own. You get into your room, shut your door, get into your house, shut your door. Either you may not know your next door neighbor. Everybody's on his own. But in Nigeria, you know, we have this sense of hospitality. Extended relationship. You can never feel alone.

Michelle Roberts, Pauline Danquah, Veronica Danquah, Sharlene Marcano, Alissa Marcano, Rebekah Roberts, Grace Tombe, Lois Danquah: singing

Lead me Lord, I will follow.
Lead me Lord, I will go.
You have called me, I will answer,
lead me Lord, I will go.

Lead me Lord. Lead me Lord, I will follow, Yes I will follow.
Lead me Lord, I will go.
You have called me. I will answer.
Lead me Lord, I will go.

(Lead Me, Lord words and music by Wayne and Elizabeth Goodine © 1994 NewSpring Publishing.)

Jane Adams: Christianity has always been an evangelical religion. It's a faith that exhorts believers to go to the ends of the earth to bring the news of personal salvation through Jesus who died on the cross. It has always been global, bringing a message its followers see as universal.

Christianity, although aspiring to a single Church, has never been unified. Sometimes the schisms run deep, as Brother David proclaims. Others, like Father Okpara, seek to heal the rifts.

Missionaries have faced, as John Danquah observed, terrible dangers, and acute loneliness. In the Mississippi Delta, Africans first came in bondage as chattel slaves. Today, African missionaries don't face great dangers, but they still feel the sting of racial prejudice. And the loneliness of leaving one's homeland and family and going forth as strangers in a strange land. They are sustained by the joy of renewing a Christian faith grown cold.

Sr. Sharee Roberts, singing as credits roll:

You can't get through.
And right now it seems there's no way out
And you're going under.
But God's proved time and time again
He will take care of you.

And he will do it again,
He'll do it again.
If you just take a look
At where you're now
And where you've been.
Hasn't He always come through for you?
He's the same now as then.
You may not know how,
You may not know when,
But He'll do it again.

God knows the things that you're going through.
And He knows how you're hurting.
And you see, God knows just how your heart
Has been broken in two.
But He's the God of the sun, the moon, and the stars,
And he is your Father.
If He can calm the storm
I know He'll find the way to fix it for you.

And He'll do it again, do it again. He will do it again. If you

See Deby Jolley's page for a text of the song, linked from this family history page