Doug and Evelyn Knapp

As killer bees attacked a group of children from the church, Christians prayed for God’s protection. Skeptics saw the bees as a sign that the church was evil. How would God be glorified through these bees?

The 1980s held unprecedented growth for the Tanzanian church, and Doug and Evelyn Knapp were a part of that. It is recorded that they and their local ministry partners baptized more than 49,000 people in the district of Kyela. Within a 100-mile radius, more than 300 churches grew, and in one year, 1986, more than 14,000 people were baptized. It was a time of great harvest and was largely connected to the literal gardens that Doug and Evelyn had begun two decades before.

Appointed in 1963, the Knapps saw great agricultural needs in Tanzania. Beginning with land cultivation techniques and new food sources, like tropical fruits, they taught how daily life could be improved through gardens, while also planting the seeds of the gospel. Doug grew his agricultural ministry to include coffee production, experimental farms, and production crops such as coconuts and pineapple. He also introduced the breeding of rabbits, sows and ducks. These efforts led to new Christians, pastors and church planters, and Tanzanian missionaries.

Evangelism was not always easy, but Doug and Evelyn persevered and made their farm the core of their work and a center for evangelism and discipleship. When resistance to the gospel grew, God showed His mighty power. That was the case when a swarm of killer bees attacked a group of children who were part of the church. As local Christians knelt to pray, an unusual gust of wind scattered the bees. When the bees were gone, worshipers gathered in the church to praise God. Skeptics stayed outside proclaiming a connection between the threat of bees and the threat of the church. The bees returned, this time attacking the skeptics. The majority of those gathered that day put their faith in Christ.

Get IMB updates to your inbox.