I have just returned from the bush and, as usual, it was wonderful. The village that we visited hadn’t been visited in over two years. Almost every child was sick with running noses, coughs, eyes sticking together and such. There were so many with bad eye infections, where you couldn’t even open their eyes because they were filled with gook and stuck closed. We set up camp and then went to set up the Jesus movie. We always play African worship videos before we start and we dance with the children while we get set up. After the movie we always preach and give testimonies and pray for the sick. This crowd seemed so subdued, like nothing was registering. It was strange to me and I left wondering if anything really happened, although we did see some salvations and some miracles praise God.
The next morning I preached at the village church. We set up huge speakers outside and so as I spoke in the microphone, it was heard far and wide. The Lord definitely gave me the message because I have never preached with such authority and on the spur of the moment without any notes. I told the church that this message was not just for them but also for those who are along the roadside and for those who are in their huts. I told them to pay attention because God has a special message just for them. It was about hope and stolen dreams and spirits and demons in the night and Christ in you being the hope you need and the power you need to take your village back.
I told the children that they didn’t have to be afraid of evil spirits in their huts at night. If they have Jesus in them they can command the evil to leave in His name. I picked up a very small child and told everyone that even this child has more power than any demon because he has Jesus in him. It is hard to describe all that happened in the spiritual realm because of the night before and this message this morning. Here are just a few things.
We went out that very afternoon to witness house to house and 90% of the houses we went to wanted Jesus BEFORE we could even witness to them! We would walk up and say who we were and ask them if they knew about Jesus. They would say yes they had heard us and they wanted Him and how could they do it? It was crazy! We were the “net” and the Holy Spirit already went before us to tell them to swim into it!! At one house, a lady was standing outside with her son who appeared to be about twelve. She said she was Muslim but her son had been attending the services and he wants to be a Christian. We asked her if it was okay with her. She said yes and stood right there with him as he accepted Jesus! We believe that secretly she wanted to but couldn’t because of her husband.
Another guy was sitting on all these bamboo poles and he was a strong guy and someone who looked a little scary to approach. But these pastors have no fear of man. They just go and tell people about Jesus and they don’t worry about “their reputation” or what people will say or rejection. They just go. As soon as we came up to him, before we could even say anything, he said he was listening to us and he understood and he wanted Jesus! We couldn’t even witness because he had already been listening to us tell others and to our preaching. After he said a prayer to receive Jesus, the pastor told us that this same man was the only one in the village who had the tool they needed to clear the land to build the Iris Church there two years ago. He cleared the land for them with his tool and gave them his time. He never asked for anything. Two years later he wants Jesus! How many others are out there who want Jesus but nobody ever came to ask them or help them to understand how to do it? How many are dying because no one went to them?
This morning, we packed up our tents and loaded up the truck. We went to the church one last time and had a short “thank you” service. When we left, there was only one boy coughing, NO runny noses and NO stuck eyes. Last night we prayed for this baby, a few weeks old, and we wiped his eyes with a wet one and his mother couldn’t quit smiling because she could see her baby’s eyes again. Even the father kept giving us a thumbs up because he could see his son’s eyes. We couldn’t clean the whole village, only a few, but God miraculously cleaned eyes because they were all clear.
For two weeks now, God has had me on a journey about His Presence. Everywhere I go, everything I pray, I constantly ask for and declare His Presence. It’s ALL about His Presence. In His Presence there is FULLNESS of joy. There is fullness of everything we need. His Presence is irresistible and if we bring His Presence and if we walk WITH Him always, people will want Him. They will be waiting for us to ask, “Hey, have you heard about my Jesus? Would you like to know Him?” You can change a city when you carry His Presence. You can change a village when you carry His Presence.
The last night we were in the village, I asked the women if I could go with them to where they get water. The lead pastor said it would be fine. So here I go walking through a bush village right before dark, by myself with two African bush women, one in front and one in back. They are so cute to listen to as they talk. There is a melody to their voices, to their language and I am so comfortable listening to them although I can’t understand a word, well maybe one or two. As we go along, I am saying “Salama, moohavo!” and women all along the way are stopping what they are doing to excitedly comment on this strange sight and hearing an “acuna” (white person) speaking their tongue. Well, I am also carrying a five gallon water jug and they are probably wondering what I am going to do with this! We get to the well, which is about a quarter mile in. The women who live around the well stop what they are doing and smile and watch and wait.
We fill our jugs and the lead woman asks me if I have a wrap? They take their wraps and roll them tightly to put on top of their heads so that they can balance these very heavy jugs on with no hands and walk for long distances with. No, I am wearing a skirt and only have my sweatshirt hoody. She takes my hoody and rolls it up neatly. I pick this jug up over my head! Their eyes widen. I smile. She places the roll on my head and helps me adjust the jug. They put their jugs on their heads and we all start walking the way we came, one in front of me and one in back of me. Although I am holding the jug, I am walking and keeping pace with them. Eyes all around are smiling and women are excitedly commenting. I am wondering if they are saying, “We are not so different after all!” and I pray they understand that God sees us the same too.
I love these women so much. They are the most amazing women I have ever known. They are shy and hard working and they love to be loved. The old women kiss you always on both cheeks, always. They always smile and have no spirit of shame about them, although most have had such hard lives and have endured horrible situations. The women carry all the water all the time. This village’s well is said to be drying up in two weeks time. After this happens, they will walk literally half the day to a mountain and then carry these heavy jugs back AND their babies on their backs. I will never complain about hard work as long as I am around these women. Even the little girls at the age of seven or eight carry smaller jugs AND babies on their backs. They NEVER complain, no never. It is just a part of life. Wow! This is why I come here to Africa. I come to bring whatever hope I can. I come to bring Jesus, Who is their help and their hope.