I do feel as though the agricultural analogies that we use to describe the growth(!) of the church here can dwindle into the cliche when we are reporting, but they are so unavoidable and apropos in the agrarian society that we find ourselves in. I walked this morning with Pastor David to Nariko, a village where we have a weekly Bible study. On the way, he called out to some women working in their field to come and pray. They had to continue working, but David said we would pray God’s blessing upon their crop. They asked that we pray for God to “bless them through these leaves” as the translation comes out. Looking at the soil, the sorghum has just begun to sprout. In the spirit of that parlance, I offer below three leaves.
The daughter of one of our church members went to the home of her stepfather and broke some plates belonging to the wife (a different wife from her own mother. Don’t spend too much time trying to understand it, just stick with the story here) with malicious intent—doing this is supposed to bring a curse upon the household. This woman, Dengel Joyce, came to the pastors for advice because the village was calling for her to sacrifice a ram to take away the curse. She does not believe in these superstitions, but nevertheless lives in a community in which many do believe very deeply. It was decided that several church members would go with her and seek to speak to her husband (not a believer) on her behalf. In the end, he listened to them and agreed that the ram should not be brought.
Josephine, the wife of our worker and church member Cosmas, fell recently and injured her elbow. The elders were consulted by her family and they determined that evil spirits had caused her to fall on rocks and injure herself. The prescription for preventing the evil spirits from harming her again was to tie strips of cowhide around the body in various places. When Cosmas came home, he tore the strips from her, telling the in-laws that the practice was of Satan.
Another of our members, Anyakun, was recently visited by the local emuron (witch doctor), who told him that something terrible was going to happen to his young son if he didn’t give the witch doctor a goat to sacrifice. He refused, saying that he is a Christian and doesn’t believe in such things anymore. This is the second time he has made this refusal. The pastors prayed with him and encouraged him in his faith.
The work of extending Christ’s kingdom is often frustrating and laborious, but we have been blessed through these leaves. Pray that more would come.
They certainly do have spiritual warfare on a daily basis in a physical way. Brings Ephes 6 to mind vividly!