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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Of Demons & Mangoes

It was suggested that I go to the palace of the Chief. But the summons came in a round-about way; not at all normal. Something was up, and as foreigners, we weren't officially supposed to be allowed in "the know". In the meeting with Chief Mumena, I was strongly urged to arrange for study opportunities for the tribe concerning God's power verses "the powers" (Col. 2:15) Our team had already scheduled a seminar on this topic for April, but obviously our timetable wasn't sufficient to some need about which we still did not know. The next day, one of our gardeners asked me to attend an ecumenical prayer meeting called by the Chief. (Why was I just learning about this via our gardener?)

Finally, all became clear at the prayer meeting, the Chieftaincy was under demonic attack. A village was being plagued by disembodied spirits threatening to eat their children. The shocking thing, however, is that of the few thousand people claiming to follow Christ in a Chieftaincy of some 50,000 people, only 9 braved this prayer meeting… and only 6 showed up to go to the assistance of this village in the name of Jesus. How deep the fear that enslaves men's souls; how thin the veneer of Christianity for those who have more faith in Satan's power to destroy than Christ's power to save!

17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
19 "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23 "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
29 He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."
Mark 9:17-29 NIV

Regardless of their understanding of the Bible, I couldn't help but have profound respect for these men who - facing mortal dread - placed their lives at the disposal of Jesus. As it turned out after we arrived at the village, the demons had already left - by the villagers account - saying that they wished to return to the forest in order to eat mangoes (much to our party's relief). Yet, I have found few villages as interested as this one in hearing of the safety in Christ offered by the Gospel!

Privileged to be allowed to serve on the "inside" once in a while,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: profound fear still rules the hearts of the majority of these precious people.

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