I was so excited to finally be back that I asked Francois to stop before we even reached our yard and jumped out to greet my friends! So good to see them again! It will always be a privilege to return here…
But I found my closest friend lying on her veranda. She looked sick. Her greeting was less than enthusiastic and there was a discomfort, a holding back that I didn’t understand at the time. Later we realized that the 30 day yearly fast for the main religion here has started the day before we arrived. It is always a difficult time. Even some of the believers are still keeping the custom because it is part of their culture, not for religious reasons. That explained some of what I experience during my first meeting with my neighbour. But not everything.
What I failed to notice – maybe the Lord closed my eyes to it at first – was the witchdoctor’s hut newly built in their yard. White and Red flags flap in front, announcing to all the Mwinika world that a strong witchdoctor lives here.
My friend and neighbour, Jami, the one who I felt understood me the best and to whom I grew the closest too over the last 10 years, turned to witchcraft in our absence. I can’t describe the chilling feeling of being-dumped-in-ice-water when I received this news.
Slowly the facts started to unfold: Shortly after her father-in-law’s funeral, Jami started to feel sick. One night in May, she got up in the middle of the night and ran totally crazed into the darkness of the bush. She spent a long time there digging for roots, out of her mind. Her husband, one of Francois Bible lesson development helpers, prayed and cried. But it seemed that she was beyond help. The long and short of it is that she believed that in order for her not to be killed by the evil spirit that took control over her, she had to contact a witchdoctor and perform a series of ceremonies. She was then initiated as a witchdoctor herself and had to build a witchdoctor hut in her yard. She gives grain offerings early in the morning at this hut, literally worshiping before it.
For the last two weeks, local believers came together at our house – just across a footpath from our house – to pray for her deliverance. No changes yet.
In the face of all this, we could be so discouraged! How do we explain it to our friends and neighbours? I look into my other friends’ eyes and see their fear: will this happen to them too? They fear the bad spirits. They have seen their work; their darkness and ability to make people sick when they defy them.
We know, for a fact however, that God is the All Powerful One. Jesus Christ has defeated Satan and “disarming the rulers and authorities, He has made a public disgrace of them triumphing over them by the cross”.
This is the Truth.
We know that nothing can take us from the Father’s hands. We also know that we can give the enemy permission to wreak havoc in our lives by our sin or participating in dark practices. It seems that despite going to the Bible teachings Jami has never given herself completely to the Lord, and never truly put all her trust in Him alone. The enemy knew that, and moved in to take over…
Pray with us, seriously pray with us that Jami will be completely rescued and freed from the clutches of these demons. Pray also for Amer, her husband, and her children – four of whom are still at home. Living with a witchdoctor, someone who is possessed, is difficult and we feel their pain. The pressure and darkness are constant. We being so close – literally – to this family, feel it too.
The enemy is obviously out to break and destroy (nothing new there), but he seems to have upped the stakes lately. This is full-out war. Let’s stand in our Victor and let’s not forget to pray for our fellow believers and for the lost. “Pray for me also that I may be given the message when I begin to speak – that I may confidently make known the mystery of the Gospel.” (Eph. 6:19) “And in the end, that we may stand…”