Saturday, June 20, 2009
How can you just pray for a person when you hear a story like that? But we trust our prayers will accomplish something, right, God?
Katherine is an old widow – old - and cranky. Worse, she has no family living around her. The social security system of Africa is family – the grannies take care of the grandkids; the kids take care of the old ones; and; any one in the family that gets a job or somehow makes it to South Africa (land of promise) is immediately responsible to send money, no matter how far away or how distant a relative.
But Katherine has no one to care for her. So she pesters neighbors, and they reluctantly dole out a few sweet potatoes.
“Come, Kingdom of God; be done, will of God – right here in this village, as in heaven.” So after telling her God’s Story and ours, we ask if we can pray for her – she says NO! “Satan is stronger than God!” Then it comes out – she has been going to “church” for years dancing and shouting trying to get rid of the demon on her back – she cannot stop drinking and smoking. She has tried so many times and failed, she is convinced Satan is stronger than God. So we counsel her – “tonight when you lie in bed talk to God. If you really want Him and all He has, open your heart to follow and trust in Him. When you wake in the morning you will be a new woman!” Whoa – did I say that? Do I believe it? Is Jesus really stronger than the devil?
We hold our breath and pray until we can return almost two weeks later. The neighbor fills us in – “no, she is not here. Someone from another village came and married her!” Answer to prayer #1. “And how was she doing with drinking?”, I ask. “No, she does not drink now”, he says matter-of-factly. Regina and I start dancing!
I talked in my last post about the Kingdom of God transforming a village. This is it. Well, this is the start of it. Next we could help her become a disciple who disciples her neighbors. Then we tackle the poverty spirit she lives under. Then some micro-business loans, some education, some garden training. Maybe she will be a health care worker – going around caring for orphans and HIV patients. Maybe she will be a “mama” to a small household of orphans, or an assistant in the school or pre-school. What ways will the Kingdom of God break into her life and her village? There are so many possibilities. Just imagine…
This is what we are imagining (knowing it is just a glimpse) … and seeing some doors open for us. We are looking at land for Home Base – nice land on the beautiful Zambezi – and talking to headmen of villages – they all are very eager for us to come. This will be a place for our Kingdom workers – long term, one year, short term - a small village of orphan homes with their grannies, and a school.
But most of our Kingdom building will be done in the villages in a 50 mile radius.
Our introduction to the villages will be simple church planting teams – many of you reading will be able to assist in this. First Base.
Second Base - a school. This will be our platform for ministry in a village – first, simple reed buildings to begin (same as at Home Base – ministry above structure), but excellent instruction and attention shown to the children. The goal is transformation. Young one year interns can have a place to minister here. As the school grows each year we are finding responsible locals to train. Our aim is a 5-year exit strategy.
Then, as we do school and discipleship we will find the many ways to build Kingdom initiatives.