Little 11 year old A, who plays with our daughter after school from time to time, has her ‘ngoma’ this weekend – the coming of age 2-day ceremony which culminates in her being removed from the home where she has been sequestered for teaching in the feminine arts and paraded, on shoulders, naked with just a cloth draped over her waist. Then she must dance to display her comeliness for all eyes to see (threatened with shame & a beating if she doesn’t). After this her family is free to receive marriage proposals from the highest bidder. Ironically A will don her headscarf and go back to school on Monday. I weep for the children here that lose their childhood, their innocence far too young. Pray for them to know the Savior who said, “Let the little children come unto me…” Pray that when they come to know the Savior these rites of passage would be redeemed to glorify God in their celebration of Biblical manhood and womanhood!
Praise God that Mama F accepted prayer for healing in Jesus name for her little 4 year old daughter who was convulsing and foaming at the mouth one night. Praise God that He answered immediately by bringing peace & calm over the child. Another seeker who was there, Mama S, confessed afterward she believed all that she heard spoken & prayed & is a Christian now! Another woman who was there, Mama N, now wants to join in on the weekly prayer and storying time with the other ladies! Praise God! Pray for faith in Jesus that endures for the Swahili!
The hospital in our town has been plagued with strikes, staffing issues, and a lack of resources for months. Currently the nurses are on strike which tremendously hinders the amount and quality of care that people can receive. Please be praying for the Swahili people that this would be a time when the power and authority of Jesus to heal would be demonstrated to those who cannot receive needed medical treatment. Pray for the believers here to be bold and courageous in proclaiming Christ as healer and provider.
Sovereign Serendipity! They BOTH came! Both Mama F (who recently professed Christ as her Savior) & Mama S (who has come for prayer & God’s Story) joined the Christian ladies’ prayer group in my home this week! They risked the exposure of being seen gathering with local believers. They arrived just in time to hear our pastor’s wife narrate the story of Ruth. BOTH wholeheartedly participated in the discussion and prayer afterwards. What an awesome God we serve! Pray for their spiritual and physical protection & for the salvation of their whole families!
Our teammate was invited by his friend to the cashew forest to witness his 8 year old son’s circumcision. By the time he arrived the Islamic ritual had already taken place and the bewildered boy bravely sat trying to hold back the tears streaming down his face as he sat on the blood stained mat. This is the rite of becoming a “man” in this culture that will soon be followed by a tribal celebration over several days. On the walk back the boy’s father gathered various roots that he explained would be used to ward off any spirits that may come to attack his vulnerable son. May the Swahili come to know the Savior – the Son of our Father God who restores true Biblical manhood.
Hawa came to my door begging again. Her husband moved their family here from a far distant village. First her sons died, then her husband. On my porch I got to share the story of Eve (Hawa), and that through her God would bring the Savior of the world. I told her God sees her & sent His Son Jesus to save her. She smiled and said she believed Jesus is her Savior. And we rejoiced! The next day God woke me with an urgency to go see her. Hawa was lying in her bed shaking from a high fever. I immediately began to pray for her healing, and for the treatment she needed. A few days later I helped her from her bed to the front porch to get some fresh air and we talked again of the God who sees, loves and saves us. I hadn’t realised how the neighbors were watching and listening till I was visiting another new believer and a passerby told her that Hawa was doing much better since Jesus healed her. The new believer chimed in, “Of course Jesus heals through prayer – it’s not just the medicine!” Pray the Swahili will come to know their Healer, Savior Jesus!
When arriving at new believer Bibi C’s porch to tell God’s Story with her, God brought her searching sister (Mama M) there, along with a neighbor Mama N to hear His Story too. What a joy it was to share some of it as Bibi C chimed in with her remembrance of God’s Story too. This has happened twice! They seem interested to hear more of God’s Story – pray all of this will grow Bibi C in her faith & lead her sister & neighbor to the Savior! Praise God for His divine appointments with the Swahili & pray for more to come!
The last few weekends have been very LOUD in our village from the ceremonial Islamic circumcision ngoma (dance celebrations). The boys are brought out before the crowd, gifts are bestowed and the dancing begins all weekend long, with loud speakers blasting the thumping music. In the night the dancing becomes lewd acts and the lostness is vivid. There are often angry accusations among families and neighbors afterwards from the sinful actions that took place. Pray that one day the Swahili will be set free to dance to the beat of a different drummer for His Glory and their great joy in Him, with no regrets!
Mama & Baba F are our neighbors. You have been praying for almost a year now that they would respond to our witness of Christ’s salvation. They have seen healing in their young daughter, who is walking after prayer for her in Jesus name – when witchdoctors could do nothing. They have seen us cry out to Christ with other believers for our own healing and they have seen Him answer. They have come to us burdened from the broken relationships in their own family and community and we have shared with them the hope we have in Christ the restorer of our most important relationship with Father God. Finally, a few days ago, Mama F, hearing the salvation story yet again, responded for the first time that she believes that Jesus is not only her daughter’s Healer, but also the Savior of the world! REJOICE!!! Pray now for wisdom in how to enfold Mama F into the body of Christ here. Pray for the salvation of their whole family!
She & her husband sell doves from their home so that their neighbors may take them to their Islamic witchdoctors to have them sacrificed & drink the fresh blood in search of healing in mind and body. Our teammate has testified to her that we do not depend on the blood of any animal for healing, but that we depend upon Jesus’ blood – the blood of God’s sinless Son, to give us forgiveness and healing for eternal life. And she laughs. Today she heard that I have prayed for another’s healing, God has answered those prayers, and she sincerely asks me to pray for her aching knees. I tell her I can pray for her right now, today on her porch! She laughs again and says she has work to do. As I leave the sound of her laughter remains with me… reminding me of a certain Sarah who, at first, laughed – not quite believing the promise brought to her in her old age by those foreign visitors …. Please pray for all the Swahili to come to know the true healer of their souls, that they would not depend on the blood of doves, but on the blood of The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.