Dear Friends and Family
Greetings in the wonderful Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Mission team has had some really incredible ministry opportunities. Currently we are in a far out, deep rural area ministering in a very strong Muslim region of Eastern Malawi among the Yao tribe. This tribe is notorious for their involvement in the Arab slave trade and for their warring nature. The Christians in this area have been persecuted harshly by the Muslims; recently two churches were burned down.
Through Sickness and…un-Health
Renee and I are still trying to recover from a relentless bout of flu that has been troubling us for the last 3 weeks. We are definitely on the tail end of this now, but it is still stubbornly refusing to submit to the handfuls of medication that we have been throwing at it.
Ryno has now succumbed to a bad eye infection that is progressively getting worse and also, to add to that horror, he has a painful infection in his ear. It looks much worse than it is - with his head bandaged up to cover his right eye and a large dressing over his left ear - he looks like he barely survived a vicious war! Please pray that we will be able to find good medical attention for him soon.
We have now been on this Africa Overland Mission for 11 weeks, ministering in 6 countries including: South Africa, Zambia, Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, and Malawi. We have conducted more than 210 meetings and travelled more than 12,000km. We still have two months of scheduled ministry ahead of us.
Reformation FIRE in Burundi
After our busy and effective Mission to Congo, we entered Burundi where we conducted a Reformation FIRE seminar in the capital city. Pastors from Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi were present at this seminar as well as many members of the host church. The sound system that they use for their worship is insanely loud. So much so, that we had to use earplugs to relieve the pain that we experienced as the invasive decibels assaulted our hearing.
The pastors were very grateful for the teachings and declared that this is what Burundi needs - sound Biblical teaching. There are so many false doctrines going around in this area frustrating the believers, that when they hear basic Biblical doctrine, they are overwhelmed by how profound and true it is. We were able to distribute to each pastor a copy of Biblical Principles for Africa in French, The Apostles Creed, and also a copy of the Reformation FIRE Manual.
Whilst in the capital city of Burundi, we had a wonderful opportunity to minister to a sincere seeking Muslim woman from the Middle East. This really seemed to be a God-ordained appointment. For the sake of protecting her identity, I will call her Fiona.
We got to know Fiona as a wonderful, friendly, kind, and generous lady who was sincerely seeking the truth. As we got to know her more, we discerned that, in her seeking, she had been seriously misled by 'wolves in sheep's clothing' who were cunningly enriching themselves through Fiona's purse and ignorance of authentic Christianity. This 'pastor' was clearly an imposter and sorcerer, using divination to hypnotise the unsuspecting sincere seeker into a state of trust. This situation is just 'the tip of the iceberg' of the immensity of the deception that exists here in Burundi. Since the Roman Catholic Belgians colonised this land, the people have been misled by many false forms of Christianity.
"…in later times some will depart from the Faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons…" 1 Timothy 4:1
A Goat for a Goat, and a Cow for a Cow
Fiona, and a colleague of hers who was also an unfortunate victim of this 'ravenous wolf' imposter, told us how this 'pastor' had 'discerned' that they had snakes (which were demons) wrapped around their hearts and other organs of their bodies and they needed her (the 'pastor') to pray for them to save them from looming destruction. As they submitted themselves to 'prayer', (which involved a physical mock 'operation', having to lie down on the ground as this 'pastor' 'operated' on them to remove the snakes) the pastor would then 'discern' that these demons (the snakes) refused leave because they wanted reimbursement. "Those who sent me here," she would say speaking on behalf of the demons, "sacrificed a goat, therefore if you want me to leave, you should give me a goat!" The 'pastor' would then say to Fiona, "A goat is worth $500. The demon won't go unless you give me $500." Some of these demons also demanded a cow. "A cow is worth $1000…" Sometimes even a child was required…
A Forest of Snakes!
Each time a 'snake' would be removed from Fiona's heart, the 'pastor' would discern that there was another one. And that one too would require a payment of some kind before it could be removed. Fiona's colleague blurted out in pent-up frustration, "I have a forest of snakes living in me! It's only since I met that 'pastor'!" Fiona told us that she had paid more than $1500 monthly to this 'pastor' to deliver her from these demons that were allegedly haunting her and wrapping snakes around her heart, but without any progress. "Isn't your God powerful?!" She asked in apparent exasperation. "Why, after paying so much and doing so much, is your God not able to drive out these demons?!"
Faith Comes by… the Word of God
We were able to impart a different and more Biblical perspective of Christianity to Fiona, for which she was immensely grateful. We told her that what she had experienced was not Christianity at all. We showed her from the Word of God that Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with God through Jesus. We explained that she doesn't need to pay money in order to be free. All she needs is to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. She listened, paying close attention to details, asking questions, and drinking in this new information gladly. She said, "You have released me from that prison I was in."
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ." Romans 10:17
Please continue to pray for Fiona, that God would reveal Himself to her and that she will continue to seek Him diligently.
"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ… Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should."Colossians 4:3-4
May God bless you thoroughly!
In His service - and loving it!
Missionary Field Worker
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
Victory Loves Preparation