A big day in Africa

>> August 4, 2009

I was debating whether to share this story on the blog or not. It was the biggest event of the Africa trip for me yet for some reason I hesitate to write about it, maybe for fear of not telling it right.

Bruce Kane just recently posted the story from his perspective on his blog, http://epicbruce.blogspot.com, and I thought he did a great job of it. So here it is.

On this first day of medical ministry, we had finished setting up the clinic and most of us from epic were milling around looking for the areas in which we could be useful. I, myself, was feeling a bit like a third wheel when our missionary approached me to go out on a "house call." I had heard the muffled conversations about a woman out in the bush who could not make it to the clinic for care and it was obvious that the missionaries and the medical team were trying to decide what to do about it. Well, it was decided that Justice (mentioned in a previous post - "By the Hand of God") would take a team out to the house to treat the woman. We knew that she was being treated for HIV disease by a government program and that she was unable to make it into our clinic for treatment, which meant she had also been unable to make it the even further distance to the government clinic for help.

Scott, our missionary, asked me to pick a someone from the team to go along, and to quickly get ready to take off. My head spinning from the unexpected opportunity, I silently asked God who I should invite along. His answer was swift and specific. "Get Jordan," is what I knew God was saying. My impression was so strong that I immediately approached him and gave him the low down.

Soon we were loading up in the bus for out journey out to serve this lady who we only knew through the description of one of her neighbors. ( I found out later that the term neighbor would be very loosely defined in this circumstance. the ladies lived about 1.5 miles apart and could only travel to one another by foot.) We drove out of the village (we had set up our clinic in a church there) and down the road for what seemed like about 6 miles. We had the neighbor woman along for a guide. We made a turn or two and then quickly stopped near a walking path. We could see a hut off to the side of the road, so Jordan and I began to prepare ourselves to disembark. Well, the bus took a sharp left turn off of the road and onto the walking path (not that it fit on the single person foot path worn into the savanna grassland). We drove for just a little bit and then parked and got off the bus. As we began to walk out further into the bush, it began to rain and Jordan and I knew that we were on a genuine adventure.

We soon reached a mud and stick hut with a metal roof and a sheet hanging over the door. We waited outside for just a moment as Pastor James (one of our team hosts for the missions trip) called inside. Soon we were invited in and made our way through the dark, windowless front "room," past a dividing wall into a sleeping space at the back of the house. (There were 2 other sleeping spaces in the hut. Both more private than this one.) We found a young woman ( I guess in her upper 20s) lying on a mat with a bowl of very humble food sitting next to her. She tried to raise herself up to address us and it was obvious that she was paralyzed.

Justice began to discuss her medical condition and the course of her treatment with her. She was not improving in regard to her paralyses and the tuberculosis which had settled in her spine, causing an enormous deformity there. It looked as if it was very painful and the obvious source of the paralyses. Pastor James tried to keep us informed of the conversation and I was trying to pray for the situation, my thoughts interrupted occasionally by new revelations of other persons in the hut - previously undisclosed in the remaining sleeping spaces.

Eventually Justice turned around to face us and explain that he was instructing her to continue her treatments for HIV and for the Tuberculosis. He explained that her prognosis was very poor without physical therapy and that it was very unlikely that she would be able to get it out in the area where she lived. He then invited us to pray with him for her. He spoke to her and turned around to tell us that she had decided to invite Christ to be her savior.

We all prayed as Justice prayed directly with her in their native language. As we were praying, the woman jerked back violently and fell to her back, laid out flat as if in a seizure. We instinctively moved in closer to pray more fervently, and then the woman screeched in her own voice. Pastor James turned to us westerners and explained that an evil spirit had revealed itself.

Once again we pressed in closer to the woman, laying our hands on her legs and praying as strongly as we could. And after several long moments, there came a peace over the room. The oppressive environment that we had become accustomed to, almost unaware because the entire space was so foreign to us, was lifted. We finished praying.

Justice gave the woman some further medical instructions. Pastor James gave her some spiritual instructions. Jordan and I smiled to give her the only thing we felt we could: silent encouragement. Then the group began to leave the house. I felt so unfinished that I spoke in English to the woman to tell her that God would be with her and that He would bless her. I didn't know what to say and I know that all she could understand was my spirit, so the words didn't really matter.

Just outside of the house (the rain stopped), Pastor James told us that the demon had said, "I came here to kill here to kill her. But since you are not going to let me do that, I am going to leave."

Back in the bus, Jordan and I sat unnerved. Excited, thankful, worshipful, relieved, and I was feeling unsure about how to retell this story to anyone. Jordan told me that he had experienced praying in other tongues during the most intense season of prayer. And He was obviously thrilled to have had God prove Himself present in that way.

Before we left Africa, we were informed by our missionaries that the woman had been approved by her attending physicians to be moved to the missionary complex in Masaka for physical therapy under the constant supervision of the staff nurses there.


Happynhanford August 5, 2009 at 9:35 AM  

Miracles happen everyday! It is great you could be part on one and recognize it! YES!

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