Friday, February 3, 2012

A Walk Into Another World

In the space of time between setting up the spa and feasting on Silver, it was decided to make a visit to a couple of the tiny Monsanka villages to offer a follow-up invitation to a few particular women that Kate had chosen to bless at our spa. Each of these women has hardships in her life that are nearly beyond our comprehension, and Katie wanted to make sure they knew how genuine was our desire for them to come, and also that there was no confusion about the day or time. Wade decided it would be best for him to go with us, and by taking the truck as far as we could drive it cut down considerably on the walking, which matters when the African sun is beating down on one's head at noon. 
Pulling off the road and parking the truck in a patch of weedy dirt (which pretty much describes every place we went), we stepped out and headed quickly down a footpath toward a cluster of magnificent grass roofs atop small mud houses in a clearing of - what else? - dirt. Immediately the population of the tiny community had its eyes riveted on the white people walking into their midst. Naked children came running, adolescent boys who were dressed like kids in my neighborhood stopped whatever they were doing to check us out, and women scrubbing laundry on a scrub board in a tub stopped to take in the strange sight. Might this be the first time four white people have ever entered this village? Wade had been there before, and Kate had met certain individuals and some of the children because they showed up on their property to play, or seek food or help of some kind, but a group of white people trekking into this primitive setting may have been a first. It was hard to take it all in, as the starkness of the poverty was an assault to the eyes. Goats, chickens and pigs wandered freely, scavenging for food, dropping poop anywhere and everywhere, while the crude pen made of sticks poking up at odd angles stood empty. What animal could possibly be contained in such an enclosure? And why were there so many dog houses for those skeleton dogs that looked like they were barely hanging onto life? An old man crouched in the shade under the overhang of a thatched roof, clothed in a pair of shabby pants and tattered shirt, and an old woman stepped out of a doorway and headed straight for us.

Kate wasted no time approaching the first woman she came to, who happened to be blind and who happened to be struggling with a large tub of dirty laundry that she was trying to maneuver into the wash water. Watching Kate and Wade interact with the local people was one of the blessings of this whole trip. Their love and compassion is so genuine, and the responses of the people give evidence that they feel respected and cared for regardless of their station in life or spiritual condition.

 While Kate and Wade were talking with one of the women, and I was hanging back taking pictures, Tonya was already gathering a crowd of precious dirty children and teaching them a little sing-song hand clapping game that was her signature activity of the week. Tonya's attraction to children was another highlight of the week for all of us, as she never missed an opportunity to make a child smile by teaching her some small game or giving her a small toy and showing her how to use it.

The woman Kate had come here to speak with was not in the village at this time, but her six little children were among those that Tonya entertained for a few minutes. This particular woman, Iness, had recently been widowed when her husband was killed in a disagreement over a piece of meat.

The old woman who had been heading our way now had Wade's full attention. As they talked, Wade told us that she had a lot of pain in her hands and feet, especially at night, and she wanted him to pray for her. The people in the area all know who he is, and they know that many people have been healed of all kinds of sicknesses, and this woman was hoping he could bring her some relief from pain. She had been suffering for over five years and had never been able to get medical help because her sons were alcoholics and spent all the family money on drink. We all prayed for her, but nothing changed at the moment. She said she would know at night whether or not she was better, as that was when the pain was the worst.

On our way back to the truck I asked Wade about the cute little thatched roof dog houses. Imagine my surprise when he informed me that those little structures were actually demon huts. All of a sudden they didn't look so cute any more. These people, enslaved to the demands of their demons, make sure the demons are fed even if their children have to starve, which explains a lot.

May God open the eyes of more and more to the lies that have kept them chained to darkness and hopelessness, that they may turn their backs on the evil one and allow Jesus to set them free.

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