Monday, May 25, 2009
A 12 year-old boy who had skin growing abnormally behind his ear drum and was in pain experienced the power of Jesus today... As we laid hands on him and prayed, Jen put her hand on his ear. Her hand felt very warm and tingly. When we finished praying we asked him how he felt. He said that while we were praying he felt a fresh wind blow through his ear and that he had no more pain!
A grandmother had so much pain she could not move her arm and was having great difficulty with her work. The team laid hands on him and prayed in Jesus' name - and bam! She can move her arm now pain-free!!
the word is out
Now, everywhere we go in the township, people are telling stories about how people are getting healed. "Come pray for my neighbor!" "Come pray for my sister!" "Does Jesus heal HIV?" This is the reaction we're getting everywhere... We no longer have to find people to pray for, but instead they are taking us to the sick!
Hungry for Jesus that is! Young and old, we are continually meeting folks who are hungry for the Word of God and are super curious to know more about Jesus. We're being bold with the gospel - calling out sin, teaching truth, and explanining the ways of Jesus everywhere we go.
we've had to come agaist the enemy in the name of Jesus. please pray with us against illness. over half the team has been battling sickness, nightmares, and terror in the night. Amanda and Lindsay both have had fevers and most of the rest of the team has serious colds etc. Thankfully, God is made strong in our weakness!!
Friday, May 22, 2009
As we winded our way through the alleyways of the wetlands of Masiphumelele, an African woman named Vovo led us into an empty home. “This husband and wife that live here are are always fighting”, she explained. “I would like it if you could please just pray for them.” A minute later, the wife came in, avoiding eye contact with everyone. Her name was Naneinei. Her countenance was downcast and she seemed quite timid and fearful. (I might be too, if I came into my house and saw a dozen foreigners standing around in a circle!) I introduced myself to her, and taking her hand I asked if we could pray for her.
We all laid hands on her and began to pray out simultaneously. We prayed against evil spirits in the home, against generational curses and cycles of abuse and alcoholism. We prayed for love to abide in the home, for salvation to transform their lives. I prayed that their home would become a lighthouse for their whole section of Masiphumelele, that neighbors would come running inquisitive about their apparent transformation. The Spirit was thick in the room. I couldn’t stop praying in the Spirit.
Naneinei was weeping as we prayed, so I began to share with her about the God who did not live far away in a church, but who lived in Masi. I shared with her about Jesus, the Person God sent to show people what He was really like. I talked about the power that Jesus had, about all of the miracles He worked on the earth, and about how evil spirits have to obey Jesus. I told her about how God would change her life if she became friends with Him. She continued to weep, and soon Vovo, who was translating was also weeping. We had to pause for a moment because the translator was crying too hard to translate. When Vovo regained composure we kept talking about Jesus. “You see how Vovo’s eyes shine and how her face is bright? It’s because Jesus lives inside of her! You see how Christina’s eyes shine too?” I indicated to the other African Jesus-follower with us. “It’s because she has Jesus living in her too!”
As Naneinei was visibly shaken, we asked if we could return the next day to talk with her more about Jesus. I still couldn’t stop praying in the Spirit all the way back to the church. All of us left breathing in big breaths, knowing that we had just been met by the God of the universe in a very close way in a smelly, dirty shack near a river of sewage.
And so, Kristin, Amanda, and Lindsay returned Friday to chat with her. We listened to her story - she’s in Masi getting treatment for tuberculosis and is regularly beat by her husband. She has no friends in Masi, and mostly just lives in hiding, waiting for the day her treatment is over and she can leave. We’ll come back there with local women who can befriend her and help rescue her when she gets in abusive situations.
Although at least one in four, sometimes as many as one in three people have been diagnosed positive for HIV in South Africa, it’s still a pretty big deal when someone opens up to you enough to admit it. Yet as we offer to pray for people here in Masi, they are sharing their needs for healing from this ravaging disease.
Nightmares No More
Wednesday a few members of the Norman team prayed for a young woman who had been having scary dreams. When we stopped in to check on her Thursday, she said she didn’t have any bad dreams last night!
Many churches in this area require their attendees to wear a super fancy outfit to services. Thus, most of the poor in Masi cannot attend church. Which is probably fine, since most of the churches are not preaching the true gospel anyways! Our heart is for the people of Masi to see that God doesn’t just live in a fancy church building that they’re not allowed into, but that He actually lives in people - who live in shacks in Masi! Our goal is to disciple them in such a way that church begins to happen in homes and meeting places all over Masi, where every child of God is participating in communion with the family of Jesus, regardless of how they’re dressed.
The unemployment rate in Masi is unbelievably high. Everywhere we walk we see men and women and teenagers just sitting around because they cannot find any work. Subsequently, alcoholism wreaks havoc on the community. Many of the times we stop to pray for someone, we’re praying that God would provide work for them.
Wednesday we hosted a party for the Vulnerable Children - which are children who are either orphaned or have sick parents and are being sponsored by the Vulnerable Children Ministry. We made cards with them, fed them sandwhiches and lemonade, and sang songs. Jen and Amanda got to share the gospel with two little girls and led them in a prayer to receive salvation.
Thursday was a holiday - Ascension Day. How appropriate! The kids were free from school for the day, so we managed to have a pack of them following us pretty much at all times. After a few failed attempts to meet with people we had met on Wednesday, we decided to just go with what we had at the moment - a half a dozen runny-nosed kids. We found a modest wooden platform to sit on, and gathered the little guys all around. Amanda began to tell them stories via a translator named Vovo. She animatedly told the story of Creation and a little about Jesus while Sean and I each held a snuggling child. Every few minutes another child or two would join in as word got out that the strange white people were telling stories in the alleyway. We taught them a song or two and they sang their own songs for us as well.
We returned to the same part of Masi on Friday to tell more stories and sing more songs. We were warmly received by a young woman with two children and her house promptly filled with over twenty kids listenting to the stories of Jesus!
We learning all kinds of things these days...
What it means to be led by the Spirit in everything we do and how to pray with faith that God hears and will move on our behalf. Every home we step into we’re asking people if we can pray for them, if they know Jesus, and if they’d like to study the Bible more. In homes where we’ve made a solid relational connection we set up times to come back and visit again. We’ve got loads of Bible studies set up and meetings with people who want to hear more about Jesus.
On Friday, we began to see God healing folks right and left. In the morning, Sean, Amanda, Lindsay and a local missionary named Ana were without an interpreter. They asked God to lead them to someone who spoke English. A minute later as they rounded the corner of a tiny “shop,” a young man named TJ called out to them in English, asking if they were lost and needed help. “You speak English? Do you want to help us translate?” We managed to convince him to come along, and he helped us talk to several people. Eventually he led us to a house of an older man who had a limp and had walked with a cane for at least ten years or more. We laid hands on the man and prayed in faith. He said his foot felt very warm, we told him to get up and try walking around. He could walk just fine with no cane! His nurses from the local clinic were also visiting at the time, and they were freaking out! “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it,” they kept saying. TJ was freaking out too!!
Later, a few guys from the Norman team saw a woman’s shoulder get healed and another woman’s foot get healed, as well. Everywhere we’re going we’re spreading the stories that God is in Masi and healing people!!
Chris, Kevin, and Isaiah also prayed for a woman with womb cancer. Although its an internal disease and they couldn’t tell officially if she was healed, there was sweat pouring out of the woman after they prayed and the guys felt strongly that she’d been healed.