>We loaded up our vehicle this morning to journey 10 miles into the bush. John Taban and Noel, two new friends, were my guides to their home area of Payawat (also the home of our twins Benyamina and Dawudi). We had our ministry team of seven of our kids who were on holiday from school in the back. We bounced down the washed out road with ruts so deep I wondered if we’d topple at a few points, keenly aware rebels were in the area. But not deterred nonetheless. I had heard Dawudi was struggling and losing weight. The village was at a loss on what to do. So this was in some regards a rescue mission of mercy. Our older kids had spent the night before “practicing” praying for the deaf and the blind. Sticking their fingers amidst giggles into one another’s ears commanding them to open in Jesus name and laying hands on each other’s eyes. They were ready for whoever Jesus brought us.
As we journeyed for about an hour I got a running commentary from Noel regarding the area including some unreached pockets of people in along the mountain range framing our backyard. He and John have a small fellowship they are eager to associate with Iris and have a heart to plant churches like wild fire. We discussed the possibility of a car ride to a certain point and then an hour long motor bike ride through the bush to the unreached areas along the mountains. My heart leaped with expectation- sign me up! But it is an adventure for another day. I am greatly encouraged by John and Noel- but in this land where nothing is usually as it seems and the right words do not always mean the right motives, we are going cautiously and with wisdom. But I am still encouraged by the possibilities that lie ahead. I don’t do well staying on compound only. My heart and gifts best function among the unreached. I love the bush, I love the markets, I love being OUT loving people.
I learned a lot from Noel and John on our car ride in and was really blessed that they understand the traditional religious denominational structures here are not at all meeting the needs present or bringing life and are actually part of the problem. They have been praying for revival and new life giving churches to come in. Again we are going a little slowly until I see how their character and words line up. Patrick knows them and says they are good contacts, but still it is prudent to go slowly at first. So we are!
Our car arrived at Payawat and pulled off the road at the base of the mountain there. The area chief was waiting for us with arms and heart extended. He is a believer who loves Jesus but has been longing for some life giving expression of faith in their area. He was very welcoming and even arranged his schedule especially to meet with us. It was the first time a kawaja had come to the area, let alone one to help two little dying babies.
Dawudi was indeed in bad shape. My concerns that the mamas in the village had not grasped the art of formula making were well founded. So how did outreach begin in Payawat? Milk making 101.
See this cup? You pour boiled water into it and mix 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 spoons of formula into it, like so. And we all counted together. Wahid-itniin-talaata… And then I had them do it. I pray they understand. I am making a visual chart for them to send there to remind them. I have seen little ones as bad as this bounce back if fed properly. If he is not better when I return from Ghana we will bring him here until he is stronger. I was reminded today love is so practical. It isn’t just preaching at a huge meeting and seeing the glory fall (which I love!). It is teaching simple village ladies how to make milk so two little babies live another week. We brought milk for 3 weeks to leave with them. The chief even attended milk making 101 and was very impressed the white woman would sit in the dirt with the babies and the mamas.
So after we made the milk, I fed Dawudi his first properly proportioned bottle in a long time. I explained to them about how his little tummy had shrunk because he had not had enough in it so if he eats too much he’ll throw it back up. Which he was with them. So they needed to feed him little-little, rest, 10 minutes later, little-little and so on until his tummy opens up again. The little guy would have drunk the entire bottle- which they were letting him do at one sitting.
OH that makes sense they said. So we moved on to our first village meeting in Payawat. The chief was there for it too and about 30 mamas and children from surrounding huts. I had learned my whole introduction in Arabic so I began with great enthusiasm and they sat very patiently while I gave it. But their blank faces let me know they didn’t catch the meaning so I stopped midway and found out, they only spoke kawkwa. Oooops. They were very impressed anyway I was learning Arabic. Haha! So Noel translated and I picked up on certain phrases and repeated them in Kawkwa to everyone’s amusement. We had so much fun and just laughed.
We shared the story of blind Bartimaeus crying out for Jesus even when people told him to be quiet and leaving all he had to come to Jesus and Jesus healing him. The chief had vision problems and all our kids and I prayed for him and his sight was restored! There was one more lady with vision problems so we had him go pray for her and her sight was also restored! Another lady felt the pain leave her body. When I asked if they would like us to return and have a village healing meeting for their area they said very much so, how soon can you come? To finish the day, they presented me with a very fat clucking chicken, a beautiful hand woven basket for sifting (which I feel is really prophetic) and a grass broom—with which I had a portrait made as they watched the screen on my camera and laughed. Mama giaffe, kweis kweis. (Lovely- very nice). I almost cried. The chicken alone is worth a month’s wages for them. These mamas gave all they had and more.
Noel and John told me on the way back that the villagers want us to plant a church there when I get back. Then it was home to have a dinner date with Victoria Joy (now 16 months) who took great delight in showering her mama with food, give medicine to Aba who had a fever, check in on the rest of the gang and finally to write you.
I leave Saturday for Ghana. Please pray for the time there that it would be filled with God’s Presence and that we would see Him move mightily- that His love would bring life to people from the inside out. Most of all we would be sensitive to Jesus and all He desires from our time there. Below are a few more pictures from our first village meeting and soon to be church plant, as well as home life here. For our culture, having a village meeting and praying for the sick seems to work really well. It is especially exciting to me because the concept is so reproducible and easy to do with little to no resources.
That was my day!
Love in Jesus, Michele