About Eden

Eden Children's Village was started in 1999 in Doma, Zimbabwe, Africa. Eden exists to provide holistic, quality care for orphaned children in Zimbabwe. Eden is a school, medical clinic, farm, and orphanage. Eden's mission is to share Christ's love through meeting real life, everyday needs.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

An Amazing Night In Jesus

This past Monday night I had the great privilege to travel 8 miles away from the orphanage to a farm for intentional outreach and teaching about Jesus and what it means and looks like to truly be a “disciple” of Jesus as an adopted son or daughter. We were only able to leave quite late that afternoon because of an important meeting at Eden, so we arrived at the farm around 5:45pm for the 6:30 gathering. 

After arriving, we sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee and some lovely, sweet bananas with focusing prayer and seeking of Jesus before we started walking from one section of the farm to the other, where we would meet. We walked about 1 ½ miles to the next village for our meeting. The whole way there, we were praying and enjoying a gorgeous night sky, screaming the glory of our Father. The moon was full and you could see very clearly where you were walking and all our surroundings. There was tremendous peace and urgent desire, desire for every man, woman and child that we were about to meet with to truly knowJesus as the living, abiding Lord of Glory, not merely the story book figure who died for our sins, according to the record. 

The substance, the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, the ongoing experience of His life and presence in the Word of God and fellowship with Holy Spirit is so vital. Our area, and indeed Zimbabwe as a whole, is “evangelized” in the sense of hearing the story and receiving some level of communication about Christ, but genuine faith is so very rare in the rural context. Most people add Jesus to the list of potentially beneficial and protective measures that may be accessed to obtain the outcomes that are desired in life. The traditional religion that dominated our area and the nation before Christ was introduced exhibits the self-centered, self-preserving tendencies of common, fallen humanity. Thus, when Jesus was or is presented as “personal benefit” so that “you can go to Heaven,” while these things are truly present in genuine salvation, the basal interpretation of the message is extremely similar to the motivations behind the practices of ATR (African Traditional Religion). We’ve been teaching about the self-less nature of love, of faith and of following Jesus. We’ve presented Jesus as immanent help, but that this life will notbe easy, fine or smooth if you follow Him. Amazingly, as we preach embracing the cross, crucifying the flesh by the Spirit, losing your life so that you might find it and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ, people are choosing to follow Jesus without the promise of ease and comfort…they actually want Him, even with the trouble!

So, we arrived at the second Village and gathered in a round cooking hut (these are the traditional meeting places in the culture). The hut was about 15 feet in diameter and had a bench on one side of the house, about halfway around. The walls are mud covered poles and grass with a dirt floor and some kind of polish to make it all look really nice. We gathered at about 7pm and began with about 18-20 people including women and children. One of the young disciples immediately took initiative and welcomed everyone, sharing an encouraging word from the Word that he had been reading and meditating on that day-this is very encouraging as a disipler, watching disciples mature and begin standing up to lead and bear fruit for Jesus publically and openly without prompting! He welcomed us to sing 4 songs and prepare our hearts for prayer, worship and study and the amazing evening really took off!

As we sang the second or third song, the presence of Jesus became very tangible in the hut and singing became worship for many of us. As His presence increased in our midst, one young woman who was leading worship stopped singing and put her hands on her head in obvious discomfort. A few seconds later, she fell down on the ground holder her head and writhing in pain. Baba Makunda and I walked over and prayed for her, asking Jesus to free her and rebuke the demonic spirit from her head. It left after a short prayer, she stood back up, shook her head looking a little shocked and began singing again. In the next song, she began shaking her head again, like you’re getting dizzy or confused. Then she again put her hands up to her ears and began slumping down in pain. This time the whole gathering of believers prayed for her and, after a short manifestation and growling, that demonic spirit left too. The Holy Spirit spoke clearly while praying for her the second time, illuminating some of the areas of jurisdiction these spirits had through sinful choices that this young woman had made. Little did we know that later, after the sermon, she was going to confess exactly what the Spirit had spoken to us, but we hadn’t shared with her that He had said. 

After we prayed corporately and she was free, we felt Jesus wanted some more praise, so we worshiped for another three songs, preparing our hearts to hear from Him and to get our hearts ready to listen and obey. Holy Spirit put a clear leading on my heart to teach from Colossians 2, Ephesians 2 and a combination of Romans 6, Galatians 5 and Ephesians 5. The main thrust of the message was that we are actually seated with Christ, forgiven, freed from our sins, our debt paid, our punishment fulfilled and removed, that we are holy, blameless and above reproach to our Father. Along those lines, we focused on the reality that we often live up to whatever we believe to be true about ourselves: wicked, wretched sinners tend to live wicked, wretched and sinfully, while forgiven, repentant, redeemed, empowered disciples tend to live more along those lines. Then we discussed how we came from a culture that was led by a king and had a spirit at work within us, when we were dead in our sins and now, in Christ, we have a new King, a new Spirit and they give us a brand new, often completely different, culture to live by! Then, the Holy Spirit really ripped the meeting open.

 He spoke to me about 7 young men sitting across the hut from me. He shared some very specific sins that these young men were living in and that they were obstinate and blatantly living in hypocrisy while claiming the name of Jesus as Lord. There was no harshness, no anger, no hardness to the words, just blunt, gentle truth. Then, Holy Spirit impressed upon me to share my story, my brokenness, the hypocrisy I lived in and how He has delivered me, set me free by His Word, filled me with His Spirit and taught me to live in a new culture and by His Spirit with Jesus as my King. After the teaching, we opened the door for everyone to confess publically and have the Church pray over each one according to the needed areas of repentance, asking Jesus to strengthen and fortify each believer to walk in the Spirit and deny the desires of the flesh and walk in abundant life. 

To make an already long story shorter, 7 people (out of about 25) publically confessed to living hypocritical, sinful lives that denied the Word of God and grieved the Holy Spirit. Two women and five men were set free from demonic spirits and felt the incredible renewal of having all the weight of their sins lifted off of their shoulders as they confessed their sins, turned to Jesus and repented of the dead works that had been dominating their lives up to that point. Two young men received Jesus’ free gift of righteousness and repented that night, it was powerful. One young man manifested the strongest demon I ever remember encountering in 6 years of full-time ministry in Zimbabwe and 15 in Africa total. This young man confessed to unrepentant anger and the attempt to curse people verbally and traditionally. As we prayed for him, he fell to the ground, then immediately erupted in furious rage and physical attack, grabbing Baba Makunda and trying to spear him into the wall of the hut. Baba Makunda somehow absorbed the attack and lifted the young man up without any assistance until the other 7 men in the hut grabbed the young man to restrain him. What ensued was a 1 ½ hour battle with a raging demonic spirit in this young man. After about 45 minutes, the demon seemed to have quieted down and the young man was released from the clutches of the praying horde of men. I was standing in front of the young man and when he opened his eyes the demon wasn’t gone. I told it to “Get out of him in Jesus’ name,” and the demon snarled and lunged at me, hitting me like a rugby tackle just below my chest, in the rib cage. I caught him and felt the Holy Spirit come over me in mighty way. I met the blow and, on my tip-toes, pushed back, praying the whole time, wrestling the young man to the ground before the 7 men grabbed him again and restrained him for another 45 minutes, until he was able to cry out to Jesus himself, at which time Jesus completely freed him from the demonic spirit. In the course of the intervention Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and shared that this young man was the chosen successor to a witchdoctor, whom I believe to be his grandfather, and that the particular spirit his grandfather bears is that of the python or “shato.” This fit the strength and hissing symptoms that we were encountering as we prayed. As we walked home, Baba Makunda confirmed that he had heard the exact same thing from Holy Spirit about the demon in this young man too. 

After that long battle (nearly 2 hours), we prayed for the believers, exalted the name of Jesus and bid them to walk in the Spirit, to immerse themselves in pray, study of God’s Word and to share the glory of Jesus’ Gospel and power as displayed among us that night. We then began the 20 minute trek back to the car so we could come home. Baba Makunda and I walked together, jubilant, overjoyed at the grace of God, that men such as us, so minor in the grand scheme of things, could be used and involved in His Kingdom coming to a remote village! 

Hallelujah! Jesus is amazing! He’s worthy, believers! We experience communion with God and one another that night. When the battle raged on for the young man, we were amazed to find that the believers didn’t get tired, rather they got more passionate the longer we warred against the devil’s power over our brother. By the end, many were in tears of joy and we worshipped with great thankfulness and joy that we had seen victory for our brother. The worship and joy were incredible! Jesus is alive and powerfully working for His children! 

What’s your Jesus like? Is He living and active? Does He still look like the pages of Scripture or is He quite different? I’m overjoyed to have been graciously awakened to the need for Jesus to be alive in my life, active as He was in Scripture and history. I believe Jesus is ready and willing to reveal the enduring reality of His person and revelation in the modern day in the exact same manner that He did in Scripture. Yesterday we went to another farm, one with far less openness, and found many bound up in ATR practices and fear, only to see them amazed that we were preaching a Jesus that was actually active and present in the world, not just in heaven someday. Jesus healed 3 headaches, one stomach ache (perhaps cancer-unsure) and one woman’s damaged arm that sounded like a torn rotator cuff. He DOES still heal, and usual does it when we’re pursuing the magnification of His name among the lost! Get with lost people, tell them about Jesus and pray for them. I believe, if you’ll do that, soon you’ll have stories to tell of His immanent, active power in Holy Spirit through you as well! 

Be blessed in Jesus, Family of God! Please don’t be offended by anything I’ve written here. My only desire is to encourage you with real stories in real time that reveal the real Savior as alive today. Controversy isn’t my desire, but bring it if it must come! Feel free to ask questions if you have some!

 p.s.  Please forgive us for being SO uncommunicative on the blog. We have several encouraging and uplifting stories to share soon, we're just trying to find the time to get them published with all the needs that face us daily. Thank you for your understanding and grace. 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Masowe Meeting #3

Greetings Everyone!
So sorry it's taken this long to get the update and thank you to you all for the prayers you lifted up on the night of FIND DATE when we last asked for prayer as I went to a Masowe meeting.

It was a Saturday and that is time that we always set aside for time with Jesus, unwilling to use the day for much of anything except for our children and meeting with the Almighty. As I was praying that morning, God clearly put one of our employees at Eden, Angela Katsiri, on my mind to go and pray for her. She had been suffering with really bad hip and sciatic pain. I didn't think much of it, but thought I would go before the Masowe meeting.

So, we spent the day in a sense of anticipation and asking Jesus to move in some way at the Masowe meeting to show His power and supremacy over the "spirits" that the Masowe "priests/prophets" are using. We had a really good day as a family and toward sunset I prepared to head to the meeting.

I invited and picked up two of the boys whom I am discipling at the moment and we went to pray for Angela. We entered her little house with 8 people living in it and greeted everyone. I shared with her that I had come pray for her. We prayed over her sciatic pain and it started to decrease. We prayed about 5 times and then she was completely free from pain and even ran to our car when we left!  She was so overjoyed that Jesus would come and give her the grace of relief from pain! Since that day, Angela has called me to pray with the sick twice, both instances expressing her faith that Jesus hears pray and answers. She's not ready to pray herself yet, but she's getting closer to believing that there is no special, magic power in our prayers! Her faith has grown tremendously through this experience.

While we were at Angela's house, her aunt, a very elderly woman, was there and the family asked us to pray for her, too, as she was in an accident 5 year earlier and has had leg pain and weakness in her legs ever since. There was no prognosis for improvement or change from a medical perspective. So, we prayed, and this time I asked my two discipleship boys to pray because I wanted the family to see that there was nothing special about me or my prayers, but Jesus was the one doing the healing! So, we prayed for this year old lady and God took all the pain from her legs. Then she told us she had lots of chest pain and tightness. We prayed for her chest pain and she was healed from that too! She left for her home a week later and told the boys that she had been challenged by a young man to throw her cane away the day before we prayed for her and she had said, "No, I will need the cane forever." She went home WITHOUT the cane and declaring Jesus' praise for her strength and restore health!

So, we left for the Masowe meeting extremely encouraged and uplifted by Jesus' faithfulness and kindness to us and Angela! How powerful, that He would answer our little prayers for "non-essential" healing!

We arrived a little late (9:30pm) and the Masowe were already in some kind of ritual to "cleanse" the Mudiwa family farm from "bad spirits." We arrived with the groups of men and women separated by a large fire and about 10 feet. The people were all quietly praying and singing the common Masowe songs, welcoming various spirits to come and meet with them that night. I was filled with so much joy because I felt absolutely no danger, no fear and no sense that anything at that place could do anything to us! We were filled with Jesus' Spirit and those demonic spirit knew they couldn't do anything about it! After about 15 minutes of prayer, they welcomed us and began the normal service part of the Masowe service. One of the "prophets" said he saw that God was with us in a mighty army of chariots and that all we did would prosper in His hand. We were already confident, but now their "prophet" is declaring the truth that Jesus was there to share His fame, to proclaim His name and nothing could stand in His way!

So, the service began with songs and a woman started manifesting a demon, shaking violently and knee walking up to the area near the fire so she could be prayed for. The leaders prayed for her for a few minutes and nothing was happening. I felt a stirring in my heart and motioned to one of the other leaders, saying with my hands, "Can I go pray for her?" They said yes, so I went across the way and laid my hand on her head and began to tell the demonic spirit to leave her in Jesus' name. The fire was SO hot on the women's side the my skin was literally being roasted while praying for her for the minute or so that I was there, but the spirit came out of her quickly. Jesus worked powerfully and quickly to liberate his daughter, created to know Him and embrace His love and grace. Later in the service, they called me over to pray for another woman, but I had no idea what was wrong in her life, they just asked me to pray for her. I wasn't sure what to pray, but I did pray anyway, that Jesus would be revealed to her. As the Masowe leader who was praying with her was about to leave, I noticed he was limping. I immediately felt the Spirit wanted me to pray for his healing. We returned to the men's side and this man was directly to my right. Someone started another song and I asked the man what had happened to his knee? He said he was injured playing soccer that day and was really in pain. I knelt down to pray for his knee, laid my hands on both the front and back of his knee and began to pray. As I was praying, the Spirit brought the word "meniscus" to my mind, so I prayed for complete healing and restoration of the meniscus and I felt the man's knee bounce or shake in my hands. I looked up to a very astonished face as Jesus had just confirmed His gospel and love to his man who lives in such deception and fear. He looked to a friend and told him the He had just been healed and then he started dancing with all his might all round the fire! That song lasted a long time. My heart was filled with praise because Jesus was revealing Himself to the Masowe of Doma, people that He loves and died to save!

A short time later they allowed me to preach, for 25-30 minutes with only one interruption! The Masowe don't usually do that. They will listen until they don't like something and then they will start singing. 3 songs and you are done preaching, so you gotta make your songs count! I preached the Gospel, I preached it boldly, straight forward and uncompromising and they received it well, until I said that we are not called in Christ to continue communicating with the dead (one of the backbones of Masowe faith, and African Traditional Religion). So, they sang a song to Mary, after I told them that Mary would tell them to stop praying to her if she could come back! And after that, God was finished speaking through me, so I offered Bibles so everyone could see for themselves that the Spirit of God and Word of God are not in contradiction and that we desperately need both! We left 20-25 Bible with the Masowe who were there but they notified me that they needed 40 more the next week. We are out of Bibles, having given away about 2200 in the past two years to churches and lost souls alike. Pray with us for funds to buy 1,000 Shona Bibles at $8 each!

Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement in the Lord! It was a powerful time and Jesus gave us a tremendous door for witness and outreach to share His love and to live among the Masowe without being scared or weirded out by their strange customs. As we were leaving, the leader of the meeting asked us to come and pray for his wife (who wasn't at the meeting) because she had had a baby and was not lactating well to feed the baby. We went the next day and prayed, but she wasn't healed immediately. We need to follow up and see where this man is in faith and if his wife was healed. He is a person of peace and we are eager to begin studying God's Word with him and watch Christ become revealed as Lord to his heart! Please keep praying for us. God is opening doors rapidly and in powerful ways.

Please be in prayer, we have a meeting on December 7th with the leader of all Masowe in the world. I desire to sit and exalt Jesus Christ with this man. I sense he is a person who God is moving in already. Please pray with us for that meeting and the powerful work of God's Spirit in "mutumwa."

Blessings to you all!
Read the Word, believe what your Lord says, and live by the Spirit! It is SO wonderful and life-filled. Not dead, wooden or stagnant at all. God has genuinely abundant life for you in Christ Jesus. Pursue it, obey His Words and see what will happen. You'll find quickly that He's alive and still loves to do might works for His glory on the earth.

Ian Fry

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sharing Jesus with the Masowe!

This past Thursday, August 25th, I went with a team from Eden Children’s Village to the national gathering of Johane Masowe- a professing group of people that essentially believe that God sent a man named Shoniwa Gandanzara the spirit (interpreted as soul) of John the Baptist so that he would be a prophetic voice for Africa and lead people away from their sins and to God.

We set out mid-morning and headed over the disparaged roads through mountain ranges that separate our part of Zimbabwe from this area called Shinje. It took about 3 1/2 hours of plodding through the mountains and across dry river beds to get to the main roads that lead to Guruve and Shinje, where we were headed. I was very grateful for the Land Cruiser that all of our supporters helped us purchase last year. Our old van would definitely have breathed its last on this journey had we retained it! 

We arrived around 11am at the Masowe meeting and found ourselves in a matter of moments in the center of a very large gathering of white robbed followers of Johane surrounding us in camping gatherings. After parking, we took off our shoes, rolled up our pants to just below the knee, removed all watches, cell phones, musical equipment and Bibles (as per the requirements of the group “to maintain holiness" of the land and gathering-which is essential for having the desired power manifest from “god” later in the meetings). We complied, with the heart of seeking to share Jesus with lost souls, and were led to the leaders of the gathering and the sect as a whole. The Masowe are now over 1 million strong in Africa in 9 countries. So, we found ourselves sitting around on rocks and in the dirt, humbly seeking an opportunity to share Christ. 

The leaders were kind and received us warmly, though with a little skepticism. It was supposed we were there to cause trouble and we were open that we were there to learn and question what we’ve heard and experienced of Masowe tradition. Soon after this one leader looked at me and said, “So you’ve come to get the spirit?” I said, “I already have the Spirit.” To which he retorted, “Oh! You have the spirit? We will see!” The feeling was cordial, but there was obviously a competitive or adversarial tone to all of our interactions in the 31 hours we were there, which is true and honest, I suppose, as I wasn’t there to comply and agree, but to speak, share and pray for lost souls to believe. 

After about an hour the leaders decided we could stay and that we could “camp” with those from our area who had invited me in the first place. So we moved the vehicle about 100 yards to the area where they were camping and we unpacked a little and began lounging and chatting about God and theology. The leader who welcomed us shared his version of several Biblical stories and we started asking questions and seeking open doors for the Spirit to open the iron doors of deception and false teaching that are so prevalent in Masowe doctrine. This conversation, which was our first, was really good and left the 5-7 individuals that we were chatting with questions about Masowe that were unanswered and unanswerable with their traditional doctrinal stances. This was a powerful experience as the Lord was leading us to passage after passage that clearly refute so many beliefs held by these incredibly devout but deceived people. The conversation died off after about 1.5 hours, but the entire time we were sharing about Jesus and questioning the rejection of the Scriptures that characterizes Masowe faith, there were spies sent from the leaders to listen and watch to find out what we were doing and why we were there. It was enjoyable to watch person after person come and stay a “stones throw” away and pretend to speak with others while looking over every few seconds to listen and see what was happening. One man in particular had some rather dark spiritual realities written all over his face as he moved in a very strange manner and starred us down for a few minutes. It seemed the “spirit” in him was very displeased with the “Spirit” in us and was letting us know that he knew who we were with, who we belonged to and why we were there. The presence of Jesus was very strong as we share and laughed and prayed in our hearts for everyone around us to believe and be set free from the lies that will render all who were present deceived and heading to hell when they die. 

After our first conversation we ate some good sadza and kept enjoying conversation all afternoon and evening until supper time and sunset. At sunset, all the people face east and pray specific prayers before rising from their knees to fold their hand and bow three times before they can return to their meal and/or fellowship. We then sat around fires as we were “freezing” in the 40s while completely exposed. Our hearts were full, though, because we were fulfilling the purpose for which we came, to share Jesus with any, all and as many as we could! We continued that until about 7pm and then we got a few hours sleep getting ready for the Pungwe-all night prayer and party- that was coming. I was assured I would get to preach, so I found myself lying on my back on the ground in a sleeping bag filled with joy and realizing that only Jesus could say anything that would make a real impact on the lives of those whom I was sharing this time with. No human wisdom, no words, no eloquence, would do ANYTHING. Only Jesus would do and only He could do it! How wonderful to FEEL what is always true! So, I was in joyful prayer and expectant that they might let us speak in that meeting. 

After a fitful 2 hours of trying to get a little rest and stay warm, we were notified that it was time to begin the service. This all night gathering has men on one side of a huge fire and the women on the other. I found out the next day that they call this the “Alter” and that when we were gathered around the fire, we were Isaac and were being the sacrifice as we were not sleeping but seeking god. (There will be many parts of this post that make you ask questions…I cannot answer them :-) as there are no logical or clear explanations for some of the things I am sharing with you.) We sat and stood and the Masowe sang for about two hours and then the open time for teaching came. Edwin and I got a white “robe” so that we were properly clad to speak, eagerly ready to share the Word of God as clearly and quickly as we could. The Masowe start singing when they don’t like what you have to say and you only get 3 songs and you have to sit down. So, we were ready and went to the front and were ready to share. Then, the leaders said, “No, no! You must speak during the day so everyone can see your face. You will speak tomorrow.” This was fine. We humbly accepted and went back to our camp and went to sleep. It was a really good night of exhausted sleep, wrestling in prayer each time we woke, longing for everyone around us to believe and be saved!

We were woken at 5:45am to “go for prayer.” It was COLD!!! I have experienced much colder temperatures, but sleeping outside, barefoot, exposed and on rock and dirt, it was really cold. So we got up and they gathered nearly all of the swelling 5,000 person crowd to the “meeting area” where everyone positioned themselves facing the sun on our knees. The prayer time began with singing and then everyone broke out into individual prayer and our little team was praising God and praying for protection and the thwarting of every evil plan over this mass of people whom God made for Himself and not for anyone else. The sunrise was one of the best I have ever seen in color and power of vividness and I felt as though Jesus was smiling on our attempt to lift His name up for the salvation of all who would believe and be saved. Immediately proceeding from prayer the leaders shared some news and introduced me as a guest, as I was the only murungu (white person) in the group of 5,000. One leader even said, “We will hear from him later today.” We were already very skeptical that they were going to allow us to speak, because the spies were reporting what we were talking about and we were unashamedly asking questions and pressing for the questioning of traditionally held beliefs. This meeting ended at about 7:30am and we headed back to camp for breakfast and preparations for the long, main event. 

We sat round drinking tea and conversing with as many as would engage us with conversation. I had a very long conversation with one group of men and asked lots of questions that were not answerable. One of the elements of our conversation stemmed from the reality that we and the Masowe share the belief that God will condemn the unrighteous to hell. One man asked why I was there and said he expected I was there to argue. I said I wasn’t but that if I actually believe that there is only one way to Heaven and that is Jesus and Jesus only, then I MUST ask questions and seek to make sure that no-one at that gathering hadn’t heard the Good News. (In hindsight this is probably part of why I wasn’t allowed to preach). We shared a good, long conversation and ended up shaking hands as I expressed my desire to see all men come to repentance and the salvation that comes by faith in Jesus, but little if any seed met fertile soil in any of our conversations in our 31 hours there. 

Then, the main event began and a huge gathering was assembled. 5,000 people isn’t really that many, but they were all robbed up and gathered in one large circle at the center of the meeting area. They group was facing a recreation of Mt. Sinai at the top of the hill, complete with stone barrier and restrictive access, only grated to the supreme leaders. The service resembled the others with lots of songs and intermittent preaching that was broken by songs as people needed to stretch their backs or were tired of hearing what a speaker had to say. We were sitting in the sun and getting roasted, in the exact same place where we had been freezing a few hours earlier. Still, our hearts were joyful and in constant prayer, asking Jesus to PLEASE let us declare your glory, name and Gospel! As the time drew close for the opportunity that they said I would have to speak, a woman stood up and began to “prophesy” by the spirit of Gabriel (that’s what she said.) Her prophesy was essentially that a foreigner was present and was coming in to steal thousands of people from Masowe and that no foreigners can ever be allowed to speak or many will be lead ‘astray’” Amazingly, that demonic spirit was telling the truth! I am a foreigner, I was there to preach Jesus, praying that many would believe in the true Gospel and find eternal life in Him alone, and probably leaving Masowe as the truth of God’s Word liberates them from the intense and treacherous lies that are so carefully and intricately woven to catch many. From the moment she started speaking, Edwin knew they were not going to let us speak. Amazingly, we were totally at peace, though our backs and bottoms were extremely sore from so many hours sitting on a hill against the grade.

Immediately following the “prophesy” all teaching was topped and they got out the traditional Shona bowls that the leaders had been using to pray over water (with some kind of soap or oil in it to make it smell good). It became obvious that they were either going to make people drink it or put it on everyone. Neither option seemed good to me. I leaned over to Edwin and asked him what to do. He said, “That water cannot do anything to you! He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We don’t need to run.” After Edwin’s encouragement, I was prayerfully willing to stay and felt the Spirit reminded me of Mark 16:18 “…and if they drink deadly poison it will not harm them….” So, I had peace and was ready for whatever was coming in the next few minutes. We were in intense prayer the entire time the main event was going on. You could feel the evil and that reality that this mass of people was after power and not power from Jesus! So, to prepare for splattering everyone with the water they had the entire group face the top of the mountain that resembled the presence of God on Mt. Sinai. The entire congregation fell to their knees and began praying for spirits to come upon them and manifest. Without any conscious communication, we began praying intensely against all that was taking place and for protection for ourselves from the large amount of evil that was present. The man immediately behind me started making loud guttural blurts and groans and then uttered “Johane.” The oppression we could feel got stronger the longer they prayed, but we were standing in Jesus’ name and immediately rebuked all demons that were naming themselves and were protected. Quickly the oppression left and the peace of God was powerfully upon us as we were interceding and rebuking all the evil around us.

After several miniutes, the prayer ended and then they formed a guard around the entire group so that NO ONE would leave before they were hit with the water. Each person was supposed to get hit with one drop. Humorously, we were doused three and four times each, but just our group of outsiders! I am not completely sure what they were hoping to do, besides send spirits to overpower us, but it didn’t work at all. In fact, the water felt like quite a nice relief to the scorching sun that was burning my ancestrally norse hide. It seemed there was an expected response to the water, perhaps a manifestation, because several leaders were stealing glances at us to see if anything was happening. We simply smiled and carried on. Soon after this water event, we accepted that there was no chance we were going to be allowed to share. 

So, we slipped out of the meeting and asked to speak with the leaders in private to offer them Bibles before we left. They agreed to meet us and explained that I was not allowed to preach because I hadn’t given then enough advanced warning and the program schedule had already been made. (We didn’t believe that because we had actually been invited to come share and I had specifically asked for pre clearance, but no worries!) We explained that we had no anger or hard feelings but were desirous to share truth with the entire congregation. They invited us back in October to share that truth (not really expecting they will let us share, but we will probably go anyway, knowing that they won’t!). The leaders did accept a gift of 12 Bibles for the leaders and the top leader, Mutumwa, said, “We will read what he was going to say.” This gave us joy, because it was obvious that they knew we were going to share from Scripture and they knew we were going to exalt Jesus, even if that meant standing against some traditions. 

Overall, the time was powerful and challenging. I found my heart deeply impacted by one reality that should be a constant reality for every Christian…every lost person is going to hell. Without Jesus every person will face the consequences of the wrath of God against sin and will be without defense or protection on the day of judgement. I realized how little drive there has been in my heart to share Jesus with every person, because you don’t know who’s lost! How can we say we are saved, have passed from death to life and that everyone will enter into either eternal life or eternal death in hell and do nothing, say nothing and share nothing! It is said the Spurgeon said, “If you do no yearn for the souls of lost men you can be sure you are not saved.” That wording doesn’t sit well with the postmodern world, but perhaps we’ve become a bit too comfortable, a bit too blasé and a bit too pacified by our freedom! Brothers and sisters, there are BILLIONS of people on this planet right now who ARE going to face eternal condemnation if they don’t get reborn by the grace of God, through faith in Jesus! What will you do? Don’t be silent for one more day! Don’t hold that light in you under a basket! You CANNOT! Please, please, let Jesus out of your mouth and your life constantly. Throw off all the childish, ridiculous, materialistic and temporal junk that so jumbles and overwhelms our thoughts that we cannot even think of people as people and live from electronic moment to electronic moment, rather than engaging real life. Please, get serious about your relationship with Jesus and give up your life! I have no doubt whatsoever that He will meet you with power, intimacy, love and strength to be made just like Him! That’s what the world needs…Jesus…living, active and present in and through you. So, what will it be? For me, witnessing is changed and MUST be constant, daily and intentional. Please pray with me for Mutumwa! I want to see that man get saved by Jesus! I’m also going to be engaging Masowe leaders that live around us, seeking to have Bible study with them, as they have asked for time to hear and study more. Please pray for these times as they come up in the near future. 

Brief Glossy of Masowe Terms and Beliefs:
Mutumwa - The supreme leader of the Masowe and the intermediary between men and god. They believe he is endowed with the same power as their original leader to lead by the power of the “Holy Spirit” and tell the people what God is saying. 

Holy Spirit, no Bible: The group claims to follow the Holy Spirit and have superior revelation from the Spirit, making the Bible unneccessary. They believe there are massive and critical translation errors and that this is why the Spirit supersedes the Bible and does away with its necessity. 

Johane Masowe: Shoniwa Gandanzara, the founder of the VaPostori (Apostles) religious movement. He claimed to be a svikiro or spirit medium who received the actual spirit/soul of John the Baptist from the New Testament and that Jesus sent John to make Shoniwa into the forerunner for Africa to prepare as Christ’s bride from Africa. Masowe believe that God has given different plans for each continent to receive the Gospel and that Masowe is the way that Jesus wants Africans to come to Him. This movement started in 1932 when Shoniwa had his svikiro experience. Svikiro is a key part of Shona (and many other African) traditional religious systems of communication with the spirit world. The entire Masowe church is after power and miracles, especially protection from evil spirits. 

Salvation: The answer were widely varied as to “how” someone gets saved. Basically, obey the commandments and get baptized and never leave the Masowe church. Jesus is named and will be claimed for salvation, but all prayer and seeking for experience seems devoid of His name or glorification. 

Much, much more to come as Jesus allows! Thanks for your prayers! They were powerful and effective. Jesus be with you you all, empowering you to LIVE for Him in this dark world. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

Greetings from Zimbabwe friends!
As I write this post, we are in the midst of a blessed season of seeking Jesus and seeing Him come closer in tangible and discernible ways that are encouraging, stretching and uplifting. This season would be described as revival by history and the vocabulary of many believers. Another work many would use is awakening. The idea in the second word being that the hearts and or minds of believers and unbelievers are often sleeping and unaware of the reality of God’s presence and interaction around us constantly. This second term is exciting to me, especially because we live in a very dark place where Satan and his deceptions are worshipped and lauded as supremely sovereign over the realities of Zimbabwe. Also, I prefer “awakening” because “revival” requires that something had to be “vived” or living at some other point and is being re-filled with life and animation. So, I am seeing revival as a renewing of life that has already been imputed previously and awakening as both the unveiling of Christ initially and the renewed unveiling of Jesus to those who have once truly seen, tasted and lived in Messiah.

Here in Doma, I feel we are experiencing “awakening” because the hearts of so many have never truly come to know Jesus personally and merely have the substance of knowledge without the indwelling Spirit of Christ. This draws my heart to ponder Romans 8 where Paul equates salvation with being filled with the Holy Spirit or having the Spirit of Christ dwell in you. He says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” vs 9b. As I let the weight of these words sink into my heart I am struck by the weight and simplicity of God’s message in this passage, namely, “If you are mine, I WILL put my Spirit in you.” and “If I have put MY Spirit in you, you are MINE!” This should come as no surprise to us, as the entirety of the New Covenant is based on removal of transgression, indwelling of God’s Spirit, creation of a new, responsive heart and relational fellowship with God for life and into eternity. (Jeremiah 31) So often I’ve allowed the Gospel, walking with Jesus and being a Christian to become so complicated, pondering the minutia of the faith in trying to discern the depths of faith in Jesus, but struggling to do so with this firm anchor of hope. The question and assurance arises from this verse, “Do you have the Spirit of Jesus Christ?” If you do, you can KNOW assuredly that you belong to God, have peace with God, are justified and are promised the power to overcome sin and live a victorious life in Jesus here and now. All of those things are impossible without the Spirit of God in you! 

Now that you and I have the Holy Spirit, shall God withhold anything necessary to conform you to the image of Jesus and create a renewed, worshipful creature out of you? The answer, according to Paul, is “NO!” “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32) This is no prosperity teaching, rather this is the empowerment of powerful Gospel living and dying in the name of Jesus for all generations. God has granted all things to us required for life and godliness according to 2 Peter 1:3. The question arises in my heart, “Do you really believe this?” If you do, the evidence will be obvious, manifest and clear of any and all to see. So, as you read or ponder today, how is your faith, how is your evidence? Can you SEE that you are truly redeemed, sealed and transformed in Christ. You don’t have to wonder! I encourage all of us who truly believe to begin responding to the tremendous promise of our Father about identity, adoption, imputed righteousness, grace, and abiding love to believe like a small child again. It’s incredible to see how the Father responds to the simple, childlike faith of His kids. I pray you experience that response! Take a chance…believe all He says about you again and act upon that incredible truth. I hope this reminds or inspires you to revel in your Father's love for you. I pray that love will envelope you, establish you in the identify of adoption and cause you to live a bold and mightily empowered life for Jesus' glory among the nations!

Pondering the Depth of Struggle for a Mother

A few months ago, a baby boy, Tichakunda, was abandoned by his mother in a latrine toilet here in Doma. The police swiftly conducted and investigation, discovering who the woman was who had left the baby, finding her and bringing her to Eden for questioning and planning. The police, following legal requirements in Zimbabwe, pressed charges of criminal negligence and baby dumping. This is extremely common in Zimbabwe among “commercial sex-workers” as prostitutes are called and so, the police began proceedings quickly.

While the legal process was being enacted this woman sat at Eden’s headquarters and chatted with one of our Administrators, Mercy Stephano. Mercy, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was entirely calm and interacted with Thelma with grace and concern for her soul. In the course of conversation, Thelma shared her story. She had been married at a very young age, thirteen. The man who married her did not love her and did not stay with her. So, at 16, with 1 child, she went to Harare seeking the opportunity to find employment and a “better future.” She arrived at a high density suburb of Harare known as Epworth and proceeded to pursue employment. Such as is the way of life in a developing country with rampant unemployment and overpopulation in urban areas, she was unable to find work and found herself in a tremendously desperate situation. Initially, she had friends to stay with, but this is a short-lived reality when you don’t have anything to contribute and your friends are barely surviving as well. So, she did all she could do, and moved in with a willing man. As is common, he let her stay for “free” in terms of cash, but exacted the common and high price of sexual pleasure for her stay and food. It wouldn’t be long before she was operating in the oldest, saddest profession known to man…prostitution. When we met her, she was selling herself for the prices of $2 for “protected” sex with a condom and $5 “unprotected.” In a nation with unemployment as bad as it is in Zimbabwe right now, these are pretty high prices and equal to or above the possible earnings of a regular job for most people.

During the subsequent 10-11 years since she moved to Epworth, Tichakunda’s mother has had two more children and she came to Doma with the expressed intent of leaving Tichakunda at Eden to save him from the future that she has brought her other three children into in Harare. His mother came to Doma, having relatives about 5 miles away from the mission, expecting and hoping to be able to leave this boy and give him a better life than she can provide. At age 27, Tichakunda’s mother is HIV positive and heading quickly to full blown AIDs, impending death and entrance into the eternal element of life. Our hearts are quickened, saddened and burdened for this beautiful and desecrated daughter of the Most High God! She has no idea that she’s loved. No idea that she was created to live with Him, to delight in fellowship with Him for all eternity and that she wasn’t made to suffer. She’s been brutalized and destroyed by sin as tangibly as anyone can be and death isn’t a fearful reality for her, even with her cultural heritage which encounters the reality of death with extreme fear. Her life has been absolutely filled with abuse, damage and a failed masculinity that only stole and harmed her. How can we speak with her about a “Father” who loves her? What welcome would the “bridegroom” of Jesus Christ have for her heart? What framework could she have to believe He has been with her for her entire life? How can she believe He’s never abandoned her? Only by the power of the Holy Spirit and absolutely only by the power of the Spirit can the grace of God break into Thelma’s life to any real degree.

My heart utterly aches thinking about the manner in which the woman, created in the image of God, has been utterly destroyed by the sin in the world. I find my mind drawn to the passage that is Eden’s heartbeat…James 1:27. The passage reads, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Up to this point in the history of Eden, we’ve been primarily involved in caring for orphaned children, often helping widowed women to care for their children until they pass on and we care for their children after their demise. I found myself, in considering Thelma’s life, wondering what might have been different for this precious woman who literally believes she has no value, because of the way the world and sin in the world has treated her life. Could a difference have been made? Could she have learned a trade and provided for herself and her children without having to become a sex worker? It utterly sickens me to think of this poor woman exchanging her life for $5. While the $2 version is absolutely the same reality, the fact of agreeing to give her body to men for $5, expecting and knowing that the $5 version will be chosen by HIV infected men who desire more pleasure with no consequences to them personally. My heart aches to see this woman and others like her given hope and opportunities to allow for the possibility of a better future, one free from the sexual abuse of stained, broken and equally bankrupt men. I don’t know what God has for us to do, but I know that we, the Church of Jesus Christ, MUST strive to do something for women like this all over the world who face the reality of having no other choice. Preventing the ongoing explosion of orphaned children is probably the very best orphan care strategy. Assisting ailing mothers and families to successfully care for themselves, provide for their most basic needs and live on earth with physical hope, all while sharing of the Messiah for whom and because of whom we endeavor to do this work of grace.

Before you allow any judgmental thoughts or justifications to pass through your mind, as they come before mine also, let’s consider that circumstances actually exist in this fallen world that are not merely the result of poor choices, but the result of literally zero options to the alternative. We, as westerners, often think that people, if they chose correctly and worked hard, could make it into better situation and overcome all the odds. While that is true in many cases, let’s consider that there are actually situations where there is no alternative, no hope, no way out and no boot straps by which to pick yourself up. This is where Jesus comes in and the Church ought to follow Him. I am not sure, yet, what God would have for us to do besides sit and pray with Tichakunda’s mother and seek her welfare spiritually before she dies. However, I know that this will not do for long! How can we pray for her to be warm and well fed when that warmth will come from consensual sin and that her food will come from this debauchery and defilement. Jesus would not condone any of his followers sitting in utter luxury while another of His precious creatures surrenders her body and life to sexual immorality for survival. We MUST do something, brothers and sisters. A trade school and the opportunity to learn a viable way to survive comes to mind, but the Lord will lead to the correct action that must be taken. Please pray with us for leading and for empowerment and clear leading to whom, where and how to begin living the Gospel tangible for some of these precious women to be freed from a life of sex slavery and, ultimately, to be introduced to Jesus Christ and to find lasting freedom for eternity. 
We must be praying, attentively listening and actively pursuing any and every action Jesus would have us take to meet these precious lives with the Gospel. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Catching Up with the Frys

Greetings All!
It has been entirely too long since we posted on this blog! Please do forgive us for failing to communicate through this outlet for over a year. We consider that terrible and do apologize for the failure to complete our embarked upon goal of blogging regularly.

Since we last wrote, we returned to the United States for a ten month furlough. We traveled many thousands of miles and had fantastic visits with many friends, family, supporters and new acquaintances all over the Eastern United States. We are so blessed to get good quality time with family, which is one of our highest costs of being missionaries, the loss of time with that family, as we shared Sunday lunches, vacation to the beach, special events like hiking and going to many special events, and playing disc golf. It was a rejuvenating and encouraging time in America. God blessed us with a safe, healthy delivery of Gabriel Asher, and expanded our family to 5. We are so grateful for little Gabe, who's already 9 months old! We were also blessed to raise additional support, build stronger relationships with all of our supporting churches and to get to serve at Ridgeview Baptist Church in the fall while were were "stationary" for Gabriel being born. We were in America through January 24th, when we departed Washington, DC to begin our second term in Zimbabwe. We plan to be here through sometime in March 2017, as Zimbabwean immigration dictates and allows.

Since we arrived back in Zimbabwe, we've re-transitioned to our home, killed LOTS of spiders and gotten reacquainted and connected to our dear friends and colleagues here. We've also begun some exciting new facets our the ministry here. Ian continues to meet with the three teenage boys regularly, though we've had some health challenges so far this year that have hindered the desired regularity. Victor, Tinashe and Tinotenda are the three young men Ian is mentoring now and they are all doing great! We've started having a Bible study in our home every Wednesday and Friday at 10am for between 5-7 Shona people who work for Eden in our segment of the ministry. This study is an overview of God's history and plan, as recorded in the Bible and gives us time to read, slowly, through the Bible and ask and answer questions according to the revealed truth of the Word! We are absolutely loving this study. We see the impact it is having in the lives of several of the people who attend and we are delighted to see hunger and thirsting for righteousness in these precious souls who were created to glorify God! What we are finding is that the platform of an open discussion, allowing for questions, taking time to answer thoroughly and biblically, is highly effective in relationship building and in assisting in worldview formation. As we've shared before, there's an entirely different worldview inherited in the rural culture here, than that depicted in Scripture. So, it is very exciting to see the Spirit of God working in the hearts and minds of everyone at this study, committing their time to studying the Bible. We trust faith will come from hear and hearing from the Word of Christ! Already we've seen two huge decisions made by two of these brothers that are extremely counter cultural.

The first decision came when one man's father died. Traditionally, he would have done a great number of rituals and then planned on "welcoming his father's spirit back into the family" after a year, but after discussion and prayers and reading on his own, Robson decided he was going to celebrate his father's life and faith, believing that his father's eternity was settled in Jesus and further offerings and rituals were unnecessary to procure a solid salvation for him. This was a bold and "dangerous" decision for him, as the family don't share his perspective on the world now and consider his decision one that welcomes the "wrath of the spirits" upon the family. Robson has chosen to stand in Christ by faith and rely on the perfect work of Jesus to protect him from any spirit that would try to harm him. I do believe Robson will be just fine and the family will have a powerful testimony of Jesus' power and authority through this entire situation.

The second reality came after the harvest this year. We had poor rain and subsequent poor crops this year. The local witch doctors have begun traveling around the area informing everyone that the rains were not good because they, the witch doctors, were not paid enough to appease the spirits who control the rain. So, everyone is being "taxed" for next season's rain to come. When they came to Joshua's house, he told them to "get away," and that he no longer followed these practices and didn't believe they had power over him. Joshua's crops were quite good this year, even though the farmers around him suffered quite a bit. Using conservation farming or Farming God's Way, he has grown to believe that God is in control of his crops and the rain and that he need not fear these other spirits. Joshua's faith is still very young, but we are seeing it blossom and grow in a way that makes the last three and a half years of pray and relationship feel so entirely fruitful and worthwhile! Never give up, friends, God may take His time in using you in another's life...persevere and see!

Now, as we reach and pass the halfway mark for 2015, we are encouraged that so much time and energy is being poured into growth and maturity in Jesus through our lives. Ian is leading 4 intentional studies of God's Word each week, including the Boy's Bible Study which is inspiring and overwhelmingly encouraging in its own right too. We are overjoyed at all God is doing here in Doma and are so delighted to see what He has in store for the rest of 2015.

As for the blog, we long to renew our commitment to writing you quality, worthwhile posts about life, ministry and faith as we live and serve in rural Zimbabwe much more frequently. I, Ian, feel led to commit to a bi-monthly post, at a minimum and will strive to accomplish this in a timely fashion. If you thought we disappeared, thank you for finding us again, sticking with us, praying for God's work in and through us here. We are honored to serve here and to be a part of what God is doing to reveal Himself to men, women and children in rural Zimbabwe. Thank you for your prayers! We appreciate them so much!

Until next time,
The Frys

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spiritual Realities

Last night we had a wonderful time of study and fellowship with fellow missionaries and coworkers for Christ in our area. During our study of Jude, we happened to get into a deep conversation about Shona culture and spiritual beliefs. The revelation and impactful conversation were so encouraging and uplifting. Our dear, Shona friends, Patterson and Mercy,  revealed so much of the deep Shona cultural beliefs. This time, we feel God has opened to door to help unravel the mystery of "false conversion" or "falling away" which is so prevalent of those who claim to follow Jesus here in Doma.

Many believe the following:
Ancestors live on around us forever and they either protect  us or, if we don't appease them, they negatively effect our lives by causing sickness, loss (such as crops, animals etc.) and we appease them by keeping the rituals handed down by the ancestors since forgotten times.

When a Shona person dies, there is a funeral after 10 days (when it is believed the body has "burst open") to try and cleanse the soul, giving the soul what it needs for its sojourn around the earth for the next year. Then, at 1 month, there is another service to "fully" cleanse the soul, meaning giving offerings to the ancestors to appease for any wrongs or remaining guilt that were on the deceased persons account. Then, after 1 year, there is a big ceremony to recall the spirit to find out whether it has found peace or torment. Then, the spirit is invited to come "back into the family" to protect and bless the family and to be appeased, should the spirit have any ill-will toward the surviving relatives. (This revealed to us which kind of funeral we were asked to speak at last year-the one year funeral). We also learned that some of the "christian" churches who are still syncretistic in their practices ask the soul if it got to go to heaven or hell, then ask the spirit back into the family.

The deepest revelation about the depths of Shona hearts, though, comes in their view of "the creator" and how we get to him. The Shona believe that we can get to god, but that we have to communicate to him through our ancestors... ALL of them! So, you have your life, tied to your father, grandfather,  great grandfather, great great grandfather, etc. all the way back to the creator and you CANNOT communicate to god without being at peace and in good will with all ancestors. Many live in complete fear of the ancestors, as there is belief that they determine all things good and bad in the living relatives lives. With this in mind, most people live in perpetual fear of failing to keep ALL their ancestors unhappy. Furthermore, these ancestors are believed to be "buy-able." In essence, the family members use the fears of the ancestors to keep others in line, or to force them to do what others want done, threatening to anger the spirits (translate as put a curse) against those who disobey or fail to comply with family mandates.

We were also instructed that the Shona people believe that they have the blood of their father in their veins. For most, this means all the sins of the father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc. are in their bodies and that they are tied to the ancestors through this blood, thus they must keep the ancestors happy to get to the creator. They also believe that they are protected from the sins of their fathers and any ill in life by their mothers ancestors. So, they are bound, by mother and fathers former relatives. They are warned, if you fail to appease ALL the spirits, bad things will happen: sickness, demonic oppression, loss of crops, poverty, any bad thing is believed to be the displeasure of the ancestors! Basically, they believe, "evil spirits" are ancestors spirits who are upset with them, not a different piece of creation. These ancestors "require" an annual gift/sacrifice to remain appeased. This can only be given through a nanga-witchdoctor and must be done in the families "traditional home" no matter how far away the family members have gone. Members who are too far away to come back must send money or goods to contribute to the family appeasing process.

So, this is all extremely valuable revelation for those of us laboring to see Jesus lifted high in saving the lost souls of Shona people in Zimbabwe! We now have a little bit better picture of where our people are starting from! We now have a little better idea of the deep difficulties that our people face if they truly convert. Patterson and Mercy shared last night that, as they have completely come out of the ancient ways and given their lives completely into Yahweh's hands in Jesus, that their families have told them, "You are on your own." In essence, when the ancestors get angry with you for failing to pay them, annually to bless you, then don't come to us, we want nothing to do with your insolent arrogance in refusing to "submit" to the ancestors and show them honor. Patterson and Mercy shared that they were instructed in their home church,  while growing up, that when you give you life to Jesus, you no longer have the blood of your physical father running through your body, but you have the blood of Jesus in you! You are LITERALLY a NEW CREATURE in Jesus and you are set free from all the sins, covenants, weaknesses and practices of the ancestors. They were taught that you no longer have to come to God through your ancestors but must come through Jesus Christ, the One true mediator between God and man!

We are overjoyed and humbled and encouraged today by this revelation! Brothers and Sisters, this is the cultural key which Yahweh God has hidden to communicate the back to Him through Jesus in this culture! Praise Him with us that He raised up Patterson and Mercy to be incredibly bold and brave to counter everything their parents and grandparents had accepted as true and binding and throw all their trust and faith in God through His promise to all who will believe in Jesus! Today, we realize that we must be the "family of God" to any and all who truly come out of the ancient religion because they will be severely persecuted by family, immediate and extended, for angering the spirits and bringing trouble on the family. Pray for the Stephanos as these incredible people are culture changers, world shakers, truly born again and empowered believers in Jesus Christ!

I pray as you read these words you are drawn closer to Jesus and that your hearts are encouraged by God's incredible power and might, greatness, grace and mercy in Jesus. I hope this blog inspires you to examine your own heart and find if you are following unBiblical practices and beliefs passed down from your ancestors that bear no life and only fear that you will cut those things out of your life. Jesus preached that we should "Repent, for kingdom of heaven is at hand." Let's strive to throw off everything that hinders and run with perseverance the race marked out for us by Jesus!

 Hallelujah, we have received the Spirit of adoption by which we cry Abba Father and not a spirit of fear! Please pray God will show us how to boldly and powerfully preach the Word of God with this new understanding! As I write these words, Heidi and I have 41 days before we return to America. Pray we will make the most of every opportunity to share Jesus in these culturally appropriate ways! We are so excited about this revelation. Ian's family has been praying for this for 15 years, as have all the members of our ministry team! Please praise God with us for revealing and pray that God will powerfully use us as His tools to bring lost souls back to their Wonderful Creator and Loving God!

Ian Fry

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Cactus Prayer

  A few weeks ago, I, Ian, went to visit our friend, Joshua Mudiwa at his farm. As you may recall, we have been working with Joshua for nearly two years to grow in his knowledge and faithfulness as a farmer, as well as, to share Jesus with Joshua and his family. We've been greatly encouraged by Joshua's progress trying to follow Jesus as the Bible instructs us to. Well, on this particular visit, I saw an area of Joshua's property that had previously been covered in "bush." In that area was a cactus, all alone with three small clay bowls laying around it. I asked Joshua, "What is this and what does it mean?" He proceeded to explain that the cactus is a part of the Johane Masowe sect that he came from. The cactus, he said, is used to heal people. I asked how, expecting that they used the juices or flesh for a medicinal purpose, his response surprised me. "We put these bowls here and place three very small smooth stones in them, then we pray, and ask the cactus to give us the strength to heal. The power comes from the spirit of John the Baptist." I asked more questions, trying to ascertain what he really believed was transpiring when they prayed like this. He revealed that they actually believe some of the life of John the Baptist went into the water so that sick people could be healed. Incredibly, to our western minds, people really are "healed" by drinking the water from these bowls after the prayers! He told me that the founder of the sect had taught them to do this ritual and that it was his spirit that gave the healing. We conversed at length about the Scriptures clear teachings on healing, God's power and how God shows us that he healed and will heal through the church. Joshua was encouraged that the Bible does talk about healing. Then we talked about false worship, signs and healing. Joshua was very excited to hear stories like Elisha and the Prophets of Baal, where God showed up to prove His power over a false god. He was even more excited to recount that Jesus healed many and promised that healing would continue through his church. But, then the rubber met the road, I asked Joshua if he was ready to cut down the cactus? His answer was really revealing. He said, "Ah, I have been told that this cactus will protect my family from lightning. You know, many huts get hit with lightning and the people died. So, I am afraid to cut this down since the rains are coming." We had a another lengthy conversation about God's power and how, often, God responds to His children's faith in Him as evidenced in their actions. I encouraged Joshua that God will protect his family if he will walk by faith and stand in the face of the demon worship that is going on around him. He was still afraid but agreed to talk to his wife about Biblical healing. Please pray for Joshua and his entire family as they seek to walk in the truth and obey God! Please pray that as they begin to step out of the syncretism that they are accustomed to that God will "prove" himself to them in their personal lives and in the community around them. We are still pursuing a church plant on the farm where Joshua lives and have recently learned that there are no churches there, only witches and syncretistic cults teaching ways to heaven other than Jesus. The battle for lost souls rages on, brothers and sisters. I can't help but ask, are you involved in the battle, rescuing those in darkness over to the light, saving those on their way to death for eternal life? It was Jesus' mission, to save the lost, it was the focus of the early church...is it our focus today? I hope so! If not, today is as good of day as any to reorient, realign, and reprioritize our lives to join in God's objectives in this world!

Monday, September 9, 2013

"It really works! The Bibles really works!"

About a week ago one of the teenage boys at Eden came to me visibly upset and perturbed by something. Through the course of a 15 minute conversation he revealed he was having a very disturbing conflict with one of his housemates, a fellow teen at Eden and didn't feel he could resolve the issue himself. He asked if I, Ian, would intervene and speak to the boy for him. I conveyed my concern about the situation and agreed that action must be taken, but I was also concerned that this young man find a Biblical solution for himself. So, I encouraged him to go to Matthew 18, to read it several times that evening, and then to come and see me and tell me what God had told him should be done and what he should do in that situation.
  Early on the next morning the young man arrived with a very serious face. He wasn't very excited about what he had found, but he did clearly and accurately articulate what Matthew18 says to do in a conflict situation among believers. So, he asked me if I would come with him to "confront" his brother. I asked if he had already done "step 1" in talking to his brother alone (I knew he hadn't because it is a very difficult action, in Shona culture, to directly deal with an issue between two people) and he responded with a "no." I encouraged him to try what the Bible says first and if it didn't go well, I would be more than willing to help with "step 2." That was enough encouragement to push the young man to try! 
 The next day he arrived with a happy look on his face and a spring in his step. He had gone to his brother and spoken about his frustration and concern. Much to his surprise, his brother had responded with equal concern and urgency at resolving their personal issues. He was amazed that the conversation had gone so well and had been so "easy" once he had faced his fear. Though I assured him that it won't always be easy and your brother might not respond the way you would like every time, a huge victory had been won, by the Lord, in a young man's heart. This young man expressed his amazement and joy at "seeing" God's Word work in a real-life problem in HIS life! I cannot express adequately how exciting it was a watch as God solidified his faith through this experience! We are constantly praying, teaching, encouraging and striving to see the REALITY of God and His Word in these young peoples' lives, so to see God actively reach out to these kids is wonderful! Thank you for your prayers! God is doing His mighty work here and we are overjoyed to be a part of it!
 This story also inspires a question within my heart... how convicted, convinced and confident am I that God's Word is real? That God's Word is powerful, active and true? How about you? How convinced are you? Actions speak louder than words in this answer and I, for one, am reminded to fully rely on God's wisdom and ways more and more completely at all times! I hope you are encouraged and pulled toward God through this story as well!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A nice "short" trip to get some goats!

For the last several months, I, Ian, have been working on getting the details ironed out for a Rotary International grant to bring dairy goats to Eden Children's Village to help supplement our milk needs, especially for the children in our care who cannot digest cows milk.
So, after months of preparation, the time finally arrived to go and retrieve the goats. Ian and our neighbor, Dave, climbed in Eden's truck, a Foton 2 1/2 toner, at 2am on Wednesday, May 8th, and began the 900 kilometer (565 mile) trip to  Louis Trichardt, South Africa to retrieve the animals. The first four hours were great as we bombed along at the Foton's governed, maximum speed of 85 kilometers per hour. We stopped for a potty break at 6 am and hopped back in the truck to continue to journey, but the truck wouldn't got into gear. After a few minutes, we realized a cable had sheered off and we were going to have to be towed. Fortunately, Dave knows someone in nearly every knook and cranny of Zimbabwe and in a few hours we a truck arrived to tow us to the closest town of Kwekwe. We began getting towed and about 3 miles down the road the clutch on the truck burnt out because of a compression build up in the clutch line. So, our single, and pretty simple problem was made significantly more troublesome! Eventually we arrived in Kwekwe and the mechanics began working on the truck. We knew we were going to be there for the night, so we hoped on a local bus to get to the next town, Gweru, where Dave's friends live. The bus ride took 3 hours to travel 36 miles as we would drive a little, stop and pick up more passengers in the already full bus, or get stopped by the police for several minutes at a time. The most difficult part of this segment of the journey was the temperature. It was already quite hot in the bus, but when we were moving, many of the fellow passengers wanted the windows closed too! So, by the time we arrived in Gweru, I was more than ready to exit the public transport and walk as far as necessary to our next destination. After a short while, we were retrieved by one of Dave's friends and escorted to a beautiful home where we were treated to some lunch and very fine hospitality. The genuine fellowship between genuine followers of Jesus Christ cannot be overstated in sharing about this journey! It truly was incredible to be blessed by brothers and sisters in Jesus in a time of need. Immediately following after lunch coffee, we were kindly escorted to the residence of another of Dave's friends who had kindly offered to keep us for the night. Again, we were treated to incredible hospitality and kindness. We enjoyed good food, fellowship and sleep and woke ready to go the next day.
As often happens in Africa, it took much longer to fix the truck than anticipated, but by noon, we were ready to get on our way. So, we saddled up and began our journey again, still 8 hours to go to the goat farm. Exactly 6 kilometers out of the town where we broke down, I started having trouble with the truck, it was a fuel issue this time and, since we had to starter, this was a huge issue! We were also in the midst of lots of road construction, so we were having to stop and start constantly. By His grace, we only had to stop once for the construction and happened to roll right through 5 construction areas unimpeded and made it with very little extra fanfare to the city where Dave's friends lived. Unfortunately, I had dropped Dave's Bible, which had his passport in it, at the former town. So, while I fueled up and prepared to return the the kind friend's house to finalize plans to leave, Dave went back to Kwekwe to get the passport. As soon as he left, the truck died for real and I knew we were not going anywhere that day. So, in 30 hours, we had gone a grand total of 45 miles! Not the progress we were hoping for. Fortunately, Dave's friend knew a good mechanic in Gweru who could work on the truck. I had broken down for real, so he had to come get me, but a few minutes after I was informed that he was coming, a man pulled out of his driveway right in front of me and asked if I was Ian, I answered, "Yes, I am." and we briskly pushed the truck right into his drive! I'd broken down right where I needed to be...how curious! So the good mechanic man took us in and began looking at the truck, quickly finding some major issues. So, we left him to do his work and returned to the wonderfully kind friend's house to spend yet another night. This took the time of our trip from the expected 30 hours to approximately 48 already, and we weren't any closer to the destination!
Fortunately, my mid afternoon the next day, the truck was fixed and running better than ever before. We packed up and headed off at our fantastic 85km (51 miles) per hour! We got through the border with little effort and arrived at the goat farm at 1:45am on Saturday morning, nearly 72 hours after our departure! We were just thrilled to be there though! We enjoyed a brief conversation and headed off to bed for a good sleep! The sleep was a bit short, but we woke early and got to take a tour of a fine dairy farm. We inspected the animals and finalized our plan for the trip back. At 4pm we loaded up and began the return leg. Things went very smoothly and we arrived at the boarder in good time and successfully navigated the South Africa side easily. Little did we know, we had a long night ahead of us!
On the Zimbabwean side, we quickly went through all the procedures that we knew had to be completed to import that animals. We ran through the many lines and different fees to make it happen and were at the very last step, a stamp from an official giving us clearance to leave the boarder post. That agent lifted the stamp and nearly pressed it to our paperwork before halting and retracting her hand. She returned to the head office to verify we could go, but returned claiming we needed further paperwork. We were really upset by this, because we were fearful for the animals well being in the back of the cramped truck. Without giving too many boring details, we spent the next 4 hours trying to get the right paperwork approved. Eventually, we succeeded at 1:45 am and left the boarder to continue our journey on home. We traveled straight through with as few stops as possible and arrived at Eden at 12:45pm. We unloaded the animals, fed and watered and milked the does, sharing the spoils with the curious children who had come to see the new sideshow attractions at Eden!
The next day, a small child arrived at the clinic critically malnourished and dying! We were completely out of formula, and the cows milk doesn't often sit well with these extremely malnourished kids, so our RN decided to give the fresh goats milk. The child didn't like the taste at first, but quickly began guzzling the milk down! In little over a day, our goats had saved their first child! This is why we got goats, to add the the effectiveness of the ministry of Eden Children's Village! So, no matter what it took to get them here, we see it as COMPLETELY worth it to have prolonged this one child's life long enough to hear about Jesus!
We hope this post encourages you in the daily troubles and challenges you face. Just remember, you never know what God is going to do with the fruit of your hands...you just might save a life after being really really frustrated. So, we hope you are able to enjoy life, even in the difficulties, a little bit more today!