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.
Friday, April 5, 2013
An Unexpected Encounter
This past Sunday, March 31st, was a nice, typical Sunday in Doma. We enjoyed celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and our subsequent hope and redemption! However, the day ended in a rather unusual fashion. At 6pm, one of the young men saw Heidi and I leaving our home and informed us that one of the girls from Eden had been "attacked by spirits." This isn't necessarily an uncommon thing in our part of Zimbabwe, but the alarm on the young man's face was enough to inform us that this was a pretty bad attack. So, I, Ian, took Heidi home and proceeded to go and find the group of people who were praying over the girl who was being attacked. I arrived just after dark and found about 15 people in a circle praying over this girl. The girl, who is tall, but slender and typically very quiet and docile, was writhing on around on the ground hissing, trilling and pulling four people too and fro with ease. Others who had been there longer said that the girl's mother, who has been deceased for about 10 years, was speaking through her, telling secrets about the girls life and family. So, a Shona pastor and I, as well as several other believers from Eden, prayed for deliverance and laid hands on the girl. We prayed for about thirty minutes and then the demon left her. The Shona pastor explained in Shona that he felt the girl needed to repent and forsake any sin she knew of that might have opened a door for this demonic activity. She did repent, loudly and openly, which is very uncharacteristic in our area. She prayed for probably ten minutes while everyone around her sang Shona praise songs. After the attack had ceased, I was thanked for coming and told it meant a great deal to the community that I would come to pray for someone who is being attacked by spirits.
Curious, I asked what was meant by the phrase, "attacked by spirits." The local pastor informed me that the ancient religion included a ritual or rite of summoning "ancestors" to strike fear into living relatives. Apparently, this is one of the ways the culture remains involved and syncretistic in its relationships to demon worship. I am told if most are honest, they are very fearful that they will be harmed or even killed by demons, even though they are Christians. Though some have Bibles and many of the preachers/pastors are fully convinced of the power of Christ over demonic forces, many of the people are still entirely in bondage to the fear of what the evil one can do. As a result, we see people constantly turning back from Christ to go to the witch doctor for healing from disease or for a "counter" spell to protect them from the demon attacks. This is so burdening to our hearts! To think that many who have been professing Christians for most of their lives are still terrified, constantly, that they will be harmed by evil spirits is astonishing! We cannot fathom living with that kind of fear for a little while, much less for a lifetime. Truth be told, people actually do die from these attacks and quite frequently at that. There is a genuine reason to be afraid, if you are not fully given to Christ and, therefore, sealed with the Holy Spirit.
To many of you, reading about an attack of this nature may seem strange, perplexing or even fake. However, one thing I can assure you is that this was no acting session and no matter how confusing or how much it challenges our preconceived notions or theological assertions about demonology, possession or oppression, it was real. For us, this is a really tangible example of the "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." We see the need for discipleship and deeper "understanding" of Scriptural truth. Correspondingly, though, there is always going to be the additional reality here in Africa, that these people need to see God counteract Satan's power over them as tangibly as they experience the effects of demonic attacks. Regardless of where you stand theologically on demonology, I encourage you to reread what the Scriptures have to say about the evil one and consider, if you had grown up here, in these circumstances and if you had these same fears ingrained deep inside your heart. How much would you need to see power to drive out the fear of the other power you've known? What would it take to really convert you? The answer, I believe, will be incredibly close to the answer for most Shona people too. So, please join us in praying that God will open doors for discipleship opportunities with local believers and that He will meet the secondary need for the demonstration of His power in their lives. We are excited to see how God is going to confirm His power and the accuracy of His Word in the lives of believers here in Zimbabwe. We will be sure to pass on the stories as they happen! As always, thank you for your prayers and support! We are honored to serve here!
Posted by Eden Children's Village at 1:15 AM