This morning I read in Acts 19-21. So many more miracles! What stuck with me, though was the part about the Sons of Sceva. There were 7 men, sons of a Jewish high priest, who were trying to do miracles in the name of Jesus but the did not actually know Him. When they tried once to cast out a demon as they’d seen Paul do, the demon actually answered them at told them that he knew Jesus and Paul but did not know who they were. Then the demon (using the man he was possessing) beat them and chased them out of the house naked & hurt. I wonder sometimes at people doing things in the name of religion but not having a personal relationship with Christ. I wonder why? How hard would it have been for these men to have accepted Christ instead of just imitating. Did they think that maybe because they were sons of a high priest that they were somehow already children of God? I hope and pray that my children will not rely on my relationship with Christ to somehow cover their own salvation. It does not! Each person must know Him for themself. Every person must admit their broken, sinful condition and believe that Jesus is the only way for salvation and tell others about their belief. God has no grandchildren. We must all become His children personally.
Today was very hot and sunny. We went out about 10 am to the village of Salimu. This village has had a church meeting under a tree for about 2 years now. They are wanting a building and Ovi is exploring that possibility with them. We were there for church yesterday afternoon and enjoyed the sweet spirit. Unfortunately, we have been unable to meet the pastor yet. Yesterday his wife was sick and today I think he just didn’t have enough warning that we were coming. Our plans had changed and we came today instead of Tuesday when we’d originally planned. Since he lives in another village for now, it was too difficult for him to change his plans and meet us there today. His mentor was there, though. He has been working in this village as well and knew most of the people well. We spoke with about 3 of the men of the church and they all decided on several people who had been coming to church but hadn’t been for a while and we headed out to visit them. As we went a little girl, maybe 7 or 8, joined us and followed us to every hut. It seemed she knew and was friendly with everyone. Because she followed us she heard the gospel many times today! As she sat friendly and comfortable with many of the women, I found myself praying that God would get hold of her heart and use her in an amazing way to transform this village. I cannot really even describe the sense that came over me as I watched her. I think that she could be a driving force in this village all coming to Christ. Pastor Ed, Janine and I all had several opportunities to share the gospel using our evangicubes while the pastor and the other leaders from the church watched and learned. Toward the end, the pastor used the evangicube to present the gospel to a group of women. While I could not understand anything he said, it was much more fluid since there were no translations going on at the end of each phrase. Ovi said he did an amazing job. Praise God! We left one of our evangicubes with him to continue using and to train the others how to use them.
I got to see the woman I prayed for yesterday who had had an argument with her mother. She had such a sweet spirit and I enjoyed talking to her (what little we were able to say). Her name is Linile. We spoke with several women but one young lady was sitting outside a tiny hut and said she struggled to get to church because she always feels sick. We could hear an infant crying weakly from inside the hut. I hope and pray it was just fighting sleep. It sounded so pitiful and it must have been so hot inside that hut. I prayed earnestly for that child and mother. At another place the mother asked us to speak to her son. He was a late teen it appeared. Ed spoke to him and presented the gospel and asked if there was anything he wanted us to pray for him about. To our shock, he admitted he had been drinking alcohol and wanted to stop. We all know it takes great courage to admit to people that you have any kind of sin in our life! This young man then followed us around as we went to the rest of the huts and had lunch with us. I will keep him in my prayers as well. If he turns to and lives for Christ, what an impact he could have on this village!
Did I mention it was hot today? And sunny? Just about when we thought we might drop, they said they had visited all the houses they had intended. Whew! We went back to the place we started and had a seat under a mango tree to await lunch. After a few minutes, Misozi disappeared behind the house. A few minutes later she called Janine & I to come help with lunch. I will confess, it was about the last thing I wanted to do. I was hot, hungry and starting to feel kind of yucky. I was also wondering if we could possibly begin teaching a bible story to the large group of kids who had gathered. But I went and enjoyed the fellowship of women around three little cook fires. They let us stir the nsima, and had Janine stir the chicken a bit. Linile, being one of the older ladies, asked Misozi to let her taste the chicken soup to see if it was ready or right or something like that. So Misozi poured a little bit into Linile’s hand. She fussed about something good naturedely but tasted it & approved. Janine asked if she had chided Misozi for not giving her enough. Misozi said yes & translated. One of the women joked that maybe Janine understood a little Chichewa! I think all women understand women no matter the language—especially when Christ is in their hearts! Then Janine asked if any of the women had any questions for us. I was ready for just about anything except what happened. They asked Janine if she could dance! Ha! Admittedly, I was eager to hear her answer to this as well. I should have known. She said if they would show her she would dance. (I have the video which I have been strictly instructed not to post to any public sites, but she said nothing about private viewing…) It was fun and we all had a good laugh. The men hearing the ruckus came around back to see what was going on (and I suspect to see what was holding up lunch). Lunch was good, although Janine & I both passed up on the chicken after seeing it cooked. The head was in the pot! And we could see feathers all over behind the kitchen area. Now I’m not usually too squeamish about freshly killed animals and eating them, but I never saw any intestines or anything anywhere so I figured I could fill up on rice today.
After lunch we made our way back to the mission house. I discovered I had a pretty good sunburn on my arms and was getting a good headache so I took a nap before dinner. Felt much better when I woke up and was able to enjoy the fellowship and food at dinner. Ovi had stopped and bought a couple fruit from the baobab tree, I think they are called malimba or something like that, so we had that after dinner. I was not impressed. First it is hard, so Ed had to break it open with a large wrench (he hit it—didn’t wrench it open) then the fruit inside was so dry and hard it was kind of like trying to chew wood. And it may have been just this particular fruit, but it had little to no taste. Think I’ll pass on that one in the future. But it was another thing to experience. Once again, we had such good and fun conversation around the table. I think we may have convinced Ovi to write a book. We’ll see! I think it would be a good read.