Friday, March 30, 2007

Adventures In Africa! – Part IV

We sped off into the darkness behind the hospital. We were secured into the back of the truck by 6 armed men. Ak-47’s were in our face and we didn’t know where they were taking to us or what they were going to do with us. Thankfully, the suspense didn’t last long. They asked us how we arrived at the hospital and we told them by taxi. They drove around the hospital to the front driveway, which was now totally cleared of people. They began to tell us through an interpreter that we would have to pay for their time and effort to come out. We agreed and asked how much. $60 for our release. I saw Edouard bristle. He had some righteous indignation that we would have to pay them to be released, but my thought was, “pay them whatever they want!” So we paid them the $60 and a minute later, a couple of the police officers from behind the hospital showed up. One of them realized what we were doing there at the morgue (going to raise the dead) and was impressed. He asked Edouard where his church was so he could attend Sunday service! We hailed a couple of taxis and got the heck out of there!

At this point, we were all elated that the Lord had delivered us from such a hairy situation. We called our families and we rejoiced together. We were getting a quick bite to eat when the reality of the situation hit us. Edouard’s baby was still dead. We had preached the Gospel of the Kingdom and there was instant retribution. Edouard and his guys were getting all the details together of when we could legally get in there to pray for the baby. Edouard agreed to come by our hotel early in the morning on the way to the morgue. We decided to stay awake and pray all night. If we were going to have a chance at the child, then we wanted to be as ready as possible. We worshiped and we prayed our hearts out that night. We wept and called out to God for grace and mercy. At home in Atlanta the church was praying, they even had an emergency prayer meeting. Several folks stayed up all night with us, praying for resurrection power to come to John Wesley. We communicated the urgency of the situation. This move of God in this location was in its infancy. It was necessary for God to raise this baby from the dead. We were asking ourselves, would they be shaken and back off the message if the baby didn’t get up?


THOUGH HE SLAY ME…
Our emotions were toast. We had run the gamut of emotional highs and lows in the last 24 hours. Edouard showed up early the next morning with all the details on how to get the baby out so that we could pray for him. They needed money, a lot of it, about $600. For them, this was a very steep price but we took up an offering to cover the expenses for them to release the child to us. Edouard and his guys were tired from praying late into the night but Edouard declared, “We will get the baby and return him to his mother”.

Unshaken.

The Lord had shown them in prayer that the witch doctors in their district had cursed his child, causing premature death. We agreed, in prayer that night I had seen a demonic assault on the child. Over the phone we were given the message from Bob Jones that the water spirits in Africa drown people in their own fluids (pneumonia). The witch doctors did not like the message that was being shouted to their district, but they HATED the fact that the church had been released into power ministry. Ministry had been multiplied and the Kingdom of darkness in that territory was crumbling. John Wesley went from healthy to dead in 24 hours from pneumonia, which simply does not happen! Here we were faced with a startling reality; the curses of witch doctors had killed Edouard’s child because of the Gospel we preached.

Edouard and his guys headed off to the morgue while we waited for the call to come and raise the baby from the dead. A few hours later the news came in that because it was a Saturday, they could not release the body to us, but it would have to wait until Monday morning, two days later! We talked with Edouard about how this would affect our plans for the weekend meetings and outreaches. He told us that many from the church would not be there so they could be with his wife in mourning. But he also insisted that we move forward and preach the Gospel!

That Saturday afternoon we had a service. Understandably, many from his church weren’t there. Even his worshipers were in shock and grief, but not Edouard. Edouard had to start the song service and worshiped and praised God with all his heart! Just watching him, we all fell to pieces, weeping openly. Here was a guy whose child has been dead for less than 24 hours, worshiping and praising God with all his might! The church started to fill up, not with church folks, but with new believers and people from the market the night before! In the insanity of the day’s events we had almost forgotten what we had experienced in the market the night before. They were eager to hear more about the Kingdom of Heaven and we were more than happy to tell them. Through tears, we told them of the King and His Kingdom, calling them to give their lives for the sake of the Gospel. The power of God fell in that meeting and it was one of the most powerful meetings we have ever been in. The worship of God in the face of tragedy was the purest and most intense worship we had ever experienced. They brought us the sick at the end of the meeting and every sick person that we prayed for at that meeting was healed.

As we were leaving the meeting we spoke with Edouard, He told us that his in-laws, most of them unbelievers, thought he was crazy for not mourning the loss of his child. His response was, “I will not mourn until God has had the last word! And if the baby does not come back, I will weep and I will shout saying, ‘see you in Heaven’. But then, the Gospel must be preached!” We were in awe of the strength he was displaying in the face of such a difficult circumstance. What else can you do? How can you mourn when you are actively engaged in believing God to bring your child back? His in-laws also accused him saying, “You must not love your child”. Edouard told us, “No, that’s not true; I love John Wesley more than anyone on earth”.


WE PRESS ON
Sunday came and went. At that service we encouraged the church to press on, in spite of circumstances. We told them that our Gospel is based on the raising of the dead, in fact you must believe in the resurrection of Jesus to be saved! We also commissioned several pastors there to take this Gospel of the Kingdom to their churches and to their cities. Edouard asked us to pray and impart to him. Never have I felt so unworthy to pray for someone than at that time, but pray we did. We worshiped, we prayed and we wept together. But not Edouard; he was a rock, even in the face of growing persecution of his decision to pray for his baby to be raised from the dead. The in-laws were getting very irritated that traditions were being broken. Normally people mourn and gather for the funeral at the Father’s house. His house was also where the church met and Edouard said, “No, they can mourn at my brother’s house, for the house of God is to be a place of prayer and praise, not mourning”.

Monday was the day that we were going home. It was also the day that we had to pray for John Wesley. From what we understood, we would have several hours to pray for the child once they got his body from the morgue and before they would have to bury him. We packed our bags and dressed, ready to pray for the child and we waited for the call from Edouard. They had gone early to the morgue and were doing all the necessary paperwork, as well as paying the cost for the state funeral, etc. The call came in about noon, they had the child and Edouard was coming to take us to his brother’s house, where they would be holding the wake and where we would finally be able to pray for John Wesley, nearly three days after his death. We got in a cab and sped off.

His brother’s house was a few miles from where Edouard lives. It was off of a main road, in a maze of alleys, many of which were blocked by piles of trash, soft mud and tree limbs. We worked our way through the neighborhood and finally arrived at the wake. There was a large gathering of Edouard’s in-laws, waiting on the side of the home. The courtyard was jammed with people from Edouard’s church and many friends and extended family. Many were weeping and crying. Edouard led us into the main room of the house where there were about 20 mourners, weeping and wailing. There was a small, open casket sitting in two chairs and for the first time since his death we could see the face of John Wesley. Edouard walked us into the room and addressed the crowd, telling them that there would be no mourning allowed in the room where John was and that we were going to pray for the child. The mourners shuffled out, leaving Edouard, a few of his men from the church and our team with the body.

We gathered around the casket and without hesitation, Edouard started worshiping Jesus! We all joined in and began to pray with all of our heart and worship Jesus. I can tell you that I felt more of the power of God in that moment than I’ve ever felt before in my life! We were not hoping that the child would arise; we KNEW that he would get up. For the next twenty minutes we prayed and worshiped with all of our heart until we were interrupted by a very angry young man charging into the room, one of Edouard’s in-laws. He walked straight up to Edouard and began berating him for not letting them mourn in their custom and asking him what was he doing. Edouard’s brothers swept in and removed the man without a word, but that was the spark that started the fire.

A riot had begun.


5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh come on man, you gotta be kidding! I just know you sent that with that plastered on grin knowing that we are dying of suspense. You have to send the rest of the story today, since some of us receive this at our work address and won't be able to check over the weekend. Yea, that's it. Send the rest of the story to be fair to us. Please!

MaryAnn M said...

sittin on edge of my seat.......send it send it send it

Anonymous said...

Jesus.......

Here we go....

Anonymous said...

!!!Praise God!!!

MaryAnn M said...

uhm....uhm.....help...next page...please!!
praise God......