08/30/2014: Faith is the Victory

Faith is the Victory

in Kenya

 

Sing hallelujah to the Lord! Praise the Lord, for His mercies endure forever and His love and care are far beyond our imaginations. Tonight, for the ninth evening, we gathered again around our young brother Bomani* to pray for his deliverance. Bomani is one of our students and about two weeks ago he started manifesting strange behavior. While a little company composed of two pastors, his mother, and the wife of one of the pastors prayed for him, he spoke of a demon that was coming in and out of him. Then there was a strange smell. He could see the demon, but no one else. He was acting strangely. He stopped eating, he stopped talking, and could not stand being touched. We gathered every night and every morning to pray for him. In my mind I could not understand; surely the Lord wanted to deliver this young man! So why, when we prayed and sang, nothing happened? We prayed with authority that the demon would leave, but nothing happened.

Singing hallelujah to the Lord!

I reviewed the deliverance stories in the Bible. In each one, after the command of Jesus or Paul, the demon had left. Why not with us? It was implied that perhaps someone among our prayer group did not have their heart right with the Lord. We individually searched our hearts to make sure there was nothing between us and the Savior. But we continued praying. Bomani seemed to react most to certain songs like: “There is power, power, wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb.” It looked like he was trying to sing. But the next day, everything was the same, if not worse. He made uncontrollable mimicries of hatred on his face; sometimes he would make strange sounds from his mouth. He refused to touch the Bible, pray, or sing—but that was to be expected in someone possessed by a demon. Bomani became thinner and thinner, weaker and weaker, day by day.

One day, my heart broke as I saw him trying to go up the three steps into the classroom. He could barely lift his leg. I asked him whether he wanted to be delivered and he answered: “I do not have any problem. I am ok.” I tried to explain that a demon had taken possession of him and was trying to prevent him from living the life and purpose that Jesus Christ had for him. Then he told me: “Go, just go.” Of course I knew that it was not him speaking. That same day, he came and sat in my class as I was teaching last day events. The class was on the end-time working of the devil. As I wrote the words “spiritism” and “evil” on the board, he looked with widely opened eyes and started pounding on the table. I erased these words and wrote JESUS CHRIST instead. He looked at it from time to time, but he ended up laying his head on the table and fell asleep.

Elisha and Nadege Vande Voort.

Another night, after a long session of praying and singing, he asked for a piece of paper and a pen. He wrote “devil” then “you” then crossed the whole thing out. And again the same thing. He had still not uttered one single word. We could not figure out what he was trying to say. We asked the Lord for wisdom. Day after day we prayed and sang—together and individually. Last Sabbath, the sermon was about Mathew 7:7. It was very encouraging. As the person preaching was saying the closing prayer, an assurance entered my heart: the Lord was going to answer our prayers. Another teacher told me the same thing: “the Lord gave me the assurance that He was going to answer our prayers.” But that evening, as we gathered to pray again, nothing happened.

In my heart, I was asking the Lord for a special supply of faith. I was fighting with myself, asking the Lord to reject any little doubt. The next day’s devotion from Revival and Reformation was on Mathew 7:7. For me it was clear that the Lord was trying to encourage us. I shared that with the students, encouraging them to continue taking care of Bomani. They were bathing him and walking with him. While still in this state, he tested positive for malaria and they brought him to the hospital. They would take him to worship and try to help him sing or hold his Bible.

Then something dawned on me: these eight students had come to our center for medical missionary training. They had sat nine months learning good things about spirituality and health. But only the experience of these past days had taught them the true essence of the gospel in action. Tonight we gathered again to pray and sing in behalf of Bomani and for the first time he opened his mouth–to pray to God. Such a joy filled our hearts! At the end, Solomon, one of the students, went to him to hug him, but he tried to refuse the hug. Solomon persisted, but Bomani, being taller, managed to escape. It was such a funny sight that everyone burst into laughter. And Bomani was laughing, too!

Students at LIGHT school in Kenya.

Just before leaving, I went to him and told him how happy we were to see him smile. “We love you Bomani, and God loves you much more. We have been praying for you. You are so precious! To God first and then to us. May I shake your hand?” He slowly took his hand out of his pocket and reached it out to me. What a wonderful and awesome God we are serving!! Tonight our hearts are full of gratitude and joy not only because it is Sabbath, but because the Lord has shown us great and mighty things. We know that the battle is not over. Please help us pray that Bomani will allow the Lord to fill his heart so that his condition does not become worse than before. The evil one will not give up without a fight. “Faith is the victory, faith is the victory, oh glorious victory that overcomes the world!”

 

By Elisha and Nadege Vande Voort, who have just completed a three months’ sojourn at the project LIGHT (Lay Institute for Global Health Training) Kenya where Elisha helped in agriculture and Nadege taught Bible and health in school. LIGHT Kenya is devoted to training local Kenyans as medical missionaries and is trying to become self-supporting through agriculture. Email: harvester2188@gmail.com.

 

*pseudonym


04/05/2014: Connections in His Great Work

Connections in His Great Work

In Zambia

 

“Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house, and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. Then brought he me out of the gate northward, and led me about the way without unto the outer gate by the way that looketh eastward; and, behold, there ran out waters on the right side.” [Ezekiel 47:1, 2.]

“These waters signify the gospel of Christ which went forth from Jerusalem and spread to all countries. The gifts and power of the Holy Spirit which accompanied the work caused it to yield great results.

“ ‘Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea; which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that everything that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the river shall come, shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come higher; for they shall be healed; and everything shall live whither the river cometh. . . And by the river upon the bank thereof, one this side and on that, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed; it shall bring forth new fruit according to its months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary, and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.’” [Ezekiel 47: 8, 9, 12.] Spalding and Magan, 404, 405.

Sabbath worship service with students at Kabompo Boarding Secondary School.

When we began our child evangelism endeavors, we had no idea where they would lead. We had no idea of all the people we would meet and the connections that we would make. We had no idea that the children would lead us to their parents and those parents would lead us to more children and the cycle would continue on and on. We had no idea that, just by doing child evangelism, we would get more requests for help than we could possibly answer.

It all started when we visited the Kabompo High School in northwestern Zambia. While we were there, we met some teenagers who were under demonic oppression. After praying earnestly for the devils to be cast out of them, they were freed from this terror. Their transformation amazed their classmates and everyone wanted to learn more about this Jesus who could change people like that. When word of this experience spread, we developed many more interesting connections with people needing help.

One of the most interesting connections that we made was with a woman who had. suffered for many years because of a tumor. She had been in and out of hospitals far too many times. Finally, a doctor recommended a hysterectomy. The woman agreed to the plan and the surgery was scheduled. The night before the surgery, after all the preoperative care had been completed, her son recommended that they call someone who could offer a prayer for her. They summoned me.

When I arrived in the patient’s room, I shared the seriousness of life and death with her, and told her how to accept Jesus as her Savior. After learning about our wonderful Savior Jesus, she said that she would like to give her heart and life entirely to Him. Once she accepted Him, I asked everyone to bow their heads while I prayed. I earnestly entreated the Lord to accept this woman as His child, to keep her safe through her surgery, and to ultimately make her ready for His kingdom.

Evangelist Moses Muzeya (center) invited to preach at Richard Kajiko’s burial, a Catholic he prayed with at Kabompo Hospital.

While I prayed, the strangest things started happening. Suddenly, strange rumblings started coming from the woman’s abdomen and her belly began rolling around like the waves of the sea. After she let out a long and deep sigh, I realized I couldn’t hear her breathing anymore. I was afraid that she had died right there during my prayer. Everyone was completely speechless. Even the nurse and the other bystanders were silent. I didn’t know what else to do, but to kneel down by that woman’s bed and plead with the Lord on her behalf and ask the Lord to give her life. For ten long minutes, I poured out my soul to the Lord. And then the most miraculous thing happened. The woman sat up! She paused and looked around at all of us. Then she began praising the Lord. She announced that she had been healed. Her pain was completely gone. She poked and poked on her abdomen where the hard mass had been, but it was gone. She felt well. She was well! She had been healed! Had she been raised back to life?

Richard dies with the hope of resurrection.

When making his rounds the next morning, the doctor stopped by her room to review the operation that was to take place that day. Was he ever surprised when she was just bubbling over with this story of supernatural healing! He just could not believe the story. He insisted that she have appropriate medical tests run to see if such a thing really could have happened. The woman waited impatiently for the test results to come back so she could be released, as she was very convinced of her healing. Finally, all tests came back negative. The doctors, the nurses, the assistants, the administrators, the patients—everyone at the hospital was amazed by such a miracle. The administrators demanded that the man who had prayed such an effective prayer be called back in to the hospital and teach them all about the God who could heal a woman from a disease like she had. After I met with them and shared my faith, they asked that I come whenever I could and pray with their patients. So a connection that started out as child evangelism has now given us the connection of being hospital chaplains, as well.

We have made so many connections since that first visit in the Kabompo High School. We have prayed with and shared with over a thousand people because of these connections that just keep spreading. We have been able to work in more high schools and more hospitals. When the Seventh-day Adventist Church saw all of the interest that had developed in this area, they decided to hold a crusade. To date, more than 200 of these contacts have joined the church through baptism, and many more are preparing for baptism and already claim the name Seventh-day Adventist.

When we give ourselves unreservedly even to the most humble of callings, such as child evangelism, the Lord can start developing connections and His gospel can continue to travel and make its way to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. Praise His name!

 

By Moses Muzeya. Email: threeangelschildeducationmission@yahoo.com. Three Angels Child Education Mission, 
Box 140095, Kabompo, Zambia, Africa. Phone: 
260 977 267 898 or 260 965 267 898.

 


02/08/2014: The Power of the Holy Spirit

The Power of the Holy Spirit

In Vietnam

Editor’s note: This article combines two stories from Adventist Southeast Asia Projects (ASAP). Names with asterisks (*) have been changed for safety purposes.

 

A Village Awakened

Based on lay pastor Hanh’s experience, as told to Pastor Isah Young.

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3.

Hanh* and his home-church took Pastor Isah Young’s challenge seriously. He told them to fast and pray for unreached areas in Vietnam. They began fasting and praying for a village 150 miles away—a village where lived not a single Christian. Because this was the hometown of one of the couples that attended the home-church, they prayed specifically for their relatives living there.

 

Yen* suffered from terminal stomach cancer. She came to the city from this village seeking medical care. Her nephew and his wife invited Yen to Hanh’s home-church and there she learned of Jesus Christ and was given a Bible. She readily accepted Him as her Savior. Because she was in the last stages of cancer the doctors offered her no help. Her only hope was in the Master healer, her new-found love. The cancer made it impossible for her to keep down food, but her insatiable appetite for God’s word sustained her. After two weeks in the city, she returned home to her family.

About a month later, Yen’s sister-in-law called Hanh with the sad news that Yen was about to die. The home-church group immediately gathered to pray for her as they had done many times when she was with them and after she had left, but this time they prayed intensely for two hours, claiming Psalms 30 for her life. They reasoned with God, asking Him, “If You let this lady die, who will praise Your name in this village?” At the close of their prayer they felt peace and assurance that God would heal her.

The next day after another prayer session, Pastor Hanh called to see if  Yen’s health had improved. He discovered she was in an unconscious state and was barely holding on to life. Talking to Yen’s sister-in-law, he earnestly asked, “Do you love Yen? If you do, listen to me! We have been praying that God will heal Yen. He is the only one who can help now. Please go get Yen’s book called the Bible, open it to Psalms 30, kneel down beside Yen and read the words, putting Yen’s name in the texts.”

A few days later, when Hanh, Yen’s nephew, and their wives came to visit, they were met with shouts of joy from a fully restored Yen, her sister-in-law, and a host of non-Christians, all praising the Lord. “Not long after you called, Yen stopped breathing,” the sister-in-law explained. “After I cleaned her and was about to dress her body for burial, I remembered what you said. I had no hope left other than your plan and it worked!! After I did what you said, praying and putting Yen’s name in the verses of Psalm 30, the blankets we wrapped Yen in started to move. I stared in amazement and fear as she started vigorously kicking the blankets off. She sat up. She asked for food and I quickly gave her some. Many came to console the family, but found an empty casket with Yen alive and completely healed!”

Hanh and his group, along with Yen, seized this opportunity to witness and spend time telling the villagers more about the loving Author of life and His powerful words in the Bible. Over 50 people in this village have accepted Jesus’ gift of eternal life and the news has traveled to several villages in the area.

 

Taming of the Beast

Based on lay pastor Thien Huong’s experience, as told to Judy Aitken.

“Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.” Mark 5:15

I carefully led believers in one of the home-churches in Vietnam through the book of Acts. We were so inspired that one of the members said, “We can do this. We can come together like those in the upper room and wait until God pours His Spirit on us in a greater way.” I agreed, so we gathered day after day to search the scriptures, sing, and pray for a greater measure of the Holy Spirit.

One day, as we continued seeking the Holy Spirit in our “upper room,” loud cursing interrupted our prayers. A large man burst into the worship room. Tattooed snakes and dragons decorated his body. The strong smell of alcohol overwhelmed us. Holding a wine bottle in one hand and shaking his finger at us with the other, he yelled profanity and insults at each member around the circle. I silently prayed for God to give me wisdom to know what to do. The church member in whose home we worshiped walked up to the man, looked straight into his twisted, angry face, and said, “I am so thankful that the Lord brought you here. Would you like to join us? If so, go outside and throw away your bottle of wine, come back, and listen to the Word of God.” The man stared blankly for a moment, then turned and bolted from the room.

The owner of the house explained to the rest of the group that the man lived next door and that he had just been released after a long prison sentence. Minutes later, we heard a firm knock on the door and in walked the very same man! He had changed to clean clothes, combed his hair, and actually appeared quite well put-together. He told us that his name was Vo. We made a spot for him to sit down and join us. He did, and he intently listened to me as I preached about a God who created the world and loved humankind in their wretched condition so much that He sent His Son to die on a cross and pay the price for our wrongdoings. I knew that others in the room were praying as I was speaking because we could sense the power of the Holy Spirit.

One of Vo’s tattoos.

We caught glimpses of the great controversy battle in that little room. As we read scriptures we watched Vo’s response. At one point he became angry and pulled up his pant leg to display prison tattoos. “Do you see this? I’ve killed people. There is no hope for me,” he said. We surrounded him and took turns praying for him, laying on hands. We pleaded with God on his behalf, rebuking Satan in the name of Jesus Christ. We asked that the Lord would forgive Vo for his sins and claimed the power of Christ’s blood. When we opened our eyes, tears were streaming down the cheeks of this very tough man. I asked him, “Do you want to receive Jesus?” Vo humbly said, “Yes, I want to receive Him into my life.”

Vo became an eager student of the Bible, a faithful member of the home-church, and a testimony of what the Holy Spirit can do when we surrender all. He was truly a new creation. Later, he told us that because his house was next door, he often heard the songs we sang. The words pierced his heart, while at the same time made him furious. He knew that if that much emotion came from those simple songs, it was a powerful force that he needed to learn more about. He hoped that it would be stronger than the demons and pain he lived with. It was.

Vo’s family expressed an interest in our church group, saying, “We want to know about the God that made such changes in Vo. We want to study the Bible with you.” We thank God for the many lives that have been transformed by the power of His Holy Spirit.

 

By Jeanette Yeboah-Amoako, along with Pastor Isah Young and Judy Aitken of Adventist Southeast Asia Projects. Email: jeanette.yeboah@asapminitries.org. Mail: PO Box 84, Berrien Springs, MI 49103. Website: www.asapministries.org.