MOBILIZING MISSIONARIES FOR PIONEER CHURCH PLANTING
The realization came when they told me the false apostle was dead. This was the former witch doctor who had opposed the work of God in Lujjaabwa as we rebirthed the church on that distant island last year. When his death threats failed to deter our efforts he withdrew into the forest to fast and pray for our destruction while his prophetess remained in the community to sow slander among our new believers.
Just weeks ago we resisted this wolf before the church and community leaders, making it clear his confusion would not be effective in dividing the church. Both in our private and public discussions he asserted that God had sent him to minister there and he must obey. But after I posed a simple question concerning the absence of Jesus in all of his preaching, he grew angry. As he unceremoniously rose to leave he blurted, “If I’m preaching a false doctrine, let Jesus judge me!” Twenty-four days later a mystery illness came upon him and within a few hours he was gone.
Sitting in this guest house meeting room with all our island leaders I realize we are not just planning and praying for ministry activities, we are engaging in warfare: one couple lost their one-year-old son a few weeks ago and are grieving deeply. Another has battled strange life-threatening illnesses for the past few months. One pastor wears a new gash across his forehead from a major motorcycle accident. Another spoke of such turbulent waves surrounding her far-flung shore it was a wonder she arrived at all! One young man sits at the table in place of his pastor who died simultaneously with two others during a previous annual leadership conference.
There is strain on our marriages and families with our frequent travel schedule. There is pressure on personal finances when farms and fishing boats are left vacant to go and preach the Gospel. There are constant challenges facing these faithful leaders while shepherding local congregations in transient fishing villages. The agents of the enemy do not sit back and take our invasion of their long-held territory lightly.
Attempting to unify the body of Christ in all corners of Lake Victoria is an impossibility only accomplished by a violent overthrow of the spiritual forces of darkness. If, in the case of an individual, an evil spirit comes out by Jesus’ authority yet still causes great convulsions, surely entire communities under the sway of the wicked one will only be delivered through a costly struggle. We will fight. There will be casualties. But we will overcome, and the islands will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea!
It’s not all as intense as it sounds. We do laugh a lot. We are filled with hope. But we live on the edge of life and death and need your prayers now more than ever before.