Mutwa was the first village we journeyed to on our mission into the bush. We drove along a deep sandy trail that can only be likened to Disney’s jeep tour in the Indiana Jones ride! After hours of death-defying turns and flames (yes – flames) the road opened up to one of the most beautiful clearings I’d ever seen.
Cattle and goats grazed along the roadside.
Mango and banana trees appeared around every corner.
Termite mounds that rivaled the size of park monuments dotted the countryside.
And everywhere you looked you could see farmland.
We arrived at the perfect spot to plant seeds.
The Seeds in Good Soil
The first hut we walked to was absolutely the most memorable. Gathered underneath a family’s humble hut, I shared the gospel story. As I spoke, there was thoughtful stillness among the family.
Their eyes widened with facsination as I told of creation and sin’s entry into the world.
They sat in pained silence as I told of the life of Jesus, his betrayal and death on a cross.
Then, a look of hope as I explained how Jesus rose from the dead to cancel our debt of sin and reconcile us to God.
The husband and wife eagerly agreed to pray and enter into relationship with Jesus!
Afterwards, we asked if they had any prayer requests. The wife complained of chest pains, so we began to pray for her. As we did, she began to manifest a demon. Now I’ve always believed in the spiritual realm – known that evil forces are in constant contention with the work of God – but never had I seen it with my own eyes. I was amazed. And distraguht. Held captive by a dark presence, the woman before me shook uncontrollably, gasping for air. Tears filled my eyes as I began to pray aloud with the team in the name of Jesus for her deliverance.
Then as quickly as the darkness manifested, it was gone.
There was peace.
The woman breathed easily. Her former chest pains were gone. Jesus healed and delivered her!
We walked on and entered into the hut of a young family. The husband, wife, and four children sat in rapt attention as the gospel was shared. Afterward, the family prayed to receive Christ. Then the husband spoke:
I believe that the bible has the answers. How can I get one so that I may train my family?
We were all so moved by his humble request. He wanted something we too often take for granted in the States – access to a bible. We had precious few bibles translated into Lozi. We were determined to give them to families who would seek after the Lord wholeheartedly and share with their neighbors. This was one such family.
With full hearts, we continued on – stopping at each hut we passed. On our last stop of the day, we arrived at a hut as a visitor departed. She was so joyful and free I hardly recognized her. It was the woman from the first village. She greeted us as we passed by and spoke with our translator. He explained that she had been walking ahead of us all day. At each hut, she proclaimed the power of God.
Listen to these people! They healed me!
The Seed Snatched Up by the Enemy
Our second day of ministry was starkly different from the first. Despite the norm of Zambian hospitality, many families met our group with suspicion and fear. Knowing that something dark was at work, we began asking around.
We learned that the witch doctor had been doing just as much walking and talking as we had. Afraid to lose her position of power in the village, she taught the people to fear us.
“They are asking for your names in order to curse you.”
“They will make you remove your clothes in order to pray for you.”
“If they take your picture, they will steal your soul.”
“If they pray for you, you will die.”
Fewer people received our message. One family even ran and hid from us as we approached. Our hearts were heavy.
Jack encouraged us to not focus on the opposition of the enemy, but to rejoice in those whose names are now written in the Book of Life. Over one hundred people received Christ in Mutwa. That is certainly something to rejoice over for all eternity!
Trusting in His Faithfulness
I will think about Mutwa often. But not in despair. I will rejoice in remembering my new brothers and sisters in Christ. I will hope in God’s promises that his word never goes out empty and that he always finishes the good work that he begins.
I look forward to hearing stories in Heaven of how the woman healed of demons and the humble family of seven continued to water seeds that were planted.
Thank you for following along on our adventure into the bush! Coming soon: stories from the village of Chabukala! We’ll talk pronunciation later… ;).