Sunday, January 22, 2012
I've been thinking about this blog for a long time now and really haven't jumped into it because in our society it seems really weird. Here in Africa the spiritual world is very real, not just something you see in movies or tell as scary stories. I'm talking about evil spirits under the authority of Satan - the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." As we were driving here to Ndu with the team we passed witch doctors dancing along the side of the road. Peg warned us not to look at them, especially don't make eye contact. Of course where we are from it just seems like a curiosity, someone in a costume or a cool photograph to show what Africa looks like, but it is more than just pretend. We also passed graves in peoples front yards that are decorated and much more ornate then the homes of the living. The families here worship their ancestors and give them a beautiful grave as their dwelling place. I recently learned that most of these villages had a human sacrifice to keep away the evil spirits and then a tree would be planted over the grave of that sacrifice. The old market place in Ndu has a large tree in the center with a grave marking the life that was given so that this town would flourish. The land where the CBTS campus is was once the home of the "Evil Forest" - I know that sounds like a fairy tale but this was a place of cult practices and a place that was feared. The history of the evil forest is that criminals were let lose in the forest to be punished by the evil spirits - and this was a punishment worse than prison. Over 60 years ago, the Baptists asked the local Fon if he had some land they could use to build their seminary. The Fon is like the king of the area and is still very powerful even today. (The books we read before coming here implied that the Fon has no power any longer, but that is not what the local people have told us). So the Fon gives this evil forest to the Baptists, almost as a joke, thinking that they will maybe last 6 months at the most and he will have the land again. What the Fon did not realize is that the Baptists were planning on using this land to train up people for the Kingdom of God - the King of Kings - who has far more power than all the evil of the world. So 60+ years later they are still here, but the battle is still on. Even though this sounds a bit like a tall tale it is very real. One thing about this battle against the "principalities of the air" is that it is ongoing... at least until the final battle when Satan will be put in his place once and for all. As Christians we are protected by the blood of Jesus but that doesn't mean that Satan won't do whatever he can to try to bring us down. You can see it around this campus, young people trying to break free of the curses that they have been brought up in. Our friend Dan was sharing how one of his students told him that his Uncle said not to kill a snake if he saw one because he (the uncle) was part of that snake. One day the student came upon a snake in his house and killed it instinctively, that day his Uncle died. His Uncle was not in that snake, but he was not in Christ either, and had no protection from Satan using him as a pawn to cause confusion in this young mans faith. This story is not unusual, almost everyone you meet has a similar story. One thing Peg said to us when we first got here, was that here in Africa it is easier to share the Gospel of Christ because you don't have to convince anyone that there is a spiritual world. It makes sense, so many of these people live in real fear, and to know that they can live in peace because of the blood sacrifice that was made by Jesus Christ,that is exciting news. We met a boy here in Ndu that was initiated into a cult and has never been the same since. There are secret societies and cults all over around here. I was told that when they have seminars for Sunday School workers they include training on how to recognize kids that are possessed or have been initiated into cults with unthinkable things done to them. This is happening on a daily basis. Where we live, no one even thinks of training their Sunday School workers in this type of spiritual warfare. The first night that we were here in Ndu, we had no idea of any of the history of CBTS. Drew woke up in the middle of the night feeling like someone was covering his mouth so he couldn't talk and pressing on his chest. He felt paralyzed and pinned down, but recognized right away that this was a spiritual attack. He tried praying but nothing came out at first. It took everything in him to utter the name of Jesus and to begin to pray. Once he started praying in the name of Jesus for protection, he gradually could feel the pressure subsiding and was able to continue praying. Then Drew then prayed over our whole house and outside the rooms of each team member. We are told in the Bible that Satan flees at the name of Jesus and we have seen that it is true. We shared this story with some of the other missionaries living here and they all have had similar experiences. I'm not sharing this story just to tweak your curiosity about Cameroon, I'm sharing this because we are seriously in need of your prayers. We ask that you pray for this whole campus and the ministry that is going on here. Continue to pray for the Cameroon Baptist Theological Seminary, and the missionaries that serve here, even after we return home to MN.