(This was written on April 19, 2015 by Dad)
Greetings from Africa! — A vast continent where light and darkness have been in conflict ever since Livingstone and other missionaries invaded this land. The great controversy is most apparent when soul-winners seek to rescue people for the forces of hell. Not since the early days of evangelism in the former-Soviet Union, have we seen such obvious manifestations of the devil’s power. Demon possession and drunkards both attend evangelistic events, and we’ve experienced both here.
Last week, a demon-possessed woman came to Michael’s site, but God’s power released her from bondage! Nearly every night at both sites, drunks stumble into the meetings either hoping in their besotted condition for some help and hope, or just “happen” to be passing by and in hazed curiosity, stop to listen.
Although Zambia is one of the poorest nations in Africa, alcohol consumption “has become the biggest activity in this country,” according to one news source (Norwegian Council for Africa, Feb. 2006). According to the findings by the World Health Organization published in the Washington Post last year, no nation has harder-drinking women in the world than Zambia, with over 41% binge drinking. Zambian men are still ahead of their female boozers, amounting to 48% of men who binge drink, but there are other countries in the world with higher percentages of alcoholic men.
At our evangelistic meetings, several with alcohol on their breath, have come asking for prayer that God will set them free for the bondage of booze.
The unusual weather here has continued to be a challenge to our outdoor evangelistic event. This past Friday afternoon it started raining, and continued right into the evening. Our outdoor “grounds” turned into a field of mud, and only a few faithful church helpers ventured out to the tent that is pitched to one side of our stage. It was still raining when the meeting was to begin, so we ended up canceling the meeting in both sites. Nearly 300 children had gathered at the local church near Michael’s site for their evening children’s program, but since the power was off, that meeting too had to be canceled. We comforted each other with Romans 8:28 that night, and prayed for better weather on Sabbath.
Yesterday, Sabbath, we had only a few sprinkles in the late afternoon, and the “grounds” had dried sufficiently for a community soccer game to be playing on the far side of the field from where our evangelistic “crusade” is happening. Dark clouds covered the horizon except to the west. At one point in the late afternoon, the sun shone while there was a light sprinkle of rain. To the east a beautiful rainbow appeared against the dark backdrop of clouds, a token of God’s presence and blessing in the crusade against evil.
Last night as I preached to a crowd of probably 800, the distant horizon was often ablaze with flashes of lightening, but the massive PA system the brethren here have rented overpowered any sounds of thunder. Throughout the meeting, I prayed silently while preaching, that God would hold off the rain until we finished. When the meeting finished, it had turned cold, and the distant lightning had faded into the night. We rejoiced in a “rainless” evening!
Thank you for your continued prayers for the evangelistic meeting here in Zambia, and our student’s meetings in the Philippines. Courage in the Lord!