UPDATE ON EMERGENCY PRAYER REQUEST
Let me first tell you, thank you so much for your prayers lifting up the mother, the family, the community, and the missionaries – Ben, Rachel, Dave, Ellen, David & Ursula. Thank you for the comments and emails of encouragement and prayers. Thank you for standing in the gap with them and us. Thank you for showing me God is REALLY at work. Please do not stop praying. Please do not stop lifting all of those involved up in prayer, covering, guiding, and comforting!
You know, I had been behind on updates, but I have to be honest…I wasn’t really sure much more than handful of people were reading them. I was thinking, the email I sent to ask you to read these blog updates were “bothering you”. Shows how much I didn’t trust how God uses even these simple acts. I was seeing this as if it was about us. What I mean is I was thinking no one has time to read what I am writing about. Thank you for reminding me, that is true, no one has time to read about what I am writing about…they have time to read about what God is doing. And, this is about God after all, not me, not us. Don’t misunderstand, or misread my tone. We are excited in this reminder! This takes the burden and weight off of us to get the work done. It takes the burden off Ben, Rachel, Dave, Ellen, David & Ursula. They are the hands and feet, we are the hands and feet, going and doing what God is calling – the way He is calling, and how He is calling. So, it IS what He is doing. Thank you for reminding me of that.
I spoke to Ellen and wanted to share a little more information to help with how to pray. Please, this is not shared in a gossip, “can you believe those people” kind of way. It is super important to all of us…that you understand. These people are NOT evil. I couldn’t have said it any better than Ellen did…”These people, this community have all been deceived.” Satan is EVIL. Satan has deceived these people. The prayer here (among many other obvious prayers here) is “What is God doing here? How does He want those involved to step next into this journey?” It is hard because the flesh wants to rage against the EVIL. To step in and SAVE the world…from the EVIL. Comic book style…Batman and Robin. But, God wants us to love, and right now that is going to be a struggle for all involved. That’s just the facts of how our flesh battles against the wrong doings in this world.
Let me share a little history lesson taught to me by a friend who shares a love for Ghana, who although we see rarely, her and her husband mean the world to us, and we know regardless of time-availability-and even lack of history together…God has placed an awesome love for her and her husband in our hearts. She saw the work God was doing, using us, and wanted to ensure we understood the historical components and obstacles we would encounter. Because I desire for you to not hate these people, I’m gonna share a tidbit that will come in handy later in the update. In Ghana there are two different traditions of authority, for lack of a better way to introduce. Patrilineal and Matrilineal. For those history buffs, Google it for more info. To get to the point…Bolga is Patrilineal. Inheritance, property, titles, etc all are through the male line. Children are considered much like property, and are owned and controlled by the father side of the family. Keep this in mind.
Here is the update: Felix had been taken to the Soothsayer, for certain reasons we are not sure of, but I’m sure include the physical health reason they were able to “see”. Something just wasn’t quite physically right with him. He couldn’t hold his head up correctly, etc. The Soothsayer calls upon the gods and the gods told him, yes he is spirit child, and yes he is evil. At some point, Ben and Rachel were engaged and they began to help Felix and Edna (mom). One of the first things among many we have done with our children, and what they did, was to find out what is medically wrong with him. He had mild case of Cerebral Palsy. Since then, not sure of the timing, he had become ill. He was in the hospital with diarrhea, etc. He was in the hospital about a week, or so. When he was well and ready to leave the hospital, his mother returned to the family home, with him. Now, many people have asked, why would she do this? I am not sure the temperature of the family and community when she came to Ben and Rachel for help. So, I can’t answer that part of the equation, the part that says it is assumed the mother knew Felix was in danger. I don’t know if she did or not. I will tell you, we have one of our supported spirit children who lives with his mother, ostracized from her husband for the choice of keeping him alive, but still in the family community. Edna does have another child, a 6-year old daughter. She returned home, Monday night, because she has another child. She began cooking dinner, and had to step outside to “relieve” herself. When finished going to the bathroom, she stepped back into the family home to find a room full of men of community. They took her, locked her up, took the child and he was gone. Her sister said they put his body in a termite mound. Not sure if you are familiar with the size of these in Ghana, but they are pretty large. Feel free to Google that as well. She hasn’t seen Felix since, as it is important to them to ensure the “evil spirit” has gone and will not return in a future pregnancy, he was put away.
Evidently, since Felix’s spirit child diagnosis, two people in the family or community have fallen ill, one to include the husband’s mother. Being sick, in one of the poorest areas of the world is not like being sick in America – in the Western World. Being sick has life threatening possibilities. Being sick affects livelihoods of all those involved – family & community. Sickness invokes fear. There are 5 or so adults in their family house. There are several family houses in their community. ALL of the family units came together for a meeting, with the elders in whatever fashion and process typical for that community. They ALL agreed the child was putting them at risk, they all agreed they were afraid of him and what he evil he could bring to their lives. They all agreed he must die. Again, it is hard to understand, fathom that people would be capable of believing such things. Yet, I’ve shared, poverty is real in Africa. In these communities, all they have is what they farm – in some areas fish, etc. If someone is unable to work the land, it reduces what they can bring home to support the family in food. Right now, there already is an issue in Ghana with shortages in these villages, not enough. To fear sickness coming into the families, as a result of what they are deceived to believe – an evil spirit child, it is REAL to them. My prayer for our family is to feel LOVE for them, see them the way Jesus sees them, even as they killed this child. My prayer is for Ben and Rachel who have poured LOVE, SWEAT, TEARS, TIME, FINANCES, and so much of themselves into this mother and child to find comfort and guidance in how God will use this for good. I am reminded of the story End of the Spear. Google that too. The woman who lost her family at the hands of those people, LOVED those people and through that brought them Jesus. And, that truly has to be the prayer here. ONLY Jesus is going to be able to make change in these villages where the deception is so strong.
To answer a lot of questions we have received, here is some information. If Edna chose to leave – to flee - with Felix, she would have had to LEAVE her daughter behind. She would have to choose between her children. Let me ask, how many of you could do that? It seems a no brainer, return home and live continuing to push forward. Believing there is hope…the hope Ben and Rachel were hands and feet providing. If she were to have returned home, snatched her daughter and fled, the husband and his family would have hunted her down until they found her. The daughter was the father’s property. Remember, they are patrilineal. To the mom, the answer was to return home, to live life and push forward…hoping for a solution for her son.
Some asked was it the involvement of Ben and Rachel that caused this or was their involvement somehow expediting his death. NO! It is just cultural - a tradition and believe built on deception led by fear. Seems heartless said that way. But, that is the truth. If anything, their involvement gave the mother more time with Felix. We pray it is much more than just more time, but at the very least as it relates to his life – Edna had more time with him – hopefully saw him the way Ben and Rachel did…as a child of God. Not an evil spirit. And, today, we believe Felix doesn't have Cerebral Palsy or any other problems - he is healed today. I’m sure Troy and I will learn more on this. For now, God called us all to do His work and we can’t allow this to harden our hearts. They can't allow this to harden their hearts. We can’t allow this to stop what He is doing through us. We need to live, continue to have hope, and listen for the next steps, pushing forward - doing what He asks, how He asks, when He asks.
I will share, it is believed, EVEN if Edna had chosen to flee with Felix, leaving her daughter behind…the community/her husband would have likely hunted for them to ensure he was put to death. Edna is not locked up now, and she is not in harm’s way (from what we understand). The family and community have all continued to tell her, you will have more children, move on. There is no mourning a spirit child.
I think you can see there are a lot of areas of prayer. I’ve shared some, and I hope God leads your heart on what to pray and how to pray…
Don’t hesitate to respond, comment, email or however you feel led - actually - PLEASE do! It is encouraging to know we are all covered by your prayers and we are all on this journey together – each doing our part…you praying with us. I’ll be sending the comments, etc to Dave & Ellen to share with those there as encouragement. So, please…if you can…send some encouragement & prayers!!!