|Catherine and her son with a friend from church. She is always ready with a smile and something that will inevitably bring laughter to all those around.|
There are days when I am so prepared to receive some outlandish news from our national friends. Days that I am just not surprised by the "goings-on" within the dynamics of the people that I live life with here in Zambia. However, when I am least prepared, some news will come that catches me so off- guard with a story that makes my heart sink for the people that I love. I have a dear friend that is a strong lady and has been faithful in church and with the Women's Bible Study. She is always so encouraging to me as I teach. She shares things that she doesn't understand that I may better prepare myself for them to know and understand the scripture that I share. She also will be the first to express that the way I have prepared has helped her have a clear picture of what God is giving to us in scripture. She will tell me how she has taken previous scripture and applied it to happenings within her own life. I am always pleased to see how she has used God's word to help her make the best decision for herself, her family and her witness. She doesn't ALWAYS make the best decisions, but she is always upfront with me about those mistakes. We are faithful in Bible Study to lift these areas of struggles within each other's lives up to God and ask for wisdom. This dear friend met me on the road yesterday while I was on my way to Bible Study in a village. Even as she approached the vehicle I sensed a great distress in her walk and body language. Her face showed signs of a woman in such a state of grief. I was immediately burdened and as soon as she was at the window I put my hand on her arm asking, "are you okay Catherine?" She could barely contain her voice and her face quivered as she tried to tell me what had happened. For months, the church has visited with Catherine's husband trying to encourage him in different areas of his life. He doesn't keep Catherine from coming to church, but he will not come with her even after she faithfully asks him to come and prays for him. She always ask the women to pray for him. So, as Catherine began to tell me what had happened, I could barely contain my own emotions. I immediately felt the fear and dispair she was feeling. Her husband, father to three of her children, had an affair and the lady with which he had had an affair was pregnant and had needed surgery. So, because of this distress in his and his mistresses life of needed surgery they have begun to place suspicion and guilt upon Catherine as being a witch who has caused this issue to arise in this mistress's life. As you read this, with a Western-Cultured mind, you may say, well, that is just silly. However, I share this story with you from the third-cultured perspective. This is a very real threat to Catherine's life. Many that are threatened here in similar situations will end up dead from some unknown cause of death or become sick from some unknown cause that brings about their death. I sat in my vehicle with two other friends who are also friends with Catherine and we began to pray for her and this terrible situation. Catherine I continued to hold forearms tightly and I could feel her tremble and felt tears drop onto my arm as she stood there by my vehicle. It felt so unofficial, so unreal, my friend standing outside my vehicle leaning against it as she might as well been to weak to stand. All I could find words to say to her as I looked up from praying for her was, "be strong Catherine, be STRONG! This is time for the armor we have discussed in the past." If you visited here and met Catherine, she probably would not share this struggle in her life unless you directly asked her about it and you would not know to ask. Though it is a great burden to carry when a friend is struggling with such a truly difficult situation, I am grateful to be in her life at this particular moment to help her pray and encourage her in her walk. Please pray for my friend. Pray she will put on that armor of God and take up her shield to stand during this time. Pray for her protection and for the true evil to be brought into the light.
Ephesians 6:11-12 "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places."