During the last week I have been in the village of Luanza in Congo and have had the privilege of seeing the Lord at work for His own Name's sake. Each day at 6am believers from the assembly gather for Bible teaching and it had been a good opportunity to teach on a variety of truths that are being misunderstood. At 7am I have been preaching to around 300 primary and secondary school children before taking two hospital services where patients come to listen before surgery and once they are in recovery. Last week I had the opportunity to speak to a women who was about to go in for surgery and ask her if she was saved. In my much less than perfect Bemba I was able to share the gospel with her and to tell her of her need for salvation through faith in Christ. I don't know if she responded but sadly she died during the surgery. As well as being desperately sad it also brought home the reality of eternity. With a police escort her body was taken back to the refugee camp where she had been living. Her own village has been burnt by the Mai Mai rebel group. We have seen a lot of grief and mourning over others who have died at the hospital but in the midst of the suffering of the refugee camp the news of more sorrow was just accepted.
Each day a brother called Moise and myself have been going to the houses of unbelievers in the village and also of believers who have stopped coming to the meetings. Three days ago we met a man called Kikunda who said he wasn't a Christian but he allowed me to share the gospel with him for around an hour. He said he wanted to think about it and I told him we would come back and speak to him again. We went back to see him on Saturday and he had the gospel tract that I gave him in his hand. He asked a number of questions and then said he wanted to believe but that he had a problem. He said he has been making his living as a witchdoctor and that he was serving evil spirits. The afternoon was spent with him reading, praying and answering questions. After reading the story of the demon possessed man in Mark chapter 5 he started trying to pray but seemed unable to. He then broke into a flow and told God that he was in darkness and that he couldn't see the light. He confessed that he had been living in evil and said that he was now turning to God and putting his faith in Jesus Christ for salavation. He asked God to forgive him and to walk with him from the darkness into the light. Kikunda then walked into his house and gathered up all the things used for witchcraft and gave them to me to destroy. As I was putting them in a bag he asked if he could keep a certain stone as "the spirit attached to this stone heals eyes." I told him it was all or nothing and he accepted that. Moise and I walked away from his house carrying this evil paraphernalia and hardly spoke on the way home other than to say that God was moving. Probably because we were both praying like fury! I was on my own here over the weekend and had to decide what to do along with the local elders. It was a good chance to show that the child of God doesn't need to fear these things as sadly even the elders were uncomfortable being in the same room as the things used for witchcraft. They hadn't experienced this before and asked me how we deal with this situation in my country! Kikunda came to the gospel meeting yesterday morning and gave me permission to share his testimony. At the end of the meeting the witchcraft paraphernalia was burned publically as Kikunda stood at the side with his gospel tract in his hand. He was literally burning his whole livelihood so this has been a very costly decision for him.
I arrived at the hall at 5:30am this morning for Bible teaching and Kikunda was already there. He then attended the hospital meetings too where he told me he has peace in his heart for the first time. Please pray for Kikunda as he has a very difficult path ahead of him. Please also pray that his public testimony will help the community here to break free from the deep rooted fear of witchcraft that they have. Since hearing the gospel yesterday and seeing Kikunda's public witness two ladies and a young boy have professed to be saved.
There are plenty of difficulties in Luanza but God is working and it has been a privilege to witness it. God willing, in the next few days we will head back to Lubumbashi where I will be focusing on the printing of a small magazine with gospel and Bible teaching content and also teaching in local assemblies.