At first I was unsure if I should write this blog but over this past week I realized I NEEDED to write this blog.
I need your prayers.
Last Saturday I went back to Dagbe village and was full of energy and excitement for all that the Lord would be teaching me. The week started off great. I helped with some farming, I went to the school and did a health lesson, and even helped build a mud house. Wow! God you are so good! I woke up on Wednesday morning sad thinking about leaving this village and Ghana in only two short months. Little did I know what the following day and week would bring.
By 7am I was over helping out one of the local farmers, Daniel, on his cocoa farm. Daniel is a 60+ year-old man who looks about 70 but works like he is 15. His son had worked for Daihwan and his family while they were living in Dagbe so I figured he was a trustworthy guy. Huh, think again.
After helping Daniel on his farm he then served me a plate of fufu and soup as gratitude. I asked where his food was and he said that he would eat later. I thanked him, washed my hands, prayed, and dug in. As I ate he started talking about how most of the other villagers didn’t like him and how he just keeps to himself. I found this rather odd because most of the villagers I had met were very likable hard working individuals but figured just like any community we’re all made up of a bunch of sinners so disagreements arise. Anyway as I ate this green leafy soup with mushrooms (this soup I had never had before), Daniel kept saying “Eat ALL. Eat ALL.” It sounded pretty creepy but he is old and sometimes old people can sound creepy. With the next bite I took one of the mushrooms and as soon as I did my stomach quickly turned. Uhh ohh!! I finished what I could but avoided the rest of the mushrooms. Then noticing the time I excused myself, thanked him and said goodbye.
As the day went on I felt more and more odd and by 3p I was lying on my back on the cold cement floor wishing this feeling would pass. By 7p I was having severe sudden pains throughout my stomach and I knew I was in for a sleepless night. Up, down, up down. Ugh! Finally at 545 the sun came up and I hoped that my runny stomach had finished its last race. And then at 6am I was up again. The race had begun and my stomach was in the lead. Oooooo
Later that day I had CHE training at the adjacent village called Abrodium that is usually about a 45 minute walk. I left about 2 hours early realizing I may have to go slower than normal and had to add time for emergency bathroom breaks. Thankfully I made it there without any traumatic stories.
As soon as I arrived I met the two other trainers, Andrews and Felix. They ran over to bring me a big bowl of African food. I could feel my stomach warming up for the big race… “NO no no!! My stomach isn’t so good.” They both said they were sorry (as if it was there fault). I then said “No I just ate a bad mushroom.” They looked at me suspiciously and asked where I had eaten a mushroom. I nonchalantly replied “At Daniel’s house.” Both of their eyes widened and they started speaking to each other in Ewe (their local language). They then pulled me aside and said, “Becca you need to be careful. Daniel is a dark man. He has been known to do some pretty bad stuff. Most of the villagers don’t like him for good reasons.” I listened and then replied, “Yeah but I think it’s just that my stomach isn’t use to African mushrooms.” In which Andrews replied, “Becca, he did this on purpose.” HAHAHAH, yea okay, why would some old man want to poison me? Hahah.
After the two hour training I could feel my stomach doing some pre-race stretching so I knew I couldn’t last much longer. I told Andrews and Felix that I was going to head back to the village to rest. Andrews asked if he could escort me part of the way. As we walked he asked if he could fill me in a little bit more about Daniel. He then went on to tell me about why so many of the villagers don’t like him. He told me about his voo doo practices, curses, poisonings, animal killings, etc. He then said he was sorry that he hadn’t told me earlier but figured that Daihwan would have told me before. I thanked him for filling me in and then continued on my way. As I walked I started praying asking God if it was true, if Daniel really poisoned me on purpose? Tears filled my eyes thinking that cute little old man Daniel could have done this to me on purpose. I realized how much I had put my guard down, how I had forgotten about the spiritual battle that we fight everyday.
That night as I tried to go to sleep, in between my runs to the bathroom, I kept questioning if this was purposeful or not. That next morning I opened my eyes with the sun and did my usual morning devotions. As I prayed I asked God to give me confirmation either way if this was purposeful or not cause I hate to think bad of someone under false pretenses. The first devotional book I opened the scripture reading was on Ephesians 6
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground,”
Talk about confirmation! I couldn’t believe it. On purpose. Old man Daniel had poisoned me on purpose! I started crying. I was scared. My body was weak. I couldn’t believe someone would do this to me or to anybody. I read the passage again realizing they were words to me from God himself.
Okay God this is your battle and that battle has already been won. God this battle is not against flesh but against the spiritual. Keep me aware; arm me with your full armor.
I took a deep breath, dried my tears, and felt ready for whatever was to come. I opened my other devotional book and guess what the scripture reading was? Yep Ephesians 6 which continues on to say:
“and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
God knows me to well. I need a lot of confirmation! Thanks God!
Anyway I wont get into all the nitty gritty about what the following 5 days looked like but lets just say that my flashlight, my flushless toilet, and I were all very close.
During those days I kept doubting and thinking… NO… he didn’t do it on purpose. But every time I doubted new signs would appear. One night I was woken up by voo doo drums, which lasted almost 2 hours straight, I stayed awake and prayed the whole time. The next night I had vivid terrible nightmares all through the night. And then the last two nights on top of my runny stomach I had the wonderful pleasure of being welcomed by ‘Mr.Dry-heave’. But even during those terrible days and nights, God kept sending me little glimpses of his joy and love. Some examples include:
First Dagbe Olympics, bracelet making class, soccer tournament, rain shower fight, coloring contest, made a Christmas tree out of cocoa leaves, and even preached (not accidently this time). So even though Satan was trying to stamp on my parade God kept giving me his strength and joy. By Sunday evening I knew physically I needed to leave to let my body recoup. As soon as I got in the cho-cho (taxi) and left the village it was as if I felt the heaviness lift from my chest.
As I told you at the beginning I was unsure if I should share this with you because it is weird. Coming from America we think, physical, physical, physical where as in Africa everyone is always spiritual, spiritual, spiritual, but I have seen how life is a balance of both. I know that some people will read this and think “ohh boy Becca has completely lost it now.” And you know what that’s okay as long as you are praying for me than you can think whatever you want.
This past week has been one of the hardest weeks for me throughout my whole time here in Africa and it made me realize how much I NEED your prayers. At the end of the Ephesians passage it says:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
I go back to the village in two days and will continue going for the following two months. Please remember me in your prayers because I NEED them.
A matter of belief
5 years ago