It’s rather hard to summarize the last two weeks and everything that has gone on. For the most part it has been really awesome. I am going back through my journal as I write this to try and recap on the highlights so you guys will get an idea of what we have been doing.
The spiritual environment here is awesome. We have church on Sundays and Mondays. Our “class” that we have in the morning is basically worship and preaching from 8am-1pm. We worship for several hours every morning. We also have worship/preaching two or three times a week in the evening as well. We have soaking prayer/worship three nights a week. I have been leading a lot of the worship here at the school, which is good in some ways and bad in others. On the positive side, it’s nice to know that people enjoy it and prefer to have you leading. On the negative side, you don’t always end up getting prayed over and ministered to as much as everyone else because you’re leading worship / playing during the ministry time. However several people have picked up on that and will come and relieve us during the ministry time so we can go down and spend time with God and be prayed over by people.
For the most part the speakers have been totally awesome. Heidi Baker usually speaks at least three days a week in the afternoons. She is so real, authentic, and humble and the love of Jesus just pours out of her when she speaks. Alot of times when she is speaking, I feel this ridiculous heat on my face. She is very real and honest with us about everything going on in Iris Ministries. It is definitely no picnic to be at the head of a ministry with 1800 full-time employees and thousands of other missionaries and part time staff. Last week the government came and took over the land/building of one of the orphanages in another part of the country and left 41 orphans homeless. Also, 180 of the construction workers went on strike because they said they were being paid too little, yet with the construction contracts they are still getting paid through the end of December. The average national wage here is 50 mets per day (around $2) and Iris pays their people nearly double that, if that tells you anything. Since they are not coming to work yet are still required to do something, Heidi is having them all come to a Bible class, which is ironic because most of them are Muslim. She had to rename it to something like moral education because they were throwing a fit over the thought of coming to Christian classes. Also, there was some problem with the food distribution to the orphans in another province, so some of our key people that were a part of the school (along with other Iris staff) left yesterday for a 3-week trip to try to straighten things out – documenting and photographing all of the kids and trying to get the food distrubtion under control. Please pray about those things. There has been a lot of stress on the base for the last few weeks because of them, especially with the construction problems because there have been threats on Heidi’s life and the construction foreman.
On to some randomness… Me and some of my new friends took a few kids out for ice cream the other day. It was great. You should have seen the look on their faces when they got a bowl of ice cream. There are a lot of things we take for granted in the U.S. that mean the world to people over here. I don’t know if I mentioned this in my last e-mail, but church here with the Mozambicans is like Holy Spirit aerobics. They love to dance and go wild. It is also usually hot and sweaty because the kids end up sitting in your lap and hugging you and playing with your hair, face, etc. the entire time you’re there.
We have had some major spiritual warfare going on here. One night I woke up and my bedroom door was opening, slamming shut (latching), and opening and slamming shut over and over, then I had a “visitor” that I had to get up and rebuke out of the house. For about a week “something” was coming and pulling my mosquito net completely out of the bed. I finally prayed that away. I had another “visitor” another night as well. Alot of other people have had strange manifestations as well. One night the glass in the stove on one of the houses exploded for no apparent reason. We did a lot of praying and spiritual warfare around our compound and for the most part, the unexplained sickness, nightmares, and crazy manifestations have stopped.
I seem to have the transportation anointing here! Every time I have prayed (which has been every time except the last time I went to town because we had such a large group), we have had instant free transportation to town, and almost every time we have gotten a ride back for free. It’s pretty funny. Some prices have gone up since everyone arrived because apparently us showing up made it become “tourist season.” Rolls increased from 2 mets to 2.5, and they have tried unsuccessfully to double the taxi fares from 50 mets to 100. Most of us refuse anything over 50, so they have become more reasonable.
I went into the village one day and fixed a lock on a boy’s house. That was pretty cool. I also went last Sunday to the first Iris church they setup in Pemba (many years ago). One of the people from our school preached a good message and had them all laughing. He was preaching about getting the plank out of your own eye so you can see to remove the speck from your brother’s. He kept picking up a church pew (bench) and sticking it out of his eye and going over to the Mozambicans and acting like he was removing dust from their eyes. It was a great illustration that I don’t think any of us will ever forget.
The first group of outreach teams that went out on a weekend had an awesome time. They got to go to a Muslim village that had never allowed Christians to come before. 300 people got saved in one night and they ran out of people to pray for because every single person that came with any kind of sickness got healed of everything, so they just spent the time worshiping God and then the next day chopped bamboo and started building the people a church. I can’t wait to go on my outreach!
Back to worship (I’m going through my journal) – one particular Wednesday night was so awesome. We got up on the stage and the glory of God just fell on the place and we all got drunk in the Spirit instantly and were laughing and being filled up with the Spirit. It was a very awesome night and a lot of cool things happened that night. That is the first time I’ve ever been drunk in the Spirit on stage trying to lead worship. It was definitely an experience to say the least! But it didn’t really matter because it spread to most of the people in the audience.
The last week has been pretty stressful and tiring. Yesterday was the first day I was able to take a real shower in a week. The running water has been off, so we’ve been having to get water from the well at the gate to the compound and take bucket showers and such. It’s hard to get rinsed off unless you use a lot of water. Plus washing your hands, using the latrines (out in the open breeze at night unless you take a flashlight!), washing dishes… guys, all I have to say is THANK GOD for running water! I got a regular rinse yesterday, but it was off again this morning, but it’s back on this afternoon. I really have to go because I am late for a birthday dinner at the Dolphin next door..