Tuesday, 28 February 2012

To End the Curse-Part Two

To End the Curse- Part Two.

There was noise all around me and people coming and shaking my hand saying long sentences that I was trying to impossibly keep up with. I, as well as everyone around me was handed a stick and told “This is your spear.” Then we were handed a huge leaf and told “This is your shield.” I was taken to a small clearing, where we were separated into two groups with a ditch in between where a freshly slaughtered lamb and goat lay. I was trying to understand what was going on around me but  it was chaotic with all the noise, jumping, and voices. A man was trying to explain to me how the ritual worked, while a woman grabbed  my hand, I thought to greet me, but instead placed a handful of warm goat excrement, right from the stomach, into my hand. I looked at the woman who had a giant smile on her face, and simply uttered a “Wow… Thanks, just what I always wanted!” We lined up facing each other on both sides of the ravine, the group opposite me, uttered a war cry and together came charging toward us throwing their spears, shields and excrement, stopping right before the edge of the ravine. Then I was told it was our turn to utter a war cry and do likewise.  I had to be pushed and told repeatedly “Throw it, throw everything!” Before I finally threw all I hand in my arms toward the people on the other side (I kept thinking, really? What if I hit someone?). 
When it was finally over there was much shouts of victory and shaking of hands and people bursting out in dance. I sat there still looking at the lifeless lamb and goat in the middle of the ravine, which now was covered in pointy sticks, shields and excrement.

The idea was that both sides were to represent their ancestors, how they fought and were cruel to one another but now with this slain goat and lamb in-between it is finished…the curse is ended and now there is forgiveness and peace.

 God has displayed in creation, in pagan rituals of those who don’t even know Him illustrations of Himself. The word that kept ruminating in my heart the hike back home was “Forgiveness.” Everything we throw at each other really falls on our lamb or messiah our peace. All of our sins disgusting as excrement is laid on the slain lamb….On Jesus, Messiah. Therefore I have peace with God…as well as an obligation to forgive others. Those who have hurt me, well their repulsive acts are at the place as mine…in the ravine, yes, even at the cross.

Once again my dear friends, I went, with an attitude of envisioned sacrifice, intending to give, yet instead I come away, repented, bursting of grace and simply…Full.

Would you do me a favor? NO REALLY! I know you are tempted to skip over this, or tell yourself you will read it later(I do this all the time) but don’t! Read it NOW. Read some verses with me. Slowly…As Anne of Green Gables would put it “Drink it in Marilla!” Drink in the LOVE of God for us.
Isaiah 53:3
 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
   a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
   he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
A man of Suffering:
 mak'ôb  mak'ôb  mak'ôbâh
mak-obe', mak-obe', mak-o-baw'
From H3510anguish or (figuratively) affliction: - grief, pain, sorrow.

"Familiar with pain"ידע      yâda‛
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially (including observationcare,recognition; and causatively instructiondesignationpunishment, etc.): - acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise, answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a certainty, comprehend, consider, X could they, cunning, declare, be diligent, (can, cause to) discern, discover, endued with, familiar friend, famous, feel, can have, be [ig-] norant, instruct, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make self) known, + be learned, + lie by man, mark, perceive, privy to, X prognosticator, regard, have respect, skilful, shew, can (man of) skill, be sure, of a surety, teach, (can) tell, understand, have [understanding], X will be, wist, wit, wot.

"Familiar with Pain"חלי
From H2470maladyanxietycalamity: - disease, grief, (is) sick (-ness).
" Like one from whom people hide theirfaces":
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פּנה pâneh, paw-neh'; from 6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.): -  + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self), + honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.
Isaiah 53 verses 4-5
 "Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."

Surely He took up our painנסה    נשׂא
nâśâ'  nâsâh
naw-saw', naw-saw'
A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: - accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.
But He was crushed for our iniquities: דּכא
A primitive root (compare H1794) to crumble; transitively to bruise (literally or figuratively): - beat to pieces, break (in pieces), bruise, contrite, crush, destroy, humble, oppress, smite.
John 1:29
“The next day He saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Exerts taken from E-sword

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

To End The Curse

To End The Curse-
The Chief had come and invited us (White people) to Namaneet a village about a six hours away. Almost my whole team was gone on break and we would need to start the journey the next day. I was feeling sick and had been for the past week so the notion of going on a six hour hike and spending the night on the ground did not seem wise or inviting. Yet, there was something in me that said “Go.” My stomach was upset, I groaned and I was tired as I asked the question I’ve asked millions of times in my life “God, what do you want me to do?” Opening my Bible I began to read. I was reading in the gospel of Luke about Jesus and thinking about the compassion of Christ. ”Jesus would go even if he was sick” I thought. So I packed up my backpack and set my alarm for 5:00 am and went to bed excited for the next morning.

The roosters had just began to crow as we headed out around 6:00 the next morning. The moment we started on the trail my stomach pain went away and didn’t return the entire trip. This was a beautiful gift to me and put my heart in great thankfulness.

Namaneet is considered the birthing place of Didinga. It was under a huge tree there that all people from Didinga would take their cases and be tried some condemned, killed and buried. There is a great fear of Namaneet because of all the people who have died there, they say there are ghosts there that will do you harm. In fact it was told us that right before we came a man was beat up by these invisible ghosts and that that a jerry can full of Marti (their homemade corn bear) was taken way up in the air and poured out unto the ground. I however saw none of this. No white person has been to Namaneet since the British left, so this was an honor. The occasion was one of creating peace. The Didinga people put many curses on the British when they were colonized and had much hate towards each other. One British man was even killed and skinned. They said that the curses had come back upon themselves. Their children violent, raiding and killing each other. They have drought and poverty. They wanted us to come and to make peace with them and to forgive the past and to end the curse and what better place than in Namaneet, the place of judgment.

When we finally arrived in Namaneet, we were welcomed with the beating of drums dancing all around us. We were crowded in with spears, shaking of hands and cow skin skirts, taken under a huge tree and given mats to sit on. At this point I admit I was so tiered I could hardly keep my eyes open. The meeting began and, as it was all in the Didinga language, I mostly tried to stay awake and smile at all the little children staring intently at us. The meeting lasted all through the night. At one point I crawled into the tent and slept, I could still hear the meeting as we were only a few feet away. At one point I woke up and counted Six Didinga women, me and a chicken squeezed into a tent all sleeping on our sides so that everyone would fit. I smiled as I had one of those “I can’t believe I am in Africa right now” moments. I woke in the morning only to hear the meeting was still continuing on. Chichila told me “You are needed for the ritual.” Ritual, what ritual? When you can’t speak the language and you have clue what’s going on around you and you live in an area that is highly syncretistic (mixing Animism with Christianity) My biggest fear is participating in witchcraft… but when you can’t ask questions with answers in English every moment is a step in prayer and faith. Having no clue what the next moment will bring. “They are slaughtering the goat and lamb, it’s time to join them” Chilchila said, I rose to follow her with my two teammates.
                                                           To be continued. 

My Team- Formal(ish) Introductions

My Team- Formal(ish) Introductions
Jonathan & Lauren.

Jonathan and Lauren are our team leaders and have been here for roughly two years. They both are the most humble and fun people ever. Jonathan’s primary role here is as a developer. He has been working on a road, which when accomplished will enable a truck to come up with equipment for wells which would meaning clean water for our community!  Lauren is an amazing full time mom to Adelaide and support to Jonathan as well as the rest of us.

Kim. Kim is what I call officially hard core. She has been here for three years and is probably the strongest woman I know, yet gentle and full of love for the people that surround her. She is one of the teachers and kind of in charge of the rest of us teachers here.

Trey.Trey is a full-fledged Texan and is a blast to be around. He’s been working hard with Jonathan on the road. He is a short termer and will be going back to Texas in June to finish law school.

Kaiti-. Kaiti is my roommate. We both live in a small little hut together and even though we are complete opposites we get along great! She’s from the city in Maryland , I’m from Montana. She is a vegetarian and I shot my first buck at thirteen. She has been working in the local clinic and is hoping to go back and get her nursing decree, which she would be wonderful at. She also is a short termer and will be leaving, sadly, at the end of this month.
Well, that's the team folks!

Pray for us as we seek to show Jesus to the Didinga people. 
Trey-Kim-Me-Katie :)