She sat in the dust, not moving, not talking, not interacting with any other children. Her head was down, her dress soiled, and her limbs covered with sores. As we sat there doing a Bible program for the children at the REACH orphanage, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Later, in conversation with the mothers at the orphanage, we found out that she was deaf, dumb, blind in one eye, and terribly sickly…
Barely four years old, sick, helpless, all alone in the world, unloved, and unwanted, her plight tore my heart to pieces. There she was, a child, suffering a pain she never should have know. All I could think was, “The great controversy is real…”
Later that week, we were praying in the church. We sat in a circle as a young man in his twenties, like many of us, lay weeping on the ground, in pain and tormented by evil spirits. Kneeling down around him, we held hands as our fervent prayers ascended to the throne room, pleading with God to work a miracle on behalf of his son who was in such pain.
Minutes passed, and then an hour. There were seasons of calm where it seemed as though all was well; but then he would start screaming and wailing, a human soul trapped by the powers of the evil one. Again I thought, “The great controversy is real…”
No words can describe the joy that washed over me when that young man joined us for our team morning devotion two days later and shared how for the first time in years, he had slept soundly through the night, with no evil spirits troubling him. Calm, collected, Bible in hand, he shared how grateful he was that we had prayed for him, and how he wanted to give his life to Christ.
It was moments such as these that defined the GYC Intermission experience. As our young adult team from GYC and ALIVE ministered to the villages of Kibara and Bunere in the Mara Region of Tanzania, we were caught in the thick of the cosmic conflict that has wreaked our planet. Whether it was praying for people who had been tormented by evil spirits, counseling families troubled by marital infidelity, providing medical care for the critically ill, or caring for orphaned children, we were overwhelmed by the depth of human need, and acutely reminded that this world cannot be all there is.
Yet and still, God moved mightily on our behalf:
- Bible studies were shared door-to-door in almost every home in the village, with people from Muslim, Catholic, traditional spiritualist, or even “reformed” Adventist backgrounds.
- Over 400 children came to the children’s evening Bible programs on the first day, and many continued to come.
- The local governor, a non-Adventist, came to the opening night of the evangelistic series, and was moved to donate his newly built “white house” for our medical team to use for their medical outreach to the community. He continued to attend the evangelistic meetings throughout our time there.
- The medical team saw, treated, and counseled over 400 patients; each patient was given not just physical care, but emotional and spiritu
al counsel as well.
- Divine service attendance peaked at 700 on our last Sabbath in Kibara.
- A total of 31 people made decisions for baptism; 13 of them were baptized on our last Sabbath in Kibara, the remaining 18 are studying with local church elders and will be baptized later this year.
- We encountered several cases of demonic possession in the community, sometimes even in the middle of the sermon. It was a new experience for most of the mission team, but it taught us to pray. By God’s grace, everyone we prayed for experienced peace, freedom, and/or restoration.
- We worked with the full support of the local church and conference leadership who provided so much care, help, and guidance to the mission team.