I suppose most would say any alarm clock is unwelcome as one awakening you means you were still in need of sleep. And I suppose some of you are thinking I’m still on those roosters in Mubende that couldn’t tell time. But this alarm clock is different. I just realized this morning that I have arisen each morning at 5:00 AM and gone to the restroom… usually going back to bed. This morning I realized what was happening every morning at 5:00 AM; the mosque was broadcasting the Islamic call to prayer. Unlike our President, I do not find this “the most beautiful sound in the world”. I find it an ominous warning of impending conflict which, in spite of John Kerry’s Middle East negotiations, loom inevitable. In Uganda, where the Islamic government takeover with Idi Amin in 1971 resulted in the deaths of half a million Christians, and the forces were then repelled as they sought to take over northern Tanzania and he was ultimately run from Africa to die in exile in Saudi Arabia, Muslims are today involved in a “peaceful invasion”. What most Christians (or Westerners in general) cannot comprehend is the insidious nature of the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya. Essentially, it states that a Muslim should live at peace with those around him until they have gained enough power to subjugate them; it is a doctrine of “divinely sanctioned” deceit. It teaches that Muslims are obligated to lie while they make inroads into a society until they have the power to destroy their enemies—defined as anyone who is not Islamic. Christians cannot imagine denying Christ in order to save their own lives, much less to advance in public position; Muslims are commanded to lie about denying their faith if doing so can advance their cause. If you wish to understand this doctrine better I would recommend you read: http://www.meforum.org/2095/islams-doctrines-of-deception
And so, I have been awakened each morning the past few days by the reminder of this “peaceful invasion” which ultimately spells doom for any society which ignores history and reality. (as most do)
Helping the pastors here to understand the historical ramifications of Islam as opposed to Christianity is fundamental to their success in growing churches over the next decades. No peace process can ever be successful because of two FACTS:
Enough of what some might consider politics but I must face as the opposition pastors must be prepared to face in the churches here.
Another strong cultural thing I learned that will help with one of my lessons in Kisumu… this from my Nairobi friend and driver, Naftaly; the tribe native to the Kisumu area has two serious problems related to AIDS: First, their tribal law is that if a man dies his brother is to take his wife as his own; secondly, the prevalence of witchcraft there has found great strength in AIDS. In the first situation, if a man dies of AIDS, his wife is infected and the brother will contract it from her and likely die also or she will die after transmitting it to him. He will also then have transmitted it to his own wife. Thus, the chain of infection is guaranteed by tribal law which is still strong in that region. At the same time, the witch doctors are pronouncing curses upon houses and families (I’m sure after they see the first signs of infection) that appear to be great power on their part to kill anyone associated with that family. This apparent power gives them additional holds on the people and makes them struggle to be freed from the demonic even if they learn of Christ. So, between the encroachment of Islam in their “peaceful invasion” and the continuance of the black arts and demonic, Kisumu pastors are caught in some serious enemy strongholds and unless this is approached as spiritual warfare, they cannot win.
I fear that all too often we forget we have an enemy and that he is powerful. I see this manifest in Christians when I hear them asking, “Why would God do… “ when the reality is so often this is the work of our enemy in this world. The one thing for which I am grateful teaching here is that the spirit world is is very real to the people, as it is to most 3rd world countries because they haven’t gotten blinded by the scientific rational approach that has subsumed Western civilization since the “enlightenment”.
And yet another perspective revealed to me and verified when I queried it in Mubende during my sermon, the problem that brought the prodigal home to his father wasn’t running out of money, he was able to support himself after his money was gone, the problem that brought him back was the drought and the famine it produced. I’m not sure I’d ever seen that before in Luke 15. But something Steve Peifer wrote in “A Dream So Big; Our Unlikely Journey to End the Tears of Hunger” came back to me, these people “live a drought away from starvation all the time.” It wasn’t his wastefulness, it was the drought that produced his famine and caused him to turn his eyes back to his father. I’ve loved Luke 15 all my life, taught from it countless times and just saw it in a new light!!! I’m moved to tears even as I read it again and contemplate the implications both to myself and the younger son:
"And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!”
Yes, Father can continue to teach an old dog… J
I think in America if I were to teach that, people would say, “Famine? What famine?” To people at home, the famine is invisible because we’ve never experienced a famine. We’ve heard of famines — happening somewhere else — but we have no memories of famine. To us, the parable is about the irresponsibility of the son who "squandered his estate in reckless living” (v. 13). To us, the way people become destitute is by being irresponsible. But as Jesus tells the story, the son was not actually in need until a famine arose.
He lost everything, but he could support himself well enough without his inheritance — until the famine came. When the famine came, he was reduced to feeding unclean pigs; then, because of the famine and resulting poverty, his wages weren’t enough to buy food for himself. To an African, the story is all about the famine. The famine drove the son to shameful living, and the famine drove the son back to his father.
I can’t help but wonder how many things within His Word I have been unable to see because of living a life of privilege and the filter that places over my eyes. And I am shamed about how I have bemoaned my financial difficulties these past few years when I have thought things were tight, yet I know now I don’t know “tight”.
And even as I wrote that a knock on my door brought my attention to the present and the girl had brought my laundry. 1 pair of trousers, 3 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, and 2 pairs of shorts—290 shillings, $3.40 to have laundry done. I tipped her 100 ksh (about $1.15) and she acted astonished and very pleased. This is the same girl I have seen scrubbing and mopping the floors here constantly. She mops with a large towel rolled up and bends over double holding both ends of the wet towel and swaying back and forth as she cleans the floor. Then I realized I had probably just doubled her day’s income.
Something that amazes me, they sweep the sidewalks and streets in front of their shops and businesses with hand tied, long whisk brooms which calls for bending over double to sweep and having your face right down in the dust you are stirring up. They use pieces of plastic as from cutting the side out of an antifreeze jug for a dustpan and scoop everything into an old grain sack. This is a process repeated several times a day to reduce dust and litter from the streets and sidewalks. Oh, how privileged my life is!
Stakwell Yurinemo, whom Dayspring supports and has for some years, is picking me up in a few minutes and I will be on my way to the far northern Samburu tribal lands!
Please, continue to keep me in your prayers. (and Kellie too as our sporadic connections sometimes leave her concerned.)
Jack was raised in a Christian home where he spent his youth preparing to preach God’s word. First published at thirteen, writing and speaking became Jack’s passions. Whether through newspaper columns, magazine articles, radio broadcasts or public speaking engagements, Jack continues to share his heart with his readers. His life’s motto: To Know God, and To Show Him To Others.