Saturday, April 20, 2013

Witchcraft

Alive & Well in Africa


The call was from a tall woman who originated from Western Uganda.  I knew her.  Not well, like her husband, but knew her. Had even been to her home.  The tone of her voice was strong and determined.  Not desperate, but determined.  Problem was, I was receiving the call on my cell phone inside our vehicle ... challenge number one since I'm getting older and my hearing is starting to desert me ... and the vehicle is in the capital city of Kampala ... challenge number two since the traffic and its customary orchestration only increases challenge number one!


Phareda & Kalema
I shouted back into my cell phone that I was in Kampala right now, but that I would come to her house the following morning. She replied, "It's okay, papa. It's okay."

I met the husband of this woman one year ago.  He was among the Island Boyz, a group of "bad boys" who ruled the Njeru Taxi Park and who were despised by most. It was development that I talked about to this group of 40 young men.  They were just there and going nowhere.  I wanted them to discover who they were, where they were going, and why they were on earth.  This man was one among a half dozen or more who began the journey of discovery by giving his life to Jesus Christ.  This created a huge problem in his home and marriage.

Buried bottle of witchcraft medicines
I met the wife for the first time when she brought her baby, Grace Purity, for free medical attention offered by a medical team from Oklahoma.  She was unhappy. Unhappy about her life, her child, and her husband. The one sided conversation consisted of me listening to her complain.  The baby received treatment and I gave her some money for food and transportation.

The complaint that registered in my memory was the one about her husband.  By then I was a friend and spiritual brother and father to Kalema.  I arranged to travel to their village which was not far from Jinja. What I heard there was more than disturbing. Phareda (Freda) told me that she was having visitations and that the voice in the visitation was telling her, since she no longer had love for her husband, to throw herself into the Nile River or Falls.  The voice also had told her the day before to put the baby in the boiling sauce pan until the baby's eyes popped out.  This was more than a family squabble.  Evil spirits or demons were involved.

Shrine location for practicing witchcraft
I, of course, recommended Jesus as the solution to the challenges and problems Phareda was facing.  I suspected that I was not getting all the truth, but it was the Person of Truth that I wanted her to have. I also gave her a Bible and committed myself to keeping an eye on this couple as well as encouraging the husband to remain faithful, despite the fact there was no peace in the home.

But, this call I received in our vehicle, was from a determined Phareda and seemed to predict a change of direction.  When I arrived at her home on Saturday morning she was ready for the truth.  She confessed that she had never given her life to Jesus, and, in fact, was a leading witch doctor in the village.  She began gathering witchcraft paraphernalia and piling it in the middle of her floor.  She reached here and there, retrieving "medicines" that produce cures and curses, even finding some beneath the cushion a visitor from America was sitting on!

Paraphernalia goes up in smoke
I was right.  This woman was determined. She told me it was time for us to go to the shrine.  Another witch who was there was not happy about our presence , and even more unhappy when Phareda began tearing apart the shrine with her bear hands.  As we left the compound we could hear the witch crying to a demon to whom she was "married."  At the entrance of the compound Phareda grabbed a machete and began digging in a specific place, only to uncover and pull out a bottle lying at a particular angle for her practice of witchcraft.  Inside and at the bottom was a printed Islamic prayer surrounding small bottles of "medicine" used for curses.  This she carried with her.  She broke the bottle over the rest of the artifacts of her practice, poured kerosene over it, and set it all on fire.  She denounced and denied all demons whom she had been serving and confessed Jesus Christ as her Lord.

Supporting Phareda & baby Grace
As I bang these words out on my keyboard I imagine the dismay of readers from the West.  Explanations will come to their minds minimizing the effect of such a practice.  But, this is a different culture here in Africa. The primary concern here is not mental concepts and whether a person will accept them or not.  No, here the concern is all about power.  Even when the Church of England arrived in Uganda with its buildings, songs, liturgy,and practices ...  those who attended and participated still kept a shrine in their houses or behind their house.  Demons were the entities who held power for sickness or health, prosperity or poverty, success or failure, protection or vulnerability.  The question here is who is more powerful?  Demons or Jesus Christ?

Finally ... Peace through the Prince of Peace
Phareda had witnessed the authority and power of Christ to transform her husband. She had concluded that the demons had demanded millions of shillings from her, long days of pipe blowing without food or water, and demands that threatened even the life of her only biological child.  And, for what?  They took from her, but left her without anything. This day she was tired of that and she was determined to move in a completely different direction.

Witchcraft is alive and being practiced at various levels in Uganda, up to and including human sacrifice.  But, not any more for one courageous and tough lady.  This happened weeks ago.  The consequences?  Phareda remains untouched by the forces of darkness and evil  And, there is peace in the home.  Light wins another one over darkness.



12 comments:

  1. May the name of Jesus be praised for evermore! Thank you Father of Light!!

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  2. This testimony will begin to multiply. This is one of the "many infallible proofs" that Jesus is risen from the dead. Oh yes, he is risen indeed. Hallelujah.

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  3. Wow, the look like a completely different couple in the last picture as compared to the 1st picture. Praise God. That's an incredible story.

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  4. We are all praising God for our new sister, Thank you Jesus, The change in her face is so sweet

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  5. There is power power wonder working power in the name of the Lord!

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  6. Last week I held Grace Purity and gave Freda a verse; He that is in you is greater then he that is in the world. Now Freda has a beautiful Godly smile....

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  7. Praise be to GOD, A song keeps going through my mind........There is power, power, wonder working power, in the precious blood of the Lamb ( JESUS ) Thanks for sharing, Mom

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  8. God is good, just and full of mercy thank Jesus for all u do!!!!!! KC Hamilton

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  9. Praise God Paul! At least you can see something in Uganda here in the USA they dress up!
    Blessings, Jose

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  10. Darkness exist everywhere (even more so in places where it is ignored by the masses)But thank God for his work in and through you Paul. You bear the light of Love which produces his power. May we all be encouraged to Walk in this example

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  11. WOW!
    I am without words!
    DK

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  12. Awesome testimony, Paul! Have a safe trip back to the U.S.

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