Saturday, November 8, 2008

7th November 2008, Mngwangwa

When you wake up in the morning, you never know that this day holds a miracle that I will be a part of. We are all pieces of the puzzle that reflects the glory of God and there are days when the reflection is right where you are and so this was for me today. Having spent the week looking for a word, praying, being silent…nada, zinch, zero. So there we were, on our way with nothing to say. Felix had made an invitation to the zone leaders for anyone wanting to join us on our way to Mngwangwa and they showed up and then some. We ended up picking 16 people from different points who wanted to come with us to hear the teaching. The vehicle was beyond packed, sardines have better breathing space because we had stuff to deliver in Mngwangwa too along with Diamond’s bike. Anyhow, we made it.

We arrived amidst singing and praising God and still. We joined in the worship already taking place in the room after getting the youth to join us, which was the only thing I felt led to do. Little did I know that it was all God needed…He took over. The worship was awesome with people leading from everywhere leading. For a while I thought perhaps this was all we were meant to do today until….

Midway through, the Spirit of the Lord nudges me and takes my hand and leads me. We keep standing and I begin talking to the youth about the Holy Spirit, about being empowered to be. We begin by speaking about the youth that are the NOW church and yet are sitting in the bandstands watching the older run the race as they cheer and never take up the baton and run themselves. Out of the entire group, none are baptised in the Spirit. So we go through John 20:22, Acts 1:6-8, Acts 8, Acts 10, Acts 19 giving the youth the opportunity to see in the word this subject that is often debated. We speak about the difference between witnessing and being a witness. We speak of power – His power and I reminisce about the time I was baptised in the Spirit. I tell them about how God touched me and changed me forever when He empowered me to BE that witness. I step out in faith and declare that God is going to do it with them. All we need to do is believe and open our mouths so the Spirit of God can give us words. An interesting analogy pops up. We are like megaphones. The megaphone gives voice to the speaker, like our mouths give voice to the Holy Spirit in us speaking things to the Father. But a megaphone has a button that has to be pressed down in order for the sound to be heard. That is our choice. We can cooperate with Him and thus hear Him out of our mouths or we can choose never to depress that button and never hear. We talk about how this is not a church issue or a denominational issue but a God issue.

We invite those who want to be baptised in the Holy Spirit and 31 people come forward. I have the faith to believe but what God does goes beyond me. In a matter of minutes 29 people begin speaking in a language from above, 29 people! I stood in wonder as part of me prayed and laid hands… I stood in wonder. Today when I woke up, I never knew I would be witness to a miracle. What is frustrating is trying to articulate the atmosphere and the energy and the awe and wonder that filled us as we saw God lay His hand on the hunger of the young people for more of Him. It was amazing. Even now, I am writing and yet I sit in wonder and stare….

We did a little exercise after with eyes open and each person individually spoke in tongues so that the fear of shame and embarrassment would flee, so the devil would not come in with his lies and deter them. Earlier I had asked them to repeat after me…’procrastinate’ and they did. I asked them if the understood what they had just said. They said no. I asked them if they were embarrassed to have said it and they said no. ‘So, why are we embarrassed to speak what the Spirit is uttering in our spirit?’ that had them thinking and slowly the mindsets had broken to make way for the liberty that is found where the Spirit of God is. 29 people. What almost brought me to tears and it does so now as I write is one of the faithful grannies who always comes, she was baptised in the Spirit and she spoke with other tongues… in her eighties! It was overwhelming. God will do anything with anyone so long as we are willing to believe. It was incredible to hear her speak in a heavenly tongue. I was touched and so were all who heard her as they applauded God.

It was hard to say goodbye. There was so much expectation in the air. We had stood for two hours and 15 minutes from the start of worship until the end and it only proved what God had said. There are things we can only do when we are empowered by Him to do them.

I witnessed a miracle today and for a while got to see God move and touch people around me. I witnessed a miracle today in that the prayers I have prayed all year were fulfilled in that moment. I witnessed a miracle today and what a privilege to have the Spirit of God lead us by the hand and invite us into His workings. There was so much joy, so much excitement and we sang all the way home, giving glory to God who, rightfully, had blown our minds, expanded our expectation of Him and stretched our faith to believe that anything can happen when you believe!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Saturday, November 1st, Mngwangwa

The car was silent for the most part, odd as we were five people going in the same direction. Interestingly, it did not bother me too much even though I did question it some. Upon arrival worship was on and we joined in together and worshipped. We were in the medical room and so space became a factor but we made do. In the end we were 69 people and a little bit of a squeeze for those sitting. Midway through worshipped we stopped and spoke about Whom we are worshipping and expanded on how great and awesome He is. Sometimes worship becomes such a routine that it is a wonder how we can address such an awesome wonder of a God in that manner… casually, routinely.

The incredible thing though, about the communities, is that worship has no timeline. It isn’t twenty minutes here and then let’s get down to business. These are the people I feel most comfortable worshipping with. It is total abandonment… each to his own. If there is a place I can fall on my face, it is here. Here there is no protocol and no rules (said or unsaid). We challenged everyone to think on how awesome God is and then dare to give Him a lazy praise. There is a reason He created us the way He did. Why give of our energy and strength and passion to someone we can see and yet with Him throw scraps? I have heard on many occasions that as Africans we are always jumping about in praise and we need to learn to have heart too. I often wonder if heart is slow and sways to and fro… For me to stand still is impossible, not in my makeup. This is why we cannot teach others how to worship. We have to teach people about God and let them respond to Him and not a system! We spend a little time talking about giving all to God and then the praise and worship changes. There is a sense of abandonment and release that is sweet. It is beautiful and seems to go on forever. I haven’t been in this atmosphere for some time and I have missed it.

As we worship God gives me an analogy which I share with everyone once we sit down. There is a MK1 coin, MK100, MK500 and 50 pound notes on my hand.
“Some of us worship God like He is a MK1 coin. Worth nothing much and we approach Him that way. Others it is MK100, nice to have but not much. To some He is a MK500 note and we celebrate some because we value the MK500 to some degree. But then there are those to whom He is like a 50 pound note.” I give them the choice of picking one of the notes between the MK500 and the 50 pounds. They pick the MK500.
“We choose this because it makes sense to us, we understand its value. But God is beyond this. He is beyond simple understanding. He is like this 50 pounds, which is worth MK15,000.00 (this get everyone giving oohs and aahs). “No one picked it because no one knows it. But God is worth taking the risk, trusting that He is more than what we see. This is why if we found someone celebrating over 50 pounds we think them foolish. What are you celebrating? What is it? We do not know the value of something we do not understand fully. And even after we are told its value, we don’t really believe it and are not willing to go there to the place they tell you to go and make the exchange. There are people speaking some odd language and calling it heavenly! What nonsense, some may say, and yet… it is my 50 pounds and perhaps you don’t understand and so you choose not to go there but I do and so it is for worship.”

All the while I am in awe of God and how He can bring us to understand things. I was there speaking and yet watching and listening and asking myself, “how do you Keta, worship God?” I thought He had changed the message and yet it was only our introduction to our subject, which was the woman at the well. This was a true challenge for me as it was the first time I brought a subject of something I was studying and brought it as it was, not something I had lived but was living right now. I was very nervous as to how I could teach it as it is a subject close to my heart as I am that women at the well. The message is fresh and raw and personal. I prayed throughout asking for the Holy Spirit to help me and He brought it! Oh yes He did! It was also the first time I did not simplify a subject and just taught it as I would to anyone, trusting God in this case to help us all rise to where He wanted us in order for us to receive. It was about reception. Teaching a subject is not tough until you take into consideration, the reception. What is the point of bringing a power message if the people you are addressing have no reception to it? It is like baiting a certain type of fish with the wrong stuff. It may work for other but not these.

I was excited and on fire as I watched most of us rise to the place where we could receive. It was beautiful to see, to speak, to hear. Sidwell Mwale could not keep still and he was my eye contact person (I always have one). I just knew God was breaking things in us. He was opening us up and exposing us, like He did that woman at the well. HE was exposing our questioning of His capability to meet our needs and whether we truly believe Him to be our saviour or are we like this woman who, in the end, still said, “I know Messiah is coming.” You may be God but I am waiting for another deliverance to my situation. And yet Jesus says, “I am it. I am He. Stop looking for something else to come along and save you from what is going on with you. I am He.”

We left changed. I left transformed. Much has happened in the time I have been away from the villages and it was only then that I could see a glimpse of the Potter’s hands on me. Seeing eyes catching words that seemed to come from a place even I did not know of was incredible. Experiencing the same as I spoke was beyond explanation. There is no room to think you are ‘all that and a bag of chips’, not when you know that you are in the hands of the great ventriloquist!

The trip back was noisy and full of energy! Everyone wanted to speak at once. Edward testified about how violently ill he was the previous night and that morning. He thought he needed to get to a hospital and didn’t sleep from 2 in the morning. Against all that he made his way to the office challenging the enemy all the way. He couldn’t ride his bike because he was so weak and instead used public transport and yet here he was bursting with energy. Last time he was coming into the village to interpret with me he lost his voice, no cough, no warning, just woke up without his voice. We prayed and he managed to share. His recent testimony made us smile. Ah, that ancient serpent whose ways never change.

There are things you do because you love them. There are things you do because you have to and there are things you do because that is natural course of the thing. We breathe in and out because it is natural. When I teach in the communities, it feels like I have just stepped into exactly what I was created to do. What a blessing. What a treasure for God to entrust such awesome beautiful hearts to us. Every time we leave them, we leave home and in the midst of the joy is a tinge of sadness.