Sunday, July 21, 2013

Update on "Spirit Connection"

Today, the church meeting in Mibu (before, during, and after) was abuzz with the sad goings on in the neighboring village where we recently reported there was some strange cult activity. The small delegation who went to try to dissuade those smitten by the anti-gospel weirdness going over there had returned a day early, having actually been run off with their lives being threatened!

Before the church meeting started, quite a few people gathered and listened as Sesi told the sad story, saying they were barely given a chance to speak. They were expected, and when they arrived, Gero, the village big man, tore into them. Gero is a very vocal person who loves to speak (and to be listened to). He went on for quite a while, sharing many scary details of his organized cult that utilizes young children to prophecy in their sleep, and how God has made him 'king' and determiner of who goes to heaven or hell. He went on expressing his anger toward anyone who gets in his way. He even managed a public attempt at calling down fire from heaven to burn up the Mibu delegation right there on the spot. No joke! People watched... then waited... then waited some more... but nothing happened. Then in anger, he and a number of his followers started threatening to hurt and kill those who had come wanting to help.

The men from Mibu left, thanking God that they hadn't been hurt. They were thankful too that they'd been able to at least encourage the three families who were not supporting the strange activities. In addition to that there was one family who had been participating in the cult who were convinced that they should not continue. Those who had been run off that day, stayed in this family's house for the night before coming back to Mibu the next day. While there the host family shared how their young daughter was one of the ones who was being used, along with the other kids, to do this weird stuff. After talking with the folks from Mibu and realizing they should not be supporting this activity they went quickly to retrieve their daughter from the hut in which these young children were being housed.

So today in the church meeting back in Mibu, Sesi shared their story. The church talked a lot about what to do for their friends over there who are full on into this thing. They talked about how the teachers who had been going from Mibu to teach over there need to continue, even if just for the four families. They need to continue to be encouraged and to grow in God's word. They'll have to find another place to meet, of course. Then it was unanimous that prayer is the only thing we can really do for those wandering in the dark right now. God is the only one strong enough to do anything about what's going on over there.

We were encouraged to see how the attitude was desperate instead of offended and that the instinct was to realize their need for God's help and power in all this. Would you join them in continuing to pray for the folks in this nearby outreach area? Pray for those who are holding fast to the faith, that they'd be able to stand strong and that God would use them as a beacon of truth over there. And pray that the truth would set them free from this deception, and that they'd remember that trusting in what Jesus did for them on the cross really is the ONLY way.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Spirit Connection" or Bad Reception?

The Mibu believers need your prayers.

There has been a lot of talk over the last month or so about some confusion in the church. We usually don't get all the information at once. It comes in waves, a little here, a little there, each time getting a fuller picture of what's going on. We have been hearing more and more about the beginnings of a cult here that refer to themselves as "Spirit Connection". The information has been building and we've been trying to do due diligence in preparing the local church leaders to be able to rightly handle God's word, and keep watch over the believing community, keeping people's eyes on Jesus. Here in Mibu, the leaders seem to have been able to get a handle on it for the most part. However, what's going down in one of our neighboring outreach villages is what's really concerning us. It seems to be on the brink of turning into a full-blown cult! Out of the believing community there, only three are reported to be standing against this movement. They've sent word for leaders and teachers from the church here to come help dissuade the many confused and to show that their activities and beliefs are strayed from what God's word teaches.

The cult identifies itself as being led by God's Spirit, hence the reference to themselves as "Spirit Connection." They consist primarily of young children and a few young adults with the full backing of the more influential folks in the village. A group of 10 young children are reputed to have died one night (all at the same time in the same house) and risen the next morning to tell of all that they saw in their death. They say they saw the road to heaven. They are foretelling the year of Jesus' return. They also claim to have seen many other dead people (in other words, their dead ancestors). They're proclaiming that those who oppose them (namely the believers in Mibu) will be turned to pillars of salt and dust. And the list of absurdities just goes on! Movements like this are not uncommon in our area, but what is really concerning is that what the young folks are reported to have seen and said directly attacks those in the church who strive to follow God's word. They have been effective at undermining the influence of the leaders in the church as well as plant much doubt as to whether or not Jesus is the ONLY way. They've gained so much rapid support from the local area residents that they've said they're going to begin organized outreaches to other areas here soon. They're presenting their own words as God's word, even writing some of it down and reading it as authoritative in the church meetings! Ughh! There's so much more that would curl your toes that we don't have space to mention. But suffice it to say your prayers are needed. Much of this has brewed for several weeks, just recently exploding into something big.

We need you to be in prayer for the church leaders as they prepare (and as we try to help prepare and encourage them) for going over to face this thing head on and make it clear that the church does not identify with this at all and to warn people against being distracted with fruitless talk which does not promote faith, a pure heart, a clear conscience and the love that God's true revealed word teaches. On the contrary, what they teach only produces confusion, arguments, and all kinds of other endless speculation. It's right out of 1 Timothy 1.3-5. Some of the leaders and teachers are planning on going over there this Thursday (Wednesday U.S. time) and staying through the weekend to try to deal with the situation.

Pray for strength of those over there who do feel the conviction but may struggle with the very strong social obligations that may keep them from acting on their convictions. The church there is young and immature, still very easily duped into chasing after things that take them away from Jesus.

Pray that the love that Jesus has shown for them would be all that holds their fascination. There are so many fruitless pursuits they can waste their time on. The love of Jesus is where it's at. Keeping their eyes on what Jesus did for them on that cross because he loves us will provide a lifetime of growth and maturing in their faith.

And then pray for the young folks that have fallen into this delusion. They are deceived and puffed up with self-promotion and, for the moment, getting exactly what they're after. Pray that they'd see the carnal nature of what they do and that trusting Jesus (a REAL trust in Jesus - because they use the phrase with very wrong connotations) is the only way.

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Booklets!

In a recent delivery of supplies brought by our helicopter, one of the boxes we opened had the long awaited booklets containing both the book of Romans and that of 1 Timothy, as well as the lessons for 1 Timothy! These aren't just any booklets. They're the end product of much hard work translating the bible and putting lessons together. It's such a thrill to get these booklets in folks' hands. Making God's word available to the Mibu people is one of the major strategic facets of furthering the development of the young church in Mibu.

We're not the only ones doing the work here. There are many of you who have been faithfully supporting this ministry by praying and giving their valuable time and resources for the sake of the Mibu church. Little milestones like this are a great time to say, "Way to go, team!" and also to remind you that there is still much to be done here. We keep plugging away with all that God has given us and are thankful for the strong support we feel from those who have sent us!