Practical Christianity

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Three times a week, I try to visit the members of our groups to see how they are doing, pray with them, and see what I can do to meet their felt needs. I frequently visit those who are very new in the faith. I try to make a list of members to be visited each time I am out on visitation.

On my list for that day was Mariam Diaby, a lady who had been delivered from demon possession. Upon my arrival at Mariam’s house, we exchanged the usual Susu greetings, but her look was deeply troubled. “How are you doing?” I asked.

“Physically, I am fine,” she said. “The demon is gone and no longer makes me hit my head on things. I don’t get the headaches I used to, and I praise Jesus for my deliverance. But I still have three problems, Uncle Fred, and I would greatly appreciate the church’s prayers.” As she spoke, her eyes never left the floor.

“What are they, Mariam?” I asked encouragingly.

“My first problem is anger. I get angry so easily at myself and others, often for no good reason. Before my deliverance, these feelings would come when my demon was near. Three days after my deliverance, I started having the same feelings of anger that make me want to withdraw from people and isolate myself. I told my mother about it, and she advised me to try singing Christian songs when those feelings come. That has been helping me a lot, but I still need your prayers for happiness and peace.

“My second problem . . .” She paused and swallowed hard, finally raising her eyes to mine. Her tears welled up as she tried to control her emotions, but to no avail. She broke down and began to cry. “We are suffering, Uncle Fred,” she managed between sobs. “I used to feed our family with money my demon gave me. Fearing the demon’s jealousy, the father of my baby refuses to give us any support. For a week now, we have had nothing but boiled peanuts to eat. Please pray for God to help us.

“The third problem,” she began, drying her eyes. “Remember, I told you that I know there are more battles ahead—the persecution that awaits me from my extended family and friends? Well, it has started. My uncle came here two days ago with the owner of this house and told us we would have to find another place to live because we have turned our backs on Islam. They all know about the miracle Jesus has wrought in my life, yet they close their eyes to it and pretend nothing has happened. I am determined, Uncle Fred, that nothing will separate me from my Christian faith. Jesus has done what no man could have done for me.”

I encouraged Mariam to be firm in the faith, and I prayed with her and her mother.

The following Sabbath, I called our church group together and shared Mariam’s story, asking them to pray for her situation. We prayed that the Lord would help us to find a solution. Right after our prayers, someone suggested that we should allow God to use us to answer to her prayers. “We must put our Christianity into practice,” the person added. “Let us each give what we can to help our sister.” Standing in amazement, with tears rolling down my face, I saw people make pledges and collect 700,000 Guinean francs (about US$100). I praised God for the transformation of this little group from a receiving church into a giving church. Indeed, the Gospel is making an impact on this group. Praise the Lord!

The next day, Sunday, the head of the women’s ministry took the money to the market and bought a sack of rice, some packets of soap, some diapers and clothes for the baby, and about a week’s worth of other food items. She gave these to Mariam and her mother along with 200,000GNF (about US$27) as seed money to help them generate income. An additional 100,000GNF was set aside for more food when the first provisions run out.

Also, a church member was able to find a house for Mariam and her family, which is better than the one they were living in.

During his recent visit to the Susu Project, Pastor Rich Carlson, the chaplain from Union College, asked me what strategies we are using to reach the Muslims in Guinea. My response was that we have no special strategy. The work is not mine; it is God’s. All I do is ask Him to lead me to hearts He has already prepared. We must be careful not to limit God’s power with our own strategies and wanting to do the work that is ultimately His prerogative.

We met Mariam after a week of prayer and fasting. Our theme was “Miracles to reach Muslims.” I believe God answered our prayers by leading Mariam to us in her predicament of demon possession. Today we can proudly say that Christ is winning the battle with Satan over Mariam Diaby’s life. She is presently studying the Bible in preparation for baptism. Please pray for this family.

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