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A Township Experience!

While hanging out at home during a week of much needed rest from ministry activities I kept hearing drum beats from what sounded like it came from next door. For the first few days I ignored it because I thought it was someone playing loud music as is true in the neighborhood. But as it continued it took me back to when I first moved into the township from the suburbs in 2010.

Around mid-morning, when all was still and quiet, someone would start beating drums and wailing for hours. I had never in my life heard anything like it. At first I thought maybe someone was being attacked to an intense level of mourning and sorrow. Eventually, Violet, who I live with, helped me understand that it’s sangomas. These are people similar to witch doctors that often come together with other like minded people and have a ceremony that in essence, worships the devil. My initial response was one of shock because I never knew this kind of thing still exists.

It was hard for me to believe that the noise I heard from a few doors down was actually a sangoma training school that had recently started. Not only were there seasoned ones but they were training young men and women to do the same. This news that Violet brought me, after visiting one of her disciples, was disturbing and depressing for the both of us. We knew there had been an increase of this kind of activity but never imagined it would be so close to us. The reality of this level of spiritual warfare in our community hit us hard. On one hand we were very saddened for the people trapped in it. But on the other had we knew who the real enemy was who keeps people in this type of bondage.

The following Tuesday my bible study of ladies from the neighborhood met at our place and everyone was brought up to speed on what was going on around us. As a matter of fact, the drum beats and wailing started up just as we began our time together. Monica, a pastor’s wife, led our time in song. Only this time the singing of us four ladies was louder than any 50 person choir I had ever been a part of. After a while we began to pray. I’m telling you, this prayer time not only brought heaven down to us but shut down every drum beat, every wailing, everything associated with the devil himself. IT WAS POWERFUL!!!

We’re still praising our almighty God! Since that Tuesday night there has not been one drum beat, no wailing or anything coming from that house! After driving past the house several times in a day I haven’t seen one lady hanging out there at all. The power of prayer to our AWESOME God and Father drove those sangomas out of that house. I recently heard that the sangoma training school now meets somewhere on the far side of the township because they couldn’t stand to be anywhere near “those praying people”!

I wish I could say they have ceased their activities of deception, lies and counterfeit. I wish I could say they are not stealing children to sacrifice them. I wish I could say they are not telling those that are HIV positive that they can heal them to the point they don’t need to take their medication any longer and when this happens they die. But to say these things just wouldn’t be true. They are very busy doing all of the above and more.

These kinds of experiences has given me a deeper meaning to the words “harassed” and “helpless” found in Matthew 9: 36. One commentary likens it to being “bullied, oppressed, and unable to rescue themselves or escape their tormentors”. In those times when I’ve heard people wailing, like I described earlier, it truly did sound like people were being tormented. Now, when I hear drum beats and wailing I know longer get irritated for being awakened in the night or disturbed during the day. Now, I pray for lost souls that will be delivered and rescued through the powerful message of Jesus Christ!

Jackie Bland

Jackie has been a global partner with GFC since 1983, serving with CRU. For the past three years she has lived in South Africa, training up leaders.

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