From Darkness to Light

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AIM’s Laarim Focus Team arrived in South Sudan on 31 August 2016, bringing the full team of twelve adults and six children together. Despite a month’s delay due to the insecurity of the country, there is great gratitude that entry was then possible. Here, the team share about their first few months of ministry:

The team members plunged right into culture and language learning, including a primitive camping-type home stay. We anticipated some spiritual opposition but had not foreseen our children being targeted.


Bible storytelling

Among other methods of bringing the word of God to the Laarim, we have been using Bible storytelling. In Kali village, during the construction phase, the spiritual opposition seemed to be strongest. But the initial phase of Bible storytelling has been very positive, despite the fact that it has to be done through an interpreter. Here is a recent email report from the de Leeuw family from the Netherlands.

“A small update from Kali. We went this morning to Chief Joseph. When we arrived there everyone was waiting. There were over 100 people and more than 30 adult men.”

Read more about how the Chief and the those waiting responded to the story here.

The night was unusually dark. The moon was somewhere over another continent. The flat topped Acacia trees silhouetted against the distant glimmering stars convinced us that we were truly deep in the heart of Africa. Our evening prayers were twice interrupted by cries for help from scorpion sting victims in the darkness beyond our fence. We treated those scorpion stings with the electric zapper and with prayer. And then the darkness intensified. For the fourth night in a row, one of our missionary children cried out in terror. He didn’t really awaken. In his parents’ consoling arms, his open eyes gaped into the darkness and his flailing arms pushed against invisible forces. We prayed. We challenged. We rebuked. We confessed the supremacy of Jesus. We interceded. Gradually his flailing and wailing subsided back into a whimpering sleep. We continued to pray over the room, the house, and the compound. Thankfully peaceful sleep followed for the rest of the night.

The power of prayer

The next day was our weekly team day. Our entire team joined together in the child’s bedroom to combine our prayer efforts to break this disturbing sequence. We acknowledged our own inadequacy except for the ability of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We prayed. We anointed the room with oil. We removed and discarded evidence of witchcraft from the crotch of a tree in the yard. Prayer warriors around the world were also called upon to pray. The following night was just as moonless, but the spiritual darkness had been repelled and the child slept free of the terrors. We rejoiced in the truth of “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6). In the ensuing weeks the terror spells have not recurred.

The Lord delivers

Had this story happened on an equally dark night in our passport countries, we’d have likely concurred with a diagnosis of night terrors. But Laarim, South Sudan, has had minimal Christian or biblical influence. There is no established culture of Christendom to combat the free reign of the evil spirits who have dominated here for centuries. Until now! With the arrival of our team, there are at least three Christ-centred compounds where the “angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). This team has come to pray and to strive for Christ-centred churches transforming every Laarim village.

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