We taught lesson 8 of our Bible study series about five weeks ago in San Benito Poite. I have been meaning to tell you all about it, but I keep getting tied up with other things. This scorching Sunday afternoon seems like the time to do it. It is 96 degrees in my room at the moment, but the humidity is down to 20%, so that helps a good deal. Not sure I remember the humidity being this low here before, but then I haven't always had a gauge.
This morning I went to church in Santa Cruz. There is a fair going on at one of the local high schools, and bus loads of people were going from every village, so the attendance at church was low. In fact, besides the pastor and my neighbor/friend who came with me along with his wife and children, there were no other men present. However, there were four or five women, plus a couple of young ladies, and some children. We had a good service in spite of our small numbers, and I think they were encouraged by my coming, since I don't get there real often. I ended up taking the pastor and his motorcycle back with me, as the bike was not running.
But back to Bible study lesson 8...
The first seven lessons of our Bible study series deal with the topic of "Who is God." We explore various names and attributes of God before moving on to lesson eight, entitled "Who is Satan." Lesson eight explores the fall of Lucifer, the current state of the enemy, as well as his prophesied future. After lesson eight we move on to the creation of man, God's purpose for man, and then on through main highlights of the Old Testament.
In each of the three places where we have progressed through to lesson eight, it invariably has the same effect. In this culture, we struggle to get discussions going in the Bible studies. People are geared to sit and be "lectured" in the Bible, rather than discussing the truths for themselves. And so... during the first seven lessons, we work hard to try to get involvement, but it usually doesn't progress too well, until... we get to lesson eight.
Lesson eight comes along, and every one starts talking, discussing the scriptures, exclaiming over the truths. It is a remarkable thing. And yet, really it isn't. Not if you understand the background of the culture here. It is a background steeped with darkness and evil. A background where people live in fear of 'obeah' - a curse inflicted by a bush doctor. Some people hire bush doctors to obeah their enemies. Difficult sicknesses are usually blamed on obeah. In fact, a long time member of one of our churches refused to let me take his wife to the doctor because his bush doctor told him that another bush doctor had obeahed the lady and it was too strong to be broken. Going to the doctor would be a waste of time. The lady died. From complications of a miscarriage.
Darkness. Fear. It is here. Even among church-goers there is talk of it. Sick people are told, "maybe someone has obeahed you." I have been told that.
And so... a lesson showing the limited power of the enemy. A lesson declaring the truth speaks volumes. Even though we don't go into great detail of Christ's power over the enemy (that comes in a later lesson), the verses we do share promote discussion, give hope. Maybe, just maybe there is freedom from this fear.
Please pray that God's word will continue to go forth, shine its light, and bring hope to a needy people.
We saw this fellow on the road to Poite Friday evening... the week before we saw 9 Toucans!!!