They meet in the bush for their own safety. Due to recent threats of anti-Christian Muslims, who are determined to stop this “deception” of Christianity, they gather outside the village in a local machamba (farm). Some who once joined them have ceased attending meetings due to direct threats from Muslim leaders in their village. Uzebio, a Muslim leader called a shehe, came to visit the gathering just to intimidate and warn those in attendance to stop lest they suffer. The threat is real, but more real to these former Muslims is the love they have for Jesus Christ. Their lives have been changed and they cannot deny it. They cannot, and they will not return to Islam. Jesus has healed many of them, and in one testimony the Yao woman pictured below declared: “Now I have peace in my home”.
Traveling by foot over two mountain ridges or from a nearby village, the people gather as the church in a makeshift cover made of logs and tall, dried grass. The ceiling is overlain with dried corn stocks and is too low to stand under comfortably. For this reason Pastor Paul suggested some of them move outside the structure so they could stand. I jokingly suggested that a short woman must have built this structure and we all laughed together. There are no chairs, just logs to sit on or perhaps a burlap sack, but this lack of modern conveniences does not rob the Church of Lago the joy of worship. (click here for video: clp2 ). Their hunger for the Word of God is intense enough for them to sit through two sermons.
And when they pray the cacophony of voices, though relatively small in number, booms across the mountainous valley. When it comes to prayer here in Africa it is very much like how they prayed in the book of Acts, raising their voices in one accord – everyone prays out loud at the same time.
Before we left many received prayer for healing. Nothing dramatic happened that day, but these people know that God saves, heals, and delivers. Some who were once “out of their minds” have been set free by the power of the name of Jesus. As we began saying good bye, they asked if we might come every week, for they want to hear the Words of God. Because of Paul’s commitments to his church in the city he was only able to commit to coming twice per month. Yet, God is raising up this church. One day we will identify the pastor whom God chooses to shepherd them.
As you pray remember your brothers and sisters in Christ in the village of Mazogo, and for Akina, a shehe who has received Christ and is now under much presure from Uzebio and other Muslim leaders in the area. Pray for them to have boldness and that many more of their Muslim friends and family will turn to Christ. Pray for their protection, and if God allows them to suffer for His name’s sake, pray that they endure it with grace and the joy of the Holy Spirit for this great privilege.