Thursday, May 28, 2015

Four Months

Fourth Months from when the police, missionaries, and government officials went into our neighboring village of Fiyawena to warn the people that witch killing was illegal and would carry severe consequences- four months to the day- a woman named Mifila was brutally murdered. 

I'm going to be honest I knew that the warning from the police would only buy these women time. That these people fear the spirits who live above, below, and right beside them, spirits that breathe down their necks, more than the police who are far away…who they can hear coming in the roar of the engine of the airplanes above them. But I really thought it would buy them more than four months. At least a year, I thought. I was wrong. Literally, dead wrong. 

Apparently, there are articles going all over the world about this with Mifila's picture attached and an outcry for justice (we even made the Dredge Report). But we're out here in the middle of the jungle with just our short-wave radio and email that works only half the time. So the only reports that we are reading our coming from the village itself. From the eye-witnesses. From her family. From the ones who are demanding payment because her contaminated blood flowed down into their gardens, splattered on their houses and ruined all their possessions. 

Those are the reports we are hearing. We are also hearing that the government is angry and preparing to come in and do exactly what they said they would do just four short months ago, and we are thrilled to know their plans. We are praying that with actual consequences this will be what finally sets these women free from this horrible label of oppression and brutalization. 

Knowing that the articles are being shared helps. Knowing that there are people who care and are outraged for these innocent women and children makes us feel less alone in this. So, I am asking now that  all of you who read this blog will share these articles (I imagine you can google "Hewa witch killing" to find them) as much as possible to continue to raise awareness about this tragedy. I also ask that if you bought an "I love Witches" shirt from us that you post of picture of yourself in your shirt with the articles. 


Please do this in memory of Mifila and all the other women and children who have been murdered as witches and in honor of those who are marked and are still in danger. 


It's not a bucket of ice water, but it's something. 


"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4 


"Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" Isaiah 58: 6

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


The day before we arrived in Hewa a large family was evacuated to another village because two women and all the children were accused of being witches. One of the children was a five-year old nephew of the husband and father, though, and not the child of the accused mother. When I arrived in our village the next day, I was introduced to his actual mother. She is an older widowed lady and he was her last born child. She put him on a plane knowing she would never see her baby again. Naturally, I was really sad to hear this story, but the more time I spent with this sweet and very funny lady the angrier I got. Why? Why did she have to send her tiny child away? Because some dying person said his name (or at least something that sounded like his name)? Because some evil and violent people won't care that he is just a little boy, but will murder him out of their own fears and delusions? It is just so wrong. And I was just so angry.


A woman was killed a couple of days ago in a nearby village. She was one of the many marked as a witch in Hewa. We are shocked and devastated as it happened so fast and without warning for us to do anything to help her. Our co-workers tried earlier to convince her family to allow her to be evacuated to another village to protect her, but they refused. Her brother claimed that he could and would protect her if anyone tried to kill her.

But when a large group of armed men come in with guns and pretty much hold everyone up at gunpoint so they can chop your sister to pieces with axes and machetes there really is nothing you or anybody else can do about it.

These violent actions came from another village- another language group even- they are not Hewan. From what we understand, the Hewans who were visited and warned by the police about witch killings earlier in the year have held strongly to their commitments not to accuse or kill anyone as a witch, but the outside villages are another story. The police have already been contacted and are preparing to go in and see what they can do. Please pray for them. They have a very difficult task as their village is very remote and hard to get to and even when they get there the murderers can flee to the jungle and escape.

But now, I am no longer angry for my little widowed friend whose son was sent away. I am relieved for her. Because he is safe. She may not ever see or speak to him again, but she will hear of how his is growing up, going to school, learning to catch fish, and just simply living. Continuing to exist. She may live in grief, but she won't live in fear for his life. She may be lonely for him, but she won't ever know the horror of watching him be brutally murdered in front of her eyes.

So, I am no longer angry, but I am very VERY weary. We try so hard. We learn every name of every person accused. We prepare anytime there is sickness or death anywhere in Hewa territory. We evacuate, we call in the police, we raise awareness, we sell t-shirtsto raise money, and above all we pray.

And the raiders still come. Convinced. Consumed with this idea that an evil spirit possesses this woman and she has to be killed in order to protect themselves and those around them. Someone gets sick and dies, someone must be blamed. There has to be a reason, there has to be an answer. Because without a reason, without an action, then it will just keep happening. People will just keep dying and eventually their own day will come and it is just really hard for people to face that. So they have to DO something. But they have been blinded to the truth. They are perpetuating the very thing they are trying to stop. Their thinking has been shaped by generations of erroneous but wholeheartedly embraced teaching.

I know that the only real way to stop this horrific practice is through the truth of the Gospel. Through the Holy Spirit changing hearts and minds. But what if they just won't listen? What if their hearts are hard and their ears won't hear? Is it all for nothing? Will there ever be hope in Hewa?

The truth is, no matter how discouraged I get, I don't have to look very far to see that, yes, there his hope in Hewa. I can see Fato, who was once an axe-murderer himself, and is now the most gentle, sweet-spirited man I know. I can see it in Feyo who cries when he speaks of being forced to help kill his own cousin and who swears he will never be part of that evil practice again. I see it in Faimpat who said in his testimony of faith, "we kept killing women, and people just kept dying anyway, so I knew it wasn't the truth." I see it in every face in this village when they are willing to house marked witches to keep them safe before evacuation, and put their own lives in danger knowing that raiders could come at any time.

There is hope in Hewa. This tiny light in this very dark place. This little mustard seed planted under the towering ominous jungle canopy. But I know what God can do with this mustard seed. He can grow it. He may use the soil of trouble and the rain of suffering, but He will grow it.

It reminds me of James chapter one:

"…when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. SO LET IT GROW, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." James 1: 2-4

Grow us all, Lord Jesus. Grow this community of Hewa believers. Grow new Hewa believers. Grow all the missionaries. Grow me, Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Rat Pee Diet

 Yes, we are alive in the tribe. Our email hasn't worked since we got here, so there has been no way for me to blog or write any of you back. We could receive email, and we truly appreciate everyone who has written us to check in, and we have sent multiple responses to all of you telling you how wonderful you are and how much we love you! But…you just haven't received them yet. You may never receive them- who knows. They may have been eaten by the invisible monster that plucks radio waves out of the sky and devours our data for breakfast.


But yesterday our email was fixed!! There was much rejoicing!!

 Anyway, so we made it in just fine. The flight in was good and I was only slightly terrified and not in full-blown panic attack mode, so that was a huge answer to prayer for all who were praying. Thank you!!!

 We came back in to a wonderfully clean house thanks to my coworkers and a lot of broken stuff thanks to the jungle. Our email, our radio, our generator, and then not soon after arrival, our front door knob (we were actually stuck in our house for a while). Also pigs and humans have been using the spring that brings water to our house as a toilet. So life has been interesting to say the least. Actually, it has just been pretty typical tribal life. I am covered in bug bites and have already had one skin infection.  So yeah…right back where we left off. We were definitely annoyed at all this stuff but not surprised. The jungle is just welcoming us back with an embrace in its giant arms that don't know their own strength. It tells us it loves us to death and then proceeds to slowly crush the life out of us. Sometimes I call it Lenny as a term of endearment and sometimes I imagine shooting it in the back of the head.

 But the one good thing that happened with all this negative is that I discovered an amazing new diet. When I was in the U.S. (um that was a month ago, people. ONE MONTH AGO I WAS IN AMERICA) and trying to lose all the weight I gained from large Sonic Dr. Peppers, I saw all kinds of ideas for diets and weight loss. Most were ineffective, but this one works I promise! So feel free to make up your own picture since I can't add one over email and pin it all you like. Are you ready to get skinny?  Ok Here goes:

 You leave your house for a long period of time, and make sure there is a way for rats to get in.

 Next, make sure they have access to your oven. They will live in it for a while like it's Barbie's dream house and pee all over it.

 Finally, move back into your house and every time you cook a delicious and fattening meal for your family you will have stood over that oven for an hour smelling rat pee and lose your appetite. You won't be able to even look at the food you cooked, much less eat it. It works wonders!!! I would add before and after pictures, but once again…I can't do that over email.

 There you go. A fast and easy way to loose weight with no exercise involved! You're welcome!


P.S. Could someone email me to let me know if this actually worked or not?


P.P.S Could someone also post it on my facebook, so that everyone knows we're alive?? Thanks! You guys are the best!!