With a flash of blood Jackson dropped the axel grinder, he feared the worst and daren’t look down. He rushed to the hospital where he feared the surgeons would tell him he had lost his fingers.
The grinding disk had snapped, easily cutting through Jacksons' fingers. He was going to be ok but it was a close call and could have been much worse. As a team, we began to feel a spiritual storm stirring around the upcoming outreach.
15 years ago GFI had been the first to carry out an open-air outreach in the Islamic town of Moyale and back then they were met by fierce opposition. As Peter preached he watched for stones and danced to avoid them as the crowd threw them. Then on the final day, came the breakthrough the team was praying for. You see the town had not seen real rain for years. So on that final day, Peter prayed God would confirm His word by sending rain. Believe it or not, it rained, and not just a short shower but a torrential downpour that lasted weeks.
Now 15 years later we were going back, we had received reports that that first outreach had born real fruit, many new people had become long-term members of the local church, some once Muslim leaders were now in leadership in the church, the pastors told us that since our meeting, they had felt the freedom to carry out their own outreachs, a freedom they had previously not had !!! Praise the Lord for this wonderful feedback.
However, despite all this, Moyale was still a predominantly Islamic town and needed the Gospel. We were there to partner with the local church, to press forward in trying to reach this place. Moyale was also facing severe drought, there had been no rain in years, and the crops had failed for a 4th-year consecutive year. As we drove dead camels, goats and cows littered the side of the road for mile after mile, the drought was indeed severe.
Well, the trouble didn’t stop with Jackson’s fingers. It took us 5 days to drive to the town of Moyale. The teeth on the poppers shaft snapped, the universal joints overheated, glowing red hot they melted, and the diesel fuel injectors we choking on bad fuel, to name some of the challenges. On one of the days as I was driving behind the truck, I could see sparks dropping on the road off the truck, I sped up to warn the driver and honked my horn.
But I was too late.
I heard a big bang. As I jumped out of the car I found a snapped fuel pipe on the ground, thinking I found the problem I shouted over to Jackson that I had identified the problem….
He responded to say "No, that’s not the problem."
As I walked closer I found the propeller shaft on the ground with a deep mark gouged into the tarmac, the universals glowing red.
I said " Ah, now I see the problem."
"Nope thats not it either" he responded..
I kept walking then under the truck I saw the transfer box, a hefty 200kg box of metal on the road, the huge 1/2” thick brackets that bound it to the car were torn into pieces as if paper.
Wow. Had this fallen an inch or 2 to the left or the right it would have totally flipped the truck and 40ft container it was pulling and we would have a very different story.
It took almost 2 days to carry out a 'bush fix'. We turned on the generator and pulled out the welding kit trying to weld those brackets back together, Peter had to fly out and land in a rough dirt strip bringing us some spare bushes to hold everything in place.
It wasn’t perfect, in fact far from it, we could only drive in low range, increasing the fuel consumption dramatically to 1 l/km, and we were limited to about 30km/h.
But it was enough.
The technical team raced to try and set up the sound and stage in the busy market/bus stand. As they set up it wasn’t long before stones started to fly from the crowd at the team. People tried to stop us, and some scuffles broke out. During one of the scuffles, some young men tried to run off with some of our equipment!
There were many challenges which I may share another time but the whole team were afforded no rest. They even had to forfeit the comforts of the hotel bed and shower to sleep on the stage to keep an eye on everything during the night.
It was a good job they did as well as they were attacked 2 or three times. Again people ran off with equipment and the team had to chase them down on motorbike. Did we get everything back? Who knows. But we had to press on.
The next morning we felt totally wiped, the previous week we had been forced to sleep on the road literally, and then once we arrived we faced the night antics on the stage. I felt we had been dealt all the blows and that the team couldn't take any more when I got a phone call...
I sat there shocked, our guest Gospel artist, the singer we had invited to perform and lead the outreach in the local language had been killed in a car crash on his way to the meeting. Without getting into it too much, this was a massive blow to the whole team. Read the news article here.
Wow, accident or not I could see the devil prowling around like an angry lion. It was too much.
However, contrary to our adversary's plans all of this only added fuel to Peters's preaching. Many came to the lord each day, young men captured by alcohol and drugs lay on their faces in the dirt crying out to Jesus to rescue them.
Many Muslim men and women were weeping, touched by something God must have been doing in their hearts.
The young men who had harassed us by throwing stones, fighting with us and stealing our equipment came before us and repented, they apologised in all sincerity. Many from our team said they have seen many miracles but nothing was quite like seeing such a change in people's hearts.
One team member said they had an angry look in their eyes, they were like dangerous lions, but now they look as soft and gentle as pussy cats, something in their eyes has changed!
Finally on the last day, just as 15 years earlier the team prayed for rain, and you know what? It rained, it poured. It was such a shock I saw it covered on several national news agencies, not only was their rain there was so much rain there were floods, see for your self.
The people of this area did not mistake the timing of the rain with the prayers of the church, they took it as a sign.
As you read this where ever you are, I pray this acts as an encouragement for you, to press forward on the path God has for you. It might not be easy, in fact, it might be incredibly tough. But there is a crown waiting at the end of the tunnel, God will be there to pick you up in his mighty arms in the warmest of embraces to say well done, well done! And the struggle will all have been worth it, and I just know that is what Elias File, the Gospel Artist is hearing from God the Father right now.
God bless you.