The final week of Harvest School 25 was pretty tough. It was hard to make friends from all around the world and then see people go back home. But I knew I didn’t want to just go back home. In fact, during the Harvest School 25, God worked out a seemingly impossible situation that allowed me to travel to a war-torn country in a Creative Access Nation. As I waived to all of my friends, I got on the plane and said goodbye to Pemba, Mozambique, for a while anyway…
A War-Torn Country
When my team and I landed in the Creative Access Nation, I experienced things that I’d never experienced before. Sure, there was lots of poverty, but it was a different kind of poverty. In Mozambique, poor people sleep in mud huts. But in this place, poor people sleep in concrete huts. My team and I eventually made our way to an apartment where we would be spending the next two weeks.
During the first week I was there, I learned from one of the locals that the place I was visiting is sexist toward women. In fact, men aren’t even allowed to look at women in the streets. As a man, being able to look anywhere I want, I looked at the faces of men and women to see how they interacted in public. I was disgusted.
What I noticed was that whenever a man would look at a woman, the woman would look a different direction almost immediately. I was immersed in a demonic culture to where I could feel the heaviness. But my team and I believed that God was/is bringing change to that region.
Though I felt the oppression of the darkness that was surrounding me, something inside of me felt very much alive. I had a thought like, “This is what I’ve been waiting for my entire life.” I’d never seen oppression to the degree that I was seeing it in the land I was visiting.
Finding Love in a Hopeless Place
To protect the people involved in what I’m about to share, I will make up names for an amazing family I met.
One day, my team and I went to visit a married couple named Vihaan and Ania. They also had an 11-year-old daughter named Farha. The three of them seemed as happy as can be. Their daughter, Farha always had a big beautiful smile, even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying.
Everything seemed peaceful with this family until I heard their story. When the husband, Vihaan, shared his story of how they escaped from a war-torn country, I was devastated.
The words of Vihaan (Paraphrased)
When I was in the war-torn country, my family and I were always afraid that we were going to die. There were bombs exploding almost every day, and I knew I needed to find a way to get my family out of our home country, otherwise, we’d be dead soon.
After some time had passed by, my family and I were almost ready to escape from our home country. But my previous wife at that time, Hana, couldn’t handle the explosions anymore. She was so traumatized by the bombings that she decided to take her own life.
It was extremely hard for my daughter, Farha, to know that her mother killed herself. But, I had to be strong and save what was left of my family. So when my daughter and I were finally able to escape from our country, that’s what we did. Now we live here in safety, but life is not the same.
After living here for a while, I eventually met Ania, I married her, and I work 12 hours a day for us to live in this ghetto. Life is hard, but I’m thankful for people like you who can help us with food and encouragement.
Wake Up Call
I couldn’t look at the smile on little Farha’s face the same way after hearing that story. “How could she still smile and laugh knowing that her mother, Hana, committed suicide to escape the suicide bombings? What does she think of her fathers’ new wife Ania?” I thought.
As chilling and eerie as this story may be, it has an even deeper meaning for me than it would for most people. In 2013, I held a knife to my throat and contemplated suicide. I didn’t have a reason to live anymore. I was depressed. I was completely hopeless. But before I actually cut my throat, I heard God say to me, “Son, if you really want to die, then die for a cause, don’t die for nothing.”
After that, I got a vision of bombs exploding, people committing suicide because they were depressed, and children lying on the ground decapitated. Then I thought, “Those people are dying because of demonic oppression, explosions, etc, and I want to die for what?”
I didn’t have a reason to die anymore after I saw that vision. In fact, in that moment, I knew that I would never try to take my life again. That vision messed me up in such a good way that I can never go back to living a normal life again.
“The cause” from my vision that I’m referring to is advancing the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Never in my entire life have I ever had such a burden to share the Gospel with people. To think that people kill each other in the name of religion? That’s just sick and twisted.
No Time To Waste
Hell and demons are real. After my suicide attempt, I had a strong desire to make sure that people know the love of Jesus before it’s too late. Now I’m not the kinda guy who walks around preaching “Turn or burn.” The Gospel isn’t motivated out of fear, but we share it because we’re motivated by the love of Jesus.
The Gospel can be shared openly in some places, and in other places, it needs to be shared creatively. But the most important thing I think we need to remember is that nobody is alive to be comfortable and live for nothing. We all have a part to play in demonstrating the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
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