We had crammed all our equipment into the taxi,
and our huge movie screen still stuck out in the back. I crawled
into the passenger seat from the driver's side, since the screen
blocked the door. Simeon was sick, so my (as yet unsaved) guard
Seybou squeezed into the back to come with me. Emmanuel would meet
us there – on campus. It was his vision to
show THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST at his university which is located
on a hill overlooking Bamako. I looked at my watch – we were
somewhat late, because of our literacy course that had only just
The taxi driver took off. We had negotiated a price that was twice
what you usually pay – just because of the equipment. We had
reached the paved road and to my surprise he left it again after
a few meters – What are you doing? – Avoiding traffic.
So instead of quickly driving along the paved road, we were totally
shaken up on the bumpy small roads you have to go really slowly
on. I looked at my watch again – Please get back onto
the paved road. As we were approaching the campus it became
clear that neither did the taxi driver know the faculty where we
had to go (I had been there once during the day – now it was
night), nor did he know the back road that would take us right there.
As were doing the big circle to arrive our destination, I called
Emmanuel to tell him to come to the gate. As we pulled up, there
was Emmanuel waiting with his little motorbike. He took the lead
and we followed him. His lights are STILL not repaired! For
weeks now he's been driving around without light – extremely
dangerous in this city! We pulled up to the amphitheater.
unloaded the taxi, paid the driver, and carried all the equipment
piece by piece down into the amphitheater, to the stage. It was
nearly 8 o'clock and the movie was to start at 8:30. We had put
up posters around campus; Emmanuel had told how eager the students
are to see this movie because of what they've heard about it. As
we reached the stage, there was a Karate-class being taught on stage.
So much for coming early to set everything up! We were told they'd
quit at 8. I asked Emmanuel why they didn't turn on the lights –
only two light bulbs, one on either side of the stage, were lit.
He told me that they didn't work. We'd have to do with the two bulbs
that barely gave light. The Karate-class finished, and we were looking
on as one guy climbed up the wall and removed one light bulb. Then
he climbed up the other wall and removed that light bulb. Now were
in the dark – complete darkness. How are we gonna set
everything up? Emma said he'd go buy two light bulbs. In the
meantime I got up my little key-chain light bulb and started setting
up the equipment and connecting cables. Emmanuel came back with
the bulbs. Seybou climbed up one wall, and put one in – no
light. He put the other one in, and it worked. Emma had bought a
broken light bulb – wouldn't be the first time you buy something
that doesn't work (and I've bought more expensive stuff that was
already broken – there is no customer service and you just
have to pay again for another one, if you don't check it right there).
So, we had light from one light bulb in the big amphitheater. We
wouldn't see the people, and they wouldn't see us. Oh well. At least
the projector gave light. The equipment was set up, so was the screen.
Then Emma told me that the plugs on the stage don't work. We'd have
to connect everything in the very back of the amphitheater. Do
you have an extension cord? – Why would I! I
thought we could connect everything right there! Emma left to look
for a cord. Would we still show the movie? By now it was 20:30.
Would the plug in the back work? Emma returned. We stretched everything
as much as possible and were able to connect – but no electricity.
So Emma left again. When he returned, the electricity came on. Good!
The equipment was working!
A few students were already waiting for the movie. We put on some
Christian pantomime to start attracting the students before the
start of the movie. Emma and I, we went to the side to pray. What
a miracle it had worked out! The students enjoyed the pantomime.
Finally I handed the mic to Emma who introduced himself and then
me. I gave them some information about the movie – it was
a weird feeling to stand in the dark, not seeing anyone but silhouettes.
The movie started and with relief I sat down. More and more students
started coming, filling the theater. There were moments a gasp was
heard all over, at other times a chuckle. We got to the place where
Jesus is being scourged when the movie suddenly paused, then resumed,
then paused again, and resumed. When it paused again, it did not
resume. WHAT was going on? I took my flashlight and walked to the
DVD-player – no response. I turned it off and on and it didn't
even recognize the DVD! Finally it was able to read it again. I
fast-forwarded to where we had stopped and the movie continued.
Little time later the same thing happened again. Not again!
Again, it wouldn't recognize the DVD and nothing I did
made a difference. I started praying in tongues. We show movies
EVERY Friday, and NEVER had I seen that behavior. It was simply
an attack of the enemy. Suddenly it was able to read the DVD again,
I forwarded to where we had stopped, and the movie resumed. I kept
praying for the rest of the movie, and there was not another incidence!
When the credits started rolling, I took the mic again and gave
a short explanation of the gospel, why Jesus had gone to the cross,
the life He was offering to them, inviting them to live with Him.
I told them I was available to talk to them and that we had some
tracts for them in the front if they were interested. We had tried
to purchase gospel booklets, but were not able to find any in town.
So we only had a few tracts to give them. Within a minute they were
all gone. A few people came to talk to me, then we started packing
up. Unfortunately Emma is unable to start a Bible study at campus
at this time, so we referred them to other Christian groups on campus.
We packed up everything, removed our one working light bulb, and
waited for Emma to come back with a taxi. After cramming everything
into it, we made our way back home. I asked Seybou how he had liked
it. Seybou is really different from the others – he just keeps
being indifferent to the gospel, while at the same time starting
to understand well what it's like being a Christian. By midnight
we were back home.
Elisabeth (Albino), Aramata and Hawa
Elisabeth, Aramata and Hawa (widow) with their rice
Elisabeth and Aramata
Elisabeth with husband Michel
This past Sunday we had our fourteenth service. Our faithful group
is small, but we often have new people visiting. Towards the end
of my sermon – I'm always amazed how Holy Spirit answers my
prayer to speak through me because I'm so unable – He had
me tell them clearly that they cannot serve two masters at the same
time, the same way you cannot be in two countries (kingdoms) at
the same time. I challenged them to make a clear cut, to follow
Jesus wholeheartedly. At the time I didn't even realize that the
Lord was inspiring me to drive home that point. They came forward
one after the other for prayer, and we prayed for them like we do
every week. Simeon joined me, while Sekou kept interpreting. As
we were praying, Simeon had a word of knowledge/prophetic word for
every one of them. And to my amazement, they ALL had to do with
getting rid of their fetishes, their magic objects, and stopping
to do blood sacrifices. Elisabeth's husband had come for the first
time (see picture), and Simeon had very accurate words of knowledge
for him, describing exactly what those magic objects look like,
and what sacrifice they had recently done. The Lord also told him
that he needed to get rid of it all and stop the sacrifices if he
wanted to see his life changed. We told him to pray and read the
Word every day. He said he didn't have a Bible, so we gave him one.
Sometimes I hesitate giving away Bibles because I know that many
people use them as "magic objects" that bring luck, and
make fetishes out of their pages and the like.
This was not the first time the Lord spoke to them clearly, but
people are so attached to their traditions, to their magic, that
they need a power encounter with the living God to truly take that
step. Most of them are not ready to live wholeheartedly for the
After the service, we gave our three ladies their rice –
Hawa (non-Christian) has just lost her husband, while Arimata and
Elisabeth are too poor to buy food. I love those ladies dearly!
The latter two are also in our literacy class. We now have 12 people
who are learning to read and write in Bambara. None of them speaks
a word of French, so it also gives me an opportunity to improve
my Bambara. They are all people from the neighborhood, men and women,
and some of them have never even held a pencil in their hand. For
them, it's very hard to even draw a line, but they are all very
motivated and LOVE the class. They now know the letters m, s, i,
b and a – letters you can already form a lot of words with
in Bambara. My guard Seybou (who watches the house at night) is
also in the class, and often people come over at night, sitting
in front of my house practicing reading and writing.
All our other activities are going well too – the English
class, Bible school and movie nights. The other day I spoke with
a distinguished neighbor I hadn't seen in a while, and she told
me what a difference we're making. She said that on Friday nights
all their servants come to our movie, and on Wednesday to our literacy
class, and they are so happy, as are the ladies who receive the
HIM membership - I'm happy to tell you that I
and CAM are now a part of HIM (Harvest International Ministries),
based out of Pasadena, CA, with Che Ahn as its head. It is a joy
being a part of a network of like-minded to people, and I'm hoping
to form relationships with others so we are all built up and strengthened
in our tasks in the kingdom. If everything works out, I will go
to Pasadena in August.
Government recognition - We've now gone to the
Ministry twice to figure out how to register as a church, which
will give us more rights and freedoms (e.g. putting up a sign, my
visa). We need to put together all kind of papers (I need help with),
and then all we can do is pray. In this country, you never know….
Please pray that God will help us and that we get the recognition
before the summer break.
Car - We're still doing everything in our might
to go forward with purchasing a car. It now seems the best thing
would be to buy it in Europe/the US and have it shipped here. But
it will cost a lot more than expected – something like 30,000$
(isn't it amazing that that is the amount somebody wanted to give
to me last year for the car?). We will have to have that car by
the time I come back from the summer break (see Cliff's visit).
Cliff Pash in Mali - Cliff is coming to Mali in
November to do a crusade and conferences in Bamako, Koutiala and
Timbuktu. We're very excited about that and have started making
preparations. Please pray for all that has to be done, and for favor
with other pastors and churches.
Easter Party for Street Kids - This Saturday we're
having about 80 street kids over to celebrate Easter with them –
a meal, clothes, animated video showing Jesus' death, song, gospel
presentation and individual prayer.
THE PASSION - we're advertising this week's film
on Friday night more, and some who don't usually come have already
announced their coming.
April 4-8 – I'm attending a seminar on how
to organize humanitarian projects. It is still an important part
of my vision to go to the starving and the sick, not only with the
gospel and spiritual food and healing, but physical food and medical
Summer - While Simeon is leaving to be with Heidi
Baker in Mozambique (see separate email), I'm going to Kansas City
end of May, and we're both returning end of August, ready to plunge
into the preparations for the crusade. Part of my time I will probably
be traveling with Peter Loth in Germany and Austria, as his interpreter.
May the King of kings and Lord of lords be with you always, more
and more intimately, for His glory and honor, and for the salvation
of ALL nations through His people!