This Is What Makes Africa Fun

Today we went downtown to the open air Masai Market. When an American approaches the market, an army of hawkers comes to meet you before you reach the gate. Each one trying to get a rope around you and drag you to their display. I am used to this so I always try to push them away by saying, “We don’t want to be escorted, we want to go our own way! Please let us walk in by ourselves.” Some are gracious enough to leave you alone but others will not take “no” for an answer.

One of the hawkers was especially irritating. His name was Dennis, he was slightly drunk, and for a half hour he hovered over me like a fly around a fish while Valerie was shopping for jewelry. I tried to escape and went to sit down on a nearby wall, but he pursued me asking question after question. I was even more annoyed, but he actually felt like he was getting close to me so he asked me a question. The question was, “Do dreams have meaning?”

“Sometimes they do,” I said, “What was your dream?”

“The other night I dreamed that I was in the pulpit preaching a sermon and this is especially strange because I am an alcoholic and a drug user. My entire family are Christians except for me!”

I told him that perhaps the Lord was calling him to Himself and now might be the time to surrender his life and escape his life of bondage. At that point a powerful sense of God’s direction came over me to share my testimony with Him. I told him of my life as an alcoholic and drug addict, of my time in prison, and of my encounter with the Lord. I shared with him the after-effect of my encounter and of the transformation of my life.

I could see that he was deeply moved and could hardly hold back his tears. We were in a very public place and several other guys were standing real close to overhear our conversation so I simply told him to get alone with God somewhere and make his peace with God.

But that’s not what God had in mind.

The time came for Valerie and me to make our way over to his display to see his wares. When we came there, Valerie took one look at him and, without knowing about my conversation with him, she looked straight at him and told him that it was time for him to get right with God and that God had a call on his life. Dennis’ mother was at the display so Valerie took him over to his mother and strongly pointed out to him that it was Mother’s Day and that his mother has been praying for him all his life. After a few words of exhortation we all knelt together on the tarmac to pray for his deliverance and salvation.

Now, Kenyans are very starved for entertainment, so a large crowd of people gathered around us to “watch the show”. Dennis just dropped to his knees, perspiring profusely, while we took authority over the demonic activity in his life. He then passionately prayed the sinner’s prayer. After that he was too weak to stand, so Valerie said, “Let’s pray for the infilling of the Holy Spirit in his life.” So we asked the Holy Spirit to take control of his life. Amazingly, new strength came into his body and he stood up with a new look in his eye.

But it’s not over yet.

As soon as we were finished, a very angry woman pushed her way through the crowd and grabbed Dennis by the shirt, yelling something in Swahili that we couldn’t understand. Apparently Dennis, earlier in the day, had taken some stuff from her shop without paying for it. The look in her eye was almost demonic. Both Valerie and I went over to see what was going on. When I found that Dennis owed her 1000 schillings ($10), I reached in my pocket and paid Dennis’ debt.

The woman grabbed the money and I took Dennis one way, while Valerie took the woman, whose name was Anna, another way. I explained to Dennis that I had paid his debt as a sign that “Jesus had paid for his sins”, while Valerie powerfully ministered to the woman about the bitterness and anger in her life which was causing arthritis. After about 15 minutes Anna repented and she and Valerie and Dennis’ mother were praying and rejoicing together in the Lord.

Meanwhile, Jose, our friend and driver, was taking questions from the audience about who we were, because the crowd was telling him that they had never seen foreigners doing something like this in their lives. Following the whole event everyone around us wanted prayer for something.

Truly this was very much like a scene from the book of Acts and, for Valerie, it was great fun and the highlight of Mother’s Day.