By His Wounds Intensive Healing Conference, 2019
Fort Portal, Uganda—at the base of the “Mountains of the Moon,” the Rwenzori Mountains

Day 4—The Power of the Cross

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?
Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Ps 27:1, 14

Today was an incredibly full, beautiful, and challenging day. We began with teaching on the value and dignity of women. Women in Congo and Burundi (where the attenders are from) are very oppressed. Abuse against women is widely accepted as appropriate and even biblical. So I spent over an hour surveying Scripture from Genesis to the New Testament epistles on the value and dignity of women. We had a very lively time of Q and A. For instance, many of the attenders stated that they didn’t believe women were made in the image of God. One pastor argued that husbands should beat their wives since in Hebrews 12:6 it says God disciplines his children. Needless to say, I had many opportunities to clarify what Scripture does and does not teach. One of the many things we love about the Africans we get to serve is their love of Scripture. They were very hungry to hear what God says about women. Many of them were amazed at what they heard today and most had never been given a biblical theology of women.

The attenders are doing many individual exercises to apply and personalize the principles they are learning. One of these today was to write their own lament, patterned after the painfully honest laments in Scripture (Lamentations, etc.). I wish you could have heard what they wrote. The laments were breathtakingly painful, asking God why he allowed their family members to be killed in front of them, why he allowed their houses to be burned to the ground even though they were seeking to live for Christ, why he allowed evil people to pillage and become rich while they didn’t have enough to eat, etc. But after voicing their laments, they courageously declared that they would trust God and serve him to the end. What a joy to serve these dear leaders. This afternoon after I taught on the power of the cross they did a couple of other exercises on taking their pain to the cross. They jumped into these with great eagerness.

We can certainly feel your prayers. These conferences are incredibly painful. The stories are gruesome. Many attenders carry disfiguring scars on their bodies from torture and rebel assaults. Several of the attenders were very ill this week and due to your generous support we are able to provide medical care to a couple dozen sick leaders. Several of the women today wept so hard that their clothes were literally soaked with their tears. And several of these same women told us today that God is healing them this week and their trauma is “going down.” Such intense pain leads to incredible passion for Christ. It is quite humbling and challenging to witness such strong faith in the midst of overwhelming circumstances.

And now for a big additional prayer request. Our daughter Abby called us mid-day today. Abby lives in Uganda and founded a nonprofit where she and her husband serve street children and very poor rural families. She was in Kampala, the capital city, taking several children for medical treatment. She also had her own doctor’s appointment and minor surgical procedure. The upshot of that visit is that the doctor is sure she has a substantial and deeply rooted skin cancer and will need surgery and additional treatment. The initial data we have suggests this could be a rather serious condition. It is quite rare for someone in their early 30s to have a cancer like this and it raises a host of questions and concerns.

Celestia shared about Abby’s call with the refugees this afternoon and asked for their prayers. They immediately in unison begin to sing a chorus in Swahili “anaweza, Bwana Jesu anaweza—“He is able, the Lord Jesus is able.” And then everyone began to pray out loud. They shouted and pled with God to heal Abby, to give grace and peace, to shame and defeat Satan, etc. We have never heard such bold passionate prayer. People who have repeatedly walked in the valley of the shadow of death don’t pray timidly. Their faith and love bolsters us. I’ve attached a video of a bit of their singing and prayer. It captures well this beautiful expression of faith and love.

Tomorrow is the final day of our conference. We are trusting God to continue to mend broken hearts. He is clearly and powerfully working. Please continue to pray for our ministry here. Pray that God will guide these refugee leaders as they soon go back home and take what they’ve learned back to their home congregations. And, please pray for Abby, that God will give wisdom regarding the best course of treatment, will heal Abby, will give his peace, and that Abby, David and the rest of our family will honor Christ in this unexpected trial. We want to do exactly what we’ve been telling the refugees to do this week—trust Christ in the midst of painful and uncertain circumstances because he is trustworthy.

Thanks so much for your prayers.

Steve and Celestia for our team

Posted: May 4, 2019