This morning as I walked to the school I heard students singing. It wasn't the normal day for their mid-week service, so I was curious as to why they had gathered. As I drew closer, I realized the singing was coming from the teachers' housing block, which I found even more unusual.
When I reached the school office I learned that some of the students were praying and interceding - on behalf of a classmate. A classmate who was suffering from a demonic attack. At different times, amid the singing and praying, I heard her cry out and scream. At one point, several girls held her, bringing her back to the room for further prayer.
It wasn't until I came to Uganda that I saw the spiritual realm in such a visible way. Satan is not shy here. The practice of witchcraft and demonic activity are not uncommon, and the Prince of Darkness does not let former prisoners go easily. Africa was once known as the "Dark Continent" because so little was known about it. But, I also believe it is because Satan has had such a long and strong foothold here.
The young woman under attack this morning had given her life to Christ earlier this year. Since that time, God had put her on my heart for discipleship. When Andy held a discipleship class in March and April and we were discussing those who needed it, I brought her name forward, concerned that this baby Christian receive some instruction and guidance.
Some of the girl students of Lingira Living Hope Secondary School
Even as I returned to the U.S. for my furlough, this young woman remained on my heart, and I planned that when I returned, I would begin meeting with her one-on-one. But with getting back into the swing of things and assuming some extra responsibilities, I have yet to initiate the discipleship. However, this morning's incidents pressed her name and situation deeper upon my heart.
As I talked with the school's Headmaster about this young woman, he spoke of her uncle who had performed some kind of demonic covenant - against her continuing on to higher education. I had never heard of such a thing. But it rang true.
There have been many young women in Uganda who have not been allowed to study - because they were either forced to marry young, or any money available went to the boys' education instead. Culturally, women are seen as "lower" than men, and their main (and sometimes only) function is to take care of the home and raise children. Many young women at our island school seem to suffer from "mysterious" illnesses and other hardships.
A few of the Lingira Living Hope "Princesses"
It is not as common today, but women of the area tribes were not permitted to eat certain foods - chicken, eggs, fish, etc., as these were reserved for the men. Women and children also ate separately from the men. On the islands, where there has not been as much development, nor teaching of Biblical principles, women are still devalued and undervalued, even among church leaders. Pastors have been known to mistreat and abuse their wives and children. Thankfully, some of these practices have and are beginning to change. But in some places, they are still too common.
I am not a feminist, but I do believe God created us - men and women - equally, but gave them differing roles and responsibilities.
Satan's entire aim is to destroy humans - the apex of God's creation. The enemy of mankind does his work by all means possible - bondage, abuse, stealing, killing, lying, destroying, oppression, poverty, and many other "tools." The fact that witchcraft is performed to prevent girls from studying is just another way for Satan to oppress and destroy what God deems so valuable - the young women of this country.
In my conversation with the Headmaster, I mentioned that when girls feel devalued and suffer such attacks, they are more prone to "sell" their bodies in sexual activity. Some are forced by parents and others to do so. Some do it voluntarily as a means to earn a bit of money, or to find "love." Few young women here remain pure until marriage. If they are not valued by others, why should they value themselves?
God's Daughters of the Islands
My heart goes out to these young women. I want them to see themselves as God views them - valuable, chosen, cherished, loved - princesses created for a special purpose. While Satan wants only to destroy them, God their Father wants to redeem, restore and liberate them.
Will you join me in prayer for the girls and women of the islands, of Uganda, and of Africa?
Image Source: Microsoft Office Clipart