God Who Redeems the Land
In 2009, very shortly after Activation International Ministries was officially registered as a 501(c)3 organization, the Activation team was in Tanzania as God began teaching us new things.
Living near Arusha at that time, we became aware that a bridge outside the city had an odd and dangerous reputation. On a straight, unobstructed stretch of road lay a paved bridge, spanning a
deep gorge with a trickling river. For quite some time, vehicles traveling that road would suddenly and inexplicably turn sharply and plunge off the side of the bridge, careening to their death in the ravine below. The local district attempted several times to repair wrecked guardrails; however, with these “accidents” occurring, at times, more than once a week, the workmen just couldn’t keep up! They stopped bothering to attempt repairs.
Local villagers circulated stories of the “magini” below (translated meaning: genie spirits in the waters). These villagers knew that these magini frequently called out for blood; shortly thereafter, a vehicle would veer off the bridge again. Surrounding villages were aware of the problem. No one knew what to do about it except to either watch in fear or to attempt to appease the spirits through witchcraft. Yes, the villagers acknowledged it as a spiritual problem, and we agreed! We also knew that a spiritual problem requires a spiritual solution. (Physical solutions are insufficient to remedy spiritual problems.) So, our team began to pray.
God reminded us that He alone has the answers to solving spiritual problems. When we don’t know what to do, we must go to the One who does! For several days we focused our hearts to pray and to listen for God’s solution. We were reminded from Scripture that God often gave unusual direction to His people which, when they obeyed His instructions, produced God-sized results. Thus as we prayed, we willingly set aside our assumptions about how God would work, and we determined that we would do anything He said…even if it seemed foolish.
In prayer and unity, we began to “hear” from Him (in the deep impression of our prayerful hearts) that we needed to go to that bridge, taking certain items with us. One particularly strange item to take was communion elements. Though ignorant of the plan, we prepared our hearts and obediently travelled to the bridge. Together on one side of the bridge, we tried to be inconspicuous as we gathered to pray with our feet on that ground.
When we seemed to agree that God was prompting us to break the bread (symbol of Jesus’ body) onto the ground and to pour the juice (symbol of Jesus’ blood) onto the ground…well, I will be honest--it seemed wrong, disrespectful, as if a desecration of the communion elements! But we could not shake the prompting. We had agreed to do whatever He asked us! We acknowledged that only God knows how this gorge came to be so oppressed, and He is the One Who knows what must be done to remedy its condition. This was not our plan, after all. We had to trust God! Though we had never done anything like this before, and though we had never even heard of something so strange, we committed to being aligned and obedient. So we obeyed God’s promptings that day (communion on the land being one of several instructions He gave, along with specific prayers and declarations of God’s Word), even as local villagers began to gather, wondering what these strange people were doing. Then, having no further promptings, we climbed into the car, satisfied that we had done a deep spiritual work; now the rest was in God’s hands.
Only in the days and weeks following our unusual obedience did God begin to show us hints of the spiritual strategy. Even pagan villagers knew that the magini spirits were calling repeatedly for the shedding of innocent blood on the land. We were reminded of Genesis 4:10-11, in which God spoke of innocent blood on the land and the curses tied to it. Then we began to see the significance of God’s instructions! Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was shed not only to redeem mankind, but also to redeem the land! (Remember, even as Jesus was stretched out on the cross, he wore the cursed crown of thorns, signifying that He was also taking to Himself the curses of the Fall in Genesis 3.) While we usually focus on the people God loves, desiring them to receive the redemption that Jesus bought with His blood, God had instructed us to address the need in the land itself. We obeyed, even in the uncertainty.
Fast forward 1 month – We heard from our pastor friend Peter that there have been no more accidents! Days and nights in Tengeru area have been quiet.
Fast forward 18 months – We returned to the area to witness that the district had made significant repairs to the bridge and had rebuilt strong guardrails! In fact, as we drove over the bridge we noted signs of early rust--testimony that the railings had remained intact long enough without disturbance to show signs of age!
10 years later – The “highway” was expanded by the government, now a massive, strongly-built structure. It is now impossible to even see the gorge or the tiny stream below! The history of the “magini” may fade from the community’s memory, but we must never forget this Stones of Remembrance and God’s desire to redeem the land and its people.
The earth is the Lord’s and God reigns!