In the picture above chicken feathers are strewn on top of a roof. They were placed there as part of a ritual in which a husband brings his wife meat a few days after giving birth to mark the time she is allowed to start sleeping inside the house again. If the feathers were left on the ground for a dog to eat, the baby would cry at night and not sleep.
Growing up in a modern, enlightened society I learned to look down on silly superstitions like this. I learned empirical values. To a great extent, I learned to dismiss spirituality–to my detriment. Here in Menya, however, where animism (belief in spirits) reigns, I regularly experience events attributed to spiritual/demonic activity. Consider this or this.
Lacking any experience in discerning–or even acknowledging–demonic activity I am ill-equipped to evaluate what I see. But I believe it would be foolish to disregard our enemy. Paul is clear on this subject:
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
1 Corinthians 10:3-4
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Though I do not know whether demons keep babies awake at night or sorcerers have the power to harm their enemies through cursing, I believe that we live in a stronghold of Satan. I know that we are part of a struggle against spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness. But I also know that God provides divine power to destroy strongholds. In this season of resolutions, I implore you to add one. Resolve with us to pray that God would break Satan’s power here. Pray that God would soften the hearts of the Menyan people and prepare them for his gospel. Pray that our team would have the strength and the perseverance to withstand the schemes of the devil.