Catching a Big Fish, Part I
We were returning home from one of our many trips to Conakry. After driving for two hours in heavy traffic and stopping at many police checkpoints, we reached Tanènè, the town where we turn from the main highway onto a secondary road that leads to Fria. Here everyone breathes a sigh of relief. From this point on, the road is smoother, the traffic is lighter, and there are no more police checkpoints.
As we turned onto the road to Fria, Joshua spotted a man standing by the road, apparently waiting for a ride. “Uncle Fred!” he said excitedly. “Is that Pastor Oumar?”
“Yup, that is he,” I replied as we drove closer. I was surprised to see this Pentecostal pastor here. When he had a church in Fria, he had worked hard to prevent people from coming to our church, accusing us of occult activity. But a few years ago, I had heard that he had moved to Ivory Coast. “Let’s give him a ride,” I said.
Joshua pulled the car to a stop. “Pastor Omar, where are you going? Would you like a ride?” he asked.
“I am going to Fria,” said Pastor Oumar. “Praise God! I have been waiting for a car to take me to Fria for more than two hours now.” We greeted each other, said a prayer of thanksgiving and asked God to take us safely to Fria.
“I thought you were in Ivory Coast,” I said to Pastor Oumar as we drove.
He was silent for a moment. Then he said, “Yes, my brother, I was in Ivory Coast. It is a very long story. I will tell you soon. I am coming to Fria to see if I can find a house to rent.”
“You are moving back to Fria?”
My heart skipped a beat as concern crept into my mind. Would he work against us again? “Why Fria?” I asked.
“That is a question I keep asking myself, but I do not have any answer yet. I am no longer with the Redeemed Church. As a matter of fact, I am no longer with any denomination.”
“What are you then?” I asked.
“I am a Christian.”
I felt my anxiety melting away. The phrase Be still and know that I am God flashed through my mind and I found myself mumbling it under my breath.
Pastor Oumar seemed very tired, and he soon fell asleep. We were quiet for the rest of the drive to Fria. As we dropped Pastor Oumar off, we exchanged phone numbers.
Two months later, Pastor Oumar made a surprise visit to our home. As I greeted him, the Holy Spirit again flashed the message of peace into my mind: Be still and know that I am God.
“Pastor Fred, I came to let you know that I am now in Fria and I am your new neighbor. My house is not far from yours.” We had a nice talk. Afterwards as I walked him out to our gate, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the promise yet again: Be still and know that I am God.
Wondering about this strange repeated prompting, I went back to my room and looked up the verse on my Bible app. It was Psalm 46:10. Very curious, I read the entire chapter three times. Then I knelt beside my bed. “Lord,” I prayed, “let me know what You want me to do, and make me ready to do it at any time, even when I may not like what You want me to do.”
Two days after this prayer, I met Pastor Oumar on the street, and he told me that his wife had delivered a baby girl the previous day.
Three weeks later, we again saw each other in town, and he asked for few minutes of my time. “Fred,” he said, “I have a problem and need help. My wife is sick, and I want to take her to Conakry.” I told him that my vehicle was in the garage for service at the time, but the mechanics had told me it would be done in two days, and I could make the run to Conakry then.
Unfortunately, the mechanics did not finish their work on the vehicle in two days as promised, so I went to visit Pastor Oumar and let him know. I met him on the road before reaching his house. By the look in his eyes, I could see that he was desperate. As I gave him the bad news about the vehicle, tears came to his eyes. I told him not to worry and that I would help him pay for his wife’s transportation to Conakry.
“Fred,” he said, “my wife is too sick to use public transportation.”
“What is her sickness?” I asked, alarmed.
He drew a deep breath. “Let’s go somewhere so I can explain the problem to you. I don’t know why, but I have the strong impression that you can help me.”
I took Pastor Oumar to my office. Before beginning his story, he asked me to pray for our wisdom. We bowed our heads, and I said a short prayer. Then, with tears in his eyes, he began to explain. “I am not sure what is actually happening to my wife. It is like she is possessed or having a mental breakdown. It started in Ivory Coast. At times she will leave the house and wander about for a day or two before recovering and coming back home. She will say things and then not remember saying them. Recently, she climbed the wall and wandered into the bush. My neighbors caught her and brought her home. Then she began to beat our two-week-old daughter, saying the child had a demon. So, you see, I cannot use any public transportation for her. We had to come back to Guinea because I could no longer take care of her in Ivory Coast. The denomination I was working with abandoned me because of my wife’s condition. I am living by God’s grace. At times we go without food for one or two days. In the past three days nobody in our house has had more than two hours of sleep at a time.”
I gave Pastor Oumar some money, and I asked him to give us two weeks to try to help his wife before he took her to Conakry. Then I went to pastor Niouma and explained the problem. I asked him to call our prayer band together so we could take on this spiritual battle. I believed God was going to do something wonderful for Pastor Oumar and his wife.
We called the evangelist from Tanènè and had an all-night prayer service at Pastor Oumar’s house. It was both a physical and a spiritual battle as the demons in his wife manifested themselves. We prayed and fought the first night from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. The battle continued for three days.
To be continued.