This is a follow up report from Sean Reece in Africa from earlier in the week.
I write this email with a certain degree of sadness. I was so confident this morning that I would be writing tonight to tell you how our God triumphed mightily over the enemy's resistance. I will still write that email someday, but not today. We have been deeply touched by the outpouring of emails reassuring us of your prayers, and the encouraging news that our needs have been posted on websites, prayer chains, and even daily devotionals. Shannon had a fitting description of the battle this morning: we may be the Marines actually assaulting the beach, but we won't go far without artillery and air support. As we drove to Mwandi this morning, we truly felt that we were not riding into battle alone. Thank you!
I'll get the unpleasant news out of the way. The enemy switched tactics again. No open attacks through our chief or the Kuta; just simple old delay tactics. We must be in Lusaka tomorrow to pick up the Glass brothers from HeartCry. Therefore, we could not come to the Kuta from the bush camp and transport our chief and headman ourselves. We had to come from Livingstone and meet the village leaders in Mwandi. Our dear friend Gavin Johnson offered his vehicle and driver to transport them. However, the driver was confused, missed picking up one of them, and had to backtrack. Thus they were 2 hours late to the Kuta, and arrived at 11 a.m., 1 hour before their 2 hour lunch break.
The next hour was wasted trying to find our missing documents (again), because everyone on the Kuta thought that someone else had them. Our documents were finally located just as the lunch bell sounded. Two hours later, we returned to a very casual session with the Kuta. At last, a messenger was sent into the "royal palace" to see if we could meet the "king" (the final step in approving our land). It was merely a formal gesture. Everyone knows that the "king" doesn't see people in the afternoon - it's too hot and he's too tired (from doing what?). Our 4th trip back in January was slowly replayed - "No, the "king" can't see you. Can you come back tomorrow?" (How many times have we heard that?) "No, we must be in Lusaka tomorrow." "Oh, sorry." We may have another shot on Monday, but if not, the whole process stops until November, after the visit from HeartCry and our trip to South Africa.
I am disappointed, and battle-weary, but at peace. We did see proof today that God is fighting on our behalf, and I feel that the battle has turned. I think that soon you will hear the victory shout in this particular battle. Here are some of the miracles we saw today in answer to your prayers:
1. Transport for our chief and headman. Gavin (and his vehicle) were supposed to be gone. At the last minute his plans changed and he was able to offer his vehicle.
2. Our regional chief was totally different from Friday. He was cheerful, friendly, and helpful. At one point today, he was given the perfect opportunity to criticize us to the Kuta. Instead, he said we were good and honest men.
3. The Kuta was also totally different from last visit. No hostility, only clarifying questions.
4. The cruel judge who sat in the chief judge's seat last visit was not in charge today. Another elderly judge, who treated us favorably back in January, was back in the chief judge's seat.
5. Usually there is a crowd waiting to see the Kuta. No one else was there today. We had the Kuta all to ouselves for the whole day, so at least they couldn't ignore us or rush to push us aside for another case.
6. They actually found our papers this time.
We know that Jesus rules over all earthly and spiritual powers for the good of His church, but He has ordained prayer as the channel for His power. Please do not grow weary in praying.
With heartfelt thanks,