This is an article from the April 1986 issue: What About the Kids?

Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

One of the men here at the Center recently told me he felt sorry for me when it first came. "You didn't have any idea of the significance of the spiritual warfare going on around here," he said. He may have been right! My perspective on the world around me has changed. I'm not quite so "scientific" anymore. I am more willing to look at events in the physical realm as being the result of spiritual conflict in the heavenlies. Perhaps there is something more than mere coincidence or simple providence (with no reference to Satanic influence) in the fact that in the last three months here at the Center three babies have been lost due to miscarriage; three babies were born, all by C-section, all after exceptionally difficult pregnancies and/or labors; two men who have been banding cancer on and off for five years or more have both entered ethical periods in which doctors hold out little hope for long term survival; a boy of 10 was killed when he fell from the rafters in our auditorium.

When Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the Ammean army in 2 Kings 6. The servant said, "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" And Elisha said, "Don't be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them," Elisha prayed to the Lord, and God opened the servant's eyes so that he could see the hills "full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (2 Kg. 6:17).

For Westerners, the physical realm is far too often all we ever see. More likely than not, if we had been standing with Elisha and his servant that day, we would have had a hard time believing the servant's change of heart was due to anything more than some hallucination. We would have looked for a physical, scientifically verifiable explanation for what occurred.

When we hear of tribal peoples or others who are concerned with the spiritual realm, we tend to discount their interpretation of the facts. When they say a man or woman has died because of an attack by an evil spirit, we think to ourselves, "What's the matter with these people? Can't they see? He didn't die of some curse put upon him by a witch doctor! He died of perfectly understandable natural causes. He obviously had parasites."

To Satan, the father of lies, it is of little consequence whether he comes in the guise of human terrorists, microscopic parasites, hurricanes, mud slides, heart attacks, or angelic beings, He doesn't care what he looks like as long as he can accomplish his work of lying, killing and destroying. Whatever toot will work to his advantage, he's wilting to use it.

When there is a war on, we send soldiers out to the battlefields. Though we grieve when they are killed, we expect that some soldiers will die. Some will never return.

Yet when it comes to spiritual soldiers prayer warriors, "senders," foot soldiers, spies, etc.¬many of us are surprised when death comes or sickness strikes.

Greg Livingstone, director of Frontiers, a mission to Muslims, says, "I think it's about time we recognized that missions is a dangerous business. It has to be. We can't go only where we think we will be safe. We have to go where there is danger."

In the March 12, 1986 issue of The Alliance Witness, official magazine of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, an article written by Alice Gibbons, C&MA missionary to Irian Jaya begins, "Recent events indicate that Satan is waging an alt out attack against the Church of Jesus Christ in him Jaya.

Our missionary force is being rapidly depleted by serious illness and death."

Among other events, the article describes the death of one missionary wife"apparently from an embolism." Then the author recounts a series of events one night that ended in the death of a watchdog, a stab wound in the stomach of a watchman, stab wounds in the arm and leg of a missionary, and the death of a thief She describes a situation in which a missionary received a gunshot wound in the arm; and the necessity of corrective open heart surgery for the 14 month old daughter of a missionary couple. These events. she said, have all occurred within the last few months.

ln the last three and a half years: a missionary suffered a stroke and heart attack and had to return home; three missionaries were forted to take emergency furloughs one will not be able to return; two families were on furlough and planning to return when the husband in one was discovered to have a brain tumor, the wife in the other was diagnosed as having Hodgkin's disease.Two women presently on the field are weak but still carry on.' wrote Mm Gibbons. "Mrs. Ardyce WorsIey, with back injuries suffered in a plane crash and a recurring parasite infection, and Mrs. Betty Wilson, recovering from a bout of infectious hepatitis."

Is Mrs. Gibbons's interpretation correct? Is Satan "waging an all out attack on the Church of Jesus Christ in Irian Jays"?

Barbara Brown, an Africa Inland Mission (AIM) missionary working with the Institute of Tribal Studies at the U.S. Center for World Mission recently brought to our attention what she also termed "attacks of Satan" upon those who have pioneered work among tjnreached Peoples. She began her story with a prayer sheet sent out by the U.S. Center for World Mission back in 1981.

Prior to the advent of the Global Prayer Digest, the Center sent out weekly "prayer for the Hidden People" sheets. During the week of October 410, 1981. prayer warriors were encouraged to pray for the Degodia Muslims living in Kenya, East Africa, At that time it was reported, "The nearest missionaries are hundreds of miles away, and they are few in number. Tape recorded Christian messages have won believers among the Degodia,

(but) ,.,a missionary reports, ,,There are no workers to work with those who have said openly, "We wish to become Christians."' An even greater tragedy is that this potential harvest has been known to the Christian community for at lug two years, and still no worker is ministering there."

Things turned around. Earl and Esther Anderson. semi retired AIM missionaries, opened work among the Degodia and three other Somali Muslim groups in Northern Kenya. They were beginning to see significant fruit from their labors, when, on September 30 last year, their car was hit by a truck Mrs. Anderson was killed instantly. On October 27th, Mr. Anderson died from complications associated with his injuries.

Mrs. Brown described the experiences of Frank and Karen Low, New Tribes Mission O{TM) missionaries in Papua New Guinea.

NTM has been pursuing a "new" chronological approach to the preaching of the Gospel. Instead of beginning with the story of Christ, they begin at creation and work through the Old Testament. By the time Jesus appears in the narrative, the people are waiting with bated breath; they can hardly wait for the climax they bow is coming.

The Lows wrote in February that, despite the fact they are still in the midst of the Old Testament narrative, "the old men have been confessing their sins, and we're seeing a growing conviction in many. Tultul (one of the older tribesmen) was yelling, 'What happens if I die before we get to the end of this teaching?"

While reporting this good news, the Lows pleaded for prayer support. "It will probably be four months before we are ready to present the gospel in this chronological teaching program. Please uphold our family for health and strength.

The Lord has encouraged us greatly by such verses as Psalm 81:10. "I AM the LORD your God, open you mouth wide and I will fill it." Though we are conscious of our inadequacies in language and ability, we needn't hold back in fear. But the battle is still before us.

"In Sasno and... Iteri (neighboring villages) this same chronological program is under way. Just this week, as the hen team was nearing the gospel, there was a catastrophe. A flood crashed through the village, wiping 20 feet off their airstrip, demolishing houses and taking two lives. Huge piles of sand, logs and debris were everywhere. The people fled to the mountains, afraid to sleep in the village. Pleasepray with us,,,. We seeitasa timely attack of the enemy in keeping those people from hearing what Jesus did for them on the cross."

Mrs. Brown wrote the cover letter for the March 1986 issue of the AIM Global Prayer Digest.

In that letter she recounted the story of early AIM missionaries who packed their supplies in coffins when they set out for Africa. They were merely "making prudent preparations" for their time on the field. Pew lived more than two years after they Arrived.

Is the situation different today? asked Mrs. Brown.

"On October 11, 1985, Janis Arensen, Volunteer Service Group in Southern Sudan, was struck by gunfire while traveling through the territory of the unreached Soya people. Banditry is common in the area. While all possible measures were taken, Janis died during the three bow flight to Nairobi.

"Her husband, Lanny, writes, 'At a particularly difficult time in Sudan, several of our group were beginning to complain. "Why do we have to help these people? They never thank us. They only make life more difficult." To this Janis replied, "We are here because Christians have prayed that God would open a way for the gospel to be proclaimed among these people. If the gospel doesn't cost something, it isn't worth much is it?"

"Jan is counted the cost and paid with her life,"

The Arensens were working among the Units tribes of Southern Sudan. Numbering 180,000, the Latuka were first mentioned for prayer in the August 1982 issue of the Doily Prayer Crude.

Bernie May, U.S. director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, wrote an article in In Other Words called "Who'll Replace Tom Reid?" It's a story about a prayer warrior who stood by May for 25 years from the time May graduated from college.

"(Reid) lived in a mobile home in Tucson," wrote May. "Since he was on a fixed income, he had very little money. He sent me $10 once a year if he had it. But his greatest contribution was prayer. Since he suffered from Parkinson's disease, he seldom mow, and I (only saw) him twice in the.,.25 years. But he was one of those who did battle in the heavenlies so I could get my work done with little interference from Satan or his demons,,..

"Tom's gone now. He died at the age of 79. 1 wonder who will replace him."

Tom Reid "did battle in the heavenlies so I could get my work done."

We tend to idolize and feel sorry for the "poor missionaries" who go out from our midst. But do you know how significant your role is?

Are you a prayer warrior" Do you see your strategic role in fulfilling the Great Commission? What would happen if Satan silenced the artillery and air coves your prayers afford the ground troops (the missionaries) for whom you are praying? Do you think Satan is ignorant of your part in the battle?

We are at war, and in war there will be casualties. You may be one of them! Have you counted the cost of your part in the battle?

I'm realizing my need for you prayer cover. In fact, it's so important, I need to provide prayer cover for you,

Brothers and sisters: shall we pray?


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