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597 People Prayed
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LESSONS FROM AFRICA ABOUT HALLOWEEN

Heavenly Father, give us opportunities this season to engage our culture by modeling our faith in relational, charitable and encouraging ways.

Considering this question reminds me of my African colleagues serving in mission hospitals. These doctors don’t grapple with evil practices once a year. They encounter it every day. Sorcery and witchcraft are rooted in their culture. Traditional African medicine bases itself not on science, but on witchcraft, sorcery and cultural dogma.

Three years ago, I went to a mission hospital in the Saharan Desert to train surgeons. Andrew, a second-year resident, wheeled a 12-year-old girl in for an operation. Three weeks prior, she had suffered an open femur fracture from a motorcycle wreck. The broken bone pierced the skin and required immediate surgical attention. But the family took her to a witch doctor. He performed an incantation, wrapped the girl’s leg with tight dressing, and sent her home.

Now—possibly too late—the girl showed up in our operating room. The tourniquet placed by the witch doctor had cut off the circulation to her leg. Infection had spread through her body causing early organ system failure.

I started unraveling the girl’s dressing. Repulsed by an odor hitting my nostrils harder than a left hook, I retched, stepped aside and let Andrew remove the witch doctor’s tourniquet. Pus oozed around her mummified skin. Beneath the dead skin lay rotten and gangrenous muscles. We had only one option to save the girl’s life. An above-knee amputation.

Andrew performed the surgery while I assisted. Initially, the operation progressed—until the generator shut off. The room went dark. The ventilator, which pushed air into the girl’s lungs, stopped working. Our anesthetist moved air into her lungs by squeezing on a bag of oxygen. With his other hand, he directed the light of his cellphone into the wound. We pushed on in the darkness and finished the surgery.

The girl survived. She stayed three weeks in the hospital, heard the gospel and was healed. Inside and out. When I think about that young girl and the power of evil, I am reminded of the unsurpassable greatness of God’s power. Through the power of Christ, good overcame evil. Someone dared to shine the light in a dark place.

Last year on a return trip, I heard Andrew’s story. After his mother died of AIDS, Andrew’s father abandoned him. His grandmother, a witch in Tanzania, took him in. During his childhood, Andrew watched grandma perform incantations. She wanted Andrew to follow in her footsteps. With tears in his eyes, Andrew recalled Grandma’s hexes, the ones she performed to empower his sorcery and shackle him to a life of witchcraft.

God had a different plan. Disregarding his grandmother’s threats of murder, spells and sorcery, a friend shared Jesus with Andrew. And Andrew became a born-again Christian. He moved away for college, grew in faith and went to medical school. He applied for a position in a PAACS hospital where doctors are trained not only to be surgeons, but followers of Christ. Now, Andrew shares his faith, hones his surgical skills and ministers to Muslims in a country closed to the gospel.

What would Andrew say about our Halloween debate? Although he would not condone participating in evil practices, Andrew would tell us to take advantage of every opportunity to do good. He would remind us to shine the light of Jesus in dark places. Andrew’s life shows the impact someone can make when they take risks and share their faith. Andrew’s life reminds us that we shouldn’t fear Satan, witches, evil practices or Halloween:

God permits evil to show His goodness. He created Lucifer and sustains him until judgement. Martin Luther said it well: “Even the devil is God’s devil.”

Believers have opportunities—to change attitudes and challenge presuppositions about the gospel, the church and Jesus—this Halloween. Like Andrew’s friend who risked having spells cast on him, we have nothing to fear. Satan and his works are defeated. Empowered by the Spirit and enlightened by the Word, we are given the ministry of reconciliation.

We can engage our culture and still live a separated lifestyle. We are called to be separated—not isolated from the world. Let’s model our faith in relational, charitable and encouraging ways. Attend a harvest festival or a trunk-or-treat event sponsored by a church. Hand out gospel literature with your goodies to those who come to your door.

Here’s a great idea: Unmask yourself. Take the first step. Introduce yourself to someone who may be different from you. Start a friendship. Then follow God’s guidance. Who knows? The relationships you form in this collision of cultures may lead someone one step closer to Christ.

These negative perceptions can be dispelled with some intentional witness on Halloween. Skeptics can rub shoulders with the church without ever walking through its doors. They can see how believers live in community and engage the social issues in our society. They can observe the impact of how knowing Christ makes a difference.

Let’s remember Andrew, the authority we’ve received, our calling as ambassadors, the changing culture we live in and the possibilities Halloween presents. The mission is the same here as in Africa. Let’s carry the light.

(Excerpt from Charisma News. Article by Charles Page.)

How will you engage with the lost today? Leave a comment.

597 People Prayed
4924 People have read this article

15 Replies to “LESSONS FROM AFRICA ABOUT HALLOWEEN”

  1. When I read the bottom part of Charles Page’s article, especially from “We have opportunity to change attitudes re: the church, gospel, etc. this Halloween… to the paragraph starting with Unmask yourself,” I couldn’t help think, huh? Are you actually suggesting Believers go along with Halloween in a ‘nice’ way, so we can better reach out to our community, to engage them in conversation about the Lord, and why we don’t ‘actively’ participate in Halloween, just in a more passive, ‘soft’ way. Huh??
    What part of being separated from the world’s lifestyle, particularly when it’s ELEVATING evil & demonic activities, isn’t being understood? I agree with Queensley’s last paragraph. And I don’t think believers have to aggressively ‘carry-on’ against neighbors or stores, etc. for jumping head first into Halloween, but neither do I think we should participate in passing out candy, cuz “the kids look so cute in their costumes”, or ‘safe’ Halloween parties at churches.
    What about having a prayer mtg. that night instead? An arts& crafts, Fall-type festival (no costumes/Halloween junk needed) with games and a potluck dinner might be ok, too. The church has compromised on not clearly lifting its voice for decades, and see where it got us??

  2. It is good to highlight stories like these. However, Africa is not a country. It is a continent with 54 countries not including Western Sahara and Somaliland. A lot of African preachers are all over the globe preaching the Gospel, even here in the USA.

    Here in the USA, Nigerians are the most educated ethnic group per capita and most of us are strong women and men of God who embraced our Christian faith from previous generations and not when we came to the USA.

    Just talking about a whole continent as a country and making the few countries mentioned sound as if they are a state within the country of Africa is stigmatization. There is as much witchcraft in the USA and other developed countries as there is in the continent of Africa. Here, it is “White Art or Magic.” There in Africa, it is “Black Art or Magic.”

    Our children were born and raised here and they are loving and serving The Lord regardless of their professions. I do not want them being stigmatized as descendants of witches and wizards from Africa. None of our children has ever asked a question about halloween, let alone wanted to participate in any of these demonic activities right from childhood and it’s because, to the Glory of God alone, we taught them about such evils in society.

    In conclusion, the Church is as much to blame as the rest of the nation when it comes to the celebration of this demonic event. Why are churches, for all of my life here in the USA having halloween alternative events and still buying halloween candies, wearing halloween costumes and makeup, and carving “halloween angels on pumpkins'” and many such devilish practices? It is compromise and young people are confused.

    May God help us, everyone.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, Queensley Udofia. You’ve taught your children well. Many in the Church seem to be compromising with the demonic influences that seem innocuous at first glance, but when fully investigated, have roots that lead to the same source — Satan. He has not changed his tactics, and those who succumb to his wiles are in for a rude awakening. Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins, clearly warns the five foolish ones who did not take the extra oil for their lamps, “. . . he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you. Therefore, keep Watch!”

    2. Thank you for the very important information and I agree with you 100%. Why should the church be compromising, just so they might win a few people to their church? It’s not about winning a person to attend your church it’s about bringing them to Jesus Christ first and foremost, and Jesus never compromised, no matter what the culture was at that time and neither should we.

  3. Loved the article. Just wish churches would embrace Old Testament teaching of the tabernacle- it’s significance to prayer, protocol, protection, provision. Celebration& meanings of feasts tied into this sugar overload of trunk or treat would at least give connection to biblical principles, not more feeding the flesh do to speak. O well, I sought. Everyone has to do their own at som point. Jesus alone overcomes this “evil” darkness. Learning the ways & customs of Jesus could do nothing but help our wisdom & understanding.

    1. Amen & Amen. Father, help us to glorify You on this day of celebrating evil scary things, witches, ghosts, and other demonic characters. May Thy KINGDOM come may THY WILL be done here in the USA and around the world. Amen.

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