Thursday, March 26, 2009

Not Really Welcome

I didn't launch this blog to try to solicit money, support or prayers. I am not trying to get any help from anyone by what I write on this blog. For a couple reasons. One, we don't really have any big financial needs. Two, I want to write for the sake of writing what I really think--not in order to have an effect that somehow benefits myself. Even if I were trying to raise funds or something I would still be honest... but I might choose different things to write about or wonder about the effect of things I said. I want to save myself from that whole conundrum so that I can just write and log some of my thoughts related to missions and things I've learned over the years. I would like to write a book someday and not only does this blog allow me to keep track of my thoughts and experiences, but it also allows me the opportunity to "pre-publish" these ideas, get feedback and critique before ever putting them into a book.

The reason I'm telling you all this right now is because right now would be a good time for me to ask for prayers. I don't want to put that on anyone--I myself don't spend a lot of time praying for anonymous people on the internet. But anyway...

There is a certain sadness... depression... that comes when you live in a situation where you know you are not wanted. This is not a general consensus kind of thing here in The Location. It does not come from all quarters--many are delighted to have me here. Others see me as an opportunity to make money. And then there are some... mostly government people... who view me with suspicion. For what reason? Just because I'm a foreigner to The Location.

There is a certain brainwashing that comes with official training here in The Location. All police go through it. Military, too. Any official that wants to climb the ladder within the government must study in a certain school of thought. And all of these people are trained to be wary of outsiders. They see religion as politics--it is just one way the imperialists use to further their political agenda. And this is taught at all the schools, too. Every single college, even if it is a business or technical college, must teach courses in "politics." And the message is clear--If you love your country then do not work with foreigners; do not join their religion; do not allow yourself to be warped by their thinking.

The funny thing is, though, that this very teaching is their way to warp young people's thinking to parrot their message. They use the word "unity" to silence any opposition. Anyone who would criticize the government is destroying national unity and therefore must not be a patriot.

The Location is a wonderful place and when tourists come to visit they typically are surprised to find it so relaxed and laid-back. And they usually go away with a positive view of the situation here. But it takes time to see the depth of the oppression.

Lately a number of things have been said against me and we have run into some problems on a number of different fronts. Others I know have been kicked out of The Location. It could happen to us, too. A couple years ago a faithful man (national) and co-worker of a friend was detained and disappeared, never to be seen again. Last night I had a dream about being detained by the police and having others with me arrested, too. In real life I was once detained by the police and interrogated for a couple hours. It was pretty intense and stressful. Now I have a family and the thought of something like that happening to me again, or to them, weighs on me. Not heavily... just a constant weight over a long period of time.

Anyway, I know that who I am and what I stand for is not readily welcomed here, and there is an associated stress with that knowledge. I have come to realize this. And with that stress, over time, comes a certain kind of mild depression. I am dealing with all of this right now.

This morning I am thinking about David and what he faced as King of Israel. He had his enemies, yet he praised the Lord. This is what I choose to do, too. God's plan will not be thwarted and I take joy in that.


  1. You (hopefully) have my email address. I know that you don't write this blog as a platform to solicit support, but if there is ever a need that my church, family or I can help you with, I would consider it a great privilege to do so.

    Reading Koffihouse has become an integral part of my devotion time. If anyone reading this is new to this blog, I would strongly encourage you to read all of the posts written here. I appreciate your insight and your integrity. As always, I am praying for you and your family.

  2. Like Katdish, I take praying for others as a great priviledge - that someone is willing to trust a complete stranger to intercede for them. I as well, have my email on my profile and please feel free to email me with any kind of need that you or family has. We are a family in Christ and I feel very strongly that family takes care of family through prayer and intercession.

    I immensely enjoy reading your blog and while I have so many questions and want to know more, more, more, (I'm the inquisitive type), I understand the need for you to post with great caution.

    I will be praying this for you: Romans 8:28,31 - And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose...What then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

  3. Hey buddy,

    2 Corinithians 1 immediately came to mind as I read your post. May the God of all comfort grant you peace, and may you suffer well (no matter what the form of suffering is). You're in my prayers.

  4. Koffijah,
    I think that your thoughts on what you are experiencing are important. As one who has been freed by Christ and living in a place where all are in spiritual captivity, and under an oppressive cloud, your experiences can help others who may be in the same situation or planning to minister in "locations" such as yours. I and my family are praying for you and yours. We pray that God will put a hedge of protection around you, your family, and friends, and that He will lift off of you any spirits of fear, oppression, anxiety, and depression. We pray that He will encourage you, build you up, and guide your steps. We also pray that The Lord will break barriers, remove strongholds, sweep away or reveal traps, and prevent sabotage of your ministry. May you hear clearly from Him and be given greater discernment over people and situations around you. We pray this in Jesus' holy name.
    Stay strong in Christ, brother.

  5. Thank you, all of you, for your kind words and for your prayers. It means a lot to me.