If I were to tell you I'd been pondering Ephesians 6 for the last couple of weeks before leaving South America, and sharing all my deliberations regarding the armour of God with the Yanomami who meet behind the little house on the hill a couple of times a week, you'd probably understand why I returned to Canada in such a Life is War frame of mind! The Yanowamö are no strangers to warfare. But they were puzzled, as they read and reread that passage, as to what the warfare is, in this case, and who is the enemy. A spiritual battle? They know all about flesh and blood enemies. And since everything is always somebody's fault, and retribution must be meted out fairly and squarely, warfare is always a big part of life. But now some of them began to wonder. Is there a spiritual battle going on that had escaped their focus? Were they blaming people for the evil that affects them and not recognizing the real enemy behind the scenes who wants control of their reactions to all of those evils? I was glad to see their interest, because I could see a definite connection between spiritual warfare and their constant plea for more teaching regarding how to walk in obedience to God in spite of the circumstances that beset them.
I think the one who was most impressed with their need to get a good grasp on these concepts was yours truly. So many passages came to mind that I knew would help them on their journey. So many examples that would clarify the issues for them. But my time was up, and I would soon be back in Canada, far from what has become for me the front line of battle. I'd be left with nothing but the memory, flashing like a neon sign, of all that still needs to be done - the systematic teaching, the intentional discipleship, the many Bible lessons still in need of a complete revision.
In that same passage regarding spiritual armour, the subject of prayer came into focus, and we talked once again about how the Apostles prayed for the early churches, with their focus on the spiritual rather than the physical needs. So it was exciting to receive a couple of text messages later on, when I was up on the coast, telling me they were praying for me as I went. One of them, knowing my passion for Colossians 1:9-12, got very specific: "All right, you're soon leaving. Be wise! I will be praying that you will have wisdom, and that you will recognize how Great Spirit is leading you."
His prayer is already being answered. I'm back in Durham, where I have been talking with leadership, getting help in reordering my priorities, and making plans to focus on the revision of the Bible lessons even now, while I'm home. I am overwhelmed by the way everyone is encouraging me to follow my heart and use my time wisely for the benefit of the fledgling Yanowamö church. I'm so thankful to be surrounded by people here who share the same goals. And for you, who have been my faithful cheerleaders all along the way. Keep praying for me like the Yanomami do - that I will be wise, and understand what the will of God is. And that I will stay focused on the revision of Bible lessons, and not get detoured too often by side-trips to Tim Hortons!