Source: Open Doors, August 3, 2017
Samuel entered the dark hut to see his cousin lying on a mat, drenched in sweat and curled up in excruciating pain. Occasionally Alphonse mustered what little strength was left in his body to lift himself onto one elbow and vomit into a bucket his children had placed next to him.
“You need to take your father to a hospital,” Samuel told Alphonse’s children. “This looks like appendicitis.”
The children refused. They were determined to stick to superstitious medicinal concoctions instead, afraid they might offend the spirits by seeking modern medical care. When there was no improvement a few days later they decided to take Alphonse to the hospital but it was too late. Alphonse died shortly after surgery.
A family member phoned from the hospital to tell Samuel the tragic news and then declared, “It is your fault he has died! You told us to take him to hospital, and that is where he died!”
Samuel knew the community would side with the family of Alphonse so he gathered all his family members and sought refuge at the home of the village head. While Samuel’s family was safe inside those walls, their property was sat unguarded. Alphonse’s children burned it all down.
“I lost everything,” Samuel remembers. “We had a barn full of food, farm produce, farm equipment, and other personal belongings. Everything was lost in the fire. All we had left were the clothes on our bodies. Initially, I filed a lawsuit against them. But then I had second thoughts. I concluded that it was not worth it. Even though I continue to receive threats from them, I have decided to forgive everything. I have forgiven them completely.”
When Open Doors heard about the incident, we visited Samuel and his family to encourage them and pray with them. We also helped them afford a temporary place to stay while they rebuilt their home. The project has since been completed and Samuel’s family have moved into their new home.
“I have hope because I know that nothing is impossible for God. Even if men forsake me, God will never forsake me,” Samuel said. “He will restore me unto his glory.”
» Read full story with prayer points.
» See also a story on the cost of conversion in a West African culture where peace is everything (Pioneers).