Nothing like a good healing to begin your Sunday morning…

As we pulled the truck in front of Sylvain’s house to take everyone to church, I heard Sylvain shouting but could not hear the words. The front door was closed (unusual) and I thought perhaps the children had been in trouble and were receiving a scolding.

I started to get out of the truck and Franck said, “No, they are praying. We must wait until they are finished.” Seconds later Dorcas came to the truck and said “You can come in. A boy is sick and they are praying. If you can wait for some time, we will go to church.”

Franck and I followed Dorcas into the house and were ushered into the back room to wait. As I passed through the front room, I glanced to my left and saw the boy’s father sitting in a chair, looking tired and concerned. To my right was the sick boy sitting on the floor and Sylvain crouched in front of him, praying. The four oldest boys stood near Sylvain, alternating between praying and singing.

I sat and listened to the prayers and singing. Although I could not understand most of the words, I recognized all the names of the Lord- Jina ya Jesu, Mungu, Bwana Jesu, and Baba Yetu. As Sylvain prayed, he shouted “Come out! Come out! Come out!” in English. In great understanding beyond their years, the boys would stop praying and begin a chorus appropriate to the tone of the prayer. As I closed my eyes to pray with them, heaven itself was coming near. The chorus, beautiful in 4 part harmony, sounded like angel songs. Sylvain’s voice praying in the background spoke with the authority of Jesus himself. I was humbled to be in this place at this time.

Sylvain spoke the boy’s name and he responded for the first time that morning but could not speak. Several more times Sylvain spoke the boy’s name; he was able to respond! Although not present in the room I could tell that Sylvain had placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders to reassure him that he was going to be OK, and directed him to give all praise to Jesus who had delivered him.

As the prayer was concluding, Dorcas approached Franck and me and explained that the father had come to the house just after 6am, asking whether the boy should be brought to their house. He was convulsing, but had no fever (ruling out malaria). His arms, shoulders and jaw were rigid and he could not speak. There was no remedy, no medicine that could help the boy- only prayer. For nearly 3 hours Sylvain and his sons prayed. At first unresponsive, the boy later vomited and urinated. At one point the boy stood up and seemed to have recovered from the convulsion, but still could not speak. They continued to pray.

Sylvain came from the front room where he was praying, drenched with sweat and hoarse from the battle. He apologized for making us late for church. I smiled and said that no apology was necessary; he was doing the work that God called him to do! My mind jumped to the Scripture where Jesus healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12) and I smiled again.

As we drove to the church, I thought about how exhausted Sylvain must be. But I also knew that when the District Superintendent visits a church in Africa, he is asked to give the message and given the pulpit as a sign of respect. Sylvain’s message was on Romans 10:1-5, specifically the verse where Paul writes “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved.” God had impressed on me all week His desire that all might acknowledge him as Lord. I discovered today that God had also been giving that message to Sylvain and his wife, Dorcas. Today God began with the boy.

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