Our children had a full week of school, but the public schools have all remained closed. Even the hospital's services have been affected and it is only open for emergency situations. This past week, some of the businesses made the decision to evacuate their ex-pat employees to Australia. But I think the worst of it all is the rumours that continue to fly around which cause greater uncertainty and evoke fear in the hearts of many Papua New Guineans. Such as, the rumours of fights happening in different areas; of counterfeit police officers arresting people and later killing them; of doctors and nurses not properly caring for patients and letting them die if they are from the other tribal group; and of witchcraft and what they call "nature-men" who are gathering their young men together and wielding the powers of darkness against their enemies.
The thing about rumours is that it's often difficult to discern whether they're true or not. In the case of the rumours of black magic, however, it is apparent that there is a very real spiritual battle going on here (Ephesians 6:12). Although PNG is a "Christian nation", there are many who still bend the knee to Satan and take part in traditional ancestor worship. We were not surprised then to have it confirmed that the leader of the large group of rioters who started all of this, was one of these so-called "nature-men". In what became a deadly deception, he believed he was invincible and that his black magic would protect him from the bullets of the police officers. Our neighbour is a member of the police task force and was involved in setting up the barricade to try to keep the large group from coming back into the city two weeks ago and wreaking more havoc. As the leader continued to bring the crowd past the police barricade, it became apparent that they would have to shoot him down if they wanted to get the crowd under control. And that is what they did. It is so sad that he, and so many others, could be so deceived. Still the situation could've been that much worse if the police had not succeeded. Praise and thanks be to God for using them to keep it under control. He most definitely is , our Mighty Fortress, and He will win the battle!
And so we do ask you to keep praying, always being thankful for your faithfulness in prayer...
- for all those who have been and are still being affected by this tribal warfare (those who have lost loved ones and their homes; those still living in fear).
- for those who are being deceived by the father of lies, that the TRUTH of the Gospel may illuminate the darkness in their lives.