Praise the Lord; I made it through the first week of school! I really mean I am giving much glory, honor and praise to the One who answered our prayers and helped the week end much better than it began. At the close of school today I could speak not only more Kiswahili words than I ever imagined, but construct sentences as well.  I continue to be better at writing and reading it than saying it, but my teacher says by the end of next week my confidence level will increase.

All of the faculty and staff here at the school gave us a break the first few days, but now they intentionally approach us, speaking to us in Kiswahili. It is all done to help us and also because they get a great deal of joy in putting us on the spot! The teachers and everyone else here have been trained to give help and encouragement. If you mess up, they encourage you that you will get it right the next time. If you speak correctly they are quick to give you a word of praise.

From a health standpoint, I am doing great. Throughout the week the food has been excellent and all around the campus there are water coolers with purified water within for us to drink. With the exception of the first few night’s adjustments to the time change, I haven’t had any issues. The weather changed a couple of days ago as the rainy season is beginning. Now around 4 in the afternoon the rains begin and it rains just a slow steady rain until bedtime. This has made the sleeping conditions incredible because we sleep with our windows open and the roof is tin.

The only struggle I’ve had other than the first part of the school days is a struggle with spiritual warfare. Many years ago the Lord began to teach me about spiritual warfare, and before I left to come here I can testify that the warfare increased greatly. From what I read from other missionary’s accounts, I was prepared for the warfare to increase when I arrived, yet not at all sure of what to expect.

Night before last was an unusual night. I went to sleep just fine and about 4 in the morning I was awakened. Before I say more, please understand that I am not an expert in spiritual warfare; I can only share the things I have experienced and come to understand. When I woke up there was a presence nearby. I don’t believe it was in my room, I believe it was being held off from coming in, yet somehow I knew it was there and I knew it wasn’t good.

Here where the school is located, it is remote, so at night you cannot hear any human made noises. The only noises are from God’s incredible night creatures outside. As I lay in my bed in the quietness of the dark, I began to pray. I realized I wasn’t sure exactly what to pray, so I began to quietly say Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over and over and in just a bit that presence was gone.

After such an experience going back to sleep was not an option, so I got up and went to my daily bible reading to begin my devotion. This is what I read: Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. Isn’t that something to share! I didn’t have any idea how to fight what was near me other than to say the name of Jesus, yet, this scripture helped me to understand that there must be many times before that hour of my life that evil has come against me and I did not recognize it enough to call out to Jesus, and yet the battle was being fought although I was silent.

When I finished my reading, I began to think about how different it is here. I was thinking about the silence of not only the night here, but also the days and evenings. When I am in my room the only sounds I hear are of nature unless someone walks past. The Lord has always spoke to me through His nature, however, since coming here I am recognizing not only the peace of silence but natures sounds, etc more and more because there are no other noises that I have to filter out.

It made me think about how it is back home. There is really never a time that we have true silence or true darkness. 24 hours a day there is always something making a noise even in the night. The clock is ticking, the heater or air conditioner is running, the ice maker is running and on and on. Here it is just the opposite and the darkness is amazing here. Back home there is always light filtering from some source; clocks, TV, DVD players, street lights and so on. But when darkness comes here, you cannot see anything but the stars in the sky. When there is no moon, you can’t see your hand out in front of you.

I was thinking about the Saints we read of in scripture, as well as our Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers who left us an incredible legacy of closeness to the Lord. I am beginning to imagine that this is somewhat like their lives was as far as sound and darkness. Could it be that the lives we live have become so saturated with noises and light that we never are truly quiet enough or forced into the darkness enough to recognize the voice of the Lord and sense the power of His presence? And, this would also be true for the forces of evil. Are our lives so full of distractions that we don’t hear or sense the enemy approaching? It is really something to think about isn’t it.

Love to all,

Joy Breedlove

Missionary – East Africa