Yesterday, we were invited to the new neighbor's house for a "house warming" party. We knew the situation would be uncomfortable and risky, but the darkness was overwhelming. I couldn't help but to think back to Mrs. Burge telling me bluntly, "You are going to the darkest place on Earth."
As we entered their gate, we saw decorations on the steps to the front door. There were metal flower pots draped in flower leis. There was rice and red powder all around. All this would seem harmless to someone who doesn't understand the culture, but the flower leis, rice, and red powder are all part of worship. The red powder and rice is used to place the red tikka on the forehead. They do this in the process of their worship. The lei is placed around the necks of the older men and they are often worshiped during this.
Before we entered the home, I began smelling... What? A campfire? As we entered the door and looked into the living room area, we noticed there was no furniture in the room, but the room was full. In the center of the room was bricks stacked in a square and they were used to make a fire pit... In the house. Behind the fire pit was a picture frame of one of their gods. This was the focus of their worship... And clearly there was a lot of worship that had taken place before our arrival. Surrounding the picture, fire pit, and filling almost the entire living room were offerings to their god. Rice, fruits, vegetables, the red powder, flowers... Piled high. Incense had been burned and a candle or two still remained lit among the pile of gifts.
The neighbor showed us around his new home, including his new prayer room... A small room dedicated to his pagan worship. There was no doubt these people are fully committed and dedicated to their pagan worship. As we sat at a table for the meal, we carefully avoided anything that may have been part of their offerings. For us, our conscience would have been clear, but for them it would have been a stain on our Christianity. Toward the end, Michaela was about to eat a banana, but I took it from her and set it back on the table. She had no idea about the risks.
As we sat there eating, I noticed none of the food contained meat. It is very likely that they do not eat any meat. I also notice some older men playing a card game. As we observed the game, it seemed to be a rummy type game. Then a young man explained that they were playing for money. Gambling fills this culture. So does alcohol, but thankfully this family didn't seem to be drinkers.
Then the wife began rearranging the chairs. When Jason looked at her inquisitively, she explained that the priest would be coming in a few minutes. We knew it was time for us to exit. We were as polite about the exit as we could be, but even at risk of offense we had to leave. I do not think they were offended.
As we left, my heart was heavy. I felt as if we had just walked through the lions den... Or worse, the demon's lair. We went home. After a few minutes, I went to the piano and began playing. I played loudly. I sang loudLy. I was tired of the glory that our true and living God deserves going to idols and people and Satan. Before I knew it, all five of us were singing to the Lord. Ben even got his guitar and started playing along as we all sang. It was beautiful. It was as if I had been covered with piles of mud and filth, but the more we sang the more the filth was shaken off of us.
Over our fireplace mantle... The fireplace that was originally designed for pagan worship... There is a verse painted. It is the last half of Joshua 24:15. We cannot control others. We can only be light. We can only decide for ourselves who we will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Please keep praying for us, that we would be light in this dark place... They need Christ.