Mzungu Memoirs

Spiritual Warfare

When I was originally thinking about this blog, I thought I would write something about our second visit to The Surgery and call it “The Surgery, The Sequel.”  But Robert suggested that our recent trips to The Surgery are part of a bigger picture and are about much more than the experiences themselves.  He maintains that they are part of the spiritual warfare and attacks from Satan the eMi office has been experiencing as a whole lately.

When we signed up to serve with eMi East Africa as Long Term Volunteers, we knew that attacks from Satan were part of the deal.  We had experienced spiritual warfare before, usually as Robert would be preparing for a short term trip.  We didn’t always recognize it until after the fact, but we could usually look back and identify certain events as attacks from Satan.  Some of his attacks seemed to get pretty creative, like when our car was broken into while Robert was at orientation for coming to Uganda and all the illness we were plagued with before we left to come overseas.  But we had always experienced these attacks either personally against Robert, as a couple or, at the very most, as a family.

When we got here to Kampala, Satan of course didn’t give up on his attacks, but we started realizing that it wasn’t just our little family that he was attacking.  We were now part of a larger family, the eMi East Africa family here in Uganda as well as the more extensive eMi family around the world.  And somewhere along the line, eMi must have really pissed off Satan because he seems to be coming after the eMi family here in Uganda with a vengeance.

Satan does seem to like to use illness in his spiritual warfare.  Even before our two recent trips to The Surgery for Robert with malaria and Caleb with a stomach flu, I had had some stomach trouble and flu-like symptoms.  Fortunately, neither was terribly severe and I was over it in about a day.  And there have been others affected by illness in the office as well.  Brice, another Long Term Volunteer who has actually been here less time than we have, has already been through a round of malaria.  Steve, a staffer stationed in Jinja and Brice’s immediate supervisor, has had malaria since we have been here and was just recently bitten by a tick which is causing some problems that the doctors are having difficulty diagnosing.  Stephen, the eMi head of security, has been having stomach issues and trouble with acid reflux.  Janet, the office cook, has been having trouble with pain in her leg.  And Stella, one of our house help ladies, spent some time at the hospital here recently.  There was concern that is might have been an ectopic pregnancy but ultimately it was determined to just be heavy menstrual bleeding.

The office seems to have been affected by more than its fair share of family deaths as well.  Not too long after we arrived in Uganda, our wonderful neighbor and fellow eMier, Grandma Maggie, lost her mother and her sister within a month of each other.  Due to financial reasons, Maggie was not able to return to the States for either funeral.  John, the director of the office here, and his wife, Paula, have both recently lost their fathers.  Fortunately, John was able to return to the States for his father’s funeral, and Paula was able to move the departure date for their furlough up so that she could return earlier to participate in her father’s memorial service that was being postponed until her arrival.  The Ugandan staff has not been free from the wages of death either.  Semei, the office accountant and jack-of-all-trades, has recently lost a sister and niece.  And Stella has lost an uncle and two other clan members, a clan member being part of the Ugandan extended family, a much closer knit unit than the American extended family.

And the very structure of the office has been under attack.  Before we left the States, it was discovered that the process of applying for a work permit had changed.  Once the change was discovered, we began apply for Robert’s permit, and the visas for Caleb and myself that are tied to it.  That was six months ago, and we still don’t have a permit or visas.  We have been able to obtain special passes that allow us to legally live and work in Uganda while the work permit is being processed, but it was an extra $300 for passes for the three of us on top of the $200 that we have already paid for visitor visas to get into the country and for Robert’s reentry from Burundi.  And if the work permit has not been processed by mid-August, we will have to spend an additional $300 for more special passes.  This is all on top of the $550 that we will have to shell out once the work permit and visas are approved.

At least Robert’s work permit is still in the approval process.  The work permit for one of the other eMi staffers, Brittany, the office administrator, has been flat out denied, and she is essentially living here illegally.  The reason for the denial, according to the immigration office, is that “office administrator” is a position that can be filled by a Ugandan.  The thing the immigration office does not understand is that Brittany is here as a volunteer, raising her own support to pay her way, and eMi is not going to hire someone to do the job she does if she isn’t here.  There is also concern that with the current problems with Brittany’s work permit, future work permits for staff, long term volunteers and interns that will be arriving soon will be difficult or obtain to denied as well.  And there is always concern that eMi will be asked to leave Uganda all together.

One thing that I don’t think Satan really understands is that with every attack he throws at us, he forces us to grow closer together as an eMi family.  And he forces us to rely greater on the God that has called us to serve here.  That’s the ironic thing about spiritual warfare.  While Satan is trying to break us, his attacks are really making us stronger.  And really, it is just confirmation that we are right where God wants us to be.  If we weren’t, I don’t think Satan would be all that interested in us.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12

posted by Robert in Uncategorized and have Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Spiritual Warfare”

  1. Peace says:

    I am sorry that you have gone through all this dear good people. God is using you so profoundly, at least I can say so because of your work for Sayuni Education-Uganda. Certainly the enemy can not smile at such great works for God’s kingdom. May the Lord shield you in His love and may you all be comforted in remembering that you are on the winning side of this warfare. He will overcome and triumph over His enemy even on your behalf. We shall keep you in our prayers.

  2. Brian Klauk says:

    Robert and family. We too have been called to a new endeavor here in the States, and we are experiencing spiritual warfare in the extreme. Know that Alecia and I are praying with knowledge (although not exactly the same of course) of your struggles. God is using you and Satan and his minions hate it. Each soul you touch and will be touched as each project is completed will be a lasting memorial of your sacrifice.