Yesterday, we found out that one of our parent's has passed away.
Last term, Vincent and Wisdom's father came to visit with us when we asked to speak with him about Vincent's poor attendance at school. When he came, he explained that his wife, Vincent and Wisdom's mother, had become sick and they sent her away. This is a common practice here, so we pressed in, asking where she was sent. He told us that he had sent her to a shrine in Ada (a fishing community near where Abigail and DK came from).
I was so frustrated when I heard this news. There is such a strange mix of traditional religion and Christianity here. If prayer doesn't work, many times families won't even consider a hospital (usually due to lack of funds, even though health insurance here in Ghana is approximately 8 cedis, or $5 a year), they will just take their family member to the nearest shrine. They will pay for chickens or goats to be sacrificed on behalf of their sick family member, pray to idols, perform dark magic, make them drink many different concoctions. Honestly, it is scary.
Dark magic is alive and well in the Western world, but there, it is part of an underground culture. Here, it is out in the open...accepted and oftentimes welcomed or preferred. When I first heard of some of the things that happen in Shrines, it felt so impersonal...dark and scary, but not something I thought I would see much of.
And then John pointed out a hanging chicken in front of a lady's stall where she sells food right down the street from our 7 Continents Tema New Town location. And after that, I saw it everywhere. A shop named "Jesus Redeemer" with the dead chicken hanging from it's rooftop.
And then came our trip to Keta for the woman's conference with Apostle Judy in March. There, fetish priests and priestess' walked around out in the open, the darkness could almost be physically felt.
And now, it has touched one of our own.
I'm not sure what this means for Vincent and for Wisdom. This was their first year in school and they both had made so much progress. I don't know who will care for them now, especially since they were already living in pretty neglected conditions prior to their mother passing away. And the father has a second wife which usually means that if these children are brought into the other family, they will no longer be given the opportunity to attend school, but will be asked to work to help provide for the other children's needs.
City of Refuge has more than just a battle of justice over those who have been trafficked and enslaved on their hands. Here, we have this immense darkness to face. The uneducated to walk alongside. The orphaned to uphold. The single mother's to encourage. And most of all, the light of a Kingdom that exists to bring about all these truths to carry.