I’ve been saving this story for our first blog entry. It is not a Harry Potter tale but a true story of community transformation as told by the entire village of Wosin to Community Based Health Care (CBHC) trainer Matthew Galman in December 2010. Here it is in Matthew’s own words:
About 5-6 hours walk southwest of Tumentonik is a small community called Wosin made up of about 150 people. In the past the people of this community were heavily involved in witchcraft. They used to be known and feared by all surrounding villages. Many powerful sorcerers lived there. If someone from another community wanted to kill a person, they used to go to Wosin to hire sorcerers to kill.
In the middle of the community stood a huge ficus tree, and they called it the “power tree.” It was believed that it was no ordinary tree. It was a tree possessed with all kinds of evil spirits. In and around the tree they used to hide all the human skeletons and other sorcery weapons. Many people were afraid to walk close to that ancestral tree or even come close to this community.
Wosin was cursed. Gardens stopped producing abundantly, their water wells started to dry up, and for the worst part yet all the wild animals disappeared from around their village. They had to walk very long distances in order to hunt for food. The community was doomed. They lived in darkness for many years. There was little food produced in the community. Many men, women and children old and young frequently got sick and died. There were outbreaks of all kinds of communicable diseases in the community month after month and year after year. The gospel of Jesus Christ had not been fully preached or heard in this community for many, many years.
In the year 2006 a young and newly married Pastor Godfred and his wife Rebecca from the neighboring community of Ili felt called to go to Wosin as missionaries. For an entire year they ministered in private and during that time were praying day and night for the community to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord also brought Pastor Leo and wife Lydia from a sister denomination to be partners in ministry. The two families prayerfully served in Wosin in secret for three solid years.
Matthew (black shirt), Rebecca (holding child), Pastor Godfred (white shirt, front)
In the third year Rebecca contracted a strange illness (likely cerebral malaria). Her friends and family carried her to the aidpost six hours away, but they could not help her. She became fearful of death which made the situation even worse. She thought that she was going to die any moment and gave her last testimony to her family members.
That night the two families got together for fervent prayer. Rebecca fell into a deep sleep for three days (likely a coma). In her long sleep she saw that Wosin was beautiful and full of life. During that dream God showed Rebecca what must be done in the community in order to restore it. Also in the dream a Bible verse kept repeating itself, John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Rebecca received a message in the dream that Wosin is to be built upon the truth of God’s word in the Bible. Seven days after recovering from her illness she started to preach the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ openly to the community. While she preached, a great big noise was heard at the central ficus tree area which is right in the middle of the community. Everyone saw a great blue light lighting up in the middle of the tree (likely lightning) and within a few minutes it burned the huge tree to the ground.
Everyone was afraid and ran for their lives. The two pastors gathered everyone together and made an offering of thanksgiving to the Lord. They believed that the stronghold on the community had been broken when the tree was burnt to the ground. The two families continued to preach and witness more and more. They not only preached the word of God, but Pastor Godfred borrowed one of the CBHC books from another pastor who attended a training by Dr. Becky several years previously. He started to teach the community about prevention of illness and whatever he found in the book that was helpful to the community.
Charred remains of the "power tree" held high
As a result of the preaching and teaching, all the people of Wosin came to know and accept the Lord. Gardens started to produce more. Their wells and creeks started to have water in them again. Wild animals started to come back to the community and hunting was easier. Waters started to have fish in them. At one time they got more than 200 fish from a small pool. Peoples’ health was restored. The number of people going to the health clinic was decreased greatly. Their community had been brought from darkness out into the light.
In Rebecca’s dream the Lord showed her that Wosin was like the garden of Eden with a church building right in the center where the ancestral ficus tree used to stand. Now they have a Nazarene church in that location. They are not afraid anymore of what the enemy can do to them. They know that God’s power is far stronger than the enemy’s.
This community volunteered to take the initiative to clean and care for their environment, fenced all domesticated animals, built good clean toilets, protected their water source, made nutrition gardens, and even built a CBHC house. They said that they lived many years in bondage and captivity of the devil, and now they didn’t want to waste time but rise up for the Lord and be restored physically, spiritually, mentally and socially. They said that CBHC training is what they needed to transform their community into a garden of Eden.
Postscript – Matthew returned to Wosin in May and will again in September to help the people there and those from six surrounding communities with further health and development training.