I'm sitting here on a queen-size bed in my hotel in Zanzibar. The four-posters surrounding me keep the mosquito net from becoming a spider trap in the middle of the night when I must wake up and rid myself of a portion of the three liters of water I have consumed throughout my day. My teammate sits across from me with the ever handy Strong's Concordance to search for relevant scriptures to describe our day's experience. We discuss how King James (Strong's notes the KJV) would say wilderness or ruins or fragrance. We are engaged in a lively discussion, and then
the lights go out.
We both laugh, because anticipating the nightly event, I have my handy (though ridiculous looking) camping headlight affixed to my forehead.
"What are some verses on darkness" I ask, since all other references have become seemingly irrelevant in the quiet blackness of our room. It is all the same to Him! And as I write 10,000 miles from my homeland it IS actually light there.
Today was our last day of preparation. We assembled gift bags for the Conference attendees, and gathered our subject materials. When we finished we had time to visit a small beach and take a walk. My teammate wanted to inquire about boat rentals and we set off down the shoreline towards the pier.
As we were walking, I noticed a dilapidated stone building and called out for them to wait up. I climbed up the banks and saw a small inconspicuous sign that read "Mtoni Palace Ruins." Intrigued, I asked our driver if he would check out if there was a guide for the location. He returned with the resident archaeologist who proceeded to give us an amazing history lesson and detailed explanation of the locale.
The structure was the first palace built on the island, by an Arab who came from Oman. He called the place in ZANZIBAR (transliterated) Arabic meaning "The Desert Place," because there was not one tree on the island. The Sultan brought plants from India and other exotic lands and created a nation known for its "spice." It wasn't long before he expanded his exports to include the trafficking of human slaves. Ghana, West Africa was the export capital of slavery to Europe and the Americas but for India, China, Russia and nations East the place to purchase people was Zanzibar.
We walked through the ruins, heard the history and I thought of the legendary pain and suffering this Arab man and his descendants brought to this land. After the coming of Livingstone and the exposure of the cruel inhumanity, the practice stopped but the religion of the Arabs remained. The Sultan turned a desert nation into a visible garden of Edenic spice but left it a spiritual desert
Tomorrow we begin the conference to nurture and nourish the believers here. We are putting hoes of hope, rakes of restoration, and wheel barrows of the Word into the hands and hearts of the laborers here. Pray for the fallow ground!
"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom." Isaiah 35:1
We are equipping the saints, making disciples of all nations and building up the ruins of souls decimated by deception.
"Tell fearful souls, "Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He's on His way! He'll save you!" Isaiah 35:4 The Message
Pray for wisdom, discernment and more and more and more and more to be said and shared. Our conference time was increased today an additional two hours. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill the time!
"This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. " 1 John 1:5
This little light o' mine
I'm gonna let it shine!
In the dark night with His Light