On Mission With The Myers
Which doctor are you going to? The witch doctor. Which doctor?…The WITCH doctor. Ohhh, the witch doctor. It took me a couple of turns to fully grasp my neighbor (Joyce) was planning on going to the witch doctor and she was requesting $200 from me to assist her. ($200 is 2-3 month’s wages). With a hint ignorance and a side glance steeped in cultural insensitivity, I chuckled as I replied ‘no’. ‘No, you don’t need a witch doctor’. She needed to go to a real doctor; a contemporary, needle-wielding, antibiotic-dispensing doctor and well… be healed. Then she told me her story of an ongoing illness that, for the past three years, has robbed her of energy as pain racks her body. Unable to work consistently for the past three years, she’d been to three doctors who all told her nothing was wrong with her physically, so then, assuming the ailment was spiritual she attended various prophet healing sessions. After the prophets failed to heal her she went to a witch doctor. The witch doctor informed her bugs were eating her bones.
*Let’s pause for a second here…because if you’re a Westerner like me, you hear this diagnosis and you think “how amazingly absurd” just like I did. But when you live in a land for so long ruled by witch doctors and natural healers which is most third-world countries, this is their reality. I passed this information along to my other neighbors and members of our local church, and they all simply nodded in agreement that yes, she had had demons inside her. It made me wonder…Am I that spiritually out of touch? Thanks to all my assurances, insurances, just-in-case extra purchases, am I that many degrees removed that I can’t see the obviously spiritual component of this situation?*
The treatment provided by this witch doctor failed to cure her but at least now Joyce knows what the issue is and she wants me to help her find relief by going to a different witch doctor. One problem - as Jesus-loving woman I can’t with clear conscious waste $200 on a witch doctor.
I was in the midst of a very unique cross cultural situation. If I wasn’t going to send her to the witch doctor, how was I going to help Joyce? Well first, I prayed about it, and then I consulted our local pastor on how to be culturally sensitive without compromising my world view. Many local Christians, even as they proclaim Christ and would never go to the witch doctor to curse someone, will definitely go to the witch doctor to heal someone.
As of now, Joyce has come to church with us, we’ve presented the Gospel and prayed over her. I read her the story of Mark 5:21-34 about the woman who was sick for many years and how the Lord healed her because of her faith and proclaimed, “your faith has healed you”. She knows the sole reason we are in Tanzania is to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lord brought us together. Now, all we can do is pray… join me in prayer for another lost soul truly coming to Christ.
Also, we’ve taken her to get another opinion from a reputable doctor because if we can help, we must.