Today we said goodbye to Holland and our African adventure began in earnest. I don’t remember ever having been so completely envelopped in love as during the hour we had at Schiphol. God has truly blessed us with a wonderful family! Alwin and Erika were there, with Anne, Aline, Gerard and Willemijn; so were Bastiaan and Maria; as well as Hannah. Ian would have been there as well with Rosa and Gabriel, had we not discovered last night that his roof rack didn’t fit the rails of our Agila: and without enough space to transport suitcases and passengers both, there was no way he could drive us to Schiphol.
We departed an hour-and-a-half late; for most of that time we could see our loved ones standing on the roof terrace waiting to wave goodbye; but in the end they left before us. In spite of the delay, we were in plenty of time to catch the connecting flight from Paris to Cotonou. I spent most of that flight sleeping or reading: the latter in an amazing book called ‘Voodoo in Afrika’ by Marnel Breure. I have almost decided to translate it from Dutch into English as a special project during the next few years. The writer believes neither in God nor in reason, but she demonstrates an uncanny knack of fathoming the depths of voodoo culture, discovering by personal experience how destructive it is.
“My eyes fell upon a power image in front of which a sacrificial bowl had been placed. ‘What exactly is that, a bo or a vodoun?’ ‘That is a vodoun.’ ‘Could you explain the difference to me?’ ‘A bo does evil, a vodoun does good.’ ‘And what is this, then?’ I pointed to a little wooden doll, sticky with sacrificial blood, wrapped with string. ‘That is a bo.’ ‘So that one is used to do evil.’ ‘No, it helps ward off sickness.’ ‘Ah. So a bo can offer protection.’ ‘Yes, it can attract good luck and offer protection, but it can also destroy.’ ‘And a vodoun?’ ‘In certain situations it too can destroy.’ ‘But what then is the difference between a bo and a vodoun?’”
This is the world we will be entering into. Last night, after supper, Arjan read Psalm 135. “For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by the hands of men. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” (Psalms 135:14-18)
My guess is that I will be reading passages like this with African eyes before too long. Belonging to Jesus Christ, body and soul, and being delivered from all the power of the evil one takes on a whole new dimension there, I imagine.