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Against Principalities and Powers

BY llewis | 9 May 2013 |

Against Principalities and Powers

God’s Word and God’s people in action in Sierra Leone

by Emmanuel Oladipo, Langham Preaching

Every five years in Bonthe, Sierra Leone, there is a traditional initiation for early teenagers as a rite of passage into adulthood, and nobody’s child is supposed to be exempt. It lasts three months, during which the young people are camped deep in the forests and inducted into the occult practices of the tribe.

Having grown up in Christian homes, neither Pastor Yanguba Konteh nor his wife passed through the experience, and they were certainly not going to subject their son to it. The local ‘Poro’ cult leaders, however, had other ideas. Chelsea was the favourite football team of this boy, and when he went to watch a night TV screening of one of their matches, it was the perfect place to abduct him! They did not count on the ministry of guardian angels and the vigilance of his friends. Thankfully, their plot did not succeed.

It was not Pastor Konteh’s first brush with the cultists. He had to flee for dear life for sponsoring a crusade where the preacher dared to suggest that people needed delivering from the occult. After all, lots of other local Christians had seen nothing wrong in mixing Christianity with such traditional practices! Nine months later he was back in town; but his church met at 1.00am to pray, which they did for three months before coming out once again into the open. This time they had all-day prayer meetings on Sundays. A series of unexplained disasters in the community led to the conclusion that persecuting these people of prayer was not a good idea, and so the Poro decided to try a different approach. Pastor Kontey and his people would be left alone, so long as two or three of them are never together, because they might pray!

Their profile in the community rose considerably when they invited the Nigerian Christian Graduates Fellowship into town with a team of doctors offering free medical care, and also Franklin Graham’s Operation Christmas Child. They were given a piece of land on which to build their church and were even admitted into the local Council of Churches.

Not having had any formal theological training, Pastor Kontey was most delighted with the opportunity that Langham Preaching afforded him. He learned to preach from the Bible instead of simply choosing a text as a basis for airing his good opinions. He therefore ensured that his assistants also received the training and spread the word to other churches. Now that he is one of the trained local facilitators in the country, he was the front man in the Langham Preaching Level 1 programme organised in Bonthe. Thus, in the battle against the principalities and the powers, the local church is being equipped to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pastor Kontey (right) and friend

Pastor Kontey (right) and friend