ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: 40 YEARS BELOW ZERO IX
Greetings, Salutations, and Blessings to all of you!
Della and I rarely -- and I do mean rarely -- ever travel anywhere without each other. You know how it is when you enjoy each other's company, and just enjoy doing things together. There are those exceptions when it becomes necessary -- or the Holy Spirit directs -- for one of us to travel without the other. This is one of those occasions.
Because I'm in the midst of acting as our son, Chris',
legal representative in the purchase of a home here in Sunnyside, and serving
as his proxy to get his and Chelsi's four children
enrolled in a Christian school even before they arrive from
Sunday morning early I put Della on a flight to Calgary where Mary Ellen picked her up. The two of them are attending a prophecy conference in Red Deer, Alberta with Todd Bentley (he's one of those motorcycle evangelists and prophetic teachers like Jerry Savelle), Paul Keith Davis, and Bob Jones. Each morning they call me on the phone to update me with things the Holy Spirit has been revealing to them in the midst of the conference. In the days and weeks ahead, we will no doubt discuss some of those impartations from the Holy Spirit.
I'd like to get right into our discussion today, so grab your cup of coffee, tea, chocolate, juice -- or whatever it is you've got there -- and pull up a chair.
On Monday, as we were wrapping up, I was sharing how the Episcopal priest in Point Hope took personally the departure of families from his church because of the testimony and sharing of 12-year-old Rosa Frankson. She was a living demonstration of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit. The impact of Jesus Christ in her life as her personal Lord, Savior and Shepherd -- and not just as some religious, historical figure -- was such a glaring contrast to the dead, dried-up religion the community had come to know that people wanted to know what had happened.
As a 12-almost 13-year-old, Rosa naturally was a drawing card to other teenagers. Her excitement was infectious. Mom's "Esthers" club suddenly became "the place to be" for girls aged 10 to 16. More than that, the families of these children began to check out our church services.
The priest, who did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, saw what was happening as "religious fanaticism" and thought he could put a stop to it. More than religious fanaticism, however, he felt that his standing as a leader in the community was being challenged, and like the shaman felt threatened.
Visiting the homes of a couple of the families he trusted, he said to the parents, "We have to put a stop to this. These people are departing from the faith, and it is all due to the influence of Rosa Frankson who has been contaminated by religious extremism. You need to talk to your children and have them apply pressure to Rosa to get her to stop going over to the Capeners."
The fact that it was directed towards us was demonstrative of the fact that the priest was unable to see the real change in Rosa's life, or the lives of other teens who had also begun to acknowledge Jesus Christ in their lives. He was blind spiritually and consequently saw what was transpiring as a battle for political leadership in Point Hope. It is kind of analogous to the "big fish in the small pond" scenario.
It was the first of shots being fired in a spiritual battle that would have lasting repercussions and consequences -- both in the present and in eternity. Unknown to the priest, the shaman was also visiting the homes of his "friends" and telling them virtually the same thing. "You've got to stop Rosa Frankson. She can't keep going over to the Capeners."
The next time Rosa headed towards our place for the Esthers club meeting, several boys were waiting for her. They seized her, roughed her up some, threw her on the ground and said, "You don't go over to Capeners' anymore, or else."
She laid on the ground not saying anything and just waited for them to leave. When they were out of sight, she got to her feet, tried to straighten out her hair and her appearance as much as she could, and then headed over to our house for the meeting. When she came in the door, she was obviously disheveled and Mom asked her what had happened.
"I got beaten up and told not to come here," she said, and then added, "but they're not going to stop me."
To most of us who have grown up in traditional American
society, the idea of a shaman is totally foreign.
The idea that a shaman actually has any real power and/or the ability to
actually bring curses upon someone that results in disaster or tragedy is just
so much bunk! Or so most folks think. Hollywood's
movies often portray shamans as relatively harmless Indian witch doctors who do
their thing with herbs, do a few incantations, scatter strange mixtures in the
fire with resulting sparkly displays, and have visions.
What gets left out of these movie portrayals is the fact that the overwhelming majority of shamans exercise demonic power. There is nothing benign about it. They do have a kind of power (although it is more psychological than magical), and they do exercise it in order to subjugate people and keep them living in fear.
This shaman was no different. The lack of true spiritual authority being taught and exercised by the local priest and those who professed Christianity only emboldened Point Hope's shaman. The thought that someone might actually thumb their nose at his authority “ and especially a teenage girl“ was intolerable!
At the same time, the priest viewed
Most native cultures have had "trial by fire" as a normal part of their way of living. If someone new came into their village, or if someone within their community arose to challenge existing authority, that authority was put to the test. The intruder or the "upstart" would be attacked or challenged in some physical way to see how they would respond. The degree to which they resisted or fought back, and the outcome of any fight where they were victorious resulted in immediate respect.
Rosa's refusal to stop coming was met somewhat the same way by the boys who attacked her. As far as they knew, they were participating in a conventional native ritual. There wasn't anything personal about their attack. When Rosa ignored them after they had roughed her up, it gained their respect -- at least for a couple of weeks.
Neither the priest nor the shaman saw things that way, however. More pressure was applied
to the families, and their boys instructed to be more brutal.
Again, they laid in wait for
This time, they beat and kicked her, shouting, "You WILL NOT keep going over to the Capeners or you'll really get it next time!"
Again, she laid on the ground waiting for them to leave. She was not as quick to get up this time, being bruised and having blood running down her chin from a profuse nosebleed. She wiped her face, got up anyway, and headed straight for our house completely undeterred by the beating.
Dad was standing at the door when she came in. When he saw her condition and learned what had happened, it stirred him to anger. Dad never once engaged in a physical fight with anyone, and he never lost his cool (except perhaps when he paddled the britches of the boy who had flattened my brother on the ground with a rock to the head). When he was stirred, however, look out! He knew and had learned how to exercise authority in moments of crisis.
Rosa Frankson: a true martyr for Jesus Christ
He headed out the door to the Franksons. His first conversation was with David. David advised him that pressure was being brought to bear on Rosa by the priest who wanted her to stop coming. He was also aware of the shaman's efforts and the threats that were being leveled against certain families if their sons did not stop Rosa's attendance, and passed that bit of information on to Dad.
His next stop was the home of the priest. Without making any accusations against the priest, he let the priest know he was aware of what was happening, and that he would personally take legal action against anyone who promoted this kind of savagery.
From there he headed over to the residence of the shaman. You'd have to see it to appreciate it (and I'm sorry that I can't find the photos I took of the shaman's residence in time to publish them with this Coffee Break) but the shaman lived in a sod hut that had been constructed a hundred years earlier or more. His home was a true picture of what an "igloo" really is/was.
Blocks of sod laid in brick fashion over a framework of whalebones formed a sort of domed (though not really round) structure. When covered by snow, it gave the illusion of a snow house. These dwellings were as warm and comfortable (albeit certainly not as esthetically attractive) as any energy-efficient home built today.
The shaman's home in Point Hope was one of only two remaining sod houses in the village. The other was occupied by the local National Guard leader.
When Dad knocked on the door and the shaman answered, he did not give the shaman an opportunity to speak. "I'm aware of the pressure you've been applying to stop Rosa Frankson from coming to our place and attending meetings; and I'm here to let you know that if this continues, legal action will be taken against you."
No doubt the shaman had never been confronted like that before, and he was speechless. He said nothing and closed the door in Dad's face.
The threats still stood, however, in the lives of the families whom the shaman had spoken to, and he did nothing to withdraw his threats. Although the Episcopal priest didn't exactly back down, he did not renew his pressure on the families in his church.
Two weeks went by without incident. The third week was another story. The same boys who had attacked Rosa before saw her headed towards our house for the usual weekly Esthers club meeting. This time they chased after her, caught her about 150 yards from our house and slammed her to the ground, kicking her unmercifully in the stomach and groin, beating her head and body repeatedly.
When they finally stopped, they looked at her and said, "That'll do it! You'll never go there again." Suddenly conviction took hold. Realizing what they'd done to her and seeing her almost unconscious and bleeding, panic set in and they took off running.
I don't know how long she laid there before she had enough strength to get up, but she limped her way to our house in defiance of the attack, utterly determined to stand by her commitment to the Lord, no matter what! When she came in the door, she was doubled over in pain. Mom grabbed her and helped her to the couch. Dad shook his head in anger. Saying little, he grabbed his coat and cap and headed over to the Post Office where the one single telephone for the community existed.
Dad knew instinctively that
At the hospital in Kotzebue, the doctors did their best to patch her up and set some bones that had been broken or fractured. Tests revealed that Rosa had suffered severe internal injury and their prognosis for her was grim. The head physician contacted the Frankson family and advised them that her condition was critical, and that they should be with her.
For three or four days, Rosa hung between life and death. Most of the time she
was conscious and cheerful. Whenever the
doctors or nurses were in her room she would tell them how wonderful Jesus was. Her ability to keep such joy in the face of her
physical circumstances was a source of amazement to the medical staff,
When questioned about the boys that beat her, she simply
said, "They just don't know Jesus. Once they do, they won't try to beat
people up anymore." Her forgiving
attitude astonished the doctors and nurses and even her parents didn't know what to make of it.
After three or four days of hanging between life and death, and fading in and out of consciousness, she was awake and talking to the attending nurse. "You need to know Jesus like I do," she said. The nurse teared up, and not knowing what else to do or say, reached over and patted
The nurse ran out and called for the doctor. Her parents had just come into the hospital and they followed the nurse and doctor into the hospital room in time to see
"Jesus! Jesus! I see you." A smile lit up her face, her hands sagged back to the bed, and she was gone.
Dad preached her funeral in Point Hope a week later. The place was packed. Rosa's testimony and her willingness to stand by her commitment to Jesus Christ at the cost of her life broke the religious and the demonic barriers in the community in the same way that the deaths of Christians in the Roman arenas nearly 2,000 years ago caused the flame of Christianity to spread around the world. The way she saw things, her gritty determination to keep coming had nothing to do with the Capeners: it had everything to do with Jesus! Sure, our family was an integral part of her life and the changes that had taken place, but it was the Lord who had poured Himself into her.
The same boys who had beaten her were at the altar crying out for forgiveness, yielding their lives to Jesus Christ. That funeral was only the beginning of an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that swept Point Hope. In Kotzebue, the doctors and nurses who had attended her during the last three or four days of her life and saw the sweet presence of the Lord also yielded their lives to Christ.
Rosa Frankson's death not only impacted her family (the Frankson family as a whole made a real commitment to Jesus Christ) and the families of the community who had succumbed to the pressures of the shaman and the Episcopal priest, it impacted the priest himself.
Ahh, but that's Friday's story. We'll talk about the shaman then, and what happened to him. See you later.
Lack is not supposed to be everlasting: it is a temporary situation until you can grow some Word seed to meet the need. God has given us the two things we need to get whatever we desire: Dominion and Seed.
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