Over 50, Still Kickin'
A slightly skewed perspective on life in The Middle Ages
Lee Ann Rubsam
Stories from Paul's career as a letter carrier:
A wealth of articles that never make it to this web site:
One of the days we were in Lima, we visited Wilma's place. Wilma is a lovely little Peruvian lady who takes street kids into her home. She loves them, feeds them, and tells them about Jesus. She also has two schools up in the mountains for destitute children, and once a week she and the ladies who help her take huge metal pots of food to the children.
Our mission team split into two groups, and the group Paul and I were with went up the really steep mountain. The bus wove in and out up the dirt trails on the mountainside. We had been told we would have to walk, so I could not believe how far up, on impossibly steep roads, that bus driver took us. His middle name should have been Intrepid. But it came to the point where the bus could go no farther. We piled out and hoofed it the rest of the way. I found the ascent very difficult to manage. Besides being steep, there were loose rocks and gravel to contend with. Many of the men were carrying the pots of food between them as well. How they managed, I can't imagine. Rumor was, that when Wilma does not have mission team helpers, she and her lady friends carry the pots themselves! We are talking well over one hundred pounds per pot.
The people in this community have almost nothing. They came from farming communities to the city, hoping for a better life. So far, the better life has not materialized. They built on the mountainsides because the land is free. They live in shacks with no running water, no electricity, and no outhouses that I could see. Water must be hauled in and kept in a cistern. The houses appear to be perched very precariously on the mountainside, on the loose rock and sand. If it ever rained, they would slide down the side, but it never rains.
I got to talking with a couple of the moms, using a translator, and they wanted to tell me what Jesus had done for them. They said although their life is very hard, and they don't have much, they are very happy people. They said without Jesus, life is worth nothing. Tanya was one of these ladies. She is a very pretty woman, who is probably about thirty years of age, although she looks like she is forty. She said, "Please tell everyone my story, so that they will know that the power of God is stronger than any other power. They must know that Jesus will help them, too."
Here is her story:
"I grew up in a farming community. When I was twenty years old, my mother took me to the city and found me employment as a maid. The lady I was to work for gave me a little bedroom at the very top of the house, with a small bed and a picture of the Pope on the wall. Someone had scratched a cross on the Pope's picture. I paid attention to the cross, and it was a comfort to me.
"The first night that I was there, I could hear sounds like large cats scratching on the roof overhead. It seemed as though the roof was falling in on me. I was terrified. The second night, the same thing happened, and then a horrible-looking demon came in through the window, with long worms hanging out of its mouth. He wanted to take me, but I called on Jesus to deliver me. A lightning bolt suddenly flashed through the window, hit the demon, and it went up in smoke.
"I told the woman who employed me about the terrible things in my room. She nodded and laughed, and said, 'Ah, now you understand! You have seen the power!'
"Every night there were demons. By the end of the week, I could not take it anymore, and I decided I must leave this evil place. I tried to go, but my employer caught me. She mocked me, and did not want me to leave. But she said I could go if I wanted to. I ran to get out, but she had locked the house doors so that I could not leave. I cried, 'In the Name of Jesus, open!' The doors swung open by themselves, and I fled. There was an iron-barred gate outside the house. It was also locked. I tried to scale the gate, but could not. Again, I commanded the gate to open in Jesus' Name, and it swung outward of its own accord.
"In my journey home, I had to pass through a camp of drug addicts. There was no way to get home, except by going through the camp. I prayed, and Jesus made me invisible to them. I passed through them without being seen and without harm.
"A tall, very black man, a demon, appeared out of the air to me, and said I must come with him, that I belonged to them now, but I called on Jesus to deliver me, and he vanished.
"I had to take a bus part of the way home. The men on the bus had peaceful, kind expressions on their faces, so I thought I would be safe, but when it was time for the bus to let me off, their faces changed, and they were going to harm me. I told them they could not hurt me, in the Name of Jesus. They looked surprised, and said, 'Why did you do that?' and then they left me alone. Shortly after that I reached home safely.
"I have been miraculously healed several times. Once I had something seriously wrong in my abdomen, which was terribly swelled up. I asked Jesus to do a heavenly surgery to fix the problem, and then I felt little pin pricks all over my abdomen. Immediately the swelling went away and I was healed.
"I want you to tell everyone my story, so that if demons ever bother them, they will know that they can call on Jesus, and He will help them, too. Tell others that the power of God is greater, much greater, than any other power."
Our translator said that Tanya's story of being terrorized by demons is very common. He has heard many stories about the cat-demons that scratch and claw. He explained that witchcraft has been deeply ingrained in the culture for many centuries, especially among the Indian peoples.
Tanya did not have a deep theological background. I gathered from the way she explained it, that at the time she experienced the demon manifestations, her understanding of Jesus was very small. All she had was a desperate, simple faith that Jesus was bigger than the demons were, and that He could help her -- and He faithfully came through for her.
We started back down the mountain in the bus. Going down a steep mountain is far more tricky than going up, and we crawled along, braking every few feet. A hairpin turn had to be negotiated; the bus didn't make it. It slid on some loose gravel, and ended up with an electrical pole front and center, about a foot from the windshield. (They had electricity halfway down the mountain, hence, the pole.)
We c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y unloaded ourselves from the bus, so as not to precipitate any more sliding. It was a tense situation. If the bus were to continue to slide, it might knock over the pole and send live wires down. The men wedged rocks in front of the back tires to keep it from going forward. They all pushed backwards on the bus, while the bus driver put it in reverse. It didn't have the power to back up, but slid sideways and forward a little more, so that its position in relation to the pole was even worse.
The situation did not look at all promising, and we were miles from where anyone could help us. The local men seemed amused with our predicament and even appeared hostile toward us.
Most of our missions group stood around in hand-wringing mode, I'm sorry to say, but a few of us got together and began to pray for heavenly intervention. Within minutes, the bus shifted, so that it was an inch or two to the road-side of the pole. I'm not sure how that happened. None of the guys could explain why it was now clear of the pole, as they had not been having any success in swinging it. I believe we received the angelic help that we ladies had been requesting.
We didn't attempt to climb back into the bus again until we were on the less steep trails farther down the mountain, and the rest of the ride was without incident.
© Copyright 2007 by Lee Ann Rubsam. All rights reserved.