Thursday, July 29, 2010

Monkey Business

Today’s agenda: create artwork, and then visit a sister city, Teramo, to prayerwalk, learn some culture and history, and distribute flyers for our upcoming exhibit there next Saturday.

Agenda interrupted by spiritual monkey business: several on our team continue to be plagued by nightmares and demonic presence in the bedrooms. The pastor with whom we are working has been called to the bedside of his gravely ill mother-in-law, in Germany. He leaves today (Thursday). Our other contact in Teramo was not able to meet us in the city to show us around. And our van languishes in the mechanic’s garage…

So, agenda altered to include a solid time of prayer and worship, to push back the very oppressive darkness enveloping us. It is as if the heavens are closed off to us, that Satan rules here, and he is not about to let us do anything. He couldn’t be more wrong.

After some devotional time, we went outside. With the Gran Sasso mountain as our backdrop, we gathered around a campfire circle and performed three symbolic acts, prompted by our prayer leader at Transform, and one of our artists, who had experienced a demonic presence in her room the night before: first we poured water on the ground as a symbol of refreshment—the refreshment we hoped to bring L’Aquila (yet how much we needed it ourselves!). We then poured oil as a symbol of the softening of the soil of people’s hearts we were praying for. More prayer and song, and reading of the Psalms, as we circled the property and the campfire, recalling the promises of God and the truths we were operating in. Then back to the studio…

Our prayer time actually seemed a rather forlorn experience of discouragement; nevertheless, there was a shift. The artwork began to flow…our studio room began to fill with sketches, watercolors, and a collage. The pastor stopped by to give us his news, but assured us he would stop by again this morning to say goodbye. We were able to borrow another vehicle from the place where we’re staying, to visit Teramo.

For me, the most significant sign that God is with us greeted us for breakfast. Our artist from Hong Kong had made a simple stone sculpture with stones collected in L’Aquila. As we came to the dining table, light was flooding in from the window, casting a long, solid the shadow of the cross along our white table. And of course, the cameras and sketch pads came out…

“No weapon forged against you shall stand.”—Isaiah 54:17

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