Sorcery? What does this make you think of? Here in
Cameroon it is a very commonly used term. We have
heard it described usually in reference to the cause
of a sickness or death. We had another patient
recently that was brought in with a severe headache
and we found malaria in testing him. Apparently he
was at school. A classmates pencil fell on the
ground, he picked it up. The classmate thought he was
steeling his pencil so he cast a spell on him. The
patient immediately felt a severe headache. The
classmate and his father are known in the community to
be powerful sorcerers. When the guy with the headache
went home his mom brought him into the hospital. We
discovered malaria and typhoid and started treating
these. Later his father came home. He heard what had
happened and that the son was at the hospital.
Many people donâ€™t believe in casting of spells or in
the power therein. I know I have not in the past. At
this point in life I very much believe that things
like this DO happen. I believe it is the power of the
devil that is being used for the spell, magic. I also
know that the devil is stronger than I or any other
person. BUT I believe that my God is more powerful
than him. The devil is a created being that was once
an angel in heaven as the Bible recounts. He chose
not to follow God and was cast out of heaven. I
imagine you believe that angels are stronger than you?
So is the devil, without Gods help.
This leads back to the story. So if you donâ€™t
believe in God but you do in sorcery, how is the
hospital going to help in this illness. It wouldnâ€™t.
So this father insisted that he take his son home.
The cure is for a more powerful sorcerer to cancel the
previous spell. We wanted him to stay in the hospital
because we know that our God is more powerful than any
spell, and He heals! Well the father left with his
son and took him straight to the father of the one who
cast the spell to undo it. Iâ€™m sure exchange of
money, and sacrifices took place to cancel the spell.
Another thing frequently noted here it that a
sorcerer must â€œmangerâ€ or eat his victim. This seems
not to be a literal eating but more a keeping in close
contact with them to keep the spell active.
Apparently there have been patients in the past who
spells were cast, then they came into the hospital.
Some nurses said they have seen a sorcerer come into
the hospital to see the person they cast the spell on,
then that person died. When we asked if the people
are scared to know or be friends with the sorcerer the
answer is usually no. Everyone knows who they are but
as long as you donâ€™t cross them all is OK.
In the US when we think of an owl what crosses your
mind? Wise? Neat contortionist neck, large eyes,
barns? Here these are part of bad luck. They
represent sorcerers that have metamorphasized into the
owl to hunt out certain people to cast a spell on
them. So when people see an owl they are usually very
afraid that something bad is going to happen to them.
Sorcerers also take the form of black cat, donkey or
So the devil has a strong foothold of belief here.
We believe the devil is very active. The Bible
describes him as a â€œroaring lion seeking whom he may
devour.â€ We see evidence of this around us here.
Please pray for wisdom, for us, on how to best combat
the devil on this Cameroonian battlefield. And how to
teach the animistic people in this area about the God
who can save them spiritually and physically from the
harm and fear of sorcery. In His Service, Shanks
Archive for October, 2006
Hello Family and Friends,
As I wrote last Sabbath it was crazy. Not a peaceful
day. Many things, one, after another. I had a much
more peaceful Sabbath this week. We were able to go
to church and there was also a baptism this week with
around 40 people baptized. We have a concrete
baptismal tank inset into the ground outside of the
church. So we just cleaned it up and filled it with
water. After the baptism we went home and relaxed and
ate our â€œSabbath mealâ€. This means something not able
to be bought here and from the US. We had vegetarian
â€œpigs in a blanketâ€. It was very tasty. And as a
commemoration of every weekend the power went out.
Just about the same time I was called to see a woman
in the delivery room. She was 9 months pregnant and
had significant constant abdominal pain. I felt her
abdomen and the uterus was very firm. She said she
was NOT having contractions and this was her 5th
child. I could not find a heartbeat for the fetus.
So I suspected it was dead. I started to worry about
abrupto-placenta, but have not seen that before, and
she had no vaginal bleeding. I decided to ultrasound
her. I came home and got it and went back. I found
that she did have abrupto-placenta. For those of you
who donâ€™t know, this means that the placenta has
detached from the uterus with bleeding between the
placenta and the uterus. If still partially attached
the bleeding continues, child dies very rapidly, and
mom dies if not receiving enough blood. So since
there is no blood bank or other way to get blood
products other than family, that is what we asked for.
I also prepared to do an emergency caesarian
delivery. I made it in there STAT (about 30 min) and
did the surgery. Stat means immediately, well except
for here, and other hospitals like this. At the
surgery we pulled out a stillborn child and LOTS and
LOTS of blood clots and blood. She looked like she
would have twins by the time we were able to operate
on her. Fortunately her husband gave 500ml blood.
She lost about 2000ml or more. She did remain stable
and is recovering well. The remainder of my Sabbath
was uneventful. We went over to a teachers house and
had millet and different sauces. One was kale based,
another squash based, another okra, and also some
potatoes, and taro. Finally after eating by
candlelight the electricity came back on. We finished
the evening at home. Just about the time to go to bed
I was called back to the hospital for some problems
with our inpatients. Child seizing, another with poor
breathing and then my operated patient with
hypotension. Fortunately these were all taken care of
and I slept fitfully for the rest of the night.
Sunday was busy with about 15 outpatients, one
gastroscopy, one proctoscopy, two ultrasounds
performed, and numerous â€œfires put out.â€ We look
forward to Wednesday when we take the daytime for our
family. We thank you for all of your prayers and for
your concern. We are praying that we will get back on
the ham email soon when Cristy (my sister) arrives
with a replacement part. Please keep us in your
prayers, In His Service, Greg
Hi! Itâ€™s me, Sarah.
If your wondering why we havenâ€™t written in a while
itâ€™s because we where on a glorious furlough filled
with ice cream!
While I was there our friends and family told us how
much they liked the You Know Your in Africa When. So
Iâ€™ve decided to do a You Know Your in America When.
You Know Your in America Whenâ€¦
You canâ€™t decide between a soft served, a hard served,
a sunday, or a swerly. Then you must choose the
flavor or your Soft served, hard served, Sunday, or
There are 3 different ice cream parlors on the same
As if ice cream isnâ€™t tempting enough! Now they
throw in a free toy!
They make vegetable flavors. Yuk!
You see a minivan driving down the street with only 1
person in it!
The max people in a 12 seat van are 12 people instead
of 18 people (yes it possible, Iâ€™ve seen it first
There are more than 10 cars in 1 town.
Auto dealerships sell new cars that work.
3.The motorcycle aka. Moto
Itâ€™s considered â€˜coolâ€™ to drive a moto on a dirt road
but not necessary.
Only 2 people are on 1 moto! And they donâ€™t even have
baggage tide to the front with cut up bike tires.
The moto breaks and you bring it to auto repair
instead of fixing it your self in the pitch black at
1:00 in the morning.
You sleep without a mosquito net.
You have the option of two rows of cereal in the
The general public dose not like rain.
Your mother says â€œeat every thing on your plate.
Remember the starving kids in Africa Even though
leaving food on your plate in Africa is polite. It
means your full and they have fed you well.
You have to pay to see cows walk down the street.