6 a.m. – We awaken to the sounds of helicopters and planes. Brush fires in South Africa are frequent and sometimes started on purpose. The fires this morning are increasing in number, and the reason for the intentional act is not a good one. The very poor community of Backdoor is ON STRIKE today because the local government is not bringing them their WATER. Without water, how do you live? They are doing what is called a “toi-toi” – a strike. Emotions are high and the situation is suddenly INTENSE. Those in our IRIS family who live in Backdoor are not even leaving their houses.
WE PRAY for the government relations with the residents and that the Holy Spirit will bring PEACE to this storm.
Noon – Fires have blazed ALL morning in the not too far distance surrounding (MCV) Michael’s Children’s Village and roads leading out of Backdoor Community. Helicopters dangling buckets on long cables fly overhead as they spray water across fields and forests. One fire after another is started by angry people. Here at Michael’s Children’s Village, our children are ordered into our homes to await evacuation if necessary. The fires are that close to the base and to our macadamia farm.
WE PRAY for God to send angels to help us.
The winds begin to blow in our favor – the other direction – for rest of the afternoon! Thankfully, we do not have to evacuate…. The police come to quell the riots in the streets with use of rubber bullets, and some of the people of Backdoor run to their homes to gather weapons to fight back. Our IRIS Director, Teisa, and her daughters face an angry resident as they step outside of Village of Hope where we feed hundreds of children and adults each day. Flashing his handgun at ‘Mama Teisa,’ the emotion-filled man is keen on showing how serious he is about fighting for what everyone needs – drinking water. Unseen angels envelop Mama Teisa in peace as she hurriedly gets her girls to their house.
8 p.m. – Long after dark, I can still see a fire blazing through the trees just up the road. There is the need to pray for everyone to really quiet down. A “toi-toi” (South African term for ‘strike’) can go on for days and even weeks. All of our loved ones from IRIS Partners in Harvest Church and from our IRIS team who live in Backdoor are still in lock-down as I write because of the rioting in the streets and the violence that goes along with that. WE PRAY for the water issue to get straightened out and for the THOUSANDS of Backdoor residents and other surrounding poor communities to get their needed water! Backdoor is a literal MOUNTAIN. One of many. People have to walk far up hill to bring water to their homes without the normal provision. Starting the fires was not a smart thing to do; it took a lot of water to put them out! But you can imagine the frustration of so many people having to survive without this necessity.
WE WORSHIP the Redeemer who is able to turn things around! We pray for a free-flow of water in Backdoor – natural and spiritual!
After another tense day of protests/riots, the government sent workers to drill new wells! BREAKTHROUGH! Please keep praying with us for PEACE and PERFECT LOVE in Backdoor!