The missionaries' murmurs resounded in his head, echoing again and again, "Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy. LORD HAVE MERCY." The words tumbled over one another, more urgent by the minute, filling his mind. Then splat! He felt something against his clothing and, looking down, saw a crimson splash of blood stain his shirt as he bludgeoned the missionary to death.
Banele jerked up in bed in a cold sweat. The same dream yet again. He started shaking.
A year before, Banele was a "Freedom Fighter" warring for the independence of Rhodesia. His group attacked a mission station, dragging five women, three men and five children into an open field. As they dragged them, Banele heard them praying. With smug satisfaction he heard them calling to God for mercy. Then he heard, with astonishment, "Father, forgive them. Have mercy on them." They were praying for HIM; for mercy for HIM and indignation flared up in him. How dare they! THEY needed mercy, not him. As they invoked the Name of Jesus, as though possessed by demons of hell, he set about with the others in an orgy of stabbing, bludgeoning and hacking, till all lay at their feet, twisted, lifeless and broken. He turned with the others to go; his heart was ice.
Now the dreams kept coming, "Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Father forgive them" and then splash! The crimson blood on his shirt.
News of the Elim massacre made world headlines, so brutal was the attack and so heart-rending the pictures of children battered to death. At a memorial service held in Britain, the minister caused a stir by praying for forgiveness for the perpetrators. Many thought he should have called for immediate reprisals and for justice. Yet the Spirit of God prompted him to pray as the missionaries themselves had prayed.
Banele stared distractedly at the ceiling. He wanted to keep hating, but visions of the children, the cries for his forgiveness and the splash of blood haunted him. How do you hate such love? How can you be glad about smashing children; even your enemies? And were they his enemies? They had prayed to God for him; for mercy and forgiveness. Even in his waking moments their words plagued him.
He went to a call box. "Lungani, I have to see you."
"I need to see you too. Strange things have been happening."
They met at a bar in the township. Lungani had a new light in his eyes.
"I have been in touch with others from our group that attacked the station. We've all had visions, Banele, all the same; frightening visions of a huge cross coming out of the sky and the hand of God pointing at us in terrible judgement. We couldn't get the picture of those missionaries out of our minds. What we did was wrong. We've called out to God for mercy, just like they did as we killed them. They prayed for US, Banele. I couldn't forget that. Eventually I knelt by my bed. 'They were right, God,' I said, 'We are the ones who need mercy.' I added my prayer to theirs and I said, "Lord, have mercy."
Banele gasped. The God of the missionaries had been talking to him and he had not recognised it.
He spoke of his recurring dream. "What should I do, Lungani?"
Lungani smiled. "If you are serious about listening to God then you should seek out a Mr Peter. He is the head of the organisation that sent the missionaries to that station. He will explain Jesus to you." Taking a piece of paper from his pocket, he wrote a number on it. "You can find him here."
Thus Banele, brutal murderer and advocate of hate, was mentored and led to Christ by the leader and dear friend of his hapless victims, advocates of love. He learned of Another, whose prayer for forgiveness for him reached the throne of Heaven as His blood dripped from a Cross and splashed on Calvary's earth. The damning stain of blood recurring in his dream was washed away by the Blood of heaven's Lamb declaring to the world that nothing is beyond its power.
Banele, now a true Freedom Fighter, proclaimed the freedom of God's grace and mercy till he met Jesus face to face and, with him, those whose prayers had resounded for him in Heaven on that fateful day.
Based on a true story. The actual story can be found at http://www.elimmissions.co.uk/UploadFiles/Vumba.pdf
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