Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Peace of Mind

Today I went to my ladies’ Bible study at Pastor Thomas’ house. I arrived before anyone else so I had a chance to visit with Pastor Thomas a little. I asked him how he was doing and he said “not too well because of his landlord”.

Here’s a little background to the problem. Back in Sept. Pastor T had told me about the problem. His landlord had come to him and wanted him to pay two month’s rent instead of the usual one. It seems that the landlord had gotten behind on his bills and he wanted to collect a little extra from his tenants. We advised Thomas not to do that because we felt that that would become an ongoing problem—that any time the landlord got behind he would demand money from the tenants. (No one has contracts here, so even though there are laws to protect the renter, very few really have much recourse).

What was worrying Thomas was that he was about to go to seminary for his 3-week term and he was afraid that the landlord would bug his wife and children. A church in the States has been helping Thomas go to seminary and they did this time as usual so I thought the problem was taken care of.

Today as we talked, I realized that the problem is far from over. While Thomas was gone to seminary the landlord had not paid the electricity bill so he demanded payment from all the tenants. He called Thomas at seminary and demanded that he pay. Thomas refused and told him he needed to study and he would talk when he got back. Thomas has refused to pay the extra money because electricity was to be included in the rent money for which he had paid and was up to date. So, two months ago the landlord had his electricity cut off – no one else’s. I don’t think it could have made that much difference. There is one light bulb, one iron, and one place to charge his phone in his house. How much electricity can that use? But, of course, it is certainly an inconvenience to Thomas and his family.

As we continued to talk about it, Thomas said that the landlord had inherited the property and had never owned anything before so he doesn’t know how to manage what he has. Now, this is the sad part. The problem began about the time that I began the Bible study at his house. The landlord saw me, a “muzungu” (in his eyes, a rich foreigner) coming every week. That must mean that Thomas has connections to money. Pastor Thomas said that he has had “no peace” almost since he started living in this house and the landlord will not listen to reason.

I suggested that our Bible study might end in a few weeks but Pastor Thomas said that would not help. First, we are already connected. Second, it will happen to me wherever I minister because I am a muzungu. If I stop, then I will have no ministry. If the ministry stops, then Satan will win.

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