A Witch Doctor Paralyzed This Man, Then God Healed Him

While on an Ambassador trip to Uganda, Tori Bueno and her teammates spent a lot of time praying in hospitals. One day, they met a man named Israel. 

Serving God in Bugiri, Uganda, has been an experience I could have never imagined. It’s beautiful, mysterious, broken yet healing, and most of all, in need of what we, the healing power of the love of Jesus.

When we are exhausted, and sticky and smelly and hungry, we remember that love, and push on.

Our hope is this: in running the race with diligence we will see the light through the cracks, we will dance upon injustice, and we will encourage those who are sick to “Get up. Take your mat and walk.”

We have ministered in the Bugiri hospital on a few different occasions, and for me, it is the most difficult area of ministry I’ve encountered. Praying for the sick can sometimes seem hopeless. Seeing beautiful people dying of curable diseases is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed before.

It’s left me with a lot of questions and not a lot of answers, and at times I’ve been discouraged.

During one hospital visit last week a group two teammates and I prayed over a man with gray dreads named Israel, who was paralyzed.

Israel told us a witch doctor had hit him on the back, and now he could not move. He was emaciated, just skin and bones. So we prayed. The three of us girls, Jenny, Molly, and I prayed with hope that this man would walk again.

The next week, we looked for Israel. When we saw his bed empty, Jenny and I just looked at each other with a similar thought in mind: we both thought we would not see Israel again, that our prayers were not enough and he died.

Upset, I went outside and pray with a teammate. While listening to Becca pray over me, I lifted up my head, looking at those walking by. A minute went by and then I saw a familiar face.

Actually, I saw familiar dreads.

Israel was walking!

As he passed by with the use of a small cane, carrying a bag of food, he turned to me with a smile on his face that said “I am healed” and waved.

Luckily, I wiped the surprised expression off my face in time to smile and wave back at Israel. The emotions flooded over. “The joy of the Lord is our strength” had never had so much meaning to me until this moment.

God had healed him, and let us be a part of that story.

So many times we forget that we sow the seed, but God makes it grow, and we do not always get to witness the fruit in this life.

It is our joy to see the Lord working through us, and our reward is the love that fills our hearts from the movements of God’s hands. Ministry in the hospitals is still hard, but hope continues to fill the halls and each room we visit, and that is healing, in and of itself.

We are being faithful in how He is calling us to serve. The rest is up to Him.

*Photo by Christina Kehres

Praying for healing takes a lot of faith, and it takes even more faith to accept the outcome—whether the healing happens right away or happens at all. What is most important is what Tori realized: being willing to be used by God to encourage and intercede for those hungry for hope. 

Ambassador trips are 1-4 week mission trips for high school students looking to serve God and grow in their faith while on a mission trip to Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. If you are a high school student (or you know of one who wants to GO!), CLICK HERE to explore the 2017 Ambassador trips!