On the evening of January 17, 2017, I joined four others for prayers on the southern shore of Lake Victoria in Mwanza, Tanzania, East Africa. These four included my wife, Pam Burford, Seventy Frank Frye (both of the United States), Elder James Yogo of Kenya, and Elder Paul Makawiti of Tanzania.
Our purpose for traveling to the southern shore of Lake Victoria in January 2017 was to offer prayers for the healing of the nations, beginning with the healing of the house of Israel. Before arriving at the shore, I had been instructed to offer two specific prayers there. The first was offered the evening of January 17 on the shore of the lake with my four companions of faith. The second was offered early the next morning as the sun rose over the lake. Links to transcripts of these two prayers and voice recordings of selected prayers are provided below. First, some background.
The Lord called me to come to Lake Victoria for prayer on September 21, 2016. At the time the call came, I was three weeks into a forty day fast leading up to a solemn assembly of First Nations peoples in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on October 7 and 8, 2016.
- See Section 9.1.1 of the full report to read further about this special gathering.
While on business travel, I checked into a hotel room in Oakley, Kansas, the night of September 21. I was led that night to read Genesis 15. There, in the closing verses of that chapter, I read of the covenant God had made with Abram (later named Abraham) regarding the land which extended from “the river of Egypt” (the Nile) to “the great river Euphrates.” When in prayer about what I had read, Lake Victoria was shown to me to be the “fountain” of the river of Egypt. I was further shown that, as the source from which this first border (river) of the covenant land flowed, it also served as a representation (as a type and shadow of spiritual things) of the source from which the Lord’s blessings are to flow over these covenant lands beginning at the time appointed. The Lord Himself will be the source of the blessings, and His blessings will flow until they fill the entire land of promise between these two great rivers.
- See Section 9.1.2 of the full report to read about this calling to the shore of Lake Victoria.
Our trip to the southern shore of Lake Victoria turned out to be quite eventful. Pam and I arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, late on Thursday, January 12. The next evening we arrived in Kisumu, Kenya, after a long bus ride. On Saturday, January 14, we visited with Frank Frye and the Book of Mormon translation team; the team had been working steadily on the translation of the Book of Mormon into Swahili since November 2016. After fellowshipping with the Saints in Kisumu on Sunday morning, we prepared for our trip the next day to Mwanza, Tanzania, via a rental car. During our journey from Kisumu to Mwanza on Monday, January 16, the alternator in our rented vehicle failed, but God got us miraculously to Mwanza. Much of the next day, the 17th, was spent getting the vehicle repaired. Consequently, we had limited time on the beach for prayer later that day.
- See Section 9.1.3 of the full report to read a summary of our travels.
After returning from East Africa, I wrote a more complete account of our travels to the southern shore of Lake Victoria. This more detailed record covered a greater portion of the spiritual aspects of our travels. Its purpose was to bear witness of God’s abundant grace and provisions which were given to us to accomplish His will in bringing Him these prayers in this special location. We had come by faith to this land, and there we journeyed by this same faith in Him. We trusted that we had been called to Lake Victoria to keep a divine appointment. On the road back to Kisumu, Kenya, the Lord bore testimony to us that He had indeed delivered us and would yet deliver us. Moreover, He bore witness to me that we had “prevailed,” and the prayers offered there were and would be effectual in bringing about the fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham (see Genesis 15).
- See Section 9.1.4 of the full report to read about the Lord’s provisions and timing.
While in Kisumu and Nairobi, Kenya, I was asked to bring preaching and teaching ministry. Following my return from Africa, I sent an accounting of my ministry via email to a number of the brethren who have been ministering to the church in Africa over the last number of years.
- See Section 9.1.5 of the full report to read this accounting of my ministry.
During my preparation before coming to East Africa, I had been shown how I was to offer two specific prayers. One was to be offered with my hands upon the waters of the lake. The other was to be journaled while overlooking the lake from a raised vantage point. I had no idea how these could be compatible settings, or how I could accomplish these two distinct prayers. However, I came to the appointed place in faith, believing that the Lord would guide me in the details.
Because much of the day in Mwanza was taken up in repairing the rental vehicle, I became discouraged. When we finally arrived at the lake shore, it was nearly sundown. Thankfully, the Lord provided enough time for me to offer the prayer with my hands upon the waters. However, when the day was finally over without the second prayer being offered, I went to bed late at night feeling quite low. It appeared to me then that I had missed one of my appointments at the lake.
The next morning, however, I was awakened very early to offer the second prayer. As I prayed, I journaled my requests of the Lord while watching the sun rise on the lake from the raised vantage point of our fourth-floor hotel room. During this time, I was reminded of how the Lord had affirmed to me the previous day that His days begin in the evening and end after the morning, saying “the evening and the morning are the … day” (see Genesis 1).
I also remembered how I had been told throughout the day prior not to multiply many words while praying at the water’s edge. Now was the time, while journaling in this early morning hour, to pray with more words that included specific requests; and so for over two hours I prayed and journaled a prayer, earnestly seeking the Lord’s blessing for the healing and the gathering of the house of Israel so that all the peoples of the earth might be blessed.
When I concluded this prayer time, the Lord explained to me by His Spirit of truth that it was significant that I had been discouraged the previous day; and, further, that my sorrow had been turned to joy early the next day. This, He showed me, was a parable of how the prayers for healing would be fulfilled through the new covenant being fulfilled. We must first pass through a dark night before the rising of the Son upon the earth; and because the Lord is merciful, the night will be shortened, just as my sleep had been cut short that night.
Copies of the prayers are included in the full report. It is my firm confidence and testimony that the Lord heard our prayers at the lake and the prayer which I offered early the next morning. Please consider also offering prayers unto the Lord for the healing of the nations, beginning with the healing of the house of Israel. To Him be the glory and honor forever. Amen.