Baby Phedon Healed

An entire Zambian village has accepted the power of Christianity over their ancestral spirits, following the work of a tiny British charity and the healing of a baby.

In the deeply-rural south of the country, in the Gweembe Valley, Christetor Handomba was expecting a child when her husband died. According to local custom, the husband’s family claimed all his belongings, leaving her destitute, and the village elders summoned her to be ‘cleansed’ in the sight of the ancestral spirits – but, being a Christian, she refused.

She was told that for insulting the spirits, she could expect a curse – probably a disabled child. Her mother told her to kill a black chicken and offer it to the spirits in apology, and again Christetor refused.

Shunned by everybody in the region, she had a baby boy, Phedon. To the astonishment of the villagers, he appeared perfectly healthy, until he responded to neither visual nor aural tests, and was pronounced deaf and blind.

It was by chance that the Zambian director of Health Help International, heard travellers’ tales of ‘a cursed woman’ in a remote valley, and travelled to seek her out. When he reported back about a Christian woman disowned by her village and punished by the spirits with a deaf and blind baby, British supporters of the charity paid for medical treatment, and several sent gifts to the mother, which had to be given secretly, out of sight of the village elders.

A team of visiting American doctors at Lusaka were told the story, and in a series of operations which would be considered familiar to European surgeons, repaired first Phedon’s hearing, then one eye, then the other.

Now, in a message just received in Britain, the director has reported the most remarkable aspect of the story – the reaction of the village elders and witch-doctors.

"The reaction of the village elders over our breakthrough on their traditional beliefs is that of defeat. They are now coming forward to prove for themselves that Phedon is able to see, and one of the elders has openly confessed that the God who Christetor worships is real and should be respected, because he has defeated the powers of darkness. Christetor has been fully accepted in society. There is no more bickering about her faith in God. She stands a champion through Christ Jesus."