Even though they could be taken by car, it was still quite an undertaking to move two sick people down to the airport.
I thought that it might be better for them to rest.
However, our director and Mr. Amma thought that it was dangerous to keep them in Lalibela since they were in critical condition with clear symptoms of altitude sickness.
Their suggestion was first to take them down the mountain for a few hours to see how they would do, and if possible, bring them back up again to join the rest of the band members for a photo shoot that afternoon.
A photo shoot at the World Heritage site was one of the most important objectives of our Ethiopian expedition that time.
That’s why Mr. Amma, our photographer and videographer, accompanied us.
As for me, at first I could not agree with the idea of taking them down, but if they happened to get better and could join us for the shoot, I would be OK with that.
"I have numbness in my hands and feet, but it’s okay."
I said with a smile.
For the time being, I was scheduled to have my makeup done at 10 o'clock, so I left my room to get to the makeup room little before 10.
Then, the intense smell of oil filled my nose, and I felt nauseous again.
Taiwan’s specialty "smelly tofu" is comparable to that smell.
I wondered what kind of oil was used in Ethiopia.
I was fine with that smell the day before, but that morning with my physical condition, that smell incited nauseousness.台湾名物「臭豆腐」匹敵する匂いだ。
Fell and out!!
I covered my mouth and ran into the makeup room.
I saw our singer, Maki, having her hair and makeup done on the veranda in the sunlight.
However, it was too cold for me outside, so I asked for the makeup table to be moved inside.
In the meantime, I felt sick and fell on my bed, and I could not move.
I had hard time breathing, and my nauseousness and bloating reached its worst.
I was lying in my bed hoping that I would recover soon, but I didn’t know how long I had been lying there. I was completely out.
I remember many people came into the room.
Everyone thought that it was a serious matter when they saw me breathing heavily and lying on the bed.
Fortunately, Kumiko did not have pain from her fibromyalgia, so she worked hard interacting with everyone and adjusting our schedule and making arrangements and so on.
But Kumiko also had to have her makeup done.
We didn’t know what to do about our schedule.
Since I had collapsed, Kumiko was on the run to confirm the arrangements.
Kumiko's assistant also collapsed along with one of our costume designers. They both were taken down the mountain.
Those who came as assistants for me and my wife, to be at our beck and call had to leave the front line, so there was nobody who was able to help Kumiko with all that had to be done.
Bring Marre down！
When Kumiko returned to her room and started working on getting herself ready,
Mrs. Sano, our hair makeup artist came running in her room and said,
"Marre is getting worse, and he has a fever”
I remember saying to Mrs. Sano that I had a fever.
Mr. Kobayashi, our director also brought up the idea that it would be better for me to go down the mountain because I was in critical condition.
My oxygen level dropped to 86. Mr. Kobayashi got advice from our doctor on the team that there was a possibility that my low oxygen level could cause damage to my brain, so he made a judgment accordingly as the site manager.
Other members had already started their photo shoot at the site.
Being half conscious, I heard them making arrangements to get me down the mountain. They were planning on putting me on a blanket so they could lift me up by the four corners and carry me to a car that would be driven by someone they would get from the photo shoot site.
When Kumiko went back to her room to began getting ready to go back to the airport, Mrs. Sano our makeup artist ran in her room and said in a panic,
“Help! Marre told me that he would not go down to the airport and the he got better, so he wants to get his makeup done. Kumiko, only you can persuade him. Please come right now."
Hearing this made her run.
Then she saw me standing motionlessness on the veranda.
"God touched me” I said and asked our makeup artist to do my makeup. Kumiko and Mrs. Sano realized that something extraordinary had happened to me.
My swollen face had returned to normal, and my purple lips regained their color.
Voce from above
Let me tell you what happened.
I knew that people had begun making arrangements to take me to a lower elevation, and as soon as I realized that a driver would arrive in 20 minutes, I started crying out to God in my mind.
I was thinking to myself, “It will not be proof of anything if I descend from this mountain now. What happened to what God said to me earlier this morning about me being healed?
In my half consciousness, having gathered my last bit of energy, I opened my laptop that I had brought from my room and played the song, “Wonderful Merciful Savor.” Fortunately the WiFi worked.
The breath of God in the music started soaking into my heart and spirit as it had earlier in the day.
Then the same voice as I had heard in the morning sounded in my mind again.
The voice clearly reverberated in my consciousness.
“The ones whom I keep an eye on must humble themselves and tremble at my words.” The voice said.
At the same time, with a sudden intensity I was prompted to repent.
Although I teach the word of God as a “pastor”, do I tremble at the word of God, I asked myself.
How guilty am I of this?
In deep spiritual repentance, tears flowed.
In the back of my mind emerged clearly the scene of when Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai how the people of Israel were corrupting themselves at the foot of the mountain through worshiping the golden calf.
It was as if the event was unfolding right in front of my eyes.
There was a difference between Moses who met “God the Highest” face to face by himself on the mountain and the people of Israel who made a golden calf so they could have a visible god.
This story of Moses and his people showed me that me going down the mountain meant “compromise” leading to corruption and leaving the presence of God.
I had told all the band members over and over again that this was God’s work, not just entertainment.
We have been actively involved in offering God our performances, and before any performance, I always unify our minds by reminding ourselves to pay close attention to our attitude. We need to have an attitude of gratefulness to God for our music, since God gave us the music. In return, we give our music back to God.
Being a pastor and the leader of a group carrying out God’s work, I should not go down God’s mountain. That should never happen.
In the midst of pain, another word came into the depths of my soul like the sunlight beaming through a window.
Psalm 107: 8 (NKJV)
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
“That’s right. They thank the Lord for His goodness” I thought.
“It’s not me but they.”
In other words, people will appreciate the greatness of the Lord.
At this moment, I realized that I did not have to go down the mountain. It was God’s will that I would be healed to carry out our schedule just as planned.
The very man who leads the group to the mountain of God and then goes down the mountain and can’t move forward without getting medical help, that should never happen.
Of course, it wasn’t wrong for Dr. Toshiko to give medical advice. She attended to and took care of those who were sick down the mountain.
What she did was wonderful, and I take my hat off to her for her unhesitatingly devoted care.
Down from the mountain
Just around the same time, they also experienced miracles.
Even if they descended, they had no place to go, so they were left lying in the car.
At this strange sight, some local people surrounded their car to find out what was going on with them.
Tomoko's oxygen level had dropped to 67, and her high fever continued.
Dr. Toshiko had done what he could do as a specialist.
However, nothing further could be done. She was at a complete loss.
Tomoko’s dangerously low oxygen level of 67 could have resulted in her death.
They were facing a desperate situation.
Tomoko was also crying because she was so sick and didn’t know what to do.
Dr. Toshiko was praying in tears, because there was nothing that could be done for them medically.
The local people asked Dr. Toshiko if there were anything they could do to help.
At that time, Dr. Toshiko said, “Please pray for their healing!”
Then, the local people gathered together and started praying for the strangers from Japan.
For the traditional Ethiopian Orthodox people, praying is part of their lives.
Then a miracle happened right before the eyes of Dr. Toshiko.
As the people prayed, Tomoko’s oxygen simultaneously level returned to normal immediately, and her high fever was gone.
In addition, the local people opened their houses and cared for them without knowing what kind of infectious disease they might have had. Instead, they welcomed them as their own family members.
I won't go down!
However, God’s word comes first; it transcends medical care.
“God’s ordained work” must surpass what humans do.
Our work should not be supported by medical care but must be supported by those who tremble at the word of God.
My mind was settled.
I wasn’t going down the mountain, because the Lord had spoken to me.
At that moment, I was not sure if I was on earth or up in heaven.
But I clearly felt that my consciousness had left the room and seemed to be on a journey transcending time and space.However, when I decided to get up, I didn’t have any power, rather I felt the sensation of strong gravity pulling me down.
I felt weak.
I didn’t know how long I had been suffering.
Only the great pain suddenly came back to me again.
Yeah, that’s right, I was still suffering.
It was as if I had come back from a long journey and returned to my body.
I cried out to the Lord in my heart.
"Lord, please speak to me.”
Then the Lord promptly spoke.
"Take up your mat and walk!"
But I had no power to stand up.
I said again.
"Lord, speak to me."
Then the Lord spoke again.
“Take your mat, stand up and walk.”
I approached God again.
“Please give me words ”
Then the same word came to me again.
“Take up your mat, stand up and walk.”
Faith is to believe first.
This is what I always teach.
The message I had heard from Pastor-Z at BEZA Church the Sunday before came to mind.
Pastor-Z repeated himself, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts”
That's it. I thought. That message had been spoken to me beforehand.
I came to realize that not by my own power, but I should stand up being clothed by the power of God from heaven.
Although I was still in great pain, I sat up the moment I came to my senses.
Then, just there, our hair-makeup artist Mr.s Sano came back, and I said,
"I am not going to go down the mountain; let’s start the makeup.“
Having said that, I felt strength pouring on me from above.
Saying that gave me power from above. Then I stood up.
When I went out to the veranda, I found more strength.
Kumiko rushed in concerned.
But I said.
"The Lord spoke to me. It's okay, because the Lord touched me."
By witnessing that, Kumiko was convinced that all was well.
People probably thought it was extraordinary that I got up immediately despite my terrible physical condition.
After a while, our director and Mr. Anma came in.
I shared what had happened with Mr. Anma and the reality of it was so powerful that I couldn’t keep from crying.
While having my makeup done, my makeup was coming off.
Both Kumiko and I joined the photo shoot without further incident.
Yuta and Tomoko who descended the mountain did not make it in time.
The World Heritage Site, Lalibela is truly the mountain of God without a doubt.
The pictures taken at this place have all the band members except the two who went down the mountain.
It was unfortunate not to have them in the pictures, but this is a reminder for us that we should not forget the miracles we had experienced on this mountain.
Without Marre, Kumiko and both Tomoko and Yuta who went downm
And after the miracl, Marre and Kumiko joined the session.
The nect day. Full show with all the members
Rifht after teh show. The sundest was beautiful.