“Mommy, when can we leave?” 6-year-old Alex asked.
“Well,” Cara replied, “the family is collecting all the things they use for spirit worship. They will burn these things, and then we will anoint their house and pray for Jesus to send His angels to come and stay here with them. After that, we will go.”
“Why do they have to burn all that stuff?” Alex wanted to know.
“By burning it, they are showing that they are choosing Jesus and asking Him to send His angels to protect them and their house. When the bad spirits come, God’s angels can show them that they no longer have a right to be here,” Cara explained.
This Pnong family had tired of the round of spirit worship. Living in fear of what the spirits might do and performing appeasement ceremonies and sacrifices was all they had ever known, until their neighbors chose to follow Jesus. They had watched this family closely to see what evil would befall them for turning their backs on the spirits. But instead of chaos, they saw peaceful smiles, joy, better health and freedom from fear that they wished for themselves. After months of watching, they decided to find out more about following Jesus and began attending the Bible studies our teammates the Timminses are conducting in their small village. Recently they said that they want to follow Jesus and asked to have their house cleansed from spirits.
So one Sabbath after the Bible study, our team went to their house, walking the last kilometer just as the sun sank below the horizon. We all gathered and prayed together. They cut the strings they had worn since childhood around their wrists, ankles, necks and stomachs to protect them from the spirits. The wife took warthog teeth and other fetishes out of her purse. They removed certain plants that were tied onto the corners of their house. Everything they had used for spirit worship they removed and put in a big pile. Then they lit the pile on fire, and we all sang, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” Next we anointed the house with oil. Greg Timmins explained that the oil was not powerful in itself, but it was a symbol that they were dedicating their house to Jesus, and it was He who protected them.
After we finished praying, we started walking back to where our trucks were parked. I hadn’t brought my flashlight since I hadn’t realized we would be walking after dark. I did my best to walk in the bit of light that fell over the path from other people’s lights, but I found myself stumbling often. Then Ryan, the student missionary who is living in this village for the year to nurture the new believers, came alongside me with his light. How much easier it was for me to walk! I smiled as I realized that God would also use Ryan to help shed light on the path of these precious people, so young in their understanding and faith.
Please pray for all the new believers in this small village and for our team as they mentor them. Pray that they will grow to have a strong faith and that their examples will continue to shed light on other people’s paths to Jesus.