“God is more powerful than any spirit or shaman,” Ramon said, leaning forward. “Our ancestors taught us that God abandoned us after the first great sin. But that was a lie that the spirits taught so that we would fear them rather than enjoying the love and peace of God.”
Two beady eyes watched Ramon from the deep shadows at the back of the hut. The ancient shaman’s mouth broke into a broad grin revealing teeth stained black from years of chewing betel nut.
“Don’t fear the spirits,” Ramon continued earnestly. “Trust God, and He will protect you from any curses, no matter how powerful.”
“Ha ha ha!” the wizened shaman cackled from the shadows. “So, you think God can protect you from my spirits? Bah! God hasn’t had anything to do with us since the original sin. You wouldn’t live five minutes if I sent one of my spirits to attack you!”
“Oh, but Grandpa,” Ramon said, “God has come down to us. His Son lived among us, and we killed Him. Even our ancestors told us that story. What they didn’t know is that God didn’t leave us after we killed His Son. His Holy Spirit is still here, and He protects everyone who trusts Him.”
“Bah!” cried the grizzled shaman again, shuffling out of the hut. “You just keep teaching those lies for a few more minutes, and I’ll show you how much protection God will give you from my spirits.”
A hush fell over the crowd in the hut. Apprehension filled their hearts as they realized that the withered old shaman had gone to call one of his spirits to kill Ramon. Seemingly unconcerned, however, Ramon continued teaching the people about the God their ancestors had once known. Curiosity overcame terror, and most of the village stayed to see what would happen.
They didn’t have long to wait. A huge grey-striped cat suddenly leapt into the hut. It came prancing and pirouetting across the floor and then hurled itself at Ramon, hitting him full in the chest. Ramon fell backwards, and the cat seemed to disappear into him.
Now I’ll find out how true the Bible really is, Ramon thought as waves of dizziness and nausea swept over him. Either God will protect me from this spirit or I’ll die trusting in Him.
“Let’s see God protect you from that!” The shaman spat at Ramon as he climbed back into the hut. “You won’t last five minutes.”
The people watched wide-eyed, their curiosity battling with their terror. But instead of dying, Ramon sat up and continued teaching. Quietly at first, but then with growing boldness he proclaimed God’s power, assuring the people that God loved them and would protect them. The nausea and dizziness passed, and the light of heaven seemed to shine from his face.
After an hour, the people turned on the stunned shaman. “You have deceived us! Yes, we know that your spirits are powerful, but you told us that God didn’t care about us after our ancestors’ great sin. You told us that your spirits were our only hope, and you extorted money from us to protect us and heal our sicknesses. But you have failed. God has saved Ramon. He is stronger than your spirits. What do you have to say for yourself?”
The slinking shaman fled into the night, never again to be seen in those parts.