This is War!

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Using a bit of war symbology, we could say that our battlefront had significant activity and intensity over recent months. There were ups and downs. But glory to God! We are still standing, alive and confident that our General will lead us to victory.

I went to visit our congregation in Ndreh. When I arrived, they told me a tragic story that had happened a few days before.

A man had taken his own life, hanging himself from one of the pillars of his house. When the wife and their children arrived, the scene was horrific. The young widow began crying out for help, but no one dared assist her for fear of touching the body of her deceased husband.

In this culture, these types of deaths are considered a terrible curse from the spirits living in the forests. Anyone who tries to help could become cursed and attract evil spirits to his or her family, livestock, farming, etc.

Our congregation lives near this home and did not hesitate to come to her aid. They took the body and helped the woman make the funeral arrangements. This woman knows almost nothing about Jesus, His power and protection. So, she performed a traditional Pnong funeral: sacrifices, alcohol, protection rituals to appease the spirits and more.

But these Christians’ testimony and service marked this woman’s heart with fire.

After a few days, the woman called on our group again. She needed prayer for her home.

She told them her husband’s “ghost” appeared in their home every night. They clearly saw the impersonation of their husband and father walking in and out of the house and up and down the small 4 × 4 meter (13 × 13 foot) room. Surprisingly, this did not frighten them but brought more of a feeling of nostalgia, seeing the grieving “spirit” of their husband and father.

What scared them was later each evening, when a ghastly-looking white-clad woman would appear, terrorizing them all night long for seven days.

Imagine the sadness of her husband’s death, the financial problems she would begin to suffer, the worry of taking care of her children by herself, and, on top of that, not having slept for an entire week because demonic spirits would terrorize her every night. My heart tightens and pains me as I imagine her feelings and write these words. This woman called our congregation to pray because the devil was destroying her mind.

But our God is wonderful, and our group explained to the woman that His protection from evil spirits is absolute and 100 percent effective — not a mere spiritual concept that has nothing to do with everyday life nor nice words to make us feel good.

They sang, prayed together, and asked for deliverance from these night terrors. God answered. It was the first night since her husband’s death that this woman was able to sleep peacefully. And so, every day for a week, our brothers shared the Bible with her and prayed.

Unfortunately, as often happens with human beings, we forget about God when everything begins to normalize. Some of the woman’s animist relatives began to visit her, insisting that if she wanted to free herself once and for all from these specters that bothered her, she should burn down her entire house, along with everything she had. The woman accepted the proposal. She burned down her home and all its contents, got new materials, and built her new home two meters (six feet) away from the old house. The people believe they can deceive the spirits in this practice and that the spirits cannot find them.

A few days later, the spirits returned, not in the new house but heard in the rubble of the old house. When the family peered between gaps in the bamboo wall, they could see the spirits prowling. The family did not tell us if the spirits were the same or different, but the terror was the same, and the sleepless nights returned.
Our Christian brothers in this village were not frightened, and they asked the woman if they could stay the night to see if the spirits would appear while they were present. They wanted to give her a chance to sleep, and they were curious and wanted to see the spirits. But nothing happened in the days our brothers were there. The spirits only returned after our group left.

I visited the widow at her home to offer my condolences. She was utterly exhausted. The contour of her eyes was black, as if he had not slept for several days. But it was not just what I saw but what I perceived. The woman was terrified. I felt her sadness. Her countenance expressed confusion — that she wanted us there and, simultaneously, that she did not. She almost did not look up at me.

After singing, sharing some Bible texts, and praying with her, the woman breathed deeply several times. Although the room temperature was normal, the woman was sweating profusely, too much for a person accustomed to high temperatures. I perceived that she was not only grieving for her husband but was also in a tremendous spiritual struggle.

Our group gave her a Bible and a songbook. One of her daughters is now excited to learn to read the Bible and sing with our group. But this woman has not yet decided if she wants to know Jesus. It is a work that the Holy Spirit will continue in her life, and in the end, it will all come down to her personal decision.

This story exemplifies spiritual warfare: Satan attacking, God moving pieces for this woman to meet Jesus, pressure from her family to burn down the house, the return of the spirits, and our group sleeping in her home to provide spiritual support and protection. We will see what comes next.

God grant that this woman may decide to put her faith in Jesus, that she may be freed from the chains of fear and sin, and that she may declare, as Joseph declared after having been vindicated from his sufferings: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good” (Genesis 50:20).

Please take 30 seconds and raise a prayer to heaven for her right now. We all will appreciate this very much.

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