“Wanita, what are you doing?” I asked anxiously, staring up at her as she sat on our roof. She didn’t respond.
Wanita had been staying with us for about two months. She was like a sister to me. Her mom died when she was a baby, and her dad never really took an interest in her. Wanita had lived with her grandmother as long as she could remember. We got to know her through Sokha Maly, a student missionary at our project.
Wanita’s childhood was rough. Kids at school either made fun of her or ignored her because she didn’t have parents. She said sometimes she would cry herself to sleep wishing she had parents like the rest of the kids. Wanita was emotionally unstable. She told me that when she was 14 and broke up with a boyfriend, she had cut herself many times.
When Wanita was 15, she went to a Muslim school in Malaysia. While she was there, a suitor became infatuated with her, but she resisted his advances. Knowing he wouldn’t be able to have her, he didn’t want any other young man to have her either, so he coerced her into attending a séance where he invited evil spirits to enter her.
Wanita returned to this country, but she was plagued by spirit attacks that made her hurt herself and those around her. She rarely left home. When the spirits entered her, it took as many as six grown men to restrain her. One time the demons led her off into the jungle, and it was days before rescuers found her.
A friend finally took Wanita to a Christian hospital, and the doctors there prayed for her. The demons stopped attacking her after that, but they made her ill for some time. Our fellow missionaries, the Clay family, took Wanita under their wing, and she started to pray and attend our church services regularly. One night she stayed at our house, and she enjoyed it so much that she asked to live with us until school started. We were happy to have her. But every once in a while when Wanita got depressed, she would act strangely.
One evening my mom and dad went into town, and it was just us kids and Wanita at our house. The evening was going smoothly, and she cooked us supper, saving plates of food for my parents. We were eating together when suddenly Wanita asked why we hadn’t saved enough food for her. I offered her the serving plate, which still had plenty of food on it, but she said she had lost her appetite. She grabbed the plates she had saved for my parents, gave the food to the cat, and stomped off to her room. The rest of us stood there speechless with surprise and confusion.
I took a shower, and before I was finished I heard my little brother say, “Wanita just left. She went into the trees.” Fearing that Wanita might hurt herself, I hurried out of the shower and got dressed. Going outside to look for her, I saw her walking back toward some scaffolding on one side of our house that was set up for roof work. She climbed the scaffolding and sat on some boards halfway up. I pleaded with her to come down, but she didn’t respond. Then she climbed to the top of the scaffolding and went onto the roof. I kept begging her to come down, but to no avail.
Finally, I called my brothers together, and we prayed. They went to bed, but I stayed up. I could still hear Wanita making noises up on the roof, and I was terrified that she might jump off or do something crazy like that. I prayed again, this time that my parents would come home soon.
Finally, I saw Wanita climbing slowly down the scaffolding. A wave of relief flooded through me, and I thanked God. She came into the house, and her eyes were bloodshot and wild. I tried to talk with her, but she shoved me aside, went into her room and slammed the door.
The next morning I asked Wanita about the previous night, and she didn’t remember any of what had happened. When I told her she had been on the roof, she was horrified. She said she would never go up there because it was too scary. She was shocked when I showed her the plates of food she had given to the cat. My parents were very thankful that nothing worse had happened. Wanita isn’t living with us anymore, and I miss her a lot. I am sure angels were guarding us that night, and I am so thankful she is okay.
Thank you for your prayers. They mean a lot to our family. Please keep praying for our ministry to the Great River people, and pray especially for Wanita, that God will complete the good work He has begun in her life.