MOBILIZING MISSIONARIES FOR PIONEER CHURCH PLANTING
“This is a special case. Please pray,” the pastor urged us as a small group of church members gathered around the young couple who knelt on the mat covered floor. These few believers had stayed behind in the small concrete structure long after the morning service where the Holy Spirit had come upon them in power. Before their visitors from America could leave for the next church, they wanted personal prayer–some for healing, some because of barrenness, some for a general blessing in their lives, but this couple was unique.
They spoke of a lack of peace in the home, evidenced by the wife’s freshly blackened eye, and briefly mentioned demonic oppression that seemed to shuffle between husband and wife every week or so. We later learned that two weeks ago as most of the world awaited the hope of a new year, this couple and their eight year old son closed every door and window in their small home, opened the valve on their gas stove and waited for their impending death. By the merciful kindness of God, a neighbor sensed something wrong, broke through their door and saved their lives.
The husband was further spared from a motorcycle accident just last week where all the others involved suffered broken legs or other major injury while he escaped completely unharmed. Now they were among the church with Jesus as their only hope, so we began to pray with earnest. After just a few minutes of commanding spirits and calling upon the mercy of God, we stepped back. These were believers in Jesus, close members of the pastor’s family. They claimed to have been filled with the Holy Spirit that morning in our meeting, and had just repented and forgiven one another for their sins. But with such oppression present in their home, I was sure my next question would hit the mark.
“Do you have idols or witchcraft items in your home?” I probed. Without hesitation the wife affirmed that they did. But as the other leaders began to instruct them on removing them and anointing their house, it seemed important for us to accompany them in the endeavor. “Let’s go now,” we said, and not an hour later we stood in their two room house, an old ceiling fan just inches above our heads, Catholic icons littering their walls and shelves.
After tiny cups of coffee, whole pomegranates, and bits of conversation, we prayed for a passing neighbor and got down to business. A newly purchased box of golden idols was extracted from some secret location in the house, another from atop the tube TV. Posters of God’s exalted mother and other paraphanalia were gathered up with a demonic mask. As we entered the bedroom, metallic wardrobe doors opened to reveal images of local gods installed behind glass panels, silently guarding the contents. The husband grabbed a kitchen knife and tore open the backside of their casings, ripping out worthless idols that had invited Hell into their private lives. The pile of disgraced gods out on the sidewalk preached to the gawking neighbors as the whole family proceeded to anoint the house with cooking oil and take authority over it.
“I’ve got a terrible headache,” the wife quietly informed us. But instead of praying, we instructed her husband to lay hands on her and command the pain to go. Not surprisingly the pain instantly vanished!
After a closing prayer we were ready to leave the family to their new life in Christ when the husband asked the church overseer to baptize him the next time he was in town. Knowing his busy travel schedule and learning that there was water nearby, we urged this leader to not wait another moment. He agreed, and we marched with some neighbors for a quarter mile down to the lake to cut off their old life once and for all.
With joy the man was put underwater in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and came up all new. He turned and assisted in baptizing his precious wife while our little crowd rejoiced from the shore in the golden light of a beautiful sunset. Once back on dry land he removed his rosary and triumphantly threw the last symbol of his former idolatry far into the lake.
On our brisk walk back the overseer discussed plans for a new fellowship in this unreached area while the husband willingly offered himself to be a part of the launch team, excited to share his freedom with those who know him best.
While chasing their son around the neighborhood I marveled at the goodness and greatness of our God who saved, reconciled, filled, baptized, healed, & delivered this family on a warm Sunday afternoon deep in a village in southern India.
This really was a special case.