This is a diary entry from 2009 about a power encounter I had in Laos.
During one of our stops, we were clandestinely brought into a home where a group of believers meets. There we met with a group who had been faithfully meeting for some time. Their desire was to eventually be recognized by the government as an official church, so they made an application. They had not heard anything as of yet, but they told us that they had been working hard to demonstrate that they were a group that could be trusted in their community. Our Lao contact felt that while this was certainly to be respected, he encouraged them to stand firm in their faith no matter what the outcome. They were already a “church” that had been accepted and received by Jesus Christ. They were accepted and authorized by Him!
As we spoke with them, we could not help but overhear a loud wailing coming from outside. The members seemed to try and ignore it, but it was nearly impossible. As our friends talked in Lao and Thai, we were getting a little lost in translation. Eventually we were able to hear the story of what was going on. We came to find out that one of the ladies in the room is married to the man making all of the noise outside.
From what I understood, he had been a part of their meeting at one time and was coming around to believing in Jesus, but I don’t believe he had made the commitment yet. His wife tells us that while visiting a local Buddhist temple, he ate some food that had been offered to an idol. After this incident, he became severely demon possessed and has almost completely stopped eating. He howls and growls and has no rest day or night. (This is the second time I have heard a story similar to this…the other time in Thailand)
Eventually the members brought this man into our meeting area. Our Thai contact moved over to meet the man and commanded the spirit in the name of Jesus to be quiet. The man came and knelt down before him. As the Thai contact spoke to him, the man began to “wai” him in the traditional way. It was a way of showing respect, but as the Thai contact went on in speaking to the man, it became apparent that he was not being respectful but mocking. Our Thai friend spent awhile talking with the man and commanding the spirit, but the man remained unmoved. Both Freddy and I were getting anxious to help, but we did not feel like the brothers were opening the door for us, so we stayed back.
Eventually, after all of us praying for the man as a group, he remained calm, but the wild stare remained in his eyes. We continued to wait patiently, not wanting to force ourselves into the situation. Our contacts began to explain to us that they felt that this man was not yet free because it was the responsibility of the group to fight this battle, not ours. God would get the glory when this man was set free by this group, not by us. They must pray and fight so that when this man is free the whole village would see it as a miracle. We could see the point, but we did not agree that it meant we should leave him this way and go. If at all possible, we must continue to fight in Jesus name. Our friends were wanting us to eat with them, but how could we eat when this man remained in this condition.
If we had more time here we wanted to use it to pray. Because we felt the group transitioning back to what seemed like normal chatting, we finally asked our contacts if we could pray for this man as well. We looked at his wife and asked her through the interpreter, “You want your husband to be free, don’t you.”? Of course she said yes. Freddy began to speak about how Jesus healed and set free all who came to him. “He came to destroy the works of the devil. He wants this man to be free. We are going to believe together for him to be free.”
We moved in close to the man together and began to command, “In the name of Jesus Christ…” As we spoke, the man lunged forward with a loud growl. He was clearly not liking that name spoken in that way! He stretched his neck forward and his eyes bulged in their sockets as we continued to declare the Word of God over him. Some of the brothers grabbed his arms so that he could not swing them. Freddy looked into the man’s eyes and spoke to the spirits who had taken control of this man’s life. It was time for them to go! One time the man spoke clearly in perfect English, “Stop, Stop.”
Eventually, the man began exhaling deeply over multiple times until he fell face first and went limp. We continued to speak the Word of God over him until at once he came to himself and realized that strangers were around him and he was on the floor. From what I could tell, he was embarrassed as he walked out of the room and back to his home. His eyes were definitely more clear than they were before, but I could tell that this was just the beginning of what would be needed to help this family find complete freedom. This one would need the combined efforts of their community through fasting and prayer.
This was not an expected part of the itinerary, both for us and for our contacts, but it was one that we believe God wanted. It reminded me of the fact that as much as we try as believers to be respected by our communities, and in this case the government, the ministry of helping people find freedom in Jesus can get messy. People’s lives are not always clean, quiet, and nicely packaged. There are many people who are suffering because of ignorance and disobedience. They don’t need a good speech or someone to explain their problem, they need power to get free.
We continued on our journey that day, not rattled by what we experienced as much as the thought of what would become of our friends and their group. As our Thai contacts initially said, it would be up to them now. I just hope that we were used to give them a large dose of momentum in the right direction.
What would you have done in this situation? Would you have done anything differently?
Stay tuned as I share more in upcoming posts.