Charms, Strings, and Witchcraft
We ducked our heads into the small, bamboo hut and saw a young girl curled up in a dark corner on a raised, bamboo bench seat. Angelica is only 18 years old, newly married and 2 months pregnant. She recently moved to a depressed village near our airbase in Palawan. We got a full history of her illness which included panic-attack type symptoms which supposedly started as a young girl when a classmate chased her with a snake. She complained of various things including a â€œUTIâ€–urine infection, and trouble seeing. The family explained that she had been â€œblindâ€ for 3 days the week before, after the last attack.
Since we were ruling out demon possession (verses mental illness) we asked the family about any charms, strings, or witch-doctor medicine that they might be using. They openly showed us the string they had taken off her waist already. They also showed us the witch-doctor medicine which consisted of some green leafy, floating things in dirty water in a big, old coke bottle. We encouraged them to get rid of all these things and they consented. I asked them what they thought her sickness was- a physical problem or a â€œbad spirit.â€ They answered honestly even using the word â€œSatanâ€ to describe what they believed might be the problem.
I told our visiting doctor companions that I highly suspected demon possession but that we would know for sure when we saw her during an attack. We encouraged Angelica and the family to pray fervently and to study the Bible. They readily agreed. They had no Bible and had never read it, so we offered to start Bible studies with them.
As we closed our visit with a special prayer, we heard a loud clunk and saw that Angelica had been suddenly thrown to the floor. Her husband was there in an instant and we jumped to help him lift her back up on the bench. Her arms and legs were shaking and her hands and feet were stiff and cramping into painful contortions. She was having trouble breathing and seemed to be hyperventilating. She was moaning in distress and fear and was talking about snakes. The same thing had happened the week before as our other missionaries were having closing prayer after a visit. The doctor checked Angelicaâ€™s eyes with a pen light and found them fixed and dilated.
We immediately started praying for Satan to be cast away as we attempted to help make her comfortable in different ways. One of the doctors asked if there were any other charms in the house or similar things that might be associated with witchcraft. Then we noticed more strings around her wrists and ankles. We asked the family what they were for and they said â€œfor her UTI.â€ We suggested they take them off (which they immediately did) and then we strongly recommended to the husband that they choose now whom they wanted to serve–Satan or God. If they chose God, then he should burn all the strings immediately and throw out the â€œmedicine.â€ He hesitated and I told him he should be the one to decide, not us.
Angelica began to calm down when we started singing hymns and she soon fell asleep. We praised God when the husband went out right away and burned the strings and threw out the witch-doctor medicine! We knew that God had saved this girlâ€™s life and freed her from Satanâ€™s attacks as they made a decision for Him.
A few days later we visited Angelica with our other missionaries and Jeleta (our other 18 year old friend that was freed from 3 demons and has since become a baptized, growing Christian.) We found Angelica sitting outside, hardly recognizable! She was bright-eyed and smiling and so happy to see us! We continue to visit her regularly and though she struggles at times she looks forward to the visits and Bible studies. She and her husband are even attending church with us whenever they can.
P.S. Angelica recently lost her baby in a miscarriage. They were so grateful for our help with getting them to the hospital during the crisis and helping them with the bill. We always direct their praises to God who is the source of all good things. We do thank you also for being a channel of Godâ€™s blessings to this ministry through your gifts and prayers which allows us to help people like them.