Please, Don’t Unleash the Flying Monkeys: Part 7

   “For I, said the Lord, will be to her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the glory in the midst of her” – Zechariah 2:5

The day I found out that some witches really can fly? That was a special day.

I figure there’s a good chance I might lose some readers with this story. I write this years later, and since then I have been knocked backwards by a demonic spirit, stood against a big, nasty one and watched it flee, and seen minds set free from oppression in an instant, all in the Name of Jesus. On our first trip to Ghana Matt and I went to a meeting where all we did was assist others who were ministering deliverance to demonized people.

And yes, some of this happens in the good old U.S.A.

This particular story happened in 2007.

On the stretch of beach from The Father’s House over into Togo, the majority of the population worships demons. In some areas, it’s estimated to be 98% of the population. Grotesque shrines and fetishes can be seen along the road. They have offering bowls of food around them, and some have stains from where blood has been poured out. You can feel the darkness.

That area along the coast is the worst place in the world for the despicable tradition of Trokosi. This is the practice of a young girl being offered to the local voodoo priest to be a slave for life. She is also his sex slave. Girls are given to these men to appease them. They are forced to go topless in public.

I can assure you, there is nothing erotic about seeing a topless woman, young or old, walking through the market. When you see one, and see the dark blue cloth wrapped around her waist, you are seeing a slave who is not only a slave to a wicked man, but is probably now demonized herself. I feel anger as I type these words. Jesus hates this stuff, and wants them set free.

Girls as young as 5 years old are surrendered to these priests.

Let’s say your son is fooling around, throwing rocks with his friends. If one of those rocks hits the voodoo priest’s chicken and kills it, reparations need to be made. The priests operate in demonic power, and can put powerful curses on people. If the priest comes to the family and demands their daughter, they comply out of fear.

David Banini deals with this stuff as a matter of course. One time a woman came to him with a curse upon her. She was pregnant, and had carried the child for two years. David broke the curse and the child was delivered, alive, that day.

Most Americans think of voodoo as superstition.

For many in America, it is just that, just a game that is dabbled with, and that is all.

Of course, much of the church doesn’t believe in miracles, and has never seen anyone healed.

Many believe this supernatural stuff is for the ignorant people in other countries.

The truth? We are educated to the point of ignorance.

Dealing with this stuff is messy. We don’t like messy, especially in our churches. Our churches like a tidy service, three hymns, maybe a special song solo, followed by announcements, then a three- point sermon, the doxology and finally, everyone home in time for kick-off.

No messes, please!

I love Jesus. Who was ever like Him? He was never afraid of being messy. He is still not. I am very happy about that. Life is messy, and sometimes I am a mess. Tip over tables loaded with merchandise at the temple? Check. Send demons into a herd of pigs, which proceeds to make one heck of a mess? Check. Spit in the dirt, make mud, rub it on a blind guy’s eyes? Check. Cast out demons that shriek and throw people on the ground? Check. Hang out with messy people like prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers? Check.

I think Jesus dealt with demons almost as often as He healed people. Often, they were connected.  It is actually refreshing to go where the spiritual realm is right out there in front of God and everybody. There’s not a lot of wondering what team someone is playing for. Ministering suddenly comes down to brass tacks, because these people believe in the supernatural. They live with it.

So, one fine morning, as David, a brother from Kansas named Kelly, and I drove through this area, we came up on a large crowd. There were a couple hundred people.  The police were even there.

We stopped and walked into the middle of it. The crowd parted for us, because not only were we the only white boys anyone had seen recently, we had David with us. David does walk with a kingly presence.

The crowd parted.

In the center of the crowd a skinny old woman, wrapped in a dirty old cloth, was sitting on the ground. She looked dazed. Without a clue of what was going on, and, being a pastoral sort of guy, I squatted down and put my hand on her shoulder.

“Are you ok? Do you need help?”

David was translating.

She shook her head. She was dazed.  She mumbled, “The power around the boy was too great.”

Huh?

Not knowing how to respond, I asked, “Can I pray for you?”

She mumbled again, “There was a ring of fire around the boy.”

I was at a loss. Is she crazy?

“Do you need help? Are you ok?”

She shook her head. “I was sent to get the boy. There was too much power. A ring of fire.”

I looked around for a moment. There were people all around, watching this white boy talk to the old woman. The blue sky was bright overhead and I could see the sea off to my left. I had the sense that this was another moment.

I looked up at David for some help. He was laughing at the expression on my face.  “She is a voodoo witch. She was flying in the air, coming to get a 2 year old boy to make a blood sacrifice to the demon. The boy’s mother and father are Christians. She ran into a ring of fire that was all around the boy’s house, protecting them. When she did, she fell to the earth.”

The gears in my head ground to a stop.

“She was naked when she fell from the sky, and someone put that cloth on her. Many people saw her fall.”

It was the biggest crowd I had ever seen in the area. And police too? What the heck?

David was laughing at my expression. “You do not know about these things, do you?”

I shook my head slowly back and forth. I wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. I would call it, This was me when I realized travel really does broaden a person…

David was watching my face. Still laughing, he said “Oh. Here, it is very common!”

Very common. Terrific.

When we continued our drive into Apflao, a border town with Togo, Kelly and I were processing. I came to this conclusion: if you are going to live smack in the middle of voodoo central, you’d best be playing you’re A-game.

Evidently, the little Christian family back there was doing just that. I have often heard people praying for a “hedge of protection” for their family. I came away from this with a new perspective on that!

About two hours later, as we got close to Keta, David turned the radio on. The voice was speaking in Ewe, the local language.

David said “Oh. They are talking about the lady who fell from the sky today.”

“Really?”

“Yes. It is on the local news.”

I imagined Walter Cronkite’s voice wrapping up the evening news back home with that story.

When we got back to David’s, I heard him still laughing, telling Celestine about our morning. Celestine came out of the kitchen drying her hands on a towel. Studying my face with something between wonder and concern, she said “You do not know about these things?”

I felt like a kid in grade school, and my teacher just learned I couldn’t tie my shoes.

“No Celestine, I do not.”

“But you are a pastor. How can you not know these things?”

I did one of those helpless looking shoulder shrugs a fella does when he’s clueless.

She was amazed. She looked at me in disbelief. “I have even seen the witches turn into animals.”

I stood there processing that.

She finished drying her hands. “OK.” She had kindly resigned herself to my ignorance. “Now come, the food is ready.” Her voice was quiet, resigned, like a kind mother who has just found out her son has failed geometry, and knows he still needs to eat.

Kelly and I did not say much at lunch. Lots of, um, chewing and digesting.

That was a memorable trip.

Out at the site, the walls were going up on the Father’s house. We decided to start an outreach out at the site while we were building. I asked David to choose some of the youth to go out and minister to all the children around the Father’s House. He chose four, and that Sunday we prayed over them and commissioned them. We told them to buy bags of rice, fish or chicken from the market, everything they needed. We bought propane tanks and burners, cooking pots, and bowls.

They cooked the food in a room with four walls and no ceiling

We instructed them to invite all who would come, feed them and preach the simple Gospel to them. One Sunday afternoon we fed over 400 people, mostly children with some hungry mamas and grandmas. Very few men came. Ministry times we had them divide the kids up into age groups, boys, and girls.

Over the next couple of years, dozens and dozens of children put their faith in Jesus Christ, and every Sunday many receive healing and deliverance from demons.

The funny thing? The mothers were almost all voodoo people. They would listen, but few of them made a public showing of faith in Christ. They brought their children though, and did not hinder their new faith. They want their children to follow this God who was so good.

Light was invading the darkness, and we were just getting started.

 

Next: Part Eight

3 thoughts on “Please, Don’t Unleash the Flying Monkeys: Part 7

  1. Enoch says he would be as surprised as you were. I think we’re going to have some interesting conversations today.😊 I love that verse of Zechariah.

  2. yep. the next story is one about a little boy who had an encounter with an angel. I think your kids will really love it. I wrote it more from a narrator than in the first person. my grandkids loved it:)
    thanks Mary!

    Hey! I spent about an hour talking to a real sweet lady named Tamla Boone about Africa. Thanks for the reference. i think it was more about Africa and her deep desire to move to Ghana than the brick.

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