“The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.” Matt. 11:5
From Chiang Mai city, our Create International DTS outreach team headed to the mountain tops, alongside a team from a local Chiang Mai Church. We visited a Karen village that they saw come to the Lord, from zero believers to now 70% being followers of Christ.
Fifteen years ago, when the village was in spiritual darkness, the local witch doctor decided that they all needed move up to the highest point in the mountains to get away from certain evil spirits. This put a heavy burden on the villagers to have to hike down 3 hours to their fields in order to do their work; then hike back to their homes at the highest point. They did this every day.
After the church team came to spread the Gospel, the village no longer needed to “flee” from evil spirits, so the church helped them move back to where they used to be, near their fields. The witch doctor also accepted Christ around a year and a half ago. Yet, evil spirits have appeared to him taunting, “Everyone here can become a Christian, except you!” Spirits in the shapes of men, women and children began visiting him more frequently. He became terrified, to the point where he was physically immobilized in his fear.
There is a big tree in front of the (now) village church where the former witch doctor had performed his spells and sorcery. As the CIDTS had spent some time hearing about this old man’s story, someone on the team felt to lead him in a prayer of renunciation at the tree. The man was willing. He is blind in one eye, and only retains 20% vision in his other eye. He could barely speak at 90 years old. When we had asked him to walk, he could not even take one step. Lucy, our host, had to lift his feet up in order to put on his sandals. Someone carried the man all the way from his house to the tree. We led him in prayers of repentance and renunciation. Symbolically, with the village pastor, we held a rope as a symbol of the man’s bondage. The pastor cut a piece, then handed it over to the man to complete the severance. He was “cut off” from his bondages! The former witch doctor whispered, “Hallelujah.”
We were about to carry him home, when he stopped us and mentioned softly, “I would like to walk.” And ever slowly but surely, he began to walk up the hill! We could not believe our eyes! Glory to Jesus! The man got a bit tired, then sat down. He said to us, “I have not walked, or even been outside of my home, for over a year.”
How beautiful to witness this former witch doctor now have complete joy in Christ. He has been made well. God used the location that cursed him to heal him.
Later that evening, we had planned on showing a movie — “When the Storms Come,” the Northern Thai evangelistic film by Create International. When we told villagers we had a movie, they gasped with excitement! Well, some of them had never seen a movie in their life!
We made invitations to each household, while others drove 3 hours away to fetch a generator. At night, with screens and portable speakers in place, the film began. We savored the faces and laughter of the people connecting with the messages of the film. They loved it, and it brought the Good News to them in a relevant way — in a language and culture familiar to them. Though, 15 minutes towards the end, the generator ran out of fuel. One lady volunteered to walk in the dark to empty the fuel from her motorbike, so the generator could be re-fueled and they could finish the movie! That is dedication.
“So do you have more movies?! they asked. “If you have, can we watch it now?!” Now it was quite late.
Perhaps for another time, the village pastor has invited our Create teams to come back to continue to model ministry and film-showings to 30 other villages in the mountainous area, some of which have not yet heard the Good News in a way they can understand. The Karen people are fired up to share the Gospel to their neighbors and other peoples in Northern Thailand. They desire to be mobilized!
On our final day in the village, the pastor asked our CIDTS team to run a church service at last moment’s notice. Being good, flexible YWAMers, we obliged and it turned out to be a vibrant experience. All were enlivened throughout the testimonies, preaching, songs, prayer; even a kids’ program using Create’s Northern Thai animation clips. And in the end, we anointed every member of the church.
We thought we were done for the weekend. Then, the pastor talked about a friend in another village nearby. Recently, this friend became a Christian, but also went to a tree and worshipped the evil spirits. Well, the evil spirits possessed him and he couldn’t eat, drink or walk for some time now. At his house, all his relatives were gathered. While Sameh & David worshipped around the house, Fred and Tim led him in repentance, and then casted out his demons. Afterwards, they helped him up and he also began to walk. David continued to worship, while Sameh read Psalm 23 over the delivered man. We encouraged him to eat and drink to be strengthened. As the man bit into a piece of banana, he exclaimed it never tasted so good! His appetite returned visibly that moment.
As he ate his food, we encouraged his family to find someone to read the Bible for him regularly and pray for him. The pastor committed to follow-up. Before we departed, we prayed for the rest of his family and friends, and anointed them too.
“Oh, I feel the house is shaking… I feel like a new man!” he shouted. God delivered not just one, but two men from captivity, using us that weekend.
“Earth, tremble in the presence of the Lord, in the presence of the God of Jacob.” -Psalm 114:7
It was an inspirational, uplifting time; and a great memory as outreach phase comes to a close. For more info on the upcoming CIDTS in 2013, visit http://www.createthailand.com/cidts Email: email@example.com
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