Thursday, January 31, 2013

Speechless, but Not Prayerless

I am currently on a trip to Cambodia, visiting a Cadence International missionary that our church supports. On Thursday, we spent the morning with a Tanks Division outside of Sisophon. Towards the end of our medical time with them, a father brought his 20-year old daughter to us. In fact, we were just about ready to pack up when they came rolling into the camp. As they came up on a scooter, she looked very faint. She could hardly make it to the table where the doctors were looking at patients. She needed to have her father hold her up most of the time. I shot a video, but have had a hard time getting it uploaded to YouTube, so you will have to trust me on this. She goes in and out of convulsions without warning. Almost as if she is heaving to throw up. It was different. But the really strange part of it was that she would go back and forth from being completely lucid to being totally hypnotic. And it just didn't make sense what was going on with her.

After being examined by the doctor, the first thought was simply that she was anemic. She hadn't been drinking much water or any food in the past few days. Or maybe she had a low blood level. She was claiming to have a headache as well. But there was no fever. Even though I am not a doctor (actually am one, but not that kind), I jumped on board with everyone else trying to speculate what was wrong with her.

As we were speculating, the one thing that kept coming back to us was that maybe this was not physical at all. Maybe this was a spiritual issue. Cambodia is a part of the world that is highly Buddhist. Spiritism is everywhere. Outside of almost every home is a spirit box, that is meant to capture the spirits so that they do not go into the homes. I know it is ridiculous. But that is what is believed in this part of the world. The demonic presence is really powerful here.

[Let me interrupt this story to say that I do not fully know what to do with Spiritual Warfare. I have read books. I have studied the Scriptures. I have a grasp of what I believe in many aspects of it, but it seems as though my landing is more "what I don't believe we should do" as opposed to "what we should do." I think there has been one person in my life that I have come in contact with that was demon possessed. At the end of the day, it is just one area of theology that I have not come to full resolutions. Confronted with a situation like this tends to make me even more dependent upon Jesus for all things. I suppose that is the best place to be.]

Back to the story. I didn't really know what to do, but to pray for her. Paul, Sareth, and myself all laid our hands on her and started to pray. I was praying for her safety. I was praying that if there was something spiritual going on, that Jesus would take care of it. I was praying for the safety of those around her. While we prayed over her was the time that she seized the most. Constant convulsions. I would be lying if I were to say it wasn't a bit unnerving. 

When we finished, she seemed to perk up. We talked to her and she started to respond more and more. At one point in the conversation, she even said that she believed in Jesus. That was a good sign to many of us. After all, what I have heard is that many demon possessed people struggle even saying the name of Jesus. At this point, we went back to the physical. Maybe it isn't spiritual after all. We asked many other questions before the big ball dropped.

As Sareth pressed further into the history of her life, he found out several disturbing things. For one thing, as a 20-year old girl, she had been engaged two times before and both of the men died. Then there was a third boy that really loved her and prayed for this one spirit to help her love him back. That is when many strange things began to happen to her. Her parents then took her to a local witchdoctor just three days ago who tried to cast this spirit out of her and that is when she started going into convulsions.

When Sareth asked her where she was from, she indicated Siem Reab. That is where we are staying for the next two days. It is about 75 miles from where she lived. It is not where she lives. It is the largest temple complex in the world, known as Angkor Wat. We will visit it tomorrow, but I have been told it is 20 square kilometers of ancient temples. Unfathomable. But she indicated that she was from here. More things were confirmed when Sareth pressed her as to why she said she believed in Jesus. Her answer was that as a Cambodian, she believes in "all things."

At this point, her parents literally picked her up and said that she had to get out of there. They were hiding things during the entire conversation, and it was troubling. As more and more things came out in the conversation, all I could think of was the Apostle Paul entering Philippi and healing the demon possessed girl who was the slave girl (Acts 16:16-19). Just before she left, her parents indicated that she had been fortune telling the past three days. I just wonder if there is more to the story than what we were told from her parents. They were a part of it. When they knew that we were concerned for her soul, they were no longer willing to seek help.

During one of her more lucid moments, she turned to Deedra, one of the ladies that works for Cadence, who does a Bible study at this military base. As she turned to her, she told her that she really wanted her to come to her house. I can't help but think that was a moment of crying for help. Pray for Deedra as she seeks to help her in the future.

Once again, being in a situation like this can make leave you speechless. It can leave you confused as to what to do. But I hope it never leaves us prayerless. I guess the only thing I get about spiritual warfare is that I do not pray enough. There is a reason why Paul ended his teaching on warfare with a call to pray "at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

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