"I was born into the home of a witch doctor - a shaman. I knew nothing but fear." Such was the beginning of Lorena's story. (name is changed). We ladies were all seated in a circle, as is the custom in an indigenous meeting. Lorena was nicely dressed in her colorful tribal skirt and blouse, her hair neatly combed, and a beautiful crocheted bag on her shoulder. The children were noisily running in and out of the meeting. Other ladies were talking amongst themselves.
Russ and I were teaching seminars in this village - Russ was teaching the men, and I was having my first session with the ladies. To break the ice at the beginning, I asked if anyone would be willing to tell us how she heard the gospel and accepted the Lord. I was met with only silence. Each lady looked to the other, but no one spoke. I decided then to start by telling them how I had accepted the Lord into my life. Afterwards, they were still extremely reticent, but suddenly Lorena broke the silence with downcast eyes and a trembling voice, "I don't know if I can do this, but I will try. I don't like the memories."
Voice wavering and even pausing from time to time from the painful memories, she told her story with tears streaming down her face.
Her father was a shaman, and from her earliest memories she was afraid of him. When people were sick or troubled they came to their house; the shaman performed encantations, mixed potions and invoked the spirits. His power was based on instilling fear; therefore their house was full of fear and superstitions. "
As Lorena got older, she couldn't wait to leave home. She met a man, they married and had a child, but none of this brought relief or happiness. Dreams of evil spirits hounded her sleep. She told no one, not even her husband, about the dreams. Her spirit, tortured and overwhelmed, finally made her flee. With no destination in mind, she just ran trying to escape the evil. Her husband and others ran after her, finally caught up with her, and brought her home.
After her father, the shaman, died, she felt relief. Surely she could live in peace now that her father's evil influence was gone. Unexpectedly, though, her trouble worsened. Her father came to her in dreams threatening to take her to hell with him. Soon after, her husband began to have the visions as well. He was so afraid that he left his family.
During this time, two single missionary men moved into the village. One of Lorena's friends suggested that she go and talk to them. She did, and began attending church services. While she sat inside the church, she would see her wicked father's mocking face laughing at her through the window. After some time, however, she began to understand the message. Jesus removes the fear. Jesus died for our sins. We don't have to be afraid of hell and eternity. He paid the price, and He loves us. She accepted Jesus into her life, His forgiveness and His sacrifice on the cross for her. Lorena felt the peace of God for the first time, and the burden of fear that she had carried her entire life was gone. Gradually, the visions and her father's wicked face started to fade. They no longer had power over her.
A few years later Lorena's husband returned, and they reunited and formed a loving home. He, too, accepted the Lord, and they raised a beautiful daughter. This young lady married a godly man and together they went to Bible school to train in ministry. They were away for three years and have now come back to pastor the church in their village and work with their own people.
This is the reason we go - to tell the Good News - so that others can have peace with God. John 3:16! For God SO loved us...Lorena never knew true love until she met Jesus. Her face now shines with joy and the love of Christ. The fear is gone!