Sunday, July 20, 2014

casting off darkness with the armor of light (rom 13:12)

thank you to all of you who have lifted this situation up in prayer.  scripture says prayer and fasting is critical in dismantling demonic activity.  we have felt your support in a big way.

jesus carried me through one of the toughest weeks i've ever had here in guatemala. crazy thing is, it started off pretty amazing.

a week ago sunday, we had the privilege of baptizing oscar, one of the rhinos who recently accepted christ.  i've known oscar for almost 6 years.  he's been in the boys academy for more than 3 years, ever since we opened.
me and oscar in early 2009
his baptism party was joyous.  he is a changed young man, no doubt.  we've seen it coming for a long time.  as our friend cesar later told us, there was surely a fiesta in the heavens as another young man from the village of buena vista is freed and now knows the grace of jesus christ.

oscar's baptism - july 13, 2014
the next day, oscar experienced the first of several demonic attacks that would hit throughout the week.  for me its been a crash course in demon possession/oppression - reading as much scripture as possible, hearing from people i love and trust, and from simply being thrown into the fire.  there has been much prayer and discernment as a group here at bvsa as to how to handle things.  and much seeking as to what our role is, as those filled with the holy spirit.  i had seen some things before, but never been so personally involved.  and the things i had read or studied in the past had done nothing to prepare me for the real deal.

during the attacks, he loses control of his body, and doesn't know who he is.  he becomes amazingly strong- usually taking several of us to hold him down. during one of them, he drove me into a block wall as if i was half his size (he is half mine).  he foams at the mouth, rolls his eyes back, becomes rigid, etc.

the first time it happened, it scared me.  i think it scared all of us. we began digging into God's word, and becoming strengthened by faith. each time it happened after that, i felt stronger and more confident in claiming the blood of Jesus Christ as supreme authority.  as a team here, we knew that the same blood that purchased each of us is sufficient.  with each following attack, we prayed over him, sang, worshiped, and demanded, in the name of Jesus, that he be left alone.

late thursday night during a time of worship, singing and prayer, he passed out.  he had done this before, but it had only been after the "attacks", never out of the blue.  after several minutes, he woke up, and seemed much better- much more alert.  the next day, we had an incredibly sweet time of prayer and sharing as a team (all the rhinos).  they prayed over him, encouraged him, and promised to always have his back.  beautifully, these "events" have brought them closer in ways that i haven't seen in the last 3 years since the academy opened its doors.

it has been 2 days since then.  we've kept a close eye on him since, and he's doing great.  we are believing that he has been delivered.  right now as i type, i can hear him in the other room with jake and milton, laughing and messing around just like normal.

this is far from over.

paul put it this way during varsity team devotions on friday (as best i can recall).  i thought it was a perfect summary of where we are:

paul:  "tell me some of the things that are 'dark' about your village." 
the boys:  "abuse, addiction, beating up women, not caring about their families or others."
paul:  "how long has it been that way here?"
the boys:  "forever."
paul:  "what are you guys trying to do about it?"
the boys:  "change it."
paul:  "so if those things make your village dark, you guys are like lights, trying to illuminate the darkness...
the boys:  nod their heads yes
paul:  so if satan likes his darkness, do you think he's going to be ok with it if you start turning on the lights?"
the boys:  "no"
paul:  "so basically what we've started here in the village is a war - light verses darkness.  do you understand?"
the boys:  "yes"
paul:  "if you want an explanation for whats been going on with your teammate this week, here's an easy answer.  he accepted christ recently and decided to jump into the front lines of this war.  in a war, the front line is always the most dangerous spot.  the enemy struck him, but he's back up.  through the power of jesus, we lifted him up together, and he's strong again.  in fact, all of us are stronger.  and here's the best news...  we know who wins the war!  because we fight for a king that has never been defeated, and never will never be defeated.  his name is jesus."

after this time together, one of the boys raised his hand and said "i want to fight.  oscar has been my friend longer than anyone, and when i saw him going through the attacks, i wanted to trade shoes with him and take his place.  i want to fight too.  i want a shot at the enemy."

i was fighting back tears.  we have a verse from john 15 on the gym wall that says "there is no greater love than this, to lay down his life for a friend."

do you hear this satan?  you have made us stronger.  we know you're not going away.  but we claim the blood of jesus in this place.  we claim victory in the mighty name of our king, the commander of our army, Jesus Christ.  you know him, and you tremble at his name.  and we are filled with him.  you have enjoyed your darkness here for too long.  we're not going anywhere.  together, with our rhinos, we are turning on some lights.  and we dont plan on stopping until our little "village on a hill" is lit up so bright that the whole world sees it.

"the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light.  and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."  
Matthew 4:16

oscar's team - the varsity rhinos


papa mike said...

Boy, we are on a plane right now somewhere over TX (I think); both of us now in tears after reading your blog about Oscar and the Rhino's.
Give them all our love and hold Oscar up high, he's become your Little Giant.
Praise God!!
Pops & Mimi

Howard Tietjen said...

Bless you my friend and know that there are many who have you covered in prayer.

Anonymous said...

The Leivas in the USA love you guys. Praise be to God

The Gall Family said...

We continue to pray in the name of Jesus that Satan gets behind. Such insight and wisdom and discernment.......Oscar continues to be lifted in prayer. "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. " Ps 9:2

Anonymous said...

. . . we are in this fight together, and with Jesus as our leader, and armed with the Armor of God, WE WON"T BE SHAKEN! Let that LIGHT Shine forever and ever! See you soon.

Jordan said...

Wow, my wife and I were just talking about demonic possession/oppression last night, a topic we've only discussed a few times before. God convicted me as I was reading that I minimize and ignore spiritual warfare because I don't see the struggle between light and darkness playing out as visibly around me, but that doesn't make it any less real. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story and the victory that has been won in Jesus' name! We will continue praying for you guys and all of the Rhinos.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your story. How amazing is our God!
Becky Harmon