Spiritual Warfare for New Believers
Responding to the Gospel always means battling against the power of Satan in the world; however, in western societies it is less common for spiritual entities to manifest themselves in "obvious" ways. We might be tempted to think that sort of thing only happens in movies.
Claiming Jesus as Lord is never a decision to be taken lightly. In western cultures, we are familiar with the challenges of repenting of our sins and beginning to critically examine our lives in the light of the gospel. Many of us must be delivered from the spiritual bondages of selfishness and greed. We experience the resistance of the Evil One in habitual sins and addictions. We might also experience tension in relationships with friends and family as a result of our new life in Christ.
But in other cultures, evil spirits often come to afflict those who have decided to follow Jesus with powerful experiences, trying to scare them away from their newfound freedom.
In Thailand, this is especially true for people who come from strongly shamanistic families, where the same gods and spirits have been worshipped for generations. New believers not only face the persecution of their families, but also of their families' guardian spirits. The sense that Thai people have of the spirit world is very strong, and this is no less true for Christians. They know through experience that they battle not against flesh and blood; they also know that the power of Jesus reigns over all.
For Aang and Ohn, this is part of what motivates them to continue sharing the good news of freedom in Christ, even in a difficult place. They know by experience how much Jesus can transform lives, and how badly that transformation is needed.
Ohn came from a family of powerful shamans. Growing up, it was known in her village that her grandfather had the power to strike a dog dead who tried to bite him, to protect people from diseases brought on by spirits, and even to make people fall in love. When Ohn became a Christian, she acknowledged the lordship of Jesus Christ over all other spiritual powers. After several months of growing in her faith, she suddenly began experiencing nightmares and oppression by evil spirits. For months, the leaders of her church partnered with her in prayer and battle in the name of Jesus, until finally the spirits were gone for good. She learned through personal experience that Christ is Lord of all, and that His Name is higher than any other name.
Though the Evil One may have hoped to scare them away, experiences like these have strengthened Aang and Ohn in their calling to serve God. Please continue to pray for Aang and Ohn as they labor through opposition and spiritual resistance in the city of Cha-am.