I walked into the yard and immediately encountered a crowd of people, huddled near the door of a small mud hut in the far corner of the compound. Zealous Mozambican pastors were yelling and stomping in what sounded very much like an African exorcism.
“What is going on here?” I asked the women around me.
“This woman is full of demons. Her family locked her in this hut five years ago when she went crazy because the witchdoctor said she was dangerous.”
Earlier in the day, a Scottish woman from our team had led an elderly woman to Christ on one side of the village. After being set free from her witchcraft fetishes, the elderly woman took the Scottish woman home with her to see if there was hope for the demonized woman.
The woman’s name was Elisa, but she had been so cast off from the family that before telling us her name, the mother and sister had to consult one another to make sure they remembered correctly.
Across the yard was another small hut. “That hut is the demon house,” the women explained. “The witchdoctor made the family build it to house Elisa’s demons. Each day, they must feed the demons to keep them happy, but no one can go into that house or destroy it- or they will die.”
What does good news look like to a family so caught up in fear that they lock away a daughter- a sister? So bound by fear that they build a house on their land to house and appease the evil spirits? So deceived and afraid that they spend money to daily feed the demons that oppress them? Does good news look like deliverance for their daughter? Destruction of the demon house? Proclamation of freedom and safety in Jesus? An overwhelming love that destroys all works of darkness and dispels all fear?
So, what did we do? We prayed and sang over her for hours, pleading Jesus’ blood over Elisa, and watching the demons go one by one.
Darkness cannot stand the love of God, so we clothed Elisa. We held her in our arms. We gave her food and drink.
Her family looked on in shame, as we cared for the one they had rejected, so we took her hand and their hands and prayed that God would make them a family again. In a wonderful act of reconciliation, Elisa’s mother and sister carried Elisa’s weak, atrophied body to the bathing room and washed her clean of filth and layers of dead skin.
While the women ministered to Elisa and the other women in the family, the Mozambican pastors left to minister to the men. They convinced the family that the demon house was welcoming oppression instead of relieving it.
The next day, shortly after dawn, our entire team gathered to help destroy the demon house. As we broke it apart, we joyfully praised God, and built a great fire. People gathered from across the village to see what was happening. Wouldn’t it be a great show to watch these Christians get killed for destroying the demon house?
When we had finished destroying the house, one of the pastors climbed on top of the rubble and proclaimed that there was no longer any room for fear because the Kingdom of God had come to the village of Namanhumbiri!