Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Spirit vs. the spirits

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.
Matthew 8:16

We have mentioned before that the traditions of the Igorot people include worship and sacrifices to various spirits. Yesterday began a series of reminders that we are, indeed, in a culture steeped in animistic practices.

At the local high school yesterday, a large number of students began acting strangely: screaming, speaking in other voices, and taking on the persona of former teachers that have died. We understand that 48 students were described as demon possessed. They were taken to the church across the street where pastors met to pray with them. Several were taken to the hospital due to difficulty breathing and because it was unclear how to respond.

This morning a mass was held at the beginning of the school day. During the mass, the same type of things began to happen. One person who was there described it as contagious; it began with a few and spread. The activity and confusion became so great that the mass was discontinued. School was dismissed and teachers gathered to discuss the day's events.

Just a little while ago, an announcement was made by the police requesting that people not be out in the morning tomorrow (many walk and jog in the early morning). This is related to the fact that the elders (community leaders, not church leaders) are performing traditional, cultural rites in an effort to address the situation.

Some of the YWAM staff has been involved in praying and being with the students at the hospital. Saturday evening, the pastors are meeting at the high school to pray. Until then, we pray where we are.

Please pray that through this situation, people will come to understand there is only one true God. And that He is a jealous God who will not share the dedication of His people with other gods. Open their eyes to the bondage that their traditions have brought upon them and their children.

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