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Transformational Love

I met Bo in 2011, when my wife Karen and I first visited the village of Catel in Guinea Bissau. He was charismatic and beloved by many people. I noticed that his house was the nicest in the village—everyone else had thatched roofs and used flashlights for light, but Bo had a metal roof and a solar panel. He even had a motorcycle and a satellite! For a villager in a third-world country, Bo had it all. I learned that he had so much money because he was a witch doctor; like Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8, he charged the people for his services.

In 2013, my family moved to Catel and spent the next three years living next door to Bo. As I got to know him, I learned that he was a “level one” witch doctor. (Yes, there are three levels that I know of, but that is another story for another day). Before the village had a medical clinic, everyone came to Bo with their medical issues. He worked mainly with natural remedies, sold blessings and curses, and distributed bracelets and necklaces that he had charmed to boost health and fertility.

For a villager in a third-world country, Bo had it all.

Once a month—usually a weekend—a female demon possessed him. Bo would speak in a different voice, go by a different name, and was quick to become violent. When it was over, he did not remember a thing. Wicked things happened during these times. You see, Bo had made a pact with this demon; to have all his earthly wealth, he had sold his soul. As payment, this demon took over his body for a weekend. As time passed, this took a toll on Bo’s life and soul. When I talked to him, I saw a void, a deadness in his eyes—there was no light at all.

During the three years that my family lived in Catel, I watched the church transform the village. I was a part of miraculous healings, the casting out of demons, and the amazing transformation of lives. As time passed, the village’s need for Bo grew smaller. I do not fully understand payment in a demonic pact—but I do know that when a demon is not paid, the human host suffers. When the people of Catel stopped buying his services, Bo’s health began to decline. Fungus grew on his head, and his sight clouded.

My family returned to the States in 2016, but the church and ministry in Catel continued to grow. Soon, the church had tripled in size, and new churches were planted. Two witch doctors from neighboring villages came to Christ and experienced freedom like they’d never known before.

I have been blessed to return to Catel almost every year since my family left. During each visit, I’ve spent time talking with Bo. On some of these trips, he has asked me to pray for him. Would Jesus love and forgive him, he wondered? Could he also find freedom?

Would Jesus love and forgive him, he wondered? Could he also find freedom?

In January of this year, I took a short trip to Catel. Sica, one of the church’s pastors, approached me with another man. It was Bo, now called Daniel! I will be honest: I did not even recognize him at first. His face was glowing, and his eyes were filled with light. Daniel told me that as he was literally on his death bed, Sica and a transformed witch doctor pled with him to surrender his life to Christ. He did—and immediately began to recover and have his life restored. That Sunday in church, God’s transformational power overwhelmed me as I watched Daniel worship with such joy!

Daniel’s story is far from over, and he needs our prayers. When people who are tied to the demonic world come to Christ, they experience a fight for their souls. They face immense persecution, and many times experience bouts of demonic oppression. Yes, they are sealed by Christ—but that does not mean the enemy walks away.

Pray that Daniel can stand firm in this next season of his life. Pray that others in his family would come to know the transformational love of Christ. And I challenge you—look around your life, take notice of who is in bondage to sin and needs this transformational love, and take time to share it with them.

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