Padre Francisco, the priest in charge of our zone, asked us to prepare the people for their sacraments in a small, poor pueblo nearby called Villa Nueva del Rio. In the past year, our team leader Olivia and the other missionaries serving with her visited this pueblo and faced such great resistance and indifference from the people. She would often describe it as a “heavy” place. We later discovered that a very famous witchdoctor lived and worked there. People came from all over to be cured by her or to receive a spell. No wonder the place feels like such a heavy stronghold of the Enemy.
The first time my team visited the pueblo, the Lord flooded my soul with so much hope and hunger for these people. I could see it in their faces: they wanted Jesus, but didn’t know how to be free. I felt called to minister to this pueblo in a deeper way.
One day, after siesta, my teammate Beth was shuffling around in a hurry with her guitar in hand. I caught her before she left and she said, “I feel called to go to Villa Nueva del Rio. I feel like Jesus wants to set someone free.” Encouraged by her boldness, I confessed that I had similarly felt called to go there and play worship music. We geared up with our guitars, our bibles, some holy water, and exorcism salt. While treading carefully, we trusted the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Arriving at the pueblo, we prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide us wherever we needed to be. The witch’s house borders the main plaza, and in the center of the plaza, amongst all the chickens casually walking around, is a shaded gazebo. We felt the Spirit ask us to sit there to pray and worship Him. Beth sprinkled some exorcism salt around the gazebo and asked the Lord to pour out His blood in protection over us. We came together, prayed fervently, and began to play the six Spanish songs we knew. A 27-year-old man with blood-red eyes quietly walked up and sat in the gazebo to listen to us; we later noticed tears streaming down his face. Soon, nearly 20 people surrounded us – children, teens, and adults. Beth felt called to share from Psalm 63 and I gave a little reflection.
“O God, you are my God it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water. … [M]y lips shall ever praise you! I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.” (Psalm 63:1-5).
Once the crowd died down, there were a few kids and still the same man from the beginning. Beth felt sure that this was the person Jesus had put on her heart to pray for freedom with, and he was very open. We encouraged him to open his heart to the love of Jesus. This man was near the end of a battle, clinging to his last hope, Jesus Christ. As we prayed, the atmosphere shifted and he began to sob. He surrendered, and the presence of God filled his darkness. The next time I looked into his eyes, where they were once red, they were now white.
Jesus showed me that in our obedience and through the weapon of worship, He always has the victory. Worship is evangelistic: in proclaiming who God is, we come to believe who we are, and the atmosphere shifts. Please pray for our protection against evil and especially for Villa Nueva del Rio. Pray for the witchdoctor to encounter the mercy of Jesus and pray fervently for these people who are parched and yearning for Jesus’ life-giving water.
Angela PetrongelliMission Page: angelapetrongelli.familymissionscompany.com
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