In The Presence Of Darkness
By Mary Block
Alliance Life Editor’s Note: Missionary Mary Block, a consejaria (counselor), estimates that 90 percent of individuals she sees in her counseling have had some involvement with the occult. Mary works with hurting people in Bogotá, Colombia. Even after they receive Christ, she says often people find themselves unable to comprehend Scripture because of continuing spiritual oppression. They find freedom by making a total break with the past through a process of renunciation. The following article, taken from a recent interview, is Mary’s story of one such woman named Bertha.
Bertha was involved in the occult. She was separated from her husband, and I think she was looking for solutions to her marital problems in the occult. She had come to me for counseling on several occasions, and I decided we needed to go through the process of renouncing the occult.
We usually make a list of all the different occult practices the person has been involved in. Then I have him or her do several things: confess the sin he has been involved in; ask God to forgive him and to cleanse him with His blood; make a statement renouncing that particular practice in his life; cut off the influence and close the doors to any occult practices; and reclaim for the Lord Jesus Christ the territory that had been given over to Satan.
A Pact with Satan
I was going through these steps with Bertha, renouncing various things, and all of a sudden she said to me, "Ah, Mary. I just remembered one time I went into the bathroom and I made a pact with Satan." I was crushed, because I wasn’t expecting that. Since this session was taking place about 6 P.M. and we were having to ration electricity, the room was getting dark. I didn’t have any candles. I had a little flashlight, but it didn’t give a whole lot of light. It just cast shadows.
We were in the very presence of darkness--without any flashlight, without any candles. Due to the lack of light, Bertha couldn’t read the words to the renunciation steps, but I had them memorized. I had her do the first couple of steps, confessing to the Lord this pact she had made with Satan and asking God to forgive her. Then I said, "OK, now in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I renounce....," and she started repeating that. As she said those words, her voice became very deep. At that moment she shouted out, "No!" I probably jumped three feet in the air because I had never had anybody shout that way. Sometimes people have a hard time going through this process and saying the words, but no one has ever shouted at me.
Freedom in Christ
Despite her outburst, I kept working with Bertha. Fortunately, my helper came in about that time, and together we worked with her, encouraging her by saying, "You can do this." I probably could have cast out the demons, but I firmly believe the person has to do it. It has so much more significance when he casts out his own demons because he needs to cleanse the house he opened up to Satan.
But with Bertha, we went through that phrase 10 or 15 times. And every time her voice would drop and she would shout, "No!" Finally, about the 14th or 15th time, she actually could say it. She was cleansed! We had closed the doors.
As far as I know, Bertha has not had a problem in that area since. She has never come back for counseling, and she’s serving the Lord in the church. She seems to have a victorious life. She is one of our ushers, and she loves to evangelize. An example of her evangelism work was one of her friends who was dying of cancer. Bertha asked me to go with her to visit this friend. As a result of that visit and Bertha’s love for the Lord, her friend received Jesus Christ as Savior. Bertha may have areas in her life where she is struggling, but she is certainly no longer struggling with the defeating involvement of the occult.
I go through similar sessions two or three times a week. Occult involvement is common in Bogotá, but God is good. He has shown us the victory is in Jesus Christ.
– Mary G. Block is a C&MA missionary in Bogotá, Colombia. Reprinted with permission from Alliance Life, official publication of The Christian and Missionary Alliance.