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Freed From Darkness

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Gordon, three others and I were about to leave our Wednesday night prayer meeting on the island of La Palma, Spain, when a woman walked in. She told us that she lives in the apartment above the church, so we thought she wanted to talk to us about the noise during worship or the racket the kids make on the patio. We welcomed her warmly and invited her to sit down.

Mabel, an immigrant from Cuba, had recently returned from visiting her parents there. Before the trip, Mabel’s mother called to tell her that Mabel’s father, a double amputee, had recently fallen out of his wheelchair. Unable to pick him up, she ran outside for help. The first person she saw was a man pushing a fruit cart. After he had helped Mabel’s father back into his wheelchair, the fruit vendor told them that he pastored an evangelical church. After this encounter, he continued to visit periodically to see how they were doing.

When Mabel arrived in Cuba, the pastor shared the gospel with all three of them, and they accepted Christ. The pastor told Mabel to do four things when she returned to La Palma: tell her husband and son that she had accepted Christ; find a good evangelical church; with the support of other Christians, remove all items from her home that could contribute to spiritual bondage; and tell other people in La Palma about Jesus.

Mabel beamed. “Will you accept me as a member of your church?” she asked. You can imagine our enthusiastic “YES!” We had prayed countless times that God would open doors for ministry in La Palma. He has answered those prayers on many occasions as we’ve shown God’s love to the community. But to have this woman, who lives above the church, walk right in and ask if we would accept her was miraculous! Mabel laughed and said, “I’m the grumpy lady who sometimes yells from my balcony to tell your church kids to be quiet!”

On April 1, Mabel came to Sunday service for the first time. One of her relatives has been mocking her for her newfound faith, but Mabel told us, “I will never turn back!”

Recently, Gordon and I—along with Pastor Aristides and his wife, Milagro—went to Mabel’s house to help her get rid of items that could hinder her spiritually. When we arrived, she told us she had a headache and hadn’t slept well. The previous night, she had put some of the things she wanted to throw away on the kitchen counter. When she was alone in the house, she heard the cupboard door above the area where she had placed the items open and close; she also sensed an evil presence.

In addition to the items she had placed on the kitchen counter, Mabel had set up an altar in the home. She said she had felt compelled to light candles, refill water glasses and offer apples to one image and blow smoke into the face of another. Until Jesus entered her life, she had been afraid to stop these rituals.

Gordon and Aristides shared Scriptures, and we sang hymns about the power and victory in the blood of Jesus. Mabel asked Gordon and Aristides to throw everything out. Milagro and I prayed and worshiped aloud as our husbands carried out this task. When we finished “cleaning” and praying over her house, Mabel said her headache was gone.

Mabel realizes that she will have many challenges ahead in following Christ. But already, she has been telling others about the freedom that Jesus can give them, and she invited two of her closest friends to church. They can’t believe the change that has taken place in her life.

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