by Erin Kerber

There are many concerns and worries in life, including day-to-day family struggles, cost-of-living pressures, the decline of those involved in worship services, noticeable changes to the environment and the impact on God’s creation of rapid population growth.

While everyone has worried at some point, have you ever feared the sense of an evil presence? For those who live in northern Thailand, originally from Laos, fear of the spirit world often frightens them into hopelessness.

For Yai Beh and her husband Da Sahk, the second last doctor spirit in the village of Banden, nightmares that kept them sleepless at night and enslaved by day were deeply entangled with evil spirits. The evil spirits had such an impact, that they were unable to sleep in their home because of the fear brought about by nightmares.

For Da Sahk, a solo walk through Banden could lead to the evil spirit controlling his body, so that he would walk toward other villages, requiring others to go out in search of him. When he became unwell, he treated his injuries with sacrifices and the blood of animals. He was a slave to evil. He and his wife lived in fear.

Their children had relaxed into the love of God, with light replacing their darkness, but Da Sahk and Yai Beh were scared to become followers of Jesus because they worried God wouldn’t protect them from the evil spirits that ruled their lives. They believed the place they dwelt was too dark to be brought out of.

But the Holy Spirit’s words through an Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand evangelist led them to want to be baptised. One week before their baptism, they had second thoughts. The evangelist supported them through their doubt and, once they were baptised, they felt released from evil and free for the first time.

Da Sahk and Yai Beh realised that they had already been God’s children – even before their baptism – and, because of this, they didn’t need to be afraid. God is now the reason for their living. When they are sick, they pray and believe in God’s help, and they never miss a Sunday worship service.

Yai Beh still has dreams, but the nightmares have been replaced by visions of someone coming in a white cloth, which she believes represents holiness and wholeness. She sees Jesus in her dreams now and sleeps peacefully.

Yai Beh sits self-consciously next to Da Sahk and expresses how important it is to continue to trust, even when our worries are great. They have witnessed the Holy Spirit’s power to release them from their most overbearing worries.

Their story is an encouragement to anyone with worries. Yai Beh and Da Sahk believe in the power of prayer and of asking the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of those with worries, reminding them that God is always with them and can give them the strength to overcome fear.

Erin Kerber is LCA International Mission Program Officer.

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