From witchcraft and prostitution to evangelist and pastor’s wife

South Asia

By: Natalie Sarrett

International Mission Board

“A demon came to me and said, ‘You cannot serve both God and me—you have to choose.’”

This is what one witch doctor’s apprentice, Choi*, shared with a Send Relief partner in South Asia.

Choi had grown up in a rural village made up of bamboo huts carved into the side of a hill. Her community had no clean water and wasn’t accessible by car, so when our teams discovered her curiosity about the gospel through her daughter, they hiked to the summit to meet Choi and share the hope of God’s love with her searching heart.

Sitting around the campfire at night, our partners switched between Thai, English and the village dialect to communicate with Choi. She was eager to hear the Good News but didn’t know how to read, so she asked each of our partners to share their testimonies verbally. Once she had heard them witness to the transformation God’s presence had brought in their lives, Choi jumped up and exclaimed, “Yes! This is what I’ve been searching for!”

She shared, “I knew there had to be a god who created this world, but I didn’t know how to find him, so I went to the witch doctor to ask about the gods. She took me along with her from then on to train me in understanding the spiritual world. That’s when I had the encounter with the demon, and I was so afraid he was going to kill me.”

As her voice began to shake with fear recalling the incident, Send Relief partners shared with Choi that Jesus is more powerful than the powers of darkness. She was given an audio Bible in her language for the first time, and soon, Choi was the most prominent evangelist in the foothills. She brought friends and neighbors into her hut one at a time over the next few months, having them listen to the audio Bible with her and asking questions about what it meant to them.

In seeking answers and apprenticing with a witch doctor, Choi found Christ in the most unexpected of places—but none of it would have been possible without her daughter’s concern.

Choi’s daughter, Malee*, became acquainted with a Send Relief partner through English lessons that were being held outside the red-light district massage parlor where she worked. Though they were often interrupted by “johns” soliciting favors, Malee and many other sex workers looked forward to their afternoon ESL classes which were taught through Bible stories, and soon she was sharing prayer requests at the end of each class. Several of the girls would return to class excited saying, “We asked you to pray for this and it really happened!” So Malee decided it was her turn to ask for something, and her request was that our partners visit her village to tell her mother of the loving God they knew.

Today, Malee is living in a previously unreached village with her husband, a pastor, and is helping bring the gospel to this community for the very first time. Choi continues to share her newfound love of Jesus with anyone who will listen.

Your support makes it possible for entire families like Malee and Choi’s to experience redemption and a renewed sense of hope! Pray for women stuck in the cycles of exploitation and subject to the influence of witchcraft to experience healing in the coming year.

*Names changed for security

This article was written by Natalie Sarrett, a staff writer for the IMB. It was originally published at imb.org.

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