Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Seeing Jasmin

I never gave demons and evil spirits much thought before moving to Honduras.  But here, many people believe in demons, witchcraft, and evil spirits.  The topics come up in conversation regularly. I worry that demons and the devil (aka the enemy) could be used to avoid accountability (a la Flip Wilson's "The devil made me do it!")  I also suspect that sometimes the demonic event or behavior is mental illness, drug induced, or just plain ol' superstition.  I confess that there is a kernel of fear involved.  I have always been terrified by those movies involving demons, possession, or scary supernatural things.  

I am also aware that there is a flaw in my logic.  I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is real and active in our day to day lives.  I believe there are angels (see Gabriel and others in the Bible) as part of the heavenly host.  I regularly pray that the Lord will surround someone with His angels for peace, comfort, or protection.  Jesus commanded demons to leave people during His ministry on earth and the Bible is clear that there is a Satan.  Nevertheless, the whole demon thing sounds so Old Testament...

Sunday, Suzy and I went to see Jasmin at her rehab facility.  It is in the worst part of Tegucigalpa.   I took nothing with me (rats, no pictures) but cleverly stuck 200 lempira in my bra just in case.  (Jasmin knew immediately I had money in my bra.  So much for my never-been-done-before brainstorm!)  It was hard for me to imagine this was a place of healing, recuperation, and Christian encouragement.  The building and the room we were in looked more like a flop house or worse.  The man who runs the rehab safe house had gone out at night and brought Jasmin back.  He carefully watched over her while she was suicidal.  He spent her first day back praying intensely with her to calm her down, keep her safe, and relieve her of the demons (real or metaphorical) tormenting her.  If you walked by him on the street in your US city, you would likely cross to the other side of the road, sure he was homeless, a drug addict or worse.  As Hunter said as a little boy, "Mommy, the outside doesn't matter, it is the inside that counts." 

Jasmin started telling us more of her story.  Every time she talks about her life, I hear about something new...and horrifying.  This time she described a time when she was outside in a park.  She saw a dark shadow looming over her.  She felt terror but proclaimed, "I am washed in the blood of Christ."  The dark shadow left and she felt safe and a sense of God's peace replaced the fear.  Was it a demon?  A hallucination?  Overactive imagination?  I don't know.  What I do know is that depending on her faith worked.  No matter what the dark shadow was, her faith in Jesus saved the day. 

I am learning over and over how to see Jasmin and other people.  Jasmin and her rehab leader are not the scary, drug addicted, threatening people their "outside" looks like.  Jasmin is a sweet, struggling beautiful child, with an innocence that belies her past.   I also learn over and over that living your faith works in your own life and the lives of others.  So, I still don't know about demons.   If there are such things in our world today, I am ready.  I will follow the model of Jasmin and the carjacking victim who so altered the path of Angelo's life.  I will live my faith and rely totally on Jesus.  Alleluia!