The Believers gathered to worship like Christians do. As songs to Jesus were lifted up, one fell out on the ground and then another until four women were out on the ground, possessed by demons. It’s not something that most Baptists are used to seeing during a worship service in the United States, but on Beth Greer’s latest trip to Tanzania, this scene, albeit intense, was not completely unordinary. On Kome Island off the coast of the Tanzanian mainland in Lake Victoria, six out of ten inhabitants are demon possessed. Beth spent part of her trip on the island, sleeping in a tent, using a ziplock bag as a restroom at night, and telling the residents about Jesus using a stick and the dirt on the ground.
One morning, as their worship service began with song, the women came into their area and started disrupting the service. Familiar with demon possession, the people tied down the women’s feet so they couldn’t kick and held them to prevent them from hurting themselves and others. Beth prayed while the church leaders worked to cast the demons out. After sometime, they noticed that the ones who were holding down the women were looking up at them and smiling. The demonic forces were affecting the ones trying to restrain the women, mocking the work of the Believers with smiles as if to say, “We’re not letting them go.”
After four hours of work to cast out the demons, hundreds of islanders had gathered around to watch the bizarre commotion. That’s when the leaders decided to get the women away from the area. The translators, pastor, and some of the local Christians put the women in a van and took them back to the camp. During this spiritual fight, Beth had to step away because she was short of breath and exhausted. Then she felt her phone. There was no wifi and no cell phone service. Her phone was on airplane mode. She only had her phone to take pictures. Yet in that moment, a text came through from a friend saying, “We are praying for you.”
Beth sent a text back that said, “Major major spiritual warfare. Please Pray.” It was 7:00 Sunday morning in Columbia when she sent the text, so that friend immediately sent out an e-mail to church members to pray immediately. They did and two hours later, the women were free from the demons, eating, and professing the name of Jesus as their savior. They requested that the Believers go to their houses and take their witchcraft items away and burn them. Because the women were generations deep in witchcraft and spiritual oppression, they were taken off of the island and put in a safe house with a church plant that concentrates on healing people from demonic oppression.
“The reason I go back is because I see dead people in sin with no way of escape brought to life. I want to be a part of that,” Beth says through tears. She also recognizes that the same thing is happening here in the United States, but just in different ways. Regardless of geography, people are spiritually oppressed and God is still working in the midst of that oppression, never giving up on His creation. These experiences in Tanzania have only made Beth more determined to share the love of Christ wherever she is.