Passing the market on our way to work one recent morning, my friend and I noticed a crowd clustered into a circle facing an open space. We couldn’t see over their shoulders to glimpse what it was in that open space that they were all watching. Police officers just outside the circle were directing traffic and enforcing the mask mandate in the market, but they seemed uninterested in whatever the attraction was.

Later we heard the story. It seems that someone who had previously suffered theft (who here hasn’t?) had cast a spell on the bag he carried in the market, in order to catch future thieves. Sure enough, a stranger who thrust his hand into that bag one afternoon found both of his arms immediately paralyzed, such that he was even unable to withdraw his hand from the bag. The bag’s owner left it behind, with the thief’s hand stuck in it, and slipped away. The thief grew weak and sat on the ground, unable to feed himself, drink, or do practically anything else due to the paralysis. It was only the next morning when the local population, arriving at the market to find him still there, realized what had happened. Always ready for entertainment, they gathered around to watch him vainly try to extract his hands from the bewitched bag. That was the crowd we saw.

The city council, upon hearing of the matter from the police, sent its staff spiritist to resolve the situation by breaking the spell. When he was unable to do so, they contracted another spiritist, who didn’t succeed either. Finally, a third spiritist arrived and managed to cure the paralysis, releasing the thief’s hand from the bag where it had been entrapped all night. The police then told the humiliated, relieved man that he was free to go home. However, when he arrived home, he suddenly died.

Witchcraft is woven into the fabric of everyday life where I live, as a powerful societal force in matters of life and death. Please pray that the truth of the gospel will overcome it. Our Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood “that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14-15 NKJV)

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