My days, while living in Armuelles, Panama, began with a five mile run, part of which led through the narrow dirt roads in a low income housing section on the edge of the ocean. I loved this run; hearing the waves beat against the shore, the smell of beans and garlic coming from kitchen windows, the cheery “Buenos Dias” from the local people, the sight of banana tress, papaya trees and stray dogs. The sun was blindingly bright, the heat scorching and the humidity oppressive.
On one corner was an empty, unkempt lot of land. It looked as though someone had begun construction years ago. There were partial structures of concrete about waist high and about four feet long. Often times there were goats tied up, feeding on the long grass.
I began to get an eerie, almost evil feeling when I passed by; a sense of heaviness and darkness. Yet, instead of avoiding the scene, I became curious and would run by slower, my eyes searching for clues.
Finally I asked my maid, Maria, “You know that empty lot near your house? What is it?”
“Oh Senora, you don’t want to ask questions,” she answered.
But being a curious person by nature, I kept prodding for information. This is what I discovered. People gathered there in the late night, early morning hours and could be heard chanting and sometimes singing. The cries of goats would be heard as they were tied to the concrete altars where they were sacrificed. This witchcraft, a form of voodoo, was practiced often along the coasts of Central America where mostly black people originating from Africa lived
Demonic Warfare and Witchcraft is prevalent in Third World Countries. My first memory of it was seeing the beads around baby’s necks in Africa, tied there to keep the evil spirits away. Then, when I was about 8, we were in a township in Zambia when we heard shouts and yells and went to see what was happening. A crowd gathered around a woman accused of casting evil spells and someone pierced her abdomen with a spear. She lay on the dusty road bleeding and dying. Although my father quickly whisked my sister and I away from the scene, it is still implanted my memory.
Makes me wonder; why do we not see as much witchcraft here in the U.S.? I am not naïve enough to think it does not exist, but the Average American does not experience Satan in this manner.
Is it because he does not need the strength and power of demons and witchcraft? Are we not enough of a threat? Have we made our own world so easy for Satan to work in that he doesn’t need extreme tactics. Has he got us already in his snare of materialism, business, and selfishness? Do sports, the media and computers take up so much of our time and energy that Satan feels pretty smug? Have we gone so far with being politically correct and accepting that we have lost sensitivity to God?
I don’t know. I don’t have answers. I just know Satan seems to work in different ways here. He is like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. And, being the father of lies, he wants to fill our lives with so many ‘good’ things that often God gets drowned out. Or, at least, God gets what is left over.
I don’t feel the darkness and evilness here that I felt overseas. But I do feel Satan using a lot of seemingly good things to draw me away from my time with God. He is just using different tactics.
I scheduled this before I left for Thailand as I am not sure of my internet access there. I hope to be posting some of my experiences from there. In the meantime: what is on your heart this Tuesday?