Most people normally want easy and luxurious lives. However, there are those very few who are content with substandard living for a purpose. They live in small huts in very remote places without conveniences. They take on the challenge of teaching young minds who likewise are also deprived of life’s conveniences such as electricity and running water. Such is the life of a SULADS volunteer who lives and works deep in the jungles of Mindanao, Philippines to teach the children of the mountain tribes people there.
SULADS has many schools but those under Northeastern Mindanao Mission total 13 schools, 34 teachers (many volunteers – some are graduates and the rest are still students of Mountain View College) and with a total of 567 students. Adopt a Minister International, our non-profit organization sends monthly stipends for some of our SULADS theology teachers.
A SULADS school building in the jungle is not the typical structure that you would see. Rather, it’s an open building in the center of verdant vastness. Picture the leaves moving gently in the morning breeze; the sounds of the insects, animals, and the birds filling the air as if offering songs of praise to their Creator.
It’s a long, tiresome journey to reach one of these SULADS schools. There are many rivers to cross, and long, muddy roads and steep jungle paths to traverse and unsafe places with armed inhabitants along the way.
The students that go to the SULADS schools are the children from the villages of the mountain tribes people (Lumads, Higaonons, others) who live up in the mountains.
In these mountain schools, the students not only learn academics. They also learn about our Creator God. A student changes and becomes more loving, respectful and focused on getting an education.
The knowledge of a loving God spills over to the parents and leaders of the villages. To these mountain tribes that worship the spirits of the trees and other inanimate objects, when they embrace the truth of a living God, their lives are changed. The village becomes a peaceful and safe place. Many of the young students accept Jesus and are baptized. But it’s not that easy.
As God is real in these jungles, the evil spirits are real as well. There is definitely “spiritual” warfare going on in the jungles. The Prince of Darkness do not just give in. He fights to the end, even possessing the person all the way to their baptisms.
Lyshiel Saga, one of the SULADS teachers gave an account of evil spirits attacking students while being baptized….
One night after our worship, we heard screams outside our hut. It was one of my students. Then we heard the sound of a chainsaw as if somebody was cutting trees. I thought it was a joke at first because who would be using a chainsaw at night. But then I remembered a dream I had a month earlier about the presence of evil angels as well as God’s holy angels in this place.
I asked a student to find out what was going on while my co-teacher and I started singing. As I prayed, someone called for me to go where the student was. I claimed God’s promises and then hurriedly went next door. We sang songs, prayed nonstop and I asked the possessed student to utter a prayer of resistance. I also asked her to repeat after me Psalm 23 and Psalms 91. The student was saying the words harshly. Then we prayed again surrendering ourselves to God. Two hours later, I heard the sound of a motorcycle again. Then, the student was possessed again.
We had a sleepless night and in the morning, the evil spirit disturbed us again. We told the student that she shouldn’t be afraid. But she was so afraid; the evil spirit succeeded to enter her. Again, we sang songs until the evil spirit spoke up through the student’s mouth and declared that he will go away and never come back because of our noise. I responded and said, “Please go away right now! You have nothing to get from us because God owns our lives!”
We took turns on keeping awake, singing and reading the Bible while one of us slept. We had a peaceful night. After our worship, the student told us that she saw four angels watching over her. She saw Angel Gabriel fight the evil spirits with his sword. She also saw three angels fly to heaven at five o’ clock in the morning while one angel stayed to guard her.
The enemy does not just go away. In the afternoon, another student said that she felt cold. Then became unconscious. The evil spirit was back! She was the second student possessed by the devil that day.
As the days turned to weeks, the number of the students being evil-possessed increased. The spiritual battle continued for three weeks. We lost our appetites and did not get a good night’s sleep. That week we had a scheduled “Week of Prayer” given by a visiting pastor. He witnessed the struggles of the evil-possessed students.
When the Week of Prayer ended, the students were ready for baptism so we went to the river. But alas! the devil came, too, and troubled the students again. Before each student was baptized, she was attacked by an evil spirit; her body suddenly got weak and as if she was writhing in pain. The other students had to hold those who were attacked. It was the most terrible baptism ceremony I had ever witnessed. The students struggled as the evil spirits harassed them to the end. But the enemy did not succeed. Jesus won the battle and each student emerged victorious from the water.
We are living in the last days and it is crucial that we have a great relationship with Jesus to be always ready when the great time of His appearing is here.
Revelation 12:12…”So be glad, heavens, and those who live in them! How terrible it is for the earth and the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, filled with rage, knowing that his time is short!”
*SULADSis a non-profit organization whose aim is to reach out in service to unreached peoples of the world, providing them with formal and non-formal education designed to alleviate illiteracy, poverty, and disease, while promoting social awareness, giving due respect to local traditions, beliefs, customs, aspirations, and interests, so that all may see the value and beauty of their cultural heritage and way of life as purposed by their Creator