Cheryl and I took a survey trip in September to Timor Leste to meet the pastors, leaders, and Nazarenes there, and to get acquainted with the country and ministry. During that time, the Sealands Field hosted a seminar on the Occult. This is especially relevant for Timorese culture, and helpful for our participants.
While the church entered Timor Leste some time ago, and there is a growing group of faithful Christians and churches, the occult and animism still have a significant impact on the Timorese. Like many islands nations and cultures in South-East Asia, the Timorese were raised believing that the world is a dark and dangerous place, filled with dark or powerful spiritual forces that influence (even control) daily life, health, and the future. It is not uncommon for the Timorese to attribute natural disasters to having angered the “spirits” in some way. It is also common for the Timorese offer gifts and perform rituals they hope will appease the spirits.
Johnny, a participant at the seminar, told me that, before knowing Christ, he would pray to crocodiles for help with major decisions. While praying at the river, if a crocodile surfaced he knew the crocodile would help him, but if the crocodile retreated, he knew it would not. The “power” of the crocodile holds such sway in Timorese culture that some believe the island of Timor was formed by a giant crocodile rescuing Timorese people from the sea.
In this occult seminar, participants learned about the deceptive powers of darkness and of Satan. They learned how Christ death and resurrection defeats and breaks the power of fear and darkness. The future, their future, is in God’s powerful hands. They can trust Christ and reject superstition and animism. We are glad participants could return to their villages equipped with a new perspective and renewed courage.
Pray the participants will be bold witnessed about the power and light of Jesus.