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Spiritual Battles Rage over Souls in Liberia

February 1, 2018

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Pastor James Cuffee prays for a woman oppressed by evil in Liberia.

As he lay so sick on his bed he could not talk or eat, the farmer in Liberia wondered: If Jesus was more powerful than the evil spirits he had served before he was saved, then how was it that they could return to destroy him?

More than 200 years of foreign missionary work had not reached the inland wilds of the West African country where Varney grew up, and the area remained immersed in witchcraft — as he had. Witchcraft meant power in a powerless life. In a country where more than half the population lived below the poverty line, each day subject to forces beyond their control, witchcraft offered a way to take command.

A father of four, Varney now pleaded with God for his life. When he'd committed his life to Christ at a revival earlier this year in Konluzoe village, in west-central Liberia's Grand Bassa County, he had burned his "jujus," items used to cast spells: seeds, red and black threads, snake bones, bird parts and various pots for mixing potions.

"Witchcraft can mix plant leaves and dust from the earth to destroy life," said James Cuffee, director of the Liberia-based Christ Evangelical Fellowship Ministries. "If a witch wants to kill someone, they perform their ritual somewhere designated as 'the dark world' and place it in the way of the targeted person, or in their food, for the person to die."

Worshipping mountains, rocks, rivers and forests, witches sacrifice animals and take food to the evil spirits and gods and their corresponding idols, he said.

"He was attacked by the enemy, which had him down and wanted to see him dead because he had broken the covenant with them to follow Jesus," Pastor Cuffee said.

"They sometimes have the food in a big pan, carry it out, put it beneath a rock and leave it there for the devil," Pastor Cuffee said. "Varney was fully and wholly involved in these things before he was saved."

Villagers believe that witches can change from human to animal forms, oftentimes a snake, to kill people or at least extract their blood to take to the dark world, he said. This was the culture Varney was steeped in when he came into a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit at a revival meeting that CEFM had sent native missionary Nathaniel Bestman to lead.

Confession

Worship service in Liberia.
Indigenous ministry workers lead worship at evangelistic campaign in Liberia.

"Nathaniel conducted a five-day revival meeting, and the presence of God was in their midst, so much so that the Spirit of the Lord touched Varney, who was practicing witchcraft," Pastor Cuffee said. "He began to confess that he had been involved in witchcraft for almost 10 years, killing, serving the devil and making all kinds of sacrifices to their false gods, but now asking the Lord to forgive him."

Varney then brought his jujus to the indigenous missionary, and they burned them and prayed for the Lord to forgive him.

"He, his wife and their four children accepted the Lord and were baptized," Pastor Cuffee said. "To God be the glory!"

The entire family having been regenerated in Christ, she and her children were as surprised as Varney when, a month later, evil spirits seemed to be attacking; first, his rice and cassava crops mysteriously withered.

"But he was still strong," Pastor Cuffee said. "Since they couldn't discourage him, they put sickness on him, and he got sick to the point of death."

Varney was bed-ridden with a debilitating illness that no doctor knew how to treat.

"He was attacked by the enemy, which had him down and wanted to see him dead because he had broken the covenant with them to follow Jesus," Pastor Cuffee said.

The indigenous missionary asked Pastor Cuffee to come to the village, Kondor, to pray with him for deliverance for Varney, and the ministry director immediately set out.

"Varney was seriously sick, lying on his sick bed, when we went to pray for him," Pastor Cuffee said. "He couldn't talk. But after the prayer, he began to talk and ask for water to drink. Thereafter, a few hours later, he began to eat his food."

The afflicted farmer said they prayed earnestly for him and placed him before the Lord Jesus.

"As God would have it, the Spirit of the Lord descended and got hold of me and delivered me from the power of the devil," Varney said. "Indeed, there is power in prayers. Hallelujah!"

Pastor Cuffee said Varney and his family are now totally free from the hands of the devil and are serving the Lord in Kondor village.

"Varney is strong and active in his service to God," he said.

Working deep in the inland areas of Liberia where witchcraft abounds and the gospel never arrived, CEFM missionaries have planted dozens of churches through such evangelistic events, along with digging wells, feeding the poor, providing medical care and providing refuge to orphans.

Expanding efforts to bring eternal life to people who have never heard of Jesus Christ amid pervasive poverty stretches the indigenous ministry's resources, and they welcome assistance.

"Please remember our dear brother and family in your prayers for God's protection as they eagerly serve the Lord Jesus," Cuffee said. "We are thankful to all our donors and sponsors as well as friends who support us in the effort to reach the unreached people of Liberia for Christ. May God richly bless you all."

Assist Native Missionaries working in Liberia
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