While our partners were addressing a community’s need for water, God brought other needs to their attention too.
In Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje, many public squares and parks are marked by beautiful sculptures of mothers, fathers, daughters and sons. Two of my favorites are purportedly Aleksandar and his father.
Aleksandar was claimed by Greek culture as Alexander the Great, but he originally came from Macedonia. In the old city, the statue of the father is standing and greeting a far-off figure; across the Vardar River, the son riding in on his horse in the Macedonian Square.
A couple thousand years later, family is still everything. Many homes have multiple generations living together in relative harmony; however, not all are that way. Sin has broken some families in devastating ways, but God brings healing and restoration to relationships and people’s hearts. When our partners first began to visit a Roma community outside of Prilep, the community was quick to say their biggest need was water, but their needs went far deeper.
A Cloud of Spiritual Oppression
After our partners had faithfully visited the community and helped them build a well, trust was built between them and the residents. One man named Sukarno opened up to our partners and said their family is broken. In a culture where family is so central, this was a source of great shame and anguish.
Sukarno and his wife, Yelda, have five boys, but one now lives far away from the family in Germany with his wife and two children. However, Sukarno confided in our partners about an even bigger problem: Yelda had ‘giants’ in her. Yelda was demon possessed. Almost every night, she would attack her husband with a knife. She was seeing things and people who are not physically present in their home. Sukarno and Yelda tried everything to free her from this oppression. They went to witch doctors, visited the local Imam and mosque and even saw doctors while they sought a cure. Unfortunately, nothing had helped.
When our partners heard this story, they knew that God really did want them in Prilep. Our partners were quick to counsel Sukarno and Yelda to go to another town called Veles on Sunday morning and attend our partner’s church where Pastor Jimmy would pray for Yelda.
The Power of the Cross
The church’s pastors gathered around Yelda and prayed that God would release hisi daughter from this terrible spiritual oppression. When she was not immediately healed, the believers did not give up. They continued to intercede for her throughout the next two weeks. One of the team shared with us, “After praying for her, she was healed and free. Praise Jesus Christ.”
Yelda also told us, “After Jimmy prayed for me in the Veles church, I was different and healed. I do not attack my husband or anyone else. I do not see other people in the room. I now feel refreshed and have strength. God gave me that strength.”
Not only does Yelda continue to go to church in Veles every Sunday, but she also joined our partner’s local church in Prilep. “She is a totally different person,” they reported. “Praise be to Jesus!” Yelda was baptized, and her family life has improved tremendously. As God continues to heal and restore her family relationships, her testimony has been shared with countless people. Our partners said, “We thank God that he opens doors to overcome and reach new people because of her testimony.”
As the church in Macedonia grows, please join us in praying for the pastors and teams who are often faced with great spiritual darkness and relational poverty.