Doubtful. I was doubtful when Donald Trump, the “you’re fired” reality show guy, announced a bid for the presidency.
I was doubtful when I first heard planes had crashed into the world trade center.
I was doubtful when I learned how the modern Bible was put together.
I was doubtful when my friend Michelle told me what was happening at the base of the hill at Glorieta Church Camp, in New Mexico. But let’s not skip into this like that…
In the summer of 1990 I was just recovering from the crisis of belief of a lifetime. I had re-accepted the existence of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit just recently, but no-one but me realized the whole ordeal had happened. (At least that’s what I thought – my wife says otherwise) My home church in Monroe saw me as the same guy I had always been, and I was invited to go as a college leader of high school students to a church camp in New Mexico. I had been there before and knew some people that would be there, and I looked forward to helping the youth, and the trip in general. But my belief was fresh and tender. I wanted to help those younger than me find their own personal foundations, as I had learned the importance of this.
The worship service of July 4, 1990 was full of distractions. Two kids from other churches were disruptive during worship, but even still, one of ours accepted the same truth that I has recently accepted myself. Our group was in a small-group hut at the top of the hill behind the worship center after the service, and another leader came to us asking for us to pray for some “spiritual warfare” below. We assumed someone was struggling with a decision so we prayed and dismissed. Before I could make it down the hill one of my youth was coming back up. “Don’t go down there, Dave, someone’s going crazy!” I was there before I knew it, and I was presented with something that stretched my newly regained beliefs further than was comfortable.
I was standing on a cement slab at the corner of two buildings. There were screams coming from a balcony to my right and from someone on the ground ten feet in front of me. Someone said something about demons and pulled me into a circle of people praying as I was thinking “BS! Nope. Not likely,” only in more spiritual terms I’m sure. Soon I understood that a boy named Tommy was lying on the ground level, and a girl named Chris was upstairs. She had been raised in witchcraft, and he had an obsession with occult movies and ouija.
They learned these things about one another during this service (the disruptiveness was them talking), and had planned to meet afterwards. When he was walking to the stairs to meet her, he saw “his girlfriend who had recently died in an auto accident, standing in front of him, bloody from her injuries.” He started screaming, then Chris started screaming from the balcony. A pastor who had served as a missionary in Thailand came running and took charge. As I heard the continuing screams, I was certain that Tommy, in front of me, was epileptic. I had seen something just like this in the mall when I worked at Chick-Fil-a in high school, only they didn’t scream so much. But then someone from the balcony got our attention and said “Lies and Deceit have left. Pray now against Hurt and Pain.” In my head I was saying “really?” but I was praying because the situation was scary whether authentic or not. As I simultaneously prayed and doubted (ironic, but I was accustomed to just that), I heard a low, guttural, loud voice come from Tommy’s body. “I am Azule.” Troy the missionary commanded Azule to leave. Tommy’s body wretched and convulsed but then we heard piercing screams rip through the air to the east and Tommy’s face rested for a moment before it faded to a deathly white/blue and Azuzu claimed control. I was losing my ability to doubt what I was witnessing. Before the evening was over, I was told that three more demons were cast out of Chris, and I personally heard Azuzu leave Tommy. The first thing Tommy asked for after he physically was himself again was his Bible. Oddly enough, that reassured me on canonization issues. (labo) If this truly was a a battle between dark and light forces, God won, and I witnessed it.
I always doubt though. I slept well that night, and the next morning I rose early to go across the campus and visit some friends in another program. When I saw them, before I could tell my story from the night before, they excitedly insisted on telling me about the angels that visited them the night before. “Here we go again” I thought.
They explained that at the same time as we were taking part in an exorcism across campus (they didn’t know that just yet), they were praying in the top of the tower pictured above. As they were praying, four angels armed with swords, wearing white shining clothing, floated in the top corners of the room. The guys were initially surprised but the angels somehow directed them to continue their prayers. Once they finished, a lead angel went to the window we see directly in the picture, and held a sword above its head as the other three exited. They were then seen zooming across the pond and over the hill on the side of the camp where we were. By their account, the angels left about the same time we were finishing our battle. Of course they were mesmerized and flabbergasted when I explained my story of the night before, and we all agreed that it was obvious why the warrior angels were there. (Florida17)
Ridiculous. My beliefs were challenged again. I looked up Bible passages afterwards such as Daniel 10 and Matthew 8 and 9. Even having been there, belief was difficult.
I had a deeper understanding from then on, of the father in Mark 9:24: “I do believe; help my unbelief.” This began for me a long and in depth study of the occult as I took ever more seriously my christianity and all the things that word meant I believed.