Joan placed her hand over her eyes as if she were trying to shade the sun. I looked at her and asked if everything was all right. She responded by telling us there was a ghost on the roof trying to get her attention and it was distracting her from our conversation. She looked at me with the expectation that I would tell her that she was crazy. Having lived in Southeast Asia, I had many strange encounters. Though this was my first time to encounter this particular situation. My response surprised my colleagues almost as much as the initial matter-of-fact announcement that there was a ghost on the roof. I knew Joan well enough to know at she would not make something like this up. As a Christian, I had been taught there were angels and demons, which is exactly what I shared with them.
The four of us sat at an outdoor cafe in Singapore. I was there for business and asked my colleagues if they wanted to go out after work. Joining me was Manish, Sam and Joan. I had known all of them for a number of years and had built a strong friendship with them. They knew I was a Christian, as I was not shy about my faith. I came to understand that Joan was cursed with the ability to see into the spirit realm. Every firstborn female in her family for multiple generations has this gift or curse, depending on how you looked at it. She had enthralling, entertaining and sometimes scary stories about how the ghosts would talk with her in hotel rooms, restaurants and on the street. Joan looked at this ability as a curse but had not idea of how to get rid of it. She believed there was a God, however had not accepted Jesus as her Savior.
As I shared what I knew about angels and demons, I could tell that Joan was just not able to concentrate. With a little prompting from the Holy Spirit, I did something I had never done before. I gathered up all the courage I could and asked if the group minded if I prayed to tell the demon to leave Joan alone. Positive they were just humoring me, my friends agreed and I invited the Holy Spirit to join us. Before I knew what I was doing, I started commanding the demon to leave. I spoke out with complete faith that something would happen, though I had no idea what. I had heard stories of missionaries delivering people from demons, but wondered if Christians had any authority to tell a demon to leave an area.
When I finished praying, Joan had a look of surprise and delight on her face. She exclaimed that the ghost was gone. Manish and Sam were amazed and terrified, being very superstitious. They began asking all kinds of questions. Before I could answer, Joan said there was one more demon across the ally and asked could I get rid of it as well. Feeling good that God had just shown up and done a miracle, I gladly obliged. I commanded the demon across the ally to leave, which it did.
This was the first time in my life that I had a tangible experience of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. The conversation turned to God and I spent the next three hours sharing about my faith, my God and about His immense love for them. I don’t even remember what all I said, but I know the Holy Spirit was speaking through me.
This night was the start of a three-year conversation with Joan where she eventually accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. God knew what would happen that night and I got to be part of His bigger plan. Before we left, Joan went to the restroom where another demon appeared to her. It told her not to listen to anything I had to say. When Joan told us what happened in the bathroom, I praised God with excitement. I had strapped on my shield of faith and went to battle with Jesus. It was a resounding victory and had the demons running scared.
That night in Singapore is one I will always remember and cherish. Winning a spiritual battle was memorable. However, more importantly, it was the night that started Joan on her journey to become a sister in Christ.