Former Shaman Burns the 'Old Man'

Tags: SEND North, Story

By a SEND North worker

Jack* wanted to get rid of a bunch of items in his house that were bothering him. I told him that I would support him in whatever he chose, but that I did not understand his culture enough to decide for him what needed to go. I had no idea how much he was going to get rid of. 

He chose the beach where he got baptized as the place to burn these items. Jack, I soon found out, had been training to be a shaman. He had all kinds of traditional medicines (roots, barks, seeds, powders, fungi, etc.), which by themselves are not bad. Some were made to alleviate common ailments, but some were designed to reverse curses, fend off spirits, read minds and thoughts, and attract women. 

Jack also had clothing, crafts, animal pelts and bird parts that he wanted destroyed. Anything that didn't have a spiritual connection had a connection to his life in enmity with God. He wanted a clean slate. 

As the pile to be burned reached the size of a kitchen table, Jack expressed how much weight was being taken off him. For the first time in my life I saw real idols (items that were prayed to and sought after for power) and watched them get destroyed.

Over and over we reassured Jack that he was not gaining favor in God's eyes by doing this. He was loved fully by God, and nothing he did was going to make God love him more or less. This burning of "the old man" was a way to honor and worship God, but did not earn greater favor. We all read scripture, sang songs, and prayed frequently through the hours on that beach. 

I am not sure that we will see something like that again in our lifetime. What an amazing display of God's power in a person's life.

*Not his real name