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Possessed to Peaceful

To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, October 14.

By Andrew McChesney


alomé’s name means peace. But her life was anything but peaceful in the West African country of Cameroon. She struggled with demonic possession.

It all started when Salomé went to her teacher at a Seventh-day Adventist high school in Cameroon’s capital, Yaoundé. She was taking evening classes in hope of graduating and going to a university. She was a top student in her class, but she kept failing the university entrance exam. She had failed it four times. So, she asked the Adventist teacher for help.

“I can pray for you,” the teacher said.

Salomé liked the idea. But the teacher wasn’t finished. “There is one condition,” he said. “You must bring your life into harmony with God’s will.”

Salomé agreed. She wasn’t an Adventist, but she didn’t think that she needed to change anything in her life. She felt like she was living in harmony with God’s will.

A short time later, she met with the teacher to pray in his office. Just as he began to pray, she screamed. Bizarre words flew out of her mouth as she screamed. The teacher kept on praying. Then Salomé hurled insults at the teacher and God. The teacher kept on praying. When Salomé became calm, she was shocked to hear the teacher describe her behavior. She couldn’t remember anything that had happened. She had been possessed by an evil spirit.

“You need to have a life of prayer,” the teacher said. “Don’t grow discouraged. Everything will work out according to God’s will.”

After that day, the evil spirit manifested himself every time the teacher prayed. Salomé screamed and scorned God. She clutched her throat as if she wanted to strangle herself. Sometimes, a foul odor, like a decomposing corpse, filled the room. Always, the teacher kept on praying until Salomé returned to her normal self.

When she was calm, the teacher also talked about God. Salomé began to see that her life was not in harmony with the Bible. She learned about the seventh-day Sabbath. She learned about honesty. She realized that it was immoral to live with her boyfriend. She began to make changes. She left her boyfriend and went to church on Sabbath.

Then a demonic attack occurred at home. Salomé had a bad headache, and she called an Adventist friend for help. When the friend called back later to check up on her, Salomé didn’t answer the phone. The friend came to Salomé’s house to see what was wrong. As she stepped into the house, she smelled the odor of a rotting corpse. She immediately began to pray. She knew that Salomé didn’t need medicine or the hospital. She needed Jesus. She found Salomé unable to move or speak. She was paralyzed. The friend prayed for nearly three hours before Salomé returned to her normal self.

Another attack happened at the Adventist church. As bread was being passed out during the communion service, Salomé fell to the floor with her hand clutching her throat. A tumult erupted as some people fled in horror, others prayed, and still others sang hymns. With her free hand, Salomé took a communion cup that had contained grape juice and smashed it against the floor. She tried to break it so she could cut herself. Deacons carried Salomé out of the sanctuary.

With each attack, Salomé grew more determined to bring her life into harmony with God’s will. She finished Bible studies and decided to give her heart to Jesus in baptism.

The evil spirit made a final attack. As Salomé approached the baptism pool at church, she fell onto the ground. An unseen force seemed to prevent her from entering the pool. The pastor, waiting in the water, saw the struggle and reached out his hands to help her. But Salomé, now under the control of the evil spirit, refused to take his hands. The pastor paid no attention and pulled her into the water. She furiously fought back as he pushed her under the water. He knew that it was the evil spirit, not Salomé, who was opposed to the baptism.

When Salomé came up from the water, the evil spirit left. She smiled with joy.

After the baptism, the evil spirit never possessed her again. But she heard him taunting her as she prepared to take the university entrance exam for the fifth time. He said she would never succeed and her life was a failure. Salomé passed the exam.

Today, Salomé is 31 and lives in peace. A church deaconess, she also teaches at the Adventist high school where she once studied. She praises God that she failed the university entrance exam four times.

“God used the exam failures to bring me to the teacher for prayer — and then to realize the presence of the evil spirit in my life and to get rid of him,” she says.

Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help expand Seventh-day Adventist education in Cameroon with the opening of a bilingual school where children will be able to learn about Jesus in French and English.