I was born in a Christian family. Church every Sundays, song practice every Tuesday evening and bible study on Fridays. But this didn’t mean I actual believed. I was forced to attend church and it became my route. A route that I adapted and accepted.
I remember a Sunday school topic of the label “Am I Christian”. I was so confused as the instructor was our youth director. I would have never thought he too had this debate. He too was bought Christian he never considered himself one because his did NOT believe nor have faith in God. Until he experienced God himself. From there in I too wasn’t a Christian. I wasn’t a believer until I witnessed God’s abilities in my own life.
It happened the first summer after my parents divorced. We stopped going to church because we were a embarrassment. Never had I felt so abandoned.
My grandmother from my mom’s side came from Laos to stay with us. They originally came to convince my mother to take my father back. This was the first time I had ever met her. I mean her family hadn’t seen my mom since she came to America. And to see my mom in this condition was all news to them.
My grandmother felt that christianity was the wrong approach. Because of this choice of religion, this has lead us to the mis-fortune of my mother’s disabilities which lead to my father leaving. They explained and convince my mother that the only reason my father left was my mother’s disability. If she was to recover and restore herself, he would come back. And her only opinion was Shamanism.
They performed traditional shaman rituals through out the house. The house became was dark and cold. And that’s when the nightmares started. Every night my mother would sleep talk, she wasn’t speaking Hmong nor English. It was a different language we couldn’t recognize.
One hot evening, my little siblings and I came to sleep in the living-room where the AC was blowing. That night I was awoken from my little brother, I asked what was the matter. He replied go help Mom. I didn’t even realized that’s she’s been screaming. Her voice had only gotten louder, still the language that none of us understood. The scream woke up the entire house. I kept my eyes closed, I just wanted to go back to sleep. But my heart was heavy and I needed to get up. When I opened my eyes, my siblings were standing over me. They shared that she’s been screaming for hours now. I saw fear in their eyes that never seen before. Then I heard my mother speaking in Hmong for help and to turn the lights on! She began screaming “he is here” and “he was coming to kill me”. I attempted to wake up my mother but she wouldn’t wake up. Her body was frozen rock solid.
Scared and confused on why this happening to us! Has enough not happened! I found my mother’s bible on the side of bed. I open it and began reading:
“So shall they fear the name of the Lord… When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19
I started to pray; asking for forgiveness. As soon as I turned on the light, my mother’s eyes popped open. She woke up with confused and wandering eyes. When she recognized me, she tells me that we need to pray for forgiveness and ask for protection over us. I realized this was the first time she had wanted to pray since the shaman ritual. After that night, the nightmares stopped and my mother never spoke in that strange language again.
I never understood what happened that night nor can I explain why those nightmares stopped. But all I know is that when we called God, he answered us. From that night now, I became a believer!
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3