My Journey Through the Churches
First church. As a baby Christian, I attended my “kindergarten” church, an Assembly of God church that The Lord supernaturally led me to in the 1970s. The pastor was very nice, and when he found out I had an interior design business, he wanted me to join the design committee.
I learned a lot about “church” there, but I started to feel that the sermons were repetitive and something was missing. The Lord confirmed my feelings. By then I had been there a little over a year.
Second church. A friend told me about a Baptist church that had split to become a spirit-filled church. The church elder had hired a young man to be the pastor, and my friend was acquainted with him. This pastor had experienced a near death experience (NDE). I started attending this church and soon they needed a cassette tape copier. I was tithing to the church from my salary but also from my business earnings. I offered to buy the equipment they needed with that tithe, which was unfortunate, because the pastor decided I was Santa Claus.
The pastor had a handheld mic attached to a long cord, so to lay hands on people he would hold the mic under his arm. I offered to get a small lapel mic for the church.
The pastor and I went to a store to get the lapel mic. I left him with the sales person and went browsing. After selecting what he wanted, he came over to where I was which happened to be in front of a miniature TV. He looked at it and excitedly said, “This is what I need at the office!” Believe me, I was still very naïve about church, since I had only been attending church about a year at this time. So, I was not being sarcastic when I said, “I thought all pastors were reading the Bible at their office!”
The pastor did not like that comment at all.
At that time during the services I would feel pains in my body that I had not experienced before. Then when driving home from the service, I would realize the pains were gone. This happened two or three times and I was puzzled. A short time later, prophet Bill Hamon came to teach one Sunday. As he prophesied to the congregation, he looked at me and told me that I would feel pains in my body, and it meant that someone in the congregation ailed wherever I felt pain, and that I needed to come to the pastor and tell him to call out that person to be prayed for and healed.
I did this for a time, but when the pastor realized that I would not buy him anything that he was hinting for (a gold ring, a fur coat for his wife, a pedigree dog, a go-kart for his child, and more) he would not call out the people when I gave him my notes.
Another incident happened that made me leave. It was shocking and incredible. When it happened, I was so stunned that I could not sleep that night. When I called upon the Lord about this, He put me in a supernatural sleep that was the best rest that I had ever had.
Third church. I visited one time. I knew the pastor. He had gone to the first church I went to. He did glass work, and I had given him work for a hotel for which I was designing the interiors. He was just starting the church. I attended and started having the pains. After the service I explained to him what was happening. Even though he had attended a Pentecostal church, He looked at me as if I were crazy and ignored the message.
Fourth church. It was a spirit-filled church in a nearby town. I asked the pastor if he would like to have a regular Friday night meeting in my house, and he did.
At that time, the Lord told me that I had demons and had to have them cast out. I called a couple of mature, Christian friends to ask if they knew anybody who could cast out demons. They wanted to know why I was asking this question. I told them I wanted demons cast out of me. They laughed out loud and told me I did not have any demons. They said that I was a church-going, born again Christian, I read my Bible and I even had a church meeting in my house, and people like me did not have demons.
One of those people called me a few days later and told me about a book he was reading. It was written by the pastor of Hegewisch Baptist Church near Chicago. He told me I would be interested in reading it. I ordered the book and with it was included an invitation for a weekend deliverance seminar! I promptly arranged to attend it.
When the pastor came on Friday, I asked him if he had heard of the pastor or the book. He made a face, so I knew I had better not tell him that I was going to the seminar. A young woman, who the pastor had invited, came to the meeting and sat in a chair behind me. She seemed to be depressed. When the pastor finished his teaching, he came and sat directly behind me next to the girl and started praying for her. I started praying in tongues silently, and the Lord told me to put my hand on the girl. Still praying, I reached her knee. The girl then started to act funny and I perceived it was a demon manifesting. The pastor got mad, rose up, went to another chair and sat down, almost sulking. His wife started ministering to the girl which caused her to be thrown to the floor. Most everyone got scared and left. As soon as the girl was left alone, she came back to normal and left.
The Sunday after that Friday, I went to church with my children. At the end of the service, the pastor called for whoever needed prayer. A Mexican woman came up for prayer, and the pastor looked at me and motioned me to come up front. I was not sure if he was calling me or someone else, because I had never ministered at the front before. But he motioned again and I went. He told me the lady could not speak in tongues anymore and to pray for her.
I did not know what to do, but a scripture came to my mind and I told her that we would both agree together and the Lord would do it. “I will pray in tongues and you try,” I said. I started praying in tongues and the Lord told me, ”Put your hand on her stomach!” I did and a demon started manifesting. And I knew what was happening because I had seen it the previous Friday!
“Who am I to cast out a demon,” I thought. The pastor was standing on the platform talking to a man, his wife nearby talking to a woman, and the only elder was also there. I started waving to the pastor, who was looking in my direction, but he was not paying attention to me. I started waving at the wife, who was also more or less looking in my direction. This was a very small church, but she seemed to be unaware of me. I was getting frustrated soI started waving at the elder. Same thing. It was an eerie feeling, like I was invisible. The moment that thought came, the Lord told me, “I AM with you, and I AM enough!”
When He said that, I commanded the demon out, and it left. This was the beginning of my ministry of deliverance.
A few days later I went to the deliverance seminary. I learned a lot more about deliverance, and I was ministered deliverance. Several demons came out of me. Some had come into me because I had an Idol in my house that I did not realize was an idol. (“My people perish for lack of knowledge.”) Others could have been inherited demons or demons that entered by curses placed on me by witchcraft or by spoken curses.
Note: most Christians think that demons cannot enter them because the New Testament says that Jesus became a curse for us, but deliverance ministers know it does not work that way. In fact, deliverance ministers only minister to Christians. Jesus said that deliverance was “The Children’s Bread.”
I was so impressed by the seminar, witnessing the enormous power that the Name of Jesus has, that I wanted others to know about it. So, I called my friends and, of course, my pastor. Most of them did not know what to think of it, and one lady that had a ministry told me, “If I had demons cast out of me, then I was not a Christian.”
My pastor did not want me in his church any longer after hearing about my deliverance.
Fifth church. My friends invited me to join their church. I noticed the pastor favored a young man in the congregation who was or was trying to become a prophet. Once the pastor went out of town on Sunday and left the pulpit to the young man, who I will call Ed. I was having a meeting at home with two ladies, and I invited Ed to minister to us in prophecy. He called me about the meeting and mentioned that he was looking for a job. I asked what kind of work he was looking for and he said clerical. I was looking for a secretary at the time, and he told me he could do the work so I hired him. Soon enough he started asking me to let him leave early, and then he would come in late.
He had the key to the office because he was responsible for opening the office in the morning. One Monday I arrived to find out he was not there yet and my employees were waiting. I called Ed but he was not answering the phone. I called my friends from church to get the pastor’s phone number, and when I told them what was going on, they came to my office and we went altogether to the pastor’s house. By then it was almost noon. The pastor drove us to Ed’s place, told us to stay in the car, and he knocked on Ed’s door. Turned out that he had been on drugs or alcohol and he was sleeping, plus he had a woman there. I asked the pastor to get my office key. I did not want Ed at the office again. We drove back to the pastor’s house, and on the way there the pastor admonished us in a rough manner not to talk about this incident to anyone at the church.
Back at the office I cut the last check for Ed. Then I got a call from a parole officer asking me about Ed because he had missed a meeting. It turned out Ed was on parole! The officer told me to mail him Ed’s check, which I did. When Ed called me about his money, I told him where the check was.
My friends and I were upset about this incident and even more about the way the pastor told us to keep our mouths shut, so we left the church.
Sixth church. Another friend told me about this church which I started attending. It was a small church with very young couples, a few singles and no one over 45. I got the impression that the pastor had led a group of young people that had grown up, married and had kids.
The pastor’s wife started asking the ladies to teach bible school to the kids. No one was offering to do it. I finally took it. I had to purchase all the materials and also Kool-aid and cookies. I bought stick-on prints to put up on the Velcro screen. I started the teaching and as I finished the lesson, the kids came running to tear the prints off the screen. It was an avalanche. Later when I served the snacks, one of the kids who was about eight years old, pouted, crossed his arms and told me he did not like the flavor of the drink, and he was not going to drink it. So, I took it and drank it myself. The kid then started crying and accusing me of drinking his drink.
The children were very unruly. Once I was talking to the pastor in front of the nursery door. Two of the kids were running around and they came to enter the nursery. The pastor stopped them and told them sternly that they could not enter the nursery. They looked up at him silently, turn around and entered the nursery. The kids did not respect even the pastor. I quit teaching. No wonder there were no takers!
In one of the services, the Lord told me that the young mother sitting next to me was anemic and to pray for her. I told her and asked if I could minister to her and she agreed. I prayed and also cast out the spirit of anemia, everything done quietly. However, her young husband looked at me ferociously.
Once the pastor went out of town and asked me to fill in for him with a teaching on deliverance. The single ladies liked the teaching, but the young men were very upset. So upset that they complained to the pastor. The pastor called me to find out what went on and asked for my notes. I mailed them to him but left the church. A few days later one single lady from the church called to tell me the pastor quit the church and moved out of town.
Seventh church. It was a Hispanic church and the Lord wanted me to go to it, but I did not want to go there. I wanted to go back to the first church I had attended, so I made an appointment with the pastor who was glad to hear from me. When I told him about my deliverance, and that I was starting to minister to friends, he told me he did not want me back. Remember, this was a Pentecostal church!
I made an appointment with the pastor of the Hispanic church at his home with his wife. I told him the same story. He replied that deliverance was necessary in his church and he was glad for me to attend. But he did not let me teach deliverance. Instead, he wanted me to teach the Bible before the service.
I stayed in that church because the ladies wanted me to minister to them in their homes. Meantime, something was transpiring in the church. This church had been started by an evangelist and a group of hard working, humble Hispanic couples. The evangelist/pastor wanted to leave to continue evangelizing, so he called another pastor who might know someone to pastor this group. The pastor did not know anyone, but a man at his church wanted to take the job. The pastor told him he was not qualified, but the man insisted until the pastor allowed him. This man was then the pastor that I had.
I was seeing some things I did not like, but I was staying.
The church building was a small house that was converted to church. The lot was a good size, and after a while the pastor wanted to build a metal building at the back of the lot for the church. He mentioned to me that he did not know if he could or not on that space. I told him that if he had a survey of the lot I could tell him about the building lines, set-backs, easements, and size of the building. He looked at me strangely and said he did not have a survey. I told him he had it in the deed of the building he had now. He again looked at me so strangely that I thought he was thinking I wanted to steal his deed. He never showed the survey to me.
At that point, I was unhappy about other (unholy) things happening there so I left.
About a month later, my friend from the church called, urging me to go to a meeting they were having with the pastor. She told me the pastor had gone early to the home of each couple in the group, when the men were getting ready to go to work. He came with a paper for each of them to sign. Since they were in a hurry, they signed and some who did not read or write signed with an x.
What happened was that the pastor was changing the ownership of the lot and building to him. When he talked to me about building the new church, he realized he did not have the ownership of the lot, and he conceived a plan to take it away from the legal owners.
I declined to go to the meeting.
Eighth Church. A friend advised me that a pastor we knew who had been at Hegewisch Baptist Church for a meeting was taking the pastorate at a church near my home. I started going to the church. The pastor installed a big sign on the back wall that said, “Salvation, Healing, Deliverance.” I was glad to see that. He started an evening teaching about deliverance but this did not last.
During regular services, there was a call for prayers at the front. When the pastor prayed for someone and a demon manifested in the person, the pastor would call me to take the person away for deliverance.
The pastor decided to make home cell groups more interesting by having us come up with ideas for cell groups. A good amount of people came up with fun ideas to meet, and of course, these people would open their homes and be the leaders of the meeting. One lady came up with a jogging cell group which got approved. I believe they would jog quoting scripture. When I saw this one on the roster, I decided to submit a deliverance teaching cell group.
This was approved by the elder who had hired the pastor, and people started enrolling in this cell group making it the one with the largest enrollment. It was held at my house on a weekday morning. Soon a lot of working people complained they could not attend. My husband did not want another group at the house, so I brought the issue to the council of elders. They approved that I would use a room at the church on Saturdays.
When the pastor found out, he did not like it at all, and he put up all kinds of roadblocks. This was a pastor that not only promoted deliverance, but he had also seen the power of God for deliverance of demons out of Christians. He finally canceled my group at the church and a lady friend opened her house up for the group.
By now I had seen several things in the church that I did not like, but I was staying because the pastor was not completely against deliverance, and members of the church would call me for ministry at their homes.
But there were a lot of red flags. One of them was an event that I did not attend but caused many women to leave the church. The topic of discussion was so shameful that I am not going to describe it here. Not even the pastor asking from the pulpit to be gifted a Jaguar (car) was not as bad. And having a mural painted on a wall of the sanctuary that sported a hexagram, a well known witchcraft symbol, and refusing to paint it over was another red flag. I gave him plenty of printed information about what that symbol really was, but to no avail.
I finally left after about 12 years. I realized he was using the deliverance ministry as a marketing tool.
Seventh church. This was a Messianic Synagogue. My daughter and I enjoyed the teaching, the worship and the sound of the shofar in the services.
We decided to become members, but I wanted the rabbis to know that we had a deliverance ministry before taking the new members class, just in case…
I made an appointment with the two rabbis. The main rabbi was not Jewish, and the other one was Jewish but had attended a Baptist church. During the meeting, the main rabbi sat at the desk with his hand holding his chin, just staring at us. The other rabbi perked up when we mentioned deliverance because at some point he had ministered it. I told them our interest in being members, and I said they did not have to reply right away. I gave each of them one of my books.
Days passed and the date for the new member class approached, so I called the main rabbi. As soon as he knew who was calling, he told me, “We are not on the same page!”
Eighth church. Another Messianic synagogue. The services were held in a small sanctuary of a big Baptist church. I found out that the Baptist church is very interested in turning Jewish believers in Torah into New Testament Christians. Not really into Messianic believers.
The lady that ran the synagogue was the music director. The worship was wonderful. The main rabbi was not Jewish but Baptist. Other rabbis there were also not Jewish. The main rabbi was okay with my daughter and I ministering deliverance (although not at the Baptist synagogue, of course.) At least he was not completely opposed to it. He was a righteous man.
There was a monthly women’s meeting at this synagogue. I offered to bring a teaching. The second time I brought a teaching, it was titled, “Ways that we open doors to the enemy”. It was based on experiences of deliverance ministers, with scriptures backing up those experiences. The problem was that the scriptures all happen to be from the Old Testament, and particularly a scripture that prohibits the intentional cutting of skin.
It is proven that intentional cutting of skin is an opportunity for a demon to enter the person. Deliverance ministers encounter this in the case of surgeries. In the case of surgeries, not only can a demon enter, but also evil soul ties can be formed with the surgeon who cuts the skin. In my experience the demons that enter are not very strong, but they are demons anyway.
When I touched this subject, one lady jumped up and screamed at me telling me that she had a long scar and did not have any demons! And the leader of the church told me the scripture did not apply because we were not “under the law.”
This made me abandon the synagogue, not because they were very ignorant of deliverance and not wanting to learn, but because they paraded the Torah around the sanctuary every Saturday, along with reading it aloud, but she was telling us that we are not under the Torah. This was either confusion or hypocrisy, and I do not like either.
Epilogue. My daughter wanted to add one more experience that she had:
I started visiting a church that a friend of mine was very enthusiastic about. The first thing I didn’t like was that the music was ear-splitting loud. You had to scream at the top of your lungs into the ear of the person next to you just to be heard. For the few weeks I attended, whenever it was time to take the offering, we got a mini sermonette, every week, on the tithe. Then, I found out that the pastor’s pet project was a ranch that either he or the church owned that served as a pastor’s retreat (probably mostly used for HIS personal retreat). He was on a mission to raise money to build a pond, stock it, build some recreational facilities like a basketball court, etc. and he was campaigning HARD.
He had the church stage decorated like the set of a play to drive the point home of what he needed to have done, and every week we had to hear about it. The last time I attended was the last straw. It was Pledge Sunday, and if you had pledged money to his little pet project, you were supposed to wear your “I pledged” t-shirt to church to shame everyone else who had not pledged.
I have never forgotten the manipulative and high-pressure sales tactics this church pursued.