Selmira kept talking to her, reminding Ana of who she is in Christ and how He can help if we just focus our eyes on Him and trust in Him. After about a half-hour of Selmira talking and praying over her, Ana opened her eyes for the first time since the whole ordeal started and actually seemed lucid. Eventually with Ana being back to her normal self, everyone gradually started nodding off as we were all exhausted. The next morning Ana was super sore and bashful. She couldn’t remember anything after getting out of the canoe, but she asked forgiveness, especially to those she had hit or kicked from the night before.
This situation caused the team to remember the writings of Paul Hiebert on “the Excluded Middle” in missions (click here to read his article on "The Flaw of the Excluded Middle"). This “excluded middle” is talking about where this physical world and the spiritual world interact and intersect in our experiences here on earth. So many daily fears and concerns of tribal people fall into this “middle” that is so often not addressed, and sadly, very often excluded in Western missions, because we, as Westerners, rarely if ever experience or witness these kinds of “spiritual encounters.” We’re so quick to say that these kinds of things “don’t exists” or that people’s imagination “is getting the better of them.” But doesn’t Scripture teach us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms?” (Ephesians 6:12) Is it not very plausible in the case of Ana and the many others who report having had the exact same experience as she, that our spiritual enemy is crafty, deceptive, fear-producing, and can present themselves in whatever form they would like to trick us and cause us harm? Like even pink dolphins and mermaids? Considering John 10:10, if the enemy in some cases can’t possess, perhaps they try to deceive and manipulate people so as to cause them to harm themselves or even try and drown themselves…? I’m so thankful that there is story after story throughout Scripture of the power of Jesus over all things: physical AND spiritual beings! His power is supreme in these things, and He rarely if ever is seen in His healings separating the physical body from the person’s spiritual needs.
This is not the whole story of everything that happened; it’s just a small part really. But this blog post is already longer than should be allowed, haha. In the end, watching all this unfold was definitely a sober reminder not to take lightly or dismiss comments made by the people, even when they talk about encounters with mermaids, and to never miss the opportunity to point people to our Hope and Peace in the midst of fear and turmoil and call them to trust Him.