Hanna has been working with OM Sweden in a ministry to those involved in New Age and alternative spirituality since 2011. She tells of how God is using teams of believers to communicate His love and light in alternative ways to people who have rejected traditional forms of Christianity.
Growing up in the Swedish Evangelical Free Church, Hanna developed a passion to both hear from God personally and be involved in cross cultural mission.
In 2011 she started a new ministry with OM Sweden, reaching out to people who are involved in the New Age movement. Before that, she had trained with a Christian network based in Scotland who seek to help believers grow in their maturity and develop prophetic gifts.
Now, she leads a team of five workers who go to New Age health and spirituality fairs, where they encounter people with multiple types of alternative beliefs and practices. This can include involvement with the occult at various levels.
The team has been training since 2012 and for the first two years focused on study and prayer together, as well as going out to meet with people and share God’s love. They take a big tent to New Age fairs in Sweden and elsewhere, offering the opportunity for the festival goers to encounter their Creator God. This includes praying with and listening to God for those who are willing and allowing Him to speak to their individual situations and needs. The team also go to local pubs regularly for pre-booked appointments with individuals seeking to experience more of the reality of Christ.
Hanna explains that many of those they meet have opened doors to spiritual darkness and need the light of Jesus.
“They also need to meet Christians who are confident and have deep enough roots in Christ not to be fearful of the supernatural,” she says. “They may have received wounds from a church that has been judging more than loving and sometimes we feel the need to ask forgiveness on behalf of other Christians. We ask God what He wants to do for the person at this point in their lives. We ask for some words for them- something from a God who loves them.”
Many Swedes have been inoculated, Hanna explains, against Christianity, through receiving a version of it that has no life and is all about rules and ‘who is in and who is out’, and is not built on a foundation of love. The people whom she meets at festivals often have a deep longing for spiritual depth and reality--for God--but have rejected Christianity.
“We therefore have to change our language,” she insists, “and so we don’t identify ourselves as being from the Church. A ‘bypass’ road to the heart is needed. We need to ask: ‘what language would Jesus speak to them; what kind of parables? How can I remain in prayer but also be with people in this situation?’ We want to disciple them, when they are ready for it, but we are just spiritual midwives. It is God who does this by His Spirit.”
Hanna explains how this kind of evangelism can be a slow process. There are many people who are used to being their own master and so it is a big step to let go and give up their life to a God who is good. They may have become hard and independent, not trusting and not recognising their deep need. However, she gives some examples of how God has worked powerfully through their meeting and praying with people.
One woman returned to them at a festival the following year and said yes to Jesus for the first time, and another girl came back and testified to how she had received healing in her relationship with her dad. They have also witnessed immediate and obvious changes in many people, as well as encountering those who keep coming back to them, seeking truth, year after year.
Hanna asks for prayer that they might walk with a brave heart, fearing no evil and proving that God is who He says He is, trusting the Lord even in very dark places. “God is much bigger than we’ve ever thought,” she says “and more powerful than the darkness. We know who has the victory”.
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