By: Jacob Roth
This morning we had the opportunity to visit a rehab type place run by a lady called “Mamma Jan”. She was most definitely an interesting lady. She’s a big lady in about her mid-50s, and she might be one of the wildest, craziest, and most unforgettable people I have ever met.
We arrived at her place in the morning when she was busy preaching to the people staying at her place (which she calls her “kids”). We went and sat down and she welcomed us and gave us background on what her place does. Basically, she takes people off the street who struggle with addictions and puts them through her rehab program. Even if they run away or start using again, she’ll always accept them back.
Soon after we got there she began to share her testimony. It was absolutely amazing. She said that she was raised in a witchcraft-oriented family, and got into just about everything terrible you can imagine. She was continually rejected and disowned by her friends and family. She even at one time had multiple personalities because she was controlled so much by the devil and his work. One was a champion pool shark, one was part of Hell’s Angels, one was a bar room dancer on Bourbon Street, and I think the last one was a witch.
Sometime later (I don’t remember how old she was) she was getting arrested and decided to fight the cops. She ended up getting a couple of them pretty good, and was eventually sent to solitary confinement in prison, where she was bound at the hands and feet by shackles. Soon she started hearing a voice repeating, “You need Jesus,” over and over again. It was then that she realized that Jesus was the only one who loved her and did not reject her no matter what she did or didn’t do.
After that, she started attending church, even though she still dressed and talked like the street woman she used to be. She recalled being there and having the other people at the church act afraid and ignore her because of her appearance. But that didn’t stop her, for she loved Jesus way too much and wanted to spend every moment thanking Him for what He does.
She was eventually led into street ministry, although her ministry is hardly anything you would normally think of. She told us stories of grabbing a man on the street into a headlock and casting demons out of him. She even told us about putting “anointing oil” into a super soaker and chasing a crowd of drug dealers around the streets with it. She had so many outrageous and crazy stories I can’t even fit them all here (ask us when we get home).
Many call her radical, insane, crazy (which she is a little of all of those), but without a doubt she is a woman who loves God with every ounce of energy she has. She explains her methods by saying “As Christians, you have all the power of Jesus inside of you. What’s the point of having it if you are too scared or boring to use it? Have fun with your faith!” I think she makes a great point.
After sharing her testimony, she told us that we should be more excited about Jesus. So she had me get up in front by myself, and jump up and down yelling “Thank you Jesus!” as loud as I could. It was pretty cool.
Although I probably won’t tackle someone on the streets and cast demons out them with a super soaker of oil anytime soon, I know that I will never forget my encounter with Mamma Jan.