We are living in dangerous times. Stroll along the road, in broad daylight, and you will meet the devil waiting for you. A devil incarnate, probably robed in white like a true saint, he will shoot you a warm and affectionate smile. Of course, he will talk to you, laugh with you and even make friends with you.
Beneath the veneer of companionship the unthinkable looms larger than life. Holliness Mawindo tells it all. At 14 she has had a tragic encounter with the devils or Satanics to be precise. Her life would have ended had the grace of the Creator not showered upon her.
Holliness, a girl from Mikundi village in T/A Mabuka in Mulanje, narrates:
"That Wednesday (December 21,2011)dawned sunny and too hot. I was homeward bound from my father's home village which lies across Limbe-Muloza road. I recall it was around 3pm. I was singing praises for the Lord while walking; I'm a chorister at Holy Assemblies of God.
"Now and then I would stop singing and pass greetings to familiar faces plodding home after the day's work. The paths were teeming with tea estate workers then. As I drew nearer to Sayama turn-off on the very Limbe-Muloza road, I stopped short as my heart missed a beat. A 'touring' car caught my attention.
"Without hesitation I picked up my way, still humming a gospel tune. A sudden call from the car caught me while crossing the road; I noticed a finger beckoning frantically at me. I began to wonder whether I should ignore the call and proceed home.
"But I felt ashamed at the thought; it would be impolite and disrespectful. When elders call you mustn't raise a grudge, so we are told at school. Soon I was at the 'tinted glass' car. Two men, one dark-complexioned and the other a coloured, were already smiling at me.
"'Hi my sister, what's your name?'" The dark one asked, stretching his hand for a handshake. I held it telling him who I am.
The handshake, however, lingered. Still holding my hand the man went on asking me the same questions; about my school, home and friends.
"I was becoming suspicious. It seemed the men were up to no good. My fears were soon confirmed. The moment I withdrew my hand I felt as if I had touched a live electric wire. A shock of pain went through all over me so much that I was left numb and paralysed.
"Thus I couldn't think of anything let alone running away or crying out for help. I panicked even more as I started shivering terribly. With my blurred vision, I could now see a coloured man dangling a shiny object over my face. I became more paralysed and confused.
"The moment I mumbled 'God help me' I recovered my senses. I made my mind now to escape but my feet were as numb and cold as they had been. I looked about nervously probably hoping for a miracle to happen but it was all in vain. The road was still empty.
"And then there was a sudden voice. It came from nowhere and echoed, 'Run away, girl, run away from Satanists'. Miraculously I gathered strength and broke into a run. All the way I cried more out of fear than pain and shock. Still I ran faster and faster, surprising villagers milling about.
"When I got home I fell down unconscious. When I came around I was already mobbed with fellowship members who could not hesitate praying and exorcizing me of the evil spirits.
"That remains the most horrific chapter of my life - a chapter I will never forget. Ultimately I thank the Almighty God for waging me a victorious battle against satanic extremists on my behalf."