The right heart. The right goals. The right contact information—right into the hands of those who serve the enemy.
That's what happened to one Texas ministry when they decided to plan an event for their town. Longview, Texas, is just a medium-sized town of 80-90,000. Rated one of the nation's top 100 places to retire in 2018, Longview sits in the quiet green of piney woodlands in East Texas.
A multidenominational group of Christians started putting stakes with verses on them in the ground at all the entrances of their city in 2017 with Scriptures that declared the authority of God over the land and its people. The annual event, called Operation Spiritual Warfare (OSW), sponsored by the local ministerial alliance, has recently sparked increased public interest.
When Charli Caraway and Steve Hemphill, leaders of Active-Faith.org, shared their event poster with local pastors, it began spreading on social media. They clearly shared that they wanted to proclaim sexual purity and protection against witchcraft for their city on the poster. Now, Active-Faith.org and the project itself are receiving daily harassment from members of the homosexual community and witches from all over the state.
In 2017, OSW staked the city and in 18 months crime decreased 45%. It had historically increased for 25 years. So, the group made it an annual event and repeated the staking and prayer vigil in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, OSW decided to start targeting specific issues, so the city was staked and believers prayed for suicide rates to fall.
In that year, as the pandemic heightened, national suicide rates skyrocketed. However, the city of Longview did not experience an increase in suicide at all. Hemphill and other leaders felt that was a win. In 2021, the city was staked and blessed for racial unity. And, despite opposition, OSW 2022 will stake the beautiful city of Longview for sexual purity and witchcraft on Feb. 12.
The kickback has been real. One witches' coven has announced an entire event on Feb. 12 to counteract OSW and declared publicly that they will be protesting, chanting and giving free tarot card readings during the OSW event. Caraway has received numerous phone calls of threats and harassment by many individuals opposed to the event from all over the state.
Caraway, Hemphill and other OSW leaders are not deterred. In fact, they are more determined than ever. What was never intended to be a public announcement to incite the enemy has become a beautiful mistake. Christian leaders are seeing this as an opportunity to show the power of God, the might of His Word and the love that Christ has for the lost.
Although no condemnation was ever shared toward any group or person in the original poster, the enemy has worked to twist and manipulate the actual message and the intent of the event. Caraway and Hemphill are not surprised and, in fact, are encouraged to move forward.
They hope that the reality of this situation can bring individuals who are lost and broken into relationship with Jesus Christ. They are also hoping to see Christians in other communities declare God's power and authority over their own cities in an act of faith.
Charli Caraway is the executive director of Active-Faith.org. She is a writer, editor, speaker, leader, life coach and change agent. As a coach and teacher, she "keeps it real" with humor in leadership and personal development, which has gained her the recognition of being a "velvet hammer." Her passion is incorporating the Word of God into everyday life. She is a modern-day Jael and a fervent prayer warrior for the kingdom of God. Affectionately known as "Dr. Charli," you will always find her empowering people. Dr. Charli and her husband live in East Texas. They have five adult children, two granddaughters and two spoiled dogs. When they aren't working, they love to travel, go camping and indulge in back-road exploration.
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