A pastor in Myanmar has shared how, after calling on the name of Jesus, he cast the demons out of a Buddhist chief's son, bringing the entire village to Christ.
As a child, Dano was exposed to Christianity by his parents, who rejected the Buddhist beliefs of their village. While their neighbors honored images and statues, bowed down to the dead, and even proudly claimed to house demons in their shrines, Dano and his family worshipped Jesus Christ.
Thus, when Dano's parents died, he knew where to turn: "I accepted Christ as my Savior, and at that time I realized that God called me to work for his ministry," he told Open Doors USA.
Shortly after, Dano joined the military. After completing his training, the young man was immediately dispatched to the frontlines in a battle against Chinese rebels.
"Our enemies ambushed us, they shot us and landmines exploded," he recalled. Somehow, he left unscathed.
"I was positioned on the frontline, there was one experienced soldier before me, and another experienced behind me. The soldiers in front of me and behind me were killed by the explosion of the landmines, the legs of the soldier behind me flew up in the air and he was immediately killed..I found out that 120 soldiers died."
When Dano walked away from this battle, he had no doubt why his life was spared. "I believe God preserved my life from death on the battlefield for a purpose-because it is written in Bible that God protects those whom He has chosen. I believe God has chosen me to do his work and serve his people.''
After eight years of service, Dano felt God calling him into the ministry, and after praying with a local pastor, his calling was confirmed.
"I was shown a vine full of grapes, fully ripe and waiting to be plucked. A heavenly angel asked me to pluck the grapes and eat them. If I didn't pluck he would send someone else."
Immediately, Dano met with the village Chief and offered to teach the children in the village free of cost. The Chief agreed, but warned Dano not to preach or teach the children about his Christian faith.
Before teaching school every day, Dano would wake up early in the morning to pray as he walked through the village. Buddhist residents soon complained to the Chief, and Dano was instructed not to pray anymore.
This did not stop the pastor from praying, however. "I continued praying for the village," he said, "I just decided to pray at midnight."
Because of their faith, Dano, his wife, and their children were constantly subjected to harassment from the local villagers.
"Many times, the village chief and vice-chief would come and search for me to be tortured and killed. But in some miraculous ways, they couldn't find me or I would have escaped," he shared.
But while Dano was badly treated, the villagers would sometimes come to him when they needed help.
One day, the Vice Chief himself came to Dano, revealing his son had been staying in the woods by the shrines for demons. His behavior and health worsened, and it was believed he was possessed by the demons. Despite their best efforts, the local witch doctors and spiritual leaders were unable to help him.
''The Vice Chief's family thought I would be angry with them and would refuse to help, but I see it as a good opportunity to reach out to them,'' Pastor Dano told Open Doors. He fasted and prayed for three days, and then went to the young man.
Terrified, the Vice Chief's son ran away when he saw Dano, shouting, "That person is going to catch me!''
Pastor Dano returned to the shrines that night and demanded the demon to come out. He also tried to burn the shrine, but at first, it wouldn't catch fire. Finally, he poured diesel onto it and the shrine burned. He called upon the name of the Lord, and the demon instantly left the young man.
Amazingly, not only did one demon flee, but villagers reported all the evil spirits left the village.
Some villagers begged Dano to bring the spirits back, and the village spirit mediums sacrificed and pleaded for the spirits to return. But, the demons refused to comply.
"They were not happy because their spirit gods had left them. They complained to their Chief and tried to kill me," Dano explained.
Undeterred, Dano prayed in the places where the spirit shrines were present. The next day, all the shrines in the village had mysteriously burned .
Convinced of God's power, the Vice Chief and his family, along with four other families, accepted Christ as their Savior and converted. Slowly but surely, other villagers came to know the Lord and accepted Christ. Today, villagers who had opposed Dano listen to him, and the pastor now leads a thriving church in his village.
Open Doors urges the faith community to pray for Dano's continued protection and for the families in his village that have turned to Jesus.
Myanmar is ranked 28th on Open Doors' World Watch List of 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution. However, Christianity in the country is growing at a dramatic rate despite threats from Buddhist nationals, according to the UN Population Fund.
The 2014 Population and Housing Census shows that Christians now make up 6.2 percent of Myanmar's population. This figure is three million higher than the 4.9 percent result during the last full census in 1983.