This month, we saw our little flock grow: one village (oh, not big: 6 houses, 45 persons) asked me to “chase out the spirits.” Another asked for us for the same reason. There, one can see that it is the grace of the Good God who converts: we didn’t even know of the existence of this last village. There’s a lot of work awaiting us: teaching them and giving them a Christian mentality, something a long way off for them.
“Chasing out the phis” (that is to say, to destroy and burn everything that was used for the worship of spirits), that is a big step, very difficult to do, for they have to break away from ancestral customs which many of them hold in high regard…
For us, that is the easiest part. The difficulties start afterwards: toilsome visits to small groups, hidden in really remote places, in holes or in veritable eagle nests in a season when vegetation has overgrown all the roads. And then to teach a supernatural religion to very primitive peoples in a foreign language! The two villages are Phou Theng; now in that language, I am able only to care for the sick, not teach catechism.
Letter of Blessed Michel Coquelet to his family,
12 September 1958