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Visions of Hell, Meeting Jesus, and Followed by Demons — This New Media Ministry Is *Not* Your Mother’s ‘I Am Second’

The Bible suggests that sharing one’s testimony can have a profound impact on those hearing it or reading it, and Christians routinely use their personal experiences with God in an attempt to convince others to try Jesus. The creator of a new media-based project combines that tactic with the social web to try to “set people free.”

The project is based on YouTube and its channel has captured the attention of viewers worldwide. Global viewers have collectively spent more than a million hours watching their videos. Videos that feature seemingly ordinary people talking about how Jesus showed up —literally, in some cases — and changed their lives.

The channel was created by Eric Villatoro, a 27-year-old Maryland man who “has been faithfully walking with Jesus since June of 2019.” The creative launched Delafé Testimonies — or “faith testimonies/testimonies of faith” — in July 2021. He initially sought financial support for his project in January on GoFundMe, before establishing his Mission Delafé nonprofit.

Villatoro is on a mission “to create the world’s largest archive of Jesus testimonies.”

“Our mission is to build community, save souls and set people free through the testimony of Jesus,” he has said.

He was compelled to start recording believers’ testimonies soon after publicly sharing his own story of being sexually abused “and finding peace and freedom through [his] relationship with Jesus.” The videographer was inspired to finally move forward with the project when someone at his church pointed him to Revelation 12:11. The passage from the apocalyptic New Testament book states in part: “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”

Almost Like I Am Second

Delafé Testimonies is like another popular Christian media ministry that may come to mind — I Am Second — but its testimonies have a heavy emphasis on the supernatural.

I Am Second videos feature Christian celebrities, like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Shawn Johnson and Kathie Lee Gifford, sitting in a white chair and talking for 10-15 minutes or so about how God helped them change, or changed something in their life. Any “demons” referenced by these speakers tend to be figurative.

Delafé Testimonies, on the other hand, features people who viewers have likely never seen or heard of before, from various U.S. cities. And they, too, talk about how God changed their lives. But these testimonies, ranging anywhere from 20 minutes to more than an hour, sometimes feature claims about encounters with supernatural figures — such as angels, demons, and even Jesus himself. The people sharing their testimonies are racially diverse and appear to be mostly millennials.

Out of the 50-plus videos uploaded to the site, the most popular ones have click-catchy titles like:

“I Took Psychedelics as a Christian, What I Saw Shocked Me…” (1.5M views)

“God Spoke to Me in Hell, What He Said Shocked Me!” (1.2M views)

“I Grew up Buddhist, Demons Followed Me, then JESUS did this…” (1M views)

But these speakers, who appear sincere, don’t just talk about supernatural encounters. That part usually comes after they reveal how broken, tormented, or lost they felt for much of their lives due to abuse, drug use or, as one Thai American man shared, being haunted by demons.

One testimony video features a Nigerian American woman speaking about how God had compelled her to renounce a sorority. The woman, Valerie Fakuade, claims God had revealed to her that there were occult elements to the sorority that conflicted with her Christian faith. The former soror said she was able to obey God only after having several convincing supernatural encounters — including what she believes was the presence of Jesus confronting her to act. The video, uploaded in August, had more than half a million views at the time of this article’s publication. The thousands of comments included confessions from other Black women who had also denounced their Greek organizations.

Making an Impact?

In a matter of months, the Delafé Testimonies YouTube page went from 10,000 subscribers to more than 10 times that amount, according to information shared on the nonprofit’s website.

Those stats also claim that people in 120 countries have watched their videos — racking up nearly 9.8 million views (at the time of this article’s publication), according to YouTube.

Comments on popular testimony videos range from viewers praising God and expressing support, to others confessing to experiencing similar supernatural events that led them to Christianity. There is also noticeable interaction among viewers, such as some offering to pray for others.

Some viewers have simply expressed gratitude for the media project.

“God bless this beautiful project,” wrote one viewer named Julia Z. “I feel like it’ll touch many people’s hearts in this remaining time before Jesus, our Lord comes back.”

“One thing that sticks to me in hearing people’s [t]estimonies,” wrote another user named Michael Ray Jr., “is that God’s love makes you feel like you’re His only child. Like He’s watching you and only you.”

A GoFundMe user named Nadine Copeland, who donated $500 to the project, said the Delafé Testimonies videos “touched [her] heart.”

“They’ve confirmed that God is still moving in the earth no matter what we see,” she added. “I do believe that we overcome by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimonies. I am privileged to help continue the mission! To God be the Glory!”

It’s hard to tell for certain if Villatoro’s videos have indeed been “setting people free,” but they sure have been captivating viewers.

Learn more about Delafé Testimonies: missiondelafe.org.

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Nicola A. Menzie
Nicola A. Menziehttp://www.nicolamenzieonline.com
Nicola A. Menzie a religion reporter whose bylines have appeared on the websites of the Religion News Service, The Christian Post, CBS News and Vibe magazine. Nicola is the Managing Editor at faithfullymagazine.com. You can find her on Twitter @namenzie. Email: nicola.menzie (at) faithfullymagazine.com.

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