Woman of the week: Haley Hood overcomes dark past to live for God

Haley Hood describes her transformation from following Satan's calls to walking in God's light.

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Woman of the week: Haley Hood overcomes dark past to live for God

Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

Emily Arnold/THE CHIMES

Nicole Foy, Writer

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Senior art major Haley Hood will always remember Oct. 13, 2011 as the day that she was literally “called out of darkness” into the light. Although Hood grew up in a Christian family that attended church, she did not consider herself a Christian for the majority of her life, including her first two years of attending Biola.

“I didn’t choose to believe in God even though I knew all about God,” Hood said. “There would be times in our classes where the professor would be talking about our relationship with God and the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, but it was almost like they were talking a different language. I couldn’t comprehend what they were talking about.”

More than a year later, people who knew Hood before Oct. 13 are shocked at her transformation. Hood now regularly attends church, surrounds herself with a community of strong believers who encourage her daily and evangelizes on Skid Row with her church.

Beginning of a nightmare

During a fateful discussion with her friends in September of her junior year, a friend asked Hood what she thought heaven would be like. Hood’s unexpected answer set off what she describes as a “series of unfortunate events” that would eventually change her life direction and purpose completely.

“I looked at her and said, ‘Oh, I know I’m not going to heaven,’” Hood said. “I told her, ‘I know enough about God to choose him or not choose him and I’m not ready to not be myself anymore … I know I am going to hell.’”

That night was the beginning of a torturous month, as Hood said that she began to experience vivid nightmares, hallucinations and dark demonic visions, even hearing voices in her head throughout the day. Hood rarely attended class and began failing all of her courses. As she blacked out regularly, Hood does not remember most of what happened that month.

The week preceding Oct. 13, these events reached a climax. During yet another nightmare, Hood dreamed that Satan told her if she followed him, he would make her rich, beautiful and happy. Waking up miserable, Hood remembers voicing the words “prove it.”

That day, Hood discovered that five hundred dollars, from no discernable source, had been deposited in her bank account. She also received an unscheduled phone upgrade and a bag of Victoria’s Secret bathing suits from a man she had never met before and has not seen since. Similar events occurred the rest of the week.

“On October 13, I woke up and thought that, if I can’t get out of this, if this is going to be my life now — hearing voices and experiencing these horrible things — I guess I’ll just follow Satan and at least I will be rich,” Hood said.

Divine intervention at work

However, immediately after she made this decision, God intervened. Hood received a call from a Biola student she had never met who insisted that he knew what she was going through and needed to talk to her. Hood agreed, and despite Hood's rude responses, frustration and agitation, the student steadfastly shared Christ with her.

“He walked me through a very visual process of what it would be like to give my life to God. And I did,” Hood said. “I walked into this situation hearing voices and feeling so dark and on the way down, and I walked out of it just hearing God’s sweet voice in my ear, feeling lighter and happier.”

Despite the trials Hood has already endured, her story is far from over. When Hood signed up to travel with the Student Missionary Union’s short term mission team to India over this Interterm, the pre-trip physical doctor diagnosed Hood with a form of throat cancer — something that would not have been discovered for a long time without the physical.

India has been postponed for now, but Hood still hopes to go there someday as well as revive the Anglican churches in England. However, Hood’s immediate post-graduation plans include intentionally seeking a time of rest. As Hood continues cancer treatment, she isn’t worried in the least.

“I actually wasn’t fazed at all by the news,” Hood said. “God protected me the whole time and still is. I know he is in control.”