Jesus and Inner Healing with Allicia Bankuti of Ellel Ministries
Experiencing inner healing and deliverance changed my life. I first went through it, via a program at my church, in a season where I was expecting time to heal my heart… but many months had gone by and I wasn’t feeling any better. Time doesn’t heal, Jesus does, amen? Through it, I realised areas of struggle that I thought were just ‘part of my personality’ could be healed — if it’s not godly, it’s not from God! He has better. In this episode, we hear from Allicia Bankuti of Ellel Ministries, which runs various inner healing courses and programs. She honestly and vulnerably shares her testimony (tw: pornography, bullying, eating disorders, drugs, self-harm), as well as practical steps for seeking God for inner healing in your quiet time, formal programs, and more. May we not accept less than Jesus died for us to have.
Watch on YouTube or listen via Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Keep up with the latest updates by following You Are You Podcast on Instagram! For those that like reading interviews, below is a condensed/edited transcript.
Hi, Alicia, welcome to the podcast! Thank you for being here.
Allicia: Oh, thank you for having me. This is our first in-person hangout.
I know. I love how we met, what was it, a year and a half ago? I think I was browsing some sort of hashtag maybe #christiancreative, which is my favourite. And I came across your post from a personal reflection retreat—I commented, we bonded over being Canadian... and it's just sort of spiralled from there.
Allicia: And the rest is history! Who knew that Instagram could be a friend connector. I'm sure it is for lots of people, but for me it was a surprise like, "Wow, God, you can really use it to bring people together! Even across the world."
It was so good. So I think you had Ellel Ministries, the ministry you work for, right in your bio. I'd heard of it because I used to live in Singapore and I think friends had gone to an Ellel conference there. And back then I was not that familiar with the term "inner healing." Like I generally understood the concept, but I hadn't been through it. So for those that may not know that much about inner healing, could you talk a little bit about it and about Ellel?
Allicia: For sure! So I do work full-time for Ellel Ministries in Canada. I've been there for about 10 years. We have two centers in Canada, and I work for the one in Ontario. I think we represent in over 35 countries worldwide—so there are Ellel's everywhere with a similar heartbeat, which is Luke 9:11 where Jesus welcomed the people.
But the crowds found out where he was going, and they followed him. He welcomed them and taught them about the Kingdom of God, and he healed those who were sick. (Luke 9:11)
He taught them about the kingdom of God and he healed those in need. And I think that encompasses inner healing. I always think of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48). To me, that's like the best picture of inner healing. Because most of us can relate to a physical ailment and needing healing. And that wouldn't be uncommon, coming into church saying, "Could you pray for my back or my shoulder? Could you pray for my migraines?"
So here's this woman who's been bleeding for so long, probably carrying so much shame. Even the word unclean is like a full label on her by then. And she reaches out and she touches Jesus's robe. Maybe we would be like, "Well, that's enough. You've got the physical healing." But Jesus knows what we need so much more than we do. And so, you know, there's just this point where he looks at her and calls her daughter.
Jesus doesn't want to just heal us physically. He wants to deal with all the deep things attached to that. And he's not intimidated if we were, you know, bullied at age eight. He's not going to be like, "I'm so sorry that has passed. I can't help you." He longs to bring hope to those places too.
That's so true. Just because we're afraid to face something... Jesus already knows what we're feeling and has the power to heal. Could you share about about how you first heard about inner healing and your personal journey with it?
Allicia: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I didn't grow up in the church. I became a believer in my late teens. Then I left the church but knew I needed help. My parents had been to Ellel and I had watched their marriage transform. It was actually incredible. I felt like they were new people and I was starting to see really good fruit. So I was like "Get me an application for that Ellel place!"
During my time at Ellel, it was the first time I ever shared some of the places that held the most shame in my life. I don't think I've ever been so vulnerable, but I don't think I've ever been so loved. And you know, there's a difference of somebody pacifying you versus somebody loving you because love comes with discipline and correction, and the women who ministered to me (we always minister in pairs, which I love because there's accountability), I can remember telling them all this stuff that I'd been hiding.
The bad fruit in my life... it was popping up, but it wasn't the root cause. They started to ask me questions about my relationship with my dad for example. And I can remember thinking, "What does this have to do with like addiction or having an issue with pornography? Why are you asking this?" And now I know, being a part of the ministry, that the pornography was a bad fruit out of a really deep root of wanting to be loved and wanting to be comforted. And so it was my first introduction with this idea. That God is not looking to just pick off the bad fruit and go, "Okay, here we go. Now she's a good Christian." Because if you have a tree that's producing bad fruit, if you pick it off, more bad fruit can grow. You need to deal with the root system.
Because it was so impactful, I was like "Everyone must receive this!" I assume everyone would want to. But I learned that many don't because they don't want to open old wounds. They don't want to feel past pain and get stuck and cry or whatever it is. But I think that misses the truth that Jesus wants to meet us there. I've learned that Jesus wants to be invited into trauma, accidents, abuse, hurt, bullying, emotional damage. You know, he wants to be invited into every moment so his perspective can come in.
I think of it like if I had a deep cut on my arm but didn't want to go to the doctor. I put a bandage on it and it doesn't heal and stays gross and gooey underneath. Then if someone bumps into my arm, I'm going to react from this pain. Because it's not healed. Now I could cover it for days and days to come. Just because no one sees it doesn't mean they're not going to keep bumping up against it. But if I allow the healer and heal it, there might still be a scar. I might still have memories. But when someone bumps up against me, they're not jumping up against a wound. And I think there's a lot of us walking around on a regular basis that are responding out of an old wound that feels very real right now. So many people will be like, "Oh, but I don't live in the past." And I always say, "Absolutely, I don't either, but my past still tries to live in and out through me, you know?"
You mentioned they asked you questions about your dad/family. Could you share more about generational lines?
Allicia: At Ellel, we'll help people build a family tree and look and see what's passing down because it's biblical—there's sowing and reaping taking place.
You can see in the Bible where certain family lines pretended that their wives weren't their wives, where there was cursing down a family line. And you see people like Nehemiah that repent on behalf of their family line (Nehemiah 1:5-11). For me, I've dealt with addiction. And my mum and my grandpa and my grandpa's grandpa walked in addiction. And I learned to apply Nehemiah's method of praying "Lord, I see what's happened over generations. I'm so sorry for my part." Repentance ushers in the Spirit of the Lord. And also forgiving my family and also drawing the line in the sand so that future generations, if I get to have children, they don't have this bent to sin in this area.
Are you comfortable sharing a little bit about how your life has changed after experiencing inner healing?
Yeah sure! I think one major shift change would be in the area of self-hatred. I really struggled with this probably from grade 7. In high school I self-harmed and did until my early twenties and really, really hated who I was. I hated my body. I hated everything about me. And when I came to Ellel, I can remember thinking and saying to my mum and dad, "Why am I like this? You're not like this. Why am I like this?"
And you know, there are so many factors. I just want to say there is no formula. So if anyone's listening and they also have self-hatred, a gentle reminder that there's no specific formula. I hope my testimony is useful but there's no set prayer. Jesus is so specific because he loves so individually. Seek him.
So for me, when I was at Ellel, one of the things they asked as if I would be willing to repent for those times when I chose death? I don't think I ever saw self-harm and hating myself as choosing death, but I wanted to die. And I didn't necessarily know the Lord then, but he knew me. Which was a huge revelation at that time that just because I didn't know, it didn't mean that God didn't know me!
So I repented for choosing death, for harming myself, for speaking bad words over myself. And then I asked God for his forgiveness and spoke out, like "Today I choose life. I want to live." And it's been a process. I didn't pray this and then totally love myself the next day. I then had a job to do, like on the days where I would have said things like "You're an idiot, why would you do that" in the past," I learned to take a step back and declare what God says. You know "He says I'm loved. And I choose to agree that I am loved." And eventually my emotions caught up.
Another area is pornography. I had a strong addiction starting from middle school until my early twenties. When I came to Ellel, I thought I had managed it and curbed it. And the thing about self-comfort is that if you just manage it, it will pop up somewhere else, for example my shopping at the time was out of control. I got into debt because buying something new brought comfort. So I started seeking God and asking if he would meet me in that place.
The first time I did this, he reminded me of a time I hid in my closet. I can't remember what was going on. Maybe some family dynamics. I would often hide there if I was experiencing emotions that were big. And in that moment, I can't fully explain it, but it's like, I just saw Jesus sitting with me in this cramped closet and I couldn't help but laugh because he looked so ridiculous in my mind. Like he was way too big to be in this closet with me. But he just sat with me and it was this deep realization like, "Lord, you always have been there. Can you come and comfort me in all of these times?"
When we let Jesus into the deepest parts of ourselves, there is incredible joy and freedom. There shouldn't be anything between us and our Savior.
For those that want to look into inner healing more, what are some next steps? Could you recommend some resources or prayers?
Allicia: Through Ellel, we developed online courses during COVID so that people could walk through, emotional issues, PTSD, hearing the voice of God, things like that. If anyone is interested, they are welcome to email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'd be happy to get them connected with an Ellel near them.
There are many other ministries that specialize in helping people with inner healing. There's a ministry in the States called Father's Heart, run by Jerry and Denise Basel, who have a great book called The Missing Commandment.
I also recommend looking to the Bible to show us how to pray through things, e.g. making a family tree, noting down generational sins, and praying Nehemiah's prayer. I can remember writing down all the stuff that I did and then my mum and dad wrote the stuff they did. And I was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm not bringing anything new, I'm just bringing the stuff you brought." Then going to the Lord and asking for forgiveness, and taking the time to wait on God and ask "Holy Spirit, would you show me anything that I've missed? What is the root issue? Would you remind me when this started? If it's on my family line, would you show me if there was an event that happened?"
Messenger International also has an amazing app with lots of great resources, including getting free from pornography. They look at the root issue which is so important.
I was just thinking about what you said about your parents and the fact that you were able to have an open conversation with them about generational sins. Do you have advice on how to approach this in a way that is honouring?
Allicia: That's a good point. For many, it can feel really dishonoring to acknowledge what's in your family line. But I just want to be clear we're not to hate our family or what they've done. We might be angry over what the enemy has done but we always want to honour our family members. Ultimately we are bringing the sins to the Lord so we can receive healing.
One area, which might even just be the first conversation to say to your family, like "This is not to bring dishonor but this is something that I've seen that's ungodly on our family line. Do you think it would be okay if we prayed and asked God to forgive us where we've done? Do you think that's something as a family, we would want to pray through?"
Patience and letting God lead is also key. For example, my dad and I are very similar and in the past I've said "Dad, you got to pray through this—it's on your line." And my dad was like "You know, I'm the head of the home. I'm sure I'll get it, if the Lord wants me to do it." And I'm like, "But do it now! Why not now?" And maybe a year later, he said "You know, the Lord had to show me."
So have grace for your family when they don't have the same interest as you. And pray often—before you meet, during, after.
Thanks, Allicia, for sharing about inner healing and your testimony. As we close today, will you say a prayer for us and all who listen? We all have areas that could use God's healing touch—maybe we've been praying for awhile, maybe we're just starting to acknowledge it. And God is moving in our midst and wants to love on us and bring more healing, amen?
Allicia: Absolutely, I would love to pray!
God, we just want to come before you today. We thank you for your Son. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for being the ultimate healer, the ultimate gift, and the ultimate sacrifice. And we just bring before you today, maybe some bad fruit that we see, maybe some wounds, which are really apparent, even maybe other people. And God, I want to thank you that you are not intimidated by the hurt in our life. You're not intimidated by the trauma we've experienced. And you definitely want to bring freedom.
You say who the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36). And so father, I just even want to pray right now for everybody listening. Maybe fear has gone to the deep places. Maybe there's a lie that says that it will be too painful. Or that you won't show up. We pray for eyes opened to see that you are the God that shows up for your people! You are the God who sees us. You are the God that knows us. You are our provider, Lord. You don't just provide financially. You provide comfort and healing. And so I just even pray for a safe place for people to go to begin to invite you into these places.
Lord, you are so good. Thank you that you are not too busy. And you are ready and waiting to come and let us know that you are near. And we just want to give you all the praise and glory in Jesus name. Amen.