It had been a long day and we still had one more stop before heading home. We were on our way to an international cafe and, upon arrival, discovered that it was the basement of a church where the refugees in the area could come and learn Swedish. Our contact introduced me to a nice couple and before I knew it we were all laughing and teaching each other phrases in our languages.
It was just the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
It didn’t take long until our whole team had become good friends with this entire family. We were invited into their home a few times and afterwards were able to return their hospitality and invited them to spend time with us where we were staying at.
I quickly found myself befriending the oldest daughter, Tanya*. On our last visit to the international cafe, I found myself sitting at a table alone with her. We were having a normal conversation when suddenly I felt prompted to pray for Tanya and give her a word from God. When I asked if I could pray for her she eagerly accepted. As I prayed God showed me a picture of a pink daisy blooming in the autumn and I heard the words “out of season”. The Lord explained to me that she had remained soft and kind spirited through all her experiences in Syria, and her attitude was “out of season” or out of place. Basically, she did not let the war in Syria affect her positive outlook on life. When I shared all this with Tanya she was so surprised!
She thought it was incredible that God had spoken to me.
I began to explain that Jesus answers our prayers and told her of the Holy Trinity. I described how God, as the Holy Spirit, lives in us, and how Jesus dying on a cross opened the way for us to always be able to talk to God, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Tanya stared back at me in shock. She explained that they are only able to pray to God on Fridays, and that she hadn’t experienced that before. I continued to encourage her, telling her that Jesus wanted to speak to her and how much He loves her and how He will always show up when she talks to Him. Tanya wanted to believe this but she exclaimed that “it was hard to wrap her mind around” such an idea!
I asked her if she’d like to feel Jesus. She looked at me shocked, her eyes filled with a little disbelief, but readily agreed.
I began praying, “Holy Spirit come. Embrace Tanya.” I could feel the Holy Spirit flowing down my arms, out of my hands and into her. I finished praying and waited on Him, knowing Tanya was experiencing something. When she opened her eyes she looked at me with awe. I asked her what she felt and with a smile on her face she replied, “That was weird!” I asked if she could explain more and she told me how her “heart started to beat really fast, but it was good”. I explained to her that she had just experienced the Holy Spirit for the first time and encourage Tanya to talk to Jesus herself. I promised her that He would show up and answer her prayers. She didn’t completely believe me but I could tell she had encountered God.
When we finished praying we had to leave because the cafe was closing. This was our last visit to the international cafe. Our team said goodbye to this precious family and myself and one of my team leaders stayed behind to pray over the family. With tears in all our eyes, Tanya’s father thanked us saying, “You have helped us forget everything we experienced in Syria.” We quickly explained that it was not us, but Jesus. We told them again how much Jesus loved them and they responded with nods of agreement. We hugged one last time and promised to keep them in our prayers. I cried the entire 45-minute car ride back to where we were staying. I asked God, “Why am I so broken?” to which He answered, “I am showing you my heart for this family. You cry because you love them and now have to leave them. I cry because I love them and they have never known me.”
by Annaluz Jaramillo
YWAM Compassion Now DTS student
*Tanya’s name has been changed for privacy.