Before we left Australia and our classes behind, we had one last dose of wisdom shared with us. It was a sermon on the man possessed by a legion of demons in the gospels. Jesus sailed across the sea through a terrible storm to walk in the land on the other side of the lake. While Jesus was there, he was approached by a demon possessed man. He cast the demons out and restored the man’s life. The people of this area did not react in thanksgiving but in fear, banning Jesus and His followers from their homes. The once possessed man begged to go across the sea with them, but Jesus commanded him to stay and share his testimony with the entire town.
Some may believe that the dangerous journey was a waste of time, but Jesus knew that there was one man who needed him there. There was one man that He could extend his love to. He knew that this man would then go on and share what God had done for him. This became a theme for our outreach: Love the one person in front of you, then wait and see the miraculous things that God will do through that one person.
We had witnessed many amazing things and built several relationships during the last part of our outreach, but we were craving something big. Our team gathered one night and prayed for boldness to step out in faith and to witness healing and salvations during the last two weeks of our time overseas. We went to sleep that night fully confident that God would come through, and excited to see what He would do.
The next morning we were walking to a group prayer time.
My mind and heart were so busy preparing for the time of prayer that we would be joining that I nearly missed the man in the pink shirt pass in front of me.
One of my teammates pulled me back into reality when she said in her French accent, “Um guys.. should we pray for him?” I looked at the man in the pink shirt as he slowly limped away from us.
One leg had grown shorter than the other.
“Yes.” None of us moved. We all stared blankly at each other, none of us making the effort to grab his attention. My mind was racing and thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong. I began to shake with fear. Then God reminded me of what He had spoken to me the night before.
“Christa, every time you are afraid, that is a new opportunity to step out in faith. Turn your fear into faith. What can man do to you when you are following my call.”
My fingers tapped the pink cotton. “Excuse me sir…”
The man did not speak any English at all. We all felt the temptation to give up and just continue on our way. But something inside us would not allow that. We had heard God speak, we had stepped out in boldness, we were not turning back. We asked several bystanders if they could speak English and after a moment found another man who understood enough to know that we were wanting to pray. Meanwhile, the man in pink stood staring at us as if we were crazy, before walking away toward a fishing house on the edge of the beach. We chased after him, dragging our ill-equipped translator behind us.
We found ourselves surrounded by men resting after a busy morning at sea. Overhearing our desperate struggle to communicate to our new acquaintances, a third man entered our conversation. He spoke perfect English and was more than willing to translate for us. We went to the man in pink and explained that we wanted to pray for his leg.
Finally understanding why we had been pestering him, he was overjoyed to receive our prayers.
We prayed, we shared the gospel, we showed loved. All the while our words were being translated into the local language. As we allowed God to use us, more and more people gathered around or stopped the work they were doing to listen. Two women who were placing offerings out for their gods disregarded their duties and listened.
After over an hour of praying and sharing stories, our translator had to leave. We thanked him and began on our way again.
However before we had turned onto the street, a voice called us back to the scene.
Our translator asked if we would be willing to pray for his brother’s child whose head was half bald from a bad scar he had received after a fall. We were more than willing. We prayed and were able to share even more with the father.
Our outreach was continuing on with it’s theme. We showed loved to the one man in front of us and through him God lead us to more and more people. God provided a willing translator and soft hearts to share hope with.
by Christa Ver Hoeven
YWAM Compassion Now DTS Student