Today has been one of those wonderful, holy, and special days that I hope I can remember for a long time. It was a slow morning, we ran a couple errands and caught up on emails in the morning, and then drove to a nearby township called Capricorn. This area is much more poverty stricken and 'hard' then where we live, and it's a place where I did a good amount of work when we were here before. It is also where our Congolese refugee friends live, Antoine and Mathy. We shared wonderful times of ministry and friendship with them during our time here before and have kept in touch while in America. We reunited with them a week ago, but today were invited to Mathy's support group with is made up of refugees from the Congo and Rwanda. By about 15 minutes into the meeting the room was filled with women and their children and us three Americans. I should have seen it coming, but didn't; because Mathy asked if I would bring the devotional for the meeting today. So I shared something that God has been teaching me out of Hebrews 11 and 12; how we are called to live a life of faith and fix our eyes on Jesus as we run forward trusting the life He has for us. It is very applicable for these friends and as I shared there were many nodding heads and 'amens' in the group. I should add that only a few speak some broken English, so my sharing was translated into French for these new friends. It is always so deeply humbling and fulfilling at the same time to share God's word with people like these women, who I know live in the midst of dire struggle and hardship. They are all refugees from other African countries, living as outsiders, many of them without jobs and the means to provide the basics of life for their families, even facing real persecution and harm in their own communities just for being from a different country. And yet, the promises of God are just as true, palpable, and meaningful to them as they are to me, even though mine seem superficial and trite in comparison.. I have to tell you though, it is in those moments of sharing the power of God and the strength of Christ with people like these that I feel so alive. It was what I was created to do. After I shared each one of them shared how we can be praying for them. Each one of them asked for basic things; protection for their families, jobs, food for their kids, a peaceful home. I loved that one woman said she prayed that 'doors would be open this year to the promises of God.' Great imagery. Then we all stood up together, I asked if we could hold hands, and I began to pray for them. Little did I know the power of prayer in the heart of these women! They all began to pray aloud in their native languages, and the prayers and exclamations of God filled the room! It was deeply moving and I could truly feel the presence of God in that place! Mathy then closed the prayer in French and well all said 'amen.' It was a beautiful and holy moment. Afterward we shared some time of tea and snacks (as we Africans love to do!) and just talked. It hit me suddenly that this time with these women was exactly like so many times I have shared back home with my women friends. There were kids everywhere playing, eating snacks, fighting here and there, and the women were talking, laughing, and truly 'walking through life' together. It was awesome.
The whole time we spent there was only just over an hour, and I could have stayed much longer, but it was precious time for me. These moments certainly don't happy every day; that is not the reality of missionary life. But they DO happen, and what a treasure they are. I am so thankful that God has brought us here and today He reminded me why. Praise God!
Lots of love,