What am I doing here?
This has been a common question in my mind lately. Sometimes I wonder, “What am I doing here in Port Elizabeth, South Africa?” The other day, I wondered, “what am I doing here at the beach tonight? What’s the point? Why are we here?”
The question was legitimate, because we (we being some people on the missions base here in Port Elizabeth, including myself) were going to an event that we had no clue about. There had been something we’d read in the newspaper about a military event at the beach, which included fighter planes, explosives, military soldiers, fireworks, and a lot of camouflage. We’d walked past the display a few days before to see navy green and brown army tents with soldiers in full armor, guns and all, available to talk to commoners, take photos, and teach about military life.
Knowing this, we started the five-minute trek down to the beach for this special event, and quickly realized the place was packed! Cars were parked blocks away from the beach, and some of the roads had turned into parking lots. There were three huge sections of bleachers in a square shape, all facing the middle concrete pavement where military equipment sat, waiting to be used. We made our way, bumping into people left and right, to find a spot on the bleachers. I ended up sitting between a mama (an African woman who was older than I) and another woman I didn’t know.
Sometimes it’s good to have the motto that ‘strangers are just friends we haven’t met, yet’. (Depending on where we are, it’s more safe to have the motto ‘stranger danger’, but to each their own). I chose the first motto in this case, and was talking to the mama, to my friends, who were a few seats away, and really to anyone who wanted to listen, asking them what we were doing, what this was, and why we were here. I kept laughing, because nobody, including the mama, had any answer about what was happening.
“What is this?”
“I have no idea…”
“What are we doing here?”
“Waiting for the event!”
“I have no idea…”
Haha! This conversation cracked me up, and as I was laughing about how this ‘mystery event’ drew hundreds of people together, we all started laughing together. The mama and I joked about this, but eventually it led to a deeper conversation, and while we waited for who-knows-what-was-happening, I had the privilege of meeting a beautiful soul. It turns out, she has the heart of a Godly mama and she has taken kids off of her own street when they had no chance and were in the unsafe care of their own mother who had substance abuse addiction problems.
Throughout the conversation, it was usually me asking questions and just being a listening ear.
“Where do you live?”
“Oh, just down the street here in so-and-so a town,” she’d humbly reply. “I take kids off of the street, because nobody wants to see them starve, you know. It’s not right that they go hungry and have nothing to eat, so I live in my sister’s house and take them in to feed them once a week.”
Wow, what a beautiful soul! Thank-You, God, for bringing me to who-knows-what-event so that I can meet this woman who loves on children You love. I sat there, listening, thankful to God that He can use anything and everything to bring people together, even when they have no idea where they are or what they’re doing.
Throughout the conversation, I felt my right shoulder tensing up and the pain seemed to be growing stronger and stronger. At first, I thought it might just be me, but eventually, I asked the mama if she had a pain in her right shoulder. She replied that at that moment it did hurt her, so I asked her if I could pray for it, because I felt Jesus wanted to heal her. There, on the bleachers, at an event neither of us had any clue about, Jesus used me, a willing vessel, to minister to a woman. I felt honored by God.
With ‘10’ being the worst pain and ‘0’ being no pain at all, I prayed and then asked her what the pain level was. She replied that the pain had lessened, but it was still about an ‘8’. I prayed again, asking her to relax her shoulder, and I prayed the pain would be completely gone in Jesus’ name. She moved her shoulder around, gave it time, and then said the pain was completely gone. Jesus healed her!
Sometimes I think Jesus wants to simply remind us that He still loves us. It was a seed for this lady that night, but this testimony blessed me, as well, because I know that God worked in and through me. I love it when He heals people right on the spot, but I also love it when I obey Him and see no results; because both ways I’m just obeying Him and showing Him I love Him.
I’m sure this will be a testimony among many testimonies of what the Lord will continue to do in our lives as we pray for people, and I pray that this encourages you to also keep praying for people’s healings, regardless of the results you see in the physical.
Much love, and as always, shalom, friends!