This comes full of belated wishes for a blessed Easter. I pray you sensed the wonder of being close to the Almighty God who made heaven and earth and left the comforts of the heavenly realm to become one of us and to die in our place. Truly, that is the biggest miracle and so worth celebrating. Our Holy Week was full of celebrations…..Easter egg hunts at the Villa, Susana’s birthday, special services, baking with the children, playing in the pool….but there is one event that stands out, and that’s the one I want to share with you.
Saira, our administrator, hails from a small village called Manzaragua. It’s a tiny pueblo way up in the mountains halfway between Tegucigalpa and the Villa. During my illness, the members of Saira’s church prayed and fasted for my healing. One of the women who prayed fervently had several visions, which confirmed that I would be healed, and Saira faithfully shared them with me by phone while I was in New York City. It blessed me tremendously to know that people I didn’t even know were standing in the gap for me, praying for complete healing. Therefore, it only made sense that we should go and share the story of how God had miraculously healed me with this faithful group of believers. We agreed that 2pm Good Friday we would all meet at their church.
We were halfway up the dusty mountain road with a van filled with “now-not-smelling-so-nice children” when it occurred to me that maybe this idea of taking all 18 children plus 5 adults in one busito to “help” tell the story was perhaps not one of my best ideas. Not easily accused of being time or space savvy, once again my enthusiasm got the better of me. By God’s grace, we arrived unharmed, just in time to sit down to a wonderful chicken soup lunch that Saira’s family had prepared for us with funds from the church. They did not seem overwhelmed by our numbers or odors! They just welcomed us with open arms and lots of yummy food. The whitewashed walls of their home and the wood burning stove made of clay only added to the warmth of this loving family.
At the agreed upon time, we arrived at the church. I was shocked to find the church packed with over two hundred people seated and waiting. Others were still arriving and trying to find some standing room in the back. Even some of the local dogs had arrived for the event! Electricity had come to the village several years ago so they were ready for the PowerPoint presentation and had dutifully blocked the windows with plywood to better view the photos of the gringa who had been miraculously healed. Only then did it occur to me that in the JM entourage there was not one single person who knew how to work the multimedia projector that we had borrowed from my home church. So there I was, standing up in front with what felt like hundreds of pairs of eyes clapped upon me as I tried miserably to punch the right buttons to get the projector to work with the computer. The paper fans were moving more and more furiously now as it became obvious that the breezes from the windows had been blocked off for nothing. Suddenly it occurred to me that if this group of believers had had the faith to believe that God could heal me, surely they could believe for a techno miracle. So I turned off the machines and greeted the congregation as humbly as possible and asked them to pray with me for the projector to work. As we finished praying I turned the computer and projector back on and the pictures were now up on the wall! Praise God who is sovereign over all!
The sharing went well, by God’s grace, and many came forward for prayer, asking Jesus to increase their faith and heal their bodies. I could not hold back the tears when I was finally introduced to the woman whom God used to increase my faith through the visions God had given her. She was obviously of little worldly wealth but oh so rich in the things of God. Tears were streaming down both of our faces as we embraced to thank God for His amazing work. The sun was beginning to fade and we knew we needed to get back down the mountain before dark but there was one more visit to be made.
A family member of Saira’s had been having epileptic fits for days which seemed like months to the family. She was only 9 years old and the doctors could not find a medical reason for the seizures. We prayed for her in the service and then spent time with her parents in their home. It became clear that just as God had used my illness for good, He was doing the same thing with this sweet family. The desperation of not being able to control their daughter’s health caused them to seek Jesus as never before. He was bringing not only physical healing, but relational and spiritual healing as well. After praying for these dear souls, there was just enough sunlight to get everyone back down the dirt road and onto the paved road to the Villa. The children’s spontaneous praising filled the vehicle as we wove down the mountainous curves and we were overwhelmed by joy. Suddenly the idea of bringing all the children to Manzaragua didn’t seem half-baked after all. Celebrating God with the beautiful family of believers in that far away village had blessed each one of us beyond measure.
Please keep us all in your prayers as we keep you in ours!
Because He Arose, Betsy
P.S. another blog will follow shortly with our traveling schedule for the US trip in June/July