I cannot contain my joy!
I have been waiting weeks to share with you the amazing things our Father has done and now the time has finally come.
Get some tea, pull up a chair and let me tell you what happened in Brazil…
On June 16th, I boarded a plane headed to Fortaleza, Brazil. It was a miracle I was able to go. As most of you know, I was in a car accident only a few months before, and although I was much better, my body was still recovering. Also, for five years, I have been battling an autoimmune disease called Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), which has caused me extreme fatigue and digestive problems. In the past, I had not been strong enough to go on any mission trips, but thankfully the EBV had been in remission since January. As I said, it was a miracle I could make it.
The first miracle of many to come.
My mom and I went the first week together so I would have time to rest and adjust to the time zone, food, and environment. She had the same condition as I had and understood the needs of my body. Even so, a few days before the start of the mission trip, I began to experience symptoms again. The EBV was back. I did not know what I would do.
How would I be able to handle weeks of intense ministry, when my body was barely strong enough to handle one day of doing nothing at all?
I prayed, as had become a habit, for God to give me strength and energy. I needed Him more than ever.
The first days of the trip were the hardest. I was one of the leaders of the youth groups and was exhausted by day two. My mom held me in my hotel room as I cried and told her I could not do this. I was not strong enough. I felt like an anchor was weighing me down. My body was screaming to collapse and sleep. If I could just stay down, all would be well. Unfortunately, I would not have that luxury for weeks.
I cried because I was worn out but also, I knew the truth. I was not going to make it to the end of the trip.
When my mom left, I prayed to my Father.
“God, please help me. I made so many mistakes today. I was too tired to stay focused. Every meal made me sick. I’m taking a thousand pills to just function normally. I feel so useless here. I want to do your will, I want to love your people, but I can’t do this without you. Help me Papa, please give me strength.”
During the night, God said, “Give it to me, daughter. Give me your weakness. Give me your exhaustion. Give me your frustration. Give it all to me. I will make you strong.”
“But how God? How can I give this to you?”
“Trust in me.”
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You
God was faithful. He gave me strength to continue and the days that followed were filled with wonder. The trip was titled, “Youth Power Invasion”, for youth ages 13 to 28. It was a mission trip, founded by Randy Clark, focused on healing, both emotionally and physically. With the testimonies I heard before going on this trip, it was no surprise our team saw many miracles. If you have ever heard of Randy Clark, you will believe me when I say: taking a trip with him will change your life forever.
It amazed me every day how God allowed us to partner with Him to heal people. Although in reality, we did very little. We would pray, and maybe God would tell us to do something or give us a Word of Knowledge, but ultimately the miracles that happened were not because we were a special group of people. There was some on our team who had never heard from God before. I met a boy who was skeptical about miracles and had little to no faith and a girl who felt far from God and thought He could never use her for anything. We were a bunch of kids, in over our heads, lost in translation, and trying to figure out what in the world we were doing in Brazil.
Even so, by the end of the trip, I believe every person, out of the 300 people that went, could say they were perfectly qualified for God to use them. Do you know why?
A couple years ago, there was a day when God asked me to pray for a woman who had crutches. I was scared because I did not think I could heal her. A few minutes later she left and I felt ashamed because I did not obey. I asked God to forgive me and He asked me why I was scared. I told Him, “Father, I was afraid she would not be healed after I prayed.” He replied with this, “Daughter, I did not ask you to heal her. I asked you to pray for her. It is I who is the healer.” I have never forgotten that day.
Princesses, you do not need a college degree, certifications or qualifications, know the right things to say or the right prayers to pray, or be completely healed before God says you are worthy for Him to use you. God wants you as you are today! One thing I have learned is there is no pressure on us to work miracles. If a miracle happens, it is not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus is. Yet, the opposite is also true.
If a miracle does not happen, it is not because of who we are, but because of who Jesus is.
I remember this one man. One of his legs was perhaps 8 inches shorter than the other. He came every night to the healing services, limping on his wooden crutches and every night he would leave in the same condition he came. My heart broke for him. I did not understand why God had not healed him.
It is hard not to feel discouraged when you see a person still in pain after praying for them, but we have to trust that at all times God’s thoughts are greater than ours, and He knows what He is doing. Sometimes, healing is a process and sometimes it is not the right time for a person to be healed. We could never know, but one thing is for sure, He does not love any person less because He chooses not to heal them in an instant. He is still a good Father.
Speaking of fathers…
A girl who was about eleven or twelve years old came up to me. She suffered from extreme anxiety, headaches and digestive problems. When I took her hands in mine I asked her if she believed God could heal her. She looked at me with the biggest brown eyes and said yes, she believed. Holy Spirit was telling me she needed to know how He saw her. I told her she was valuable to God. She was a princess. She was beautiful. As I continued, tears began flowing down her cheeks. It probably took less than 30 seconds, but this was the most precious thing to witness: a daughter experiencing the love of her Father.
Then, I began to pray for healing in her body. I asked her if she felt anything in her body and she said she felt a lot of peace and the headaches, stomach pain, and anxiety were gone. Praise God! I gave her a big hug and told her again how much God loved her. I held her for a while as she cried into my arms.
Later, I prayed for both her mom and dad and they both received complete healing! Her mom had similar issues as her daughter and her dad had stomach cancer that had spread through his whole body. He felt intense itching everywhere because it had spread. After less than two minutes of praying, God healed him completely. Princesses, God healed him of cancer! C’mon! Our God is an awesome God indeed!
Psalm 103:2-3 (NIV)
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits — who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases
Our goal was to make sure people felt the love of God, whether or not their bodies were better. We would hug them, give them kisses, tell them what God loved about them, and for many, this brought healing to their heart. This was amazing because I discovered that many times, after a person received emotional healing, God would release the healing for the rest of their body.
For instance, there was a woman who told me of pain in her back. She told me it was a stabbing pain, which would come and go every so often. As I began to pray, God showed me her heart and how she had experienced a betrayal that left her heart shattered, and this was the cause of the back pain. I prayed in English, so she did not understand what I said, but after 30 seconds I asked her in Portuguese if the pain was gone. She got a big smile on her face and said yes, the pain was completely gone! I asked if she had experienced a hurtful betrayal. She said she had and it was very bad. I told her, I never prayed for the pain in her back to leave, but instead, I asked God to heal her heart. In faith I told her that God answered the prayer and healed the pain in her heart from the trauma and from now on, she would not experience the back pain any longer. She rejoiced and praised God for the miracle.
Princesses, this is only a small part of the awesome testimonies from this trip, but I am not through yet! There is one story yet to tell.
Tune-in next week for Part 3!